Ronin Evolved

The Ronin Prototype project has been adapted into a commercially available 3D printed action figure that is now available at

I want to thank everyone who has shared interest in the Ronin and its development.  It has been many many months since the initial attempt to make the Ronin into a commercial product.  There are many reasons  for why this didn’t happen, but perhaps the biggest roadblock was the Ronin itself. Its design proved to be too unfriendly towards any reliable production method.  

Even as a straight 3D printing product, there were just too many objects and many did not print well on most printers. Additionally it required a lot of time spent attending to the prints and post-processing the parts. There was a lot of wasted material and time so as a commercial product I did not feel it would be fair to sell such a design that would be a frustrating project to buyers.

But from the months researching how to make the Ronin viable came a deeper understanding of how to design a better product.  And so the predecessor to Ronin was developed; Endo the 3d printed action figure.

Endo is a smaller more compact design that is made from fewer parts, is easier to assemble, more reliable to print, and snaps together for easy assembly without glue.  While there is reduction in the overall detail the scope for upgrading and customizing this new design surpasses the old Ronin figure, and as time passes I intend to support it with multiple upgrades and enhancements. All this and more can be seen over at where Endo is now available for download.

I want to thank everyone who has shared Ronin and his progress across the web and all who have shared their enthusiasm and support over the course of its development and evolution.


Ronin Production Prototype

An update to the Ronin project. The final production prototype is completed. This one will now be shared with the toy collector community to generate support for the crowd-funding campaign that will eventually be needed to raise funds to produce this. Additionally this production prototype will help assess the cost of production by being a template to approach manufacturers with. Enjoy :)


Enter the Ronin

Hi, my name is Aaron Thomas and welcome to my incredibly exciting new project : Ronin. The Ronin evolved from the Unknown mecha project which I completed back in 2011. When I bought my Ultimaker 3D printer a year ago I was very unsure about what the extent of its capabilities and indeed the capability of the FDM print process. However after 6 months of learning, tweaking, redesigning and lots of printing, I am proud to present the first 3D printed, fully posable 10" Action Figure with more than 50 Points of Articulation, and LED electronics.


The Process:

The Ronin is the culmination of 6 months of part-time development. What Started as a challenge for the Ultimaker and the process of FDM printing has proven to be an exciting pipeline for me to convert my 3D designs into actual physical models. Early production concepts were targeted at a smaller design, one to fit within the mini-fig market.


The Ultimaker behind Ronin.


Evolution of Ronin over the months.

however as the project moved forward I grew more confident with what was capable of the printer and wanted to push the appeal of the design through size and detail. Much of the original 3D mecha model was thrown away or totally re-modeled to work in 3D printing. Each component had to lock together with several others in order to achieve the complex machine like look of the robot.

In addition consideration had to be made to the nature of the printed plastic and rubber. Each piece had to be re-tooled to support the weight of the design and complement the overall toy articulation.


An expanded view of one of the inner spine segments, and numerous pieces laid out for printing in Cura.

Eventually all this complex geometry and attention to detail resulted in each copy of the Ronin consisting of 400 independent parts, each printed separately and assembled by hand. Thanks to Cura and the Project planner inbuilt it was easy to print several sets of pieces all at once.

The LED components were simple enough to incorporate. It was the 'pièce de résistance' and I was excited with the result the final effect brought the figure.

T-800 eat your heart out.

Finally once the pieces were printed, each was sanded by hand, then finished with surface putty, polished by hand, assembled, painted and lacquered before the final decals were applied. And the final result:


The Goal:

Since the completion of the Ronin, I am now more convinced than ever that I want to produce the Ronin and future figures for collectors to acquire. Indeed the process of making the Ronin by hand with the Ultimaker is a very time consuming and frankly not the best option for mass production. So at the moment I am looking into the intricacies of launching a product line through overseas manufacturing.

Over the course of the next few months I will be promoting the Ronin through various media. All this is to raise awareness leading up to the ultimate goal of a successful crowdfunded campaign to help with the costs of producing  an amazing and detailed toy line for collectors.


How you can Help:

Indeed the whole joy of making something like the Ronin, is to share it with people who like the design and would like to see more of it and concepts like it in the future. If you do indeed like the project and want to support it, then please e-mail me or leave me feedback. Additionally follow me on this page and Twitter for project progress.

Also if you would like to see the Ronin up close, it is on display from the 13th to 15th of Feb 2014 at the Ultimaker Booth at the International  3D Printshow in New York. For more information head over here.