Build: 3D Printed Stormbreaker – Avengers Infinity War

I think we can all agree that Thor’s new hammer in Avengers Infinity War is pretty damn awesome! Thankfully, I didn’t have to take the energy of a dying star to the face to make my hammer!

Here is my build log/guide for how to make Thor’s new hammer – Stormbreaker – using my 3D files, which are available for free to download!

We’ll start with a list of things I used for this build, which will help anyone who wants to follow along.

  • 3D printer – Duh…
  • Stormbreaker 3D Files – Here
  • Sandpaper – Wet + Dry – various Grades
  • Airbrush
  • 8mm Studding
  • Filler of Choice
  • XTC-3D
  • Primer and/or Filler Primer
  • Super Glue
  • Gorilla Glue or Epoxy Glue
  • Alclad II Gloss Black #305
  • Alclad II Stainless Steel #115
  • Alclad II Aqua Gloss #600 – optional
  • Water mixable Oil Paint – Black
  • Various tones of Brown Acrylic Paint
  • Matt Clear Coat
  • Paints Brushes – Various Sizes

Modelling

Modelling Stormbreaker was a challenge. I had used Fusion 360 a little, and although I was getting the hang of it, I was still somewhat of a noob (and still very much am…).

Stormbreaker was very much the jump in the deep end I so often enjoy doing to learn a new piece of software. At the time – and to a degree, even now – there were no real reference images of Stormbreaker. The main references were the Hot Toys figurine, and some images pulled straight from the film. Although helpful, it would have been nice to have some sort of concrete, high detail references. But alas, I has to make do…

It took a couple of tries to get it right. Scale was also something that had to be worked out. I based the scale of the piece off of Thor’s hand pushing the Axe Head into Thanos (spoilers…). His hand pretty much grabbed the entire Hammer piece, so I started with that sort of measurement, and went from there.

The first attempt wasn’t great..

I believe it was at this point I actually went ahead and grabbed some images straight from the film, notably the moment the hammer was forged. This gave me a much better idea of how the piece was constructed.

These references proved to be invaluable in modelling the piece. I was able to get something much more accurate based on these references, aswell as a few others pulled from the film. I would later use these references when modelling the handle too.

Once the main head of the piece was finished, I could move onto modelling the handle. I went back to what I knew for the handle, and hopped into Blender. The handle was pretty simple honestly. I modelled the basic shape of the handle, using the references to get a better idea on how it wrapped around. I wanted to make sure it looked as if it has been wrapped around the Hammer/Axe organically, and not placed there as an after thought.

I also had to make sure that I thought about how the handle would eventually attach to the Hammer/Axe, and so modelled in a connection point in the center which is almost entirely hidden.

Printing

The first step with any 3D printed project is to – well – print it…

This was by far my biggest print to date. I used my Wanhao i3 Plus to print all of my pieces. I don’t like to print over night, so generally avoid that. My longest print was ~17 hours or so, which was definitely a new record. Thankfully my printer has been very happy recently, and has been working flawlessly, which in 3D printing terms, can be considered somewhat of a miracle.

Handle Assembly

Now that everything was printed, we could start the sanding and filling stage. Before starting however, I went ahead and glued the handle pieces together.

NOTE: I did not glue the very top part of the handle on at this stage

The handle has space for 3 different pieces of studding. Due to the curve in the handle, this couldn’t be one piece. The handle pieces were cut down to fit on my printer. If you have a taller Z height on your printer, you could easily join some of the pieces in MeshMixer if you wished.

Assembly of the handle was pretty straight forward. The 8mm studding was glued into their respective holes using Gorilla Glue, whilst the flat connection of the corresponding piece was glued using Super Glue. The basic method of assembling the handle was: Gorilla Glue for physical connection points (rods or blocks), and super glue for flat connections. This means that most pieces have 2 different types of glue applied to it, which makes it a pretty strong connection. There is only one flat to flat connection in the handle, all of the other pieces have some kind of physical connection point, to make assembly easier.

As mentioned above, the very top piece of the handle has been left of. This is so that the Hammer Head can be placed when needed. If you glue it now, you wont be able to attach the Hammer Head!

Sanding/Filling

Once the handle was glued, I moved onto sanding everything. I put the handle to one side for the time being, as this needs very little sanding.

I sanded the Hammer and Axe head parts a little individually before gluing. This is personal preference. It allowed me to get into a few tight spots a little easier.

Everything got a sand with some 80 grit paper. Once I was happy, I went ahead and glued the parts together, and then sanded it some more, sticking with my 80 grit.

I glued the pieces together with Super Glue. I used the 8mm studding slots to get everything aligned properly, but I didn’t glue them in at this point. I did need a couple of clamps to glue the top piece of the hammer on, as it had warped slightly.

I tried something a little different for this build. Rather than using 2 part filler, I got hold of some 3M spot filler. Bill Doran at Punished Props uses this in a bunch of his projects, so I thought I’d give it a go. I also covered the entire piece in filler, rather than specific parts. This is something I’ve seen various people do in their build (Notably The Broken Nerd), especially 3D printed builds. Overall, I’d say it definitely helped speed up the process.

Stupidly, I didn’t take any pictures of this, so you’ll have to imagine the Axe Head bright minty green. Can you do that? Great…

After covering in filler, and sanding back, I applied a coat of filler primer, which seems to work an act an awful lot like regular primer whenever I use it…I only applied filler to one side of the Axe Head, as I wanted to see how affective it was. You can see a clear difference..

Side with spot filler
Without spot filler

Something I did notice is that the spot filler doesn’t seem to want to stick to primer. It actually strips it. So try and do as much filling as you can before priming. Sanding back the primer a little does help.

I basically followed the same steps as above once again, applying filler and sanding back. I used 120 grit paper to sand back the filler.

The next step was to cover the axe head in XTC-3D. I like to use this in my projects, but alongside sanding, not instead of. I think a lot of people like to think they can slop it on, and not have to do any sanding. This can be the case, but for something like this? No way…

I usually use it after my first major round of sanding/filling. What it essentially does is act as a general filler, filling some smaller parts you missed, or parts that were difficult to get to with your sand paper or files.

I bought some cheap throw away brushes for this, which work a lot better than the foam brushes!

A thin layer was applied, and it was left to cure. Although cure time is 4 hours, I usually just leave it 24 hours if possible. Be careful not to let any of the resin build up. In some detail areas, it can run a little and end up building up in a corner, or somewhere you don’t want it to. Once cured, you can normally cut away any blobs, but I find using a lollipop stick cut to a point, and scraping resin away about 30 mins after applying works quite well.

Wet
Dry

Can you guess the next step? Yep, that’s right…MORE SANDING! Back to the 120 grit, I sanded it back until the finish was more dull. Any points that were left glossy were low points, and needed a little filler.

Sanded until matt

I put the axe head to one side, so that I could work with the hammer. I applied the exact same steps to the hammer as mentioned above.

Spot Filler
XTC-3D
Filler Primer
Both pieces now at the same stage

The same steps were also applied to the last two pieces of the Hammer/Axe. The round bit that goes on top of the hammer, and the central block, which is where it all connects.

Filled and then sanded

Now the Hammer and Axe head were almost ready for painting, I moved back to the handle. Thankfully, very little sanding is needed for the handle (yay!). I did give it a quick sand with a sanding sponge. Nothing drastic; just to rough it up a little. The major sanding on the handle is where the seams are. I sanded these with 60 grit paper, and tried to get them as flush as possible. We’re basically removing the squishing from the sides that touched the print bed.

If you want an example of how XTC-3D works with minimal sanding, where detail isn’t really an issue, then this is a great one. I applied a good coat of XTC over the handle. I was supposed to add some filler to the seams before
doing this, but for some reason I didn’t. Didn’t make a huge different, but overall, it would have been a bit more logical…

Not forgetting this piece, of course.

Once cured, I went ahead and added some filler to the seams. I then sanded it back once more, focusing mainly on those seams.

I then applied a second good coat of XTC. For the most part, that was the handle done. Once cured, I gave it a light sand with a sanding sponge, and that was it really. Very simple!

I then moved back to the Hammer and Axe Head. The final step before giving them their final prime was wet sanding. Starting with 400 grit, and moving up to 3000. You end up with a very smooth finish after this, which should mean you get a very clean final layer of primer before painting.

All of the parts are now ready for their primer, in preparation for painting. I used a standard grey primer. A whole can was needed for this, so make sure you have enough!

Assembling the Axe and Hammer Head

Now that the parts have been primed, I went ahead and assembled the main head of the piece. 8mm rods were used once again, similarly to when the handle was assembled. Gorilla Glue was used for the rods, and superglue was used for flat surfaces.

You’ll notice the rods on the Axe Head are slightly different lengths. This is because the bottom rod shouldn’t go to the end of it’s hole on the central block. If it goes all the way through, it will block off the hole for the handle, which runs up through the middle of the central block. So make sure there is enough room!

This rod needs clearance

Once the main head was assembled, I did a test fit. It’s tight, but it all fits!

The main head is now ready for painting. The idea is to paint the Hammer/Axe first, and then attach it to the handle. This means you can get a good finish on the head without anything being in the way. The axe will be covered, and then the top piece of the handle will be attached, leaving only the seam to fill and sand before painting.

Painting

Finally, it was time to start painting. I’d invested in a double action airbrush and compressor for this project, and future ones. A huge upgrade over this piece of junk…

Old Airbrush…
Oooo Shiny

I was pretty excited to start using my new airbrush, and once I worked out how to change the pressure on my compressor, I jumped into it. I started off with Alclad Gloss Black primer as a base. This gives a very glossy base for the metallic paint.

Something didn’t quite work though, because it ended up like this…

Not glossy at-all! It was all grainy and rough, and had more of a matt/satin finish to it; not what I was going for!

I waited until the next day, and tried to buff/polish it, but that didn’t help. So I went ahead and removed it all..

It was a little extra work, but it had to be done honestly. After cleaning it all off, I then wet sanded it quickly from 1000 up to 3000 grit. All in all, this took a couple of hours.

I then went back to my airbrush, and tried to work out what was going wrong. I upped the psi slightly to around 20 or so, and then went about spraying on a test piece of plastic.

This was the result:

Perfect!

It came out perfect. I was slightly perplexed to be honest. Why was the finish a day earlier so poor? Perhaps we’ll never know…but with everything seemingly working correctly, I went ahead and re-painted the hammer and axe.

Much better! I gave it 30 minutes or so, and then applied a second coat, to ensure good overall coverage. I could now move onto the good bit; Alclad Stainless Steel. Before painting, I used my trusty test piece of plastic (which is a spare part from my Kylo Ren Helmet) and applied a light coat.

You’re supposed to be quite light with the metallic coats, and so I did my best to do that. I applied 2 light coats all over, and left until the next day to fully cure.

My trusty test piece

The plan was to then give it a coat of Aqua Gloss, which is Alclads clear coat for high shine lacquers. However, after spraying a light coat on my test piece, and a small part of the main head that wouldn’t be seen, it dulled the shine a little too much for my liking, so took the decision to leave it off.

This is only a display piece, and so shouldn’t be getting a bunch of wear and tear. It should be fine!

Now that the painting was done, it was ready to be attached to the handle. This was pretty straight forward. First, I wrapped the hammer and axe in a plastic bag.

Assembly was pretty simple. I used some Gorilla glue on the metal rod which slides into the main head, and also some Gorilla glue on the connection points for the top part of the handle. The flat parts were given some super glue. Only thing I had to be careful of was making sure the plastic didn’t get stuck in the joint for the top part.

I added a little more superglue directly to the seam, and let it dry. I then filed and sanded back the seams a little. I then added some filler to the seams, allowed it to dry, and sanded it back.

I repeated this step a couple of times, and then applied some XTC over the joint. This more or less did the trick.

XTC Applied
XTC Sanded back
Primed

Now that the last piece had been attached, we were ready to move onto the final step; painting the handle.

Painting the handle was straight forward enough, but also a little trial and error. I was aiming to get some good variations in color of the wood, and I think I managed to achieve that in the end.

I started with a base coat, which would act as the fill color to work from. The steps from there were really just a combination of Washes and dry brushing. Towards the end what I was doing was applying some paint, and then rubbing it with some kitchen role. This would remove the majority of the paint, but just leave a sort of stained effect on the top, which blended nicely with the colors that were already there.

Base brown, thinly applied
Roughly halfway through the process
More or less final stage

I did a few final touch ups before applying a matt clear coat. Once dried, I removed the plastic and tape.

Shiny

Before applying some weathering to the Hammer/Axe, I went around touching up a few bits of the handle that had been obstructed by the plastic. If I had a brain, I would have painted the top part of the handle with a base brown before I glued everything together. I’m pretty sure that was the plan originally, but apparently I forgot…

As for weathering, it was a simple wash. Nothing too complex. I used some water mixable oil paint (black) for the wash color. I did find the Alclad really absorbed the wash, so I had to be very quick to wipe it off, or it would sort of get stuck. I don’t really know why, as I would assume it would just wipe of with water…but it didn’t for some unknown reason. Maybe the Aqua Gloss clear coat would have helped.

And that was it. Stormbreaker was finally finished

Finished Piece

Hopefully this was interesting, and perhaps helpful. If you download and print my files, I’d love to see your finished piece! Please tweet them to me @MagnaProps

Thank you!