3D printed 1/12 scale ball jointed doll

There are a few things that are facts… to me.

  • 3D printing is awesome.
  • Basically all available 1/12 scale dolls look terrible and aren’t poseable. Even when they are, it’s not great.
  • Ball jointed dolls are cool… but expensive and a little weird looking. I can’t find ANY that look like an average male human. Plus, they’re WAY too big to make scenes with.

There is one person out there who has solved my problem. And that person is mr_props on Shapeways. I think his work was designed with stop motion in mind, and not 1/12 scale dollhouses. Especially since, from what I can tell, 1/24 is in (smaller, more room) and 1/12 is out. On the other hand, with this doll, 1/12 is the perfect middle point to join dollhouses and ball-joined dolls into one big weird hobby that small children will love when they visit me.

Now, the thing about these dolls, when compared to other dolls, is that you need to build it. This may or may not be a problem, depending on who you are. Now, here were my main worries when I bought the 1/12 scale Alter Ego (with white strong and flexible plastic).

  • I have never strung a doll before
  • I have never really played around with 3D printed material before
  • It’s going to be too tiny and I will break everything with my giant demon hands oh no
  • I’ll never be able to figure it out

And yet, somehow….

Alter Ego 1/12 scale: all built

Resources are a bit difficult, so here’s another list.

There was a lot I didn’t add into the video, because editing is exhausting. So here’s yet another list, this time of tips and thoughts!

  • I used 0.5mm (20 gauge) craft wire, but I made it double-long and twisted it together…
  • Why did I twist the wire together?! I can’t find any resources that suggest that.
  • Sand and paint before you wire this guy up, because you WILL NOT take him apart to do it after you do your “proof of concept”
  • Making a new faceplate is hard
  • Clean out all the 3D printing dust! There’s a lot.
  • Make sure you keep the limbs tight. It’s obvious, but not easy.
  • Don’t cut out pieces until you need them, if you can help it. Granted, doing the sanding and painting first probably makes that a lot harder. In these cases, tape down the pieces with some wussy tape, like masking tape! Put them on paper and label the parts. Maybe write “Left arm,” put the pieces in order and circle them. Something like that.
  • Take a break for your sanity and spine.