Tuesday, December 24, 2013

3D Printed Golf Club Replica

My nephew is named after the golfer Bubba Watson, so I decided to make an (almost) replica of one of Bubba's real golf club as a Xmas present.  I used some photos I found in Google as reference.

That's the 3D model.  It took many hours of work spread throughout several weeks to come up with it.  I pretty much learned Blender as I went on making this model, so it's probably not very good if you know how to model properly, but the result worked out well enough for me anyway.

I started with a cube and applied a subdivision surface modifier, then added a bunch of loops and edges and moved things around until it looked like the real club.  The topology overall is quite a mess since I only started to watch topology tutorials mid-way through making this.  The shaft section of the club head is a cylinder that's connected to the main head piece.  The text in red is subtracted from the club head before I produce the printable STL model.  I learned a lot making this model.

That's a shot of the club head half way through, in Blender.

These are the many prototypes I made at different scales.

I spent a lot of time experimenting with different techniques for painting the letters etched on the club.  I ended up using a water based red ink I bought in a hobby store.  It's important to sand the piece very well so the ink only goes into the etched letters and doesn't stick anywhere else.  I also gave it several coats of lacquer to help make it slippery so I could wipe out the extra paint.

That's how the final piece looked like after sanding.  I printed it at 0.1 layer height on PLA plastic, it took 13 hours.  I use a combination of 220 and 400 grit sand paper, and the dremel with a buffing wheel.  It's very important to be very cautious with the sanding to not melt the plastic.

I used a very strong and hard cement glue to fill up the small gaps that were around some of the letters.  Then I sanded it all even more.

The final product.  I spray painted the club head with metallic paint.  The "V" piece is painted with a different brand of spray paint (and not lacquered) to make it look like a different metal.  There were 6 layers total of lacquer.

Golf aficionados will notice the 90 degree lie angle.  Unbelievably, I only noticed this after it was finished, so I think I will have to make another one after all.

I made the grip out of red plastic and didn't paint it.  I also printed it at a pretty rough layer height (0.3 mm) to make it look like an actual grip.  The shaft is made out of an oak wood dowel.  It can be replaced as it will surely break.  It's pressure-fitted to the club and grip.

That's a close up that shows how the etching ended up looking, pretty good.  There's some red that bled outside of the 'son' part of 'Watson' which I could have cleaned up by painting over again with some more spray paint but I didn't bothered.


  1. Really interesting 3D printing is a new world to me so I'm full of admiration for your modelling - very successful, I would say.

  2. Super cool:) Watson loves it. Thanks v. much Uncle Jorge!