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3D Printed Metal Helmet

Toronto-based 3D printing company, Custom Prototypes Inc. has won an International technical 3D printing competition held this week at the AMUG conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Their entry was a reproduction of a mythical golden galea presumably once worn by Roman General and Cleopatra’s partner Mark Antony.

The Project commenced with in-depth research and 3d modeling conducted by San Diego based antiquity artifacts digital designer and art history investigator - Cosmo Wenman.

Once digital model was ready Custom Prototypes produced all metal parts using the DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) process. This additive manufacturing technology employs powerful laser beam to turn powdered metal into a solid stainless steel object.

Afterwards all parts underwent elaborate manual and electro polishing process. Two, Ontario based plating companies applied nickel and 24 carat gold on the surfaces. All the gems and the plume crest brush were 3D printed in photosensitive resin using SLA (stereolithography) technology. The golden galea is a good illustration how complex geometries and exotic materials can be combined to produce an artifact worthy a museum exhibit.

This is the first AMUG competition entry 3d printed in metal. Bringing the 316 Stainless steel from its grey sandy look as it comes out of the machine all the way to the mirror finish is simply a lot of work. The 24 carat gold plating is also quite unique. The parts which are not metal are done in SLA technology. Finishing Somos Watershed to the look of precious stone is also very elaborate. However the biggest trick we have done, (which people at AMUG couldn't guess) was growing the Hair of the crest. We did it in SLA, vertically with no support and very slow recoater.

According to the legend this helmet was offered to Mark Antony by Cleopatra in the year 34 BC. This happens in Alexandria after his victory in Parthia and during the festivities related to so called "Donations of Alexandria" At the time the helmet was a talk of the town and had some magical powers. The iconography is Egyptian which enrages Octavian the Romans in general and they claim that Antony has turned his back on Rome and that Cleopatra has "unmanned him" This leads to the war and eventually to suicidal death of Antony. He dies in the arms of Cleopatra and she buries him with his most precious possession (the galea) The tomb disappears in the fog of history and so the helmet. Until, of course we recreated it.

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