3D printed Grim Reaper. Source: WhiteClouds
3D printed Grim Reaper. Source: WhiteClouds


Death, or the Grim Reaper, has always been a fascination and a fear for most people. It’s only natural that we created the idea of Death as a persona, helping us to transition from life to the afterlife by guiding our souls to Heaven or Hell.

Oftentimes, we view Death as a negative entity. He is a skeletal figure with a black robe and scythe, after all. But in some cultures, Death is not to be feared because our fate is inevitable. The concept of Death as a helper, a guider of souls to the underworld, may strike some as strange. But in some cultures, it is perfectly natural.

There are many descriptions of Death in various cultures and religions. In ancient Greece, Thanatos took that role, delivering souls of the dead to Charon, the boat keeper in the underworld. Thanatos was depicted as a bearded, winged man, or in some cases, a young boy.

In Poland, Death, or Śmierć, wears a white robe, and because of the grammatical structure of the name, is a woman.

In Scandinavia, Death, called Hel, was also a woman, typically wearing the classic black robe and scythe.

Today, the traditional image of Death wearing a black robe and carrying a scythe was first created in the 15th century and has remained popular ever since.

So here, we have 3D printed the guise of Death, complete with wings, as an angel who assists the dead.

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Model Specs

Designer: Kyle Gifford

Number of Layers: 758

Layer Resolution: 89 Microns (Slightly thinner than a human hair.)

Build time: 4 hours, 17 minutes

Dimensions: 3.2 x 7 x 5.4”

Printer: ProJet 660Pro

Software: Maya and Photoshop

Fun Character Facts:

  • The Grim Reaper first got his black robe and scythe in the 15th century.
  • In various cultures, the Grim Reaper can be male or female
  • Death has been popularized in literature, movies, and graphic novels. In the graphic novels The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, the character of Death is a young woman, usually wearing black jeans and black tank top. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, three brothers try to outwit Death, and the story’s lesson is crucial to defeating Voldemort.

Designer Note:

“My approach for designing the Grim Reaper was to keep it as traditional as possible,” said Gifford. “He’s constantly depicted with a scythe, a lantern, and is often referred to as the Angel of Death (hence the wings). The wings were actually both the most fun and most challenging parts of the design. They need to be shaped and staggered in such a way that they come across as wings, yet were sturdy enough to survive the printing process. Because of this, the wings are in a lower, more relaxed position to prevent breakage during excavation.”

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