The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Poster. Source: Wingnut Films/
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Poster. Source: Wingnut Films/

In celebration of the second installment of The Hobbit coming to theaters December 13th, 2013, we at WhiteClouds decided to 3D print a memento in homage to the books and movies. And what more fitting memento than the One Ring? But 3D printing the One Ring isn’t as easy as it sounds!

We had our designer Kyle Gifford to come up with a design of the ring, complete with Elvish writing. Here’s how he describes designing the ring:

“The ring itself is a standard pipe shape, with its edges beveled to make it smooth. The Elvish writing wasn’t as hard as most people would think, because it was made using a displacement map. Displacement maps function by bending your geometry based on the lights and darks of an image. I essentially took a black and white picture of the Elvish writing and wrapped it around the inner and outer sides of the ring. There was some tweaking of the alpha gain value in order to get the level of indentation to an acceptable point.”

We then tried to print the design on the MakerBot. But something was amiss. Perhaps the MakerBot did not want to play the role of Sauron and Mount Doom to forge the One Ring, because our first three prints were failures.

But like Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, perseverance prevails and our fourth time was the charm. The MakerBot had some problems with the filament clogging, but we cleaned out the print head and took off the ceramic tape around the nozzle. After that the One Ring printed out fine, albeit much larger than a hobbit hand. See our One Ring in the picture below the article.

8 Fun Facts about The Hobbitand J.R.R Tolkien

1. The 800 (yes, 800!) weapons used by the 13 dwarves and their doubles in the movie were 3D printed and then touched up by hand.

2. The origin of the dwarves’ names is an ancient Norse poem called Völuspá, which is a tale of the Earth’s creation. The dwarves are: Thorin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Kili, Fili, Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Balin, and Bombur.

3. Regarding turning one book into three movies, Peter Jackson states, “We were originally doing two films, but it’s a misleading book. It’s written at a really breathless pace. Pretty major events of the story are covered in two or three pages. We also adapt the appendices from Return of the King, which tacks on about another 100 pages of material. The goal was to use that material to expand The Hobbit while also connecting it to the Lord of the Rings.”

4.  All beer drunk in The Hobbit movies was custom-made by New Zealand brewers. The beer was a 1% dark stout called "Sobering Thought."

5. The graves of J.R.R Tolkien and his wife Edith Tolkien are engraved with the names Beren and Luthien, characters from a tale that Tolkien wrote of a romance between and an elf woman and a mortal man. Read the Song of Beren and Lúthien.

6. Tolkien named the home of Frodo and Bilbo, “Bag End,” after his aunt’s farm.

7. For the creation of Smaug’s lair, filled to the brim with gold, the production crew used up all of the gold paint that was readily available in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and the neighboring islands, and had to order more from Germany. That’s some treasure hoard!

8. Fans of Middle Earth can now go to the Shire in person. Alexander Farm in New Zealand has made the set of Hobbiton permanent and open to the public, offering tours and overnight stays. Hobbiton Movie Set Tours Pricing and Information.

3D Printing in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Sir Richard Taylor with Weta Workshop is using 3D printing for The Hobbit to create helmets, axes, and sword hilts. Weta Workshop is a premier special effects company and has worked on such films as Lord of the Rings, Avatar, The Lovely Bones, and more.

3D printing generally allows for faster production at a lower cost than traditionally manufactured props. This technology will likely see an increase in the movie industry as well as other fields of expertise, producers say. Weta Workshop has custom-built its own 3D printers and is experimenting with a larger printer to create life-sized props.

We’re excited to see what the second installment of The Hobbit will bring. Want your own 3D printed jewelry? Browse our selection of jewelry and find the perfect ring for yourself!

The Ring’s Elvish Writing Translation:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

The Full Poem:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

—J.R.R Tolkien

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