3D Print: Tron Lightcycle
This was something I made as a gift for a friend's birthday, him being a bit of a Tron fanboy
Greetings programs!

This was my second 3D print project.  Like the Dead Space helmet project, this was something I had printed up to give to a friend as a gift for his birthday, him being a bit of a Tron fanboy (too bad I gave it to him 2 months AFTER his birthday)!

Even though he's more of a fan of the original film, I opted to make Flynn's light cycle from Tron: Legacy instead.  It looks much cooler!

Making the 3D model

Like the previous project, reference images and a plan of exactly what you want to end up producing are key when it comes to 3D printing.

Something I wanted to try and replicate was all the sections that the light cycle emits light from and also make a light trail if possible (after all, that is one of the main things that make the light cycle a light cycle).  So to achieve this, I made up a plan and decided to print this in 2 materials at Shapeways offers; WSF (White Strong and Flexible - A nylon plastic material) and FUD (Frosted Ultra Detail - a Semi Transparent material).

I went over to Shapeways and grabbed the material specification sheets for my intended print materials (WSF and FUD). Both materials have a different specification so it's important to go over these before making the model to ensure you're not going below any of the minimum specification for those materials you want to print in.  Once I had that, my reference photos and my plan of attack, I proceeded and created the 3D model.

I made sure to keep the parts that were to be printed in WSF and FUD separate from one another in different files, so they can uploaded and printed in the two different materials.

[A basic render of the model]

The next step was to then upload the model to Shapeways and place the order in my chosen material.  Originally I had chosen WSF and FUD, but when I cam to place the order I found out Shapeways offered what the call PWSF also (Polished White Strong and Flxexible).  This is basically where they print the model in WSF, but put it through a rock tumbler essentially to polish it slightly and try and remove the slightly grainy texture that you get on WSF.  This isn't suitable for all objects as they can break in the process, but looking at my model I was confident it wouldn't break nor would it be an issue so, I decided to take the plunge and try it out as there wasn't a huge increase in price and I wanted to have a smooth finish.

Post process after printing

Once the model arrived, I decided to put it together to see if there were any issues, everything mostly looked ok.  Two things I did observe were; PWSF came out quite nice and it did come out much smoother than standard WSF in this model but some of the indentations I modeled printed great on one side of the model but not so good on the other side.  This I believe occurred because of the model orientation during printing rather than something that happened as a result of the polishing process.  It wasn't so bad that it ruined the model, but I certainly noticed it on inspection and learned something new to look out for when uploading in the future (orientation of the model when printing).

Now begins the painting!

Using chrome spray can, I painted the back of the light cycle for the trim (I used masking tape to prevent it going on parts I didn't want) and then used some basic enamel paints from a local shop to paint the rest of the light cycle.

Now here's where something went a little wrong and I hope if you read this, you learn from my mistake!

As the model is a black and white model my intention was to just paint the black areas, leaving everything else in the original white plastic colour.

The WSF material (as well as the polished version) is a very porous material and sucks in paint.  So when I painted black on the windows and then around the edges (which I wanted to be crisp), the WSF plastic started to absorb the paint and caused a "bleeding" effect around the edges as it did this.  This is something I didn't really have too much of an issue with on the Dead Space helmet print as I was pretty much painting the entire thing, leaving no original plastic visible.  So to try and correct this, I painted white over the bleeding parts to cover it up (which it did) but unfortunately if you look close you can see a colour difference between the white paint and the white plastic colour (which actually has a tinge of cream).  Something I learned from this, it's a good idea to prime the entire thing no matter what you're painting!  It will help prevent the bleeding effect and if you do make mistakes and need to go back over them to cover them up, you hopefully won't see a colour difference when you clean it up.

I then went on to wiring up the 4 LEDs and 4 resistors to a USB cable and then placing them in the relvant spots inside the model, before supergluing everything together.

The base

For the base of the lightcycle, I took an old bit of MDF I had in the garage and chiselled out some sections for the wires to sit in so everything would sit flush.  The reverse side (that didn't have anything chiselled out) was given a few coats of outdoor black gloss paint I had lying around to give it a nice finish. This is the side you will see whilst the chiselled side, would be the bottom of the base you normally wouldn't see.

The wires were then fed through the chiselled sections via 2 holes and I covered the chiselled section with some red felt so you wouldn't notice it was there, stops the base scratching anything it sat on and also made it look a bit nicer :)

[Bottom of the base with channels chiseled out]

The finished product!

And here is the finished light cycle!

[Of course, it's incomplete until you plug it in.  Once you do, you get all the goodies lighting up]

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!


  1. hey can i download a file of this? or buy the product? joedrache@hotmail.com

    1. Sorry, afraid I won't be selling or distributing this model.