Aloy’s Bow from Horizon Zero Dawn – 3D printed prop
A cosplay friend of mine came to me wanting to know if I could build a prop for him, he planned to cosplay as Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn.
I looked around online and could not find a model I could buy or download and 3D print so I decided to model it my self. I have never modeled anything this complex before but I thought it would be a good challenge.
I found every screen shot and reference photo from as many angels as I could, I wanted to try and make this bow as accurate as I could. The image I referred to the most was the one above that was put out by the developers. Some bows I saw that people made were symmetrical but if you look at the left and right sides they are not the same.
All my modeling was done in a program called 123D design, its a free 3D modeling software made by Autodesk. It can be a bit limiting but also very useful. For many of the complex shapes I drew them out using Adobe Illustrator then saved as an SVG and imported them into 123D design.
I started with the legs because they would be the biggest pieces and are the same on both sides. I am sure i did not get every detail correct but I think it is rather close. The green pin in the model is its own object printed separately so I can assemble the bow together easier.
The next piece was easy to model, its the main handle that all the other parts connect to, this part was first laid out in Illustrator and then exported into 123D design. The notches at the end are made to connect into the next piece I modeled.
This part looks like either Horn or wood in the reference images, I designed it to notch into the main handle on either side. The hole is for that pin part you see in the first model image. This part was harder to model because its rounded and curved. I eventually found a feature called Loft, it lets you create an object by spanning several planes and making an object with them. I may not be explaining the process well but it took a while to get this part right.
This part was one of the more time intensive pieces, it has a lot of detail and the reference photos I could find only went so far. These handle pieces are on either side of the bow and are slightly different. This photo above is the right side, its modeled in two halves and is meant to close around the handle piece shown above. I created many of the shapes in Illustrator and exported them, that make the job much easier.
The left side looks very much the same at first glance but it has a lot of different elements that are more evident when the bow is fully put together.
This next piece connects near the handle pieces and goes up and through the horn piece then connects to the leg, you will see this in the photos below. I had to use the Loft feature again to make these because of the precise curves it needed to follow. This is for the right side of the bow.
This piece is for the left side of the bow and I used the same methods to crate it as I did the right side.
Here we have the finished model, it took me nearly a month to model this whole thing. The next step was to cut each piece into sizes that my 3D printer could handle.
This is my 3D printer, I recently added this new area to my shop, it gives me plenty of room for the printer and anything else I need to keep close at hand. My printer is a Lulzbot Taz 6, it has a print area of 11 inches long by 11 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall. I wanted a printer that could print large objects so I would not have to do as much gluing.
The first parts I printed were the legs, they printed in three pieces.
I used some painters tape to hold it together while the glue set.
I added a coat of filler primer, mostly because when you print in black its hard to see the details of the print.
The next piece was the right side handle, the handle pieces took the longest to print because they were printed at max quality to get the best detail.
I printed the main handle and did a test fit.
I then printed the horn pieces and started to glue things together.
I added some filler primer to the pieces and did a test fit of the right leg.
Printed and glued on the other horn piece and tested the left leg, everything was looking good.
Printed the left handle part and attached it.
Printed and added the right side band piece, it was tricky getting it to fit with all the other pieces.
Added the left side band and I was done, the rest of the painting and details will be done by the client. When the bow is all painted and finished I will add more photos. This is the most complicated thing I have ever modeled and printed. It took a month of design and over 200 hours of print time to finish.
Thank you for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions.