For this week’s edition of Inventor Spotlight, we talked to the remarkable 3D printed props, art, and replicas creator, Islander Replicas, also known as Fiber_Glass. We chatted about his inspirations, his creative process, and advice for people starting with 3D printing.

What Inspires Islander Replicas to Create in 3D?

He has been collecting movie and television props for around five or six years now. Once he realized that you could create your own helmets and replicas inexpensively, he took up 3D printing. He learned several new skills to make them himself. He likes discovering new techniques, so he usually takes on projects that allow him to further his skills. Now that he is in college, 3D printing offers him a creative outlet, that is completely different from his major. This helps him maintain a balance.

Islander Replicas
Mark 1 – Iron Man

Tell Us About the Creative Process?

He usually uses models from very talented designers online that either lists them for free or sell them to makers. After slicing and printing, he sands the prints. He uses a combination of primer, spot putty, epoxies, and other tricks to make it look like a real prop. The main goal is usually to remove layer lines, but the paint job can make or break it as well. Over the last year, he has had to learn to smoothen prints, realistically weather, mold, cast, airbrush, and a few other tricks to get the pieces where he wants them to be.

Advice for Beginners?

Islander Replicas recommends that people interested in the hobby should buy a cheap but effective printer around the 200-dollar mark. Depending on what you are creating, you can use the printer and your new skills to make some side money. It will more than cover the printer costs. At the same time, it will fund any new projects and tools. Ever since he bought Ender 3 last summer, he has been able to cover his PLA costs, equipment, paints, etc. He has not had to spend anything extra, as commissions have covered everything. Even if you are not planning on selling any of your prints, 3D printing continues to have a decreasing cost of entry as a hobby, and it never hurts to try it out.

Where to Find Gabriel?

You can find Gabriel on Instagram at @Islander_Replicas and on Reddit at u/Fiber_Glass.

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