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PROTO LABS and the Power Fist gauntlet (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III)

28 November 2017

SETTING THE SCENE

Computer games are designed to take players’ imagination and virtual skills into a world of fantasy, where the activity depicted on screen is essentially impossible. On-screen gaming accessories and weapons give the impression of reality whilst belonging to a fantasy world. Therefore, it is unusual for games manufacturers to create a ‘real world’ version of a particular piece of virtual equipment, incorporating the power and capabilities it provides in the gaming world. But that is what has happened with Power Fist.

GAME BECOMES REALITY

Enter Sega, and the launch of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III. To enthral fans, Sega decided to push gaming boundaries and bring the game’s most recognisable combat weapon, the Power Fist (armoured gauntlet), to life. The Power Fist is an iconic weapon that that gives the wearer superhuman punching power by smashing through solid matter and, in this case, breaking through the digital barrier, literally!

Sega worked with product design specialists LUMA-iD to create the lifesize Power Fist as a true representation of the gaming weapon. However, the end product was destined for promotional use only, not to be used for re-enactment of Warhammer scenes or for sale to the general public.

FROM DIGITAL TO ALUMINIUM

Although originally designed to be a gaming weapon, manufacturing of the real Power Fist required the same technical and engineering skills as any prototyping project. In conjunction with Rewind, the visual effects company sub-contracted by Sega, design specialists at LUMA-ID created the Power Fist CAD files. With the Power Fist CAD model approved, LUMA-iD commissioned Proto Labs to manufacturer the Power Fist’s strong and formidable digits – four fingers and a thumb.

With an established working relationship already, LUMA-iD knew Proto Labs’ production capabilities, to process orders rapidly, to support with pre-production technical issues and then provide a fast turnaround service from CAD file upload.

From a technical perspective, the specification required the Power Fist’s fingers to be CNC machined in aluminium 6082-T651, then finished with edges broken and a light beat blast.

Matt Passmore, LUMA-iD product design manager, said: “Such is the nature of our business that working with the unusual and different is familiar territory, but the Power Fist was certainly one of our more exciting projects. The design demanded more than a normal prototype; the Power Fist required demonstrable strength to deliver the necessary punch, powered by two compressed air canisters. Weighing around 10kg, the final project need to be worn by a person and used to smash through breeze blocks, toilets and dolls houses. Not quite the conventional product test, but an integral part of the project brief!

“Commissioning Proto Labs to manufacture the fingers was an easy decision. We knew the company’s technical capabilities and its track record to deliver exactly what we wanted.” 

ACTION AND FINALE

The fingers plus thumb, which were delivered by Proto Labs in less than two weeks finalising the design instructions, were installed into the 3D printed gauntlet followed by painting to finish the process. It was a ‘right first time, one-take product’. The whole project had been completed in a little over a month and on budget.

The Power Fist was filmed ‘in action’* destroying the aforementioned materials and also featured at a London Design Week presentation. Proto Labs has also displayed the product, now retired, on its trade show exhibition stand at the TCT show in September 2017 (with no live demonstrations!). [Reference to TCT will be removed for web and non-TCT use].

“By all accounts, the project was a great success, everything ran extremely smoothly and brought together a team of specialists to deliver a first-class result”, said Matt.

Watch Power Fist in action:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-Xp8X_yC54

For more information, please contact:

Proto Labs Ltd
Halesfield 8
Telford
Shropshire
TF7 4QN
Tel:  +44 (0) 1952 683047
Email: customerservice@protolabs.co.uk
Web:  www.protolabs.co.uk
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