I’ve wanted to make something out of Skyrim for a while, something iconic but relatively simple so I could actually finish a project for once. So after some consideration it became a toss-up between a Dwemer Gyro and Mehrunes’ Razor.
After a quick search I saw that there’s been a few people make the Razor such as Bill over at Punished Props.
So… the Gyro it is.
I’m not sure why but I’ve always been fascinated by the Dwemer, which I suppose is the point of them. The Gyro is the kind of curio I’d have in a display cabinet if I lived in Tamriel and I’m not one to let a little thing like it not really existing to stop me!
First step was extracting the file from the game, there’s many ways of doing this but the one I’ve found easiest is to use Nifskope, find the object you’d like to use and then export it as an .OBJ file.
Once the file is saved in this format you can use your favourite 3D modelling program to examine the object.
There’s a big difference between a 3d model for a game and one for 3d printing or other CAD based production. In games there are textures and bump-maps that can give an object lots of surface detail that would be too intensive for a computer to calculate if it were part of the model. If there’s a part of an object that the user will never see then it’s likely that those parts will just not exist in the object. The gyro is a bit of set decoration so it could be viewed from any angle. This is useful for us as it means all of the object exists in the model. The down-side is as the object is only a bit of background clutter it didn’t really deserve many polygons.
If I were to follow the model exactly then the resulting object would be very crude looking so I’m going to make some assumptions about what the designers were trying to represent here. First, I’m going to assume the knurled knobs are meant to be cylindrical and are hexagons just to save on polygons. Secondly as this is some kind of gyro I’m going to assume it’s meant to be round and not made out of dodecagon tourses (tori?)
I’m going to be throwing out all of this geometry and drawing my own so I use Blender to take measurements (almost all of it is 6mm thick, fortunately) and head on over to Inkscape…
It took a little bit of mental gymnastics to make this in such a way that it can be assembled without blocking itself. There’s a main circle and two variants on the semi-circle, together these make a hemisphere and if I cut the shapes on the left twice I will have both hemispheres. My plan is to use the knobs as locks to hold the hemispheres around the main circle. The orange stripes are where I’m going to be engraving into the MDF to make the segmented effect. I’ll then flip the parts over and run the program again to engrave the back.
In hindsight this was a bad idea as in total this took over 2 hours of run-time to engrave. That might not seem like much to people used to a 3D printer taking days to complete a large item but for a laser cutter it’s really excruciating!
A better idea would have been to replace the engraved bars with a single line and de-focused the laser so instead of cutting I got a broad shallow beam.
Next post… painting and weathering.