Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

People who enjoy 3D printing as a hobby tend to like mechanical things, and you know what that means - a lot of them are going to be watch guys. Even Bre Pettis, the founder of Makerbot (probably the most popular producer of 3D printers for consumers) is a big watch lover. The 3D printing universe has opened up a world of very interesting possibilities in the realm of horology. While 3D printed watches aren't a glorious reality yet, we've seen an number of developments over the last year, such as the 3D Printed Tourbillon here (which you can buy). Now, check out this 300% Rolex Submariner watch designed and produced by Franc Falco as an homage to his own personal Rolex Submariner.

The plans for this awesome giant dive watch are available for anyone to download via Thingverse.com, a repository of 3D printable projects. The plans include not only the schematics for all the parts you'll need (expect for the clock mechanism which is a cheap separate purchase), but also a detailed PDF with Franc's instructions on how to assemble your own "truly desk worthy" dive watch. For the public plans, he removed the Rolex logo and branding for legal reasons, but his original project was as close to a replica of his own Submariner as possible - just 300% larger in size.

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Like many 3D printing hobbyists, Falco engaged in the project to replicate his watch in 3D printed form to see if it would work. This is a common motivating factor for enthusiasts, and places like Thingverse are full of "look what I replicated using my 3D printer" experiments. Not all work out this well. According to Falco the entire project was done with a budget of under $100 - and most of that is in the cost of the 3D printing material. The real expense, of course, is in time if you want to do one yourself. Falco did all the work of designing the parts, but you'll have to print them, sand them, and assemble this very complex project. As a testament to his skills, even the ratcheting uni-directional rotating bezel system on the watch works.

Assuming you could wear a 300% size increased dive watch, you could even wear this piece, as the bracelet fully articulates along with a deployant clasp. Of course, the crown doesn't work, as this desk diver watch is powered by a small quartz clock movement. Don't even ask about water resistance. According to Falco, the hardest part to not only design but also assemble is the dial. I think the end result looks fantastic, and that Falco did an amazing job. Kudos to him, and what an amazing display piece a massive diver's watch like this would make in the home or office of any watch lover.

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Franc Falco explains a bit more about this project in his own words for aBlogtoWatch:

The project was purely an exercise in my 3D modelling and the capabilities of my home-use desktop 3D printer (Ultimaker 2).

I'm lucky enough to have owned a Rolex Submariner for over 10 years, and always admired its quality and style, and so, using my watch as reference, I had previously completed a project to model and 3D print a real size version of the watch.  It was one of my first models uploaded to the 3D print model site: Thingiverse.com.

However, on purchasing the Ultimaker 2 3D printer, i thought it would be interesting to try and create a more detailed version of the watch. I had achieved as much detail as I could at real size with the previous project, so the option of up-scaling for this new project was chosen.

From there, it was (just) a case of taking detailed measurements from my watch and scaling 300%. (the face diameter is a convenient 100mm). The 3D modelling was a challenge, and i had to resolve how the model would piece together. Lots of iterations to test-fit pieces. The face dial with the lettering was the biggest challenge. I could have made it easy for myself and just found a picture of the dial, laser printed it and stuck it on a blank disc, but this project was to produce the model via 3D printing, so another way had to be found, and I have to say, I'm really happy with my solution!

It involved printing the face with de-bossed lettering at a very high (3D print) resolution, then flooding the de-bossed areas with white paint, letting that dry, and then surface-sanding the whole face back to reveal the lettering. (I have subsequently improved the results with further refinements to the technique).

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

Guy 3D Prints Excellent, Massive Rolex Submariner Watch: A True Desk Diver Feature Articles

The whole watch was printed in parts according to the PDF plans, and a really cheap (£4) battery powered Quartz clock movement was purchased via eBay - the irony of using that for a 'Rolex' does make me smile! So, in fact, the only parts not 3D printed are that actual clock mechanism and the perspex 'face glass' (desk top 3D printing can't as yet produce optically clear material - I'm sure that will evolve shortly).

The cost of 3D filament in total was about £50, a tube of Super Glue, and many hours of my time. But this hasn't been a commercial venture and the lessons from the project have been great, and I'm really happy with the end result. There is the obvious question as to why anyone would want a massive divers watch as a desk clock, but I like it!

Just to clarify, the version I have uploaded for 'Creative commons' use to Thingiverse.com has been "de-branded" to hopefully negate any copyright infringement issues, but i would be interested to know what Rolex would make of it, I'm hoping they would appreciate my personal project, and non-commercial desire to celebrate the history of their watch making excellence with a modern technology version of one of their iconic time pieces!

  • Very cool. I’m still trying to get my new Rapide Lite 200 3D printer going. Then the limiting factor is the paucity of my 3D design skills (although I have done 3 watches in 3D and had plastic prototypes made by an outside service). Thanks for the post and congrats to Mr. Falco on his great project.

  • What a waste of highly rare and endangered plastic.

  • I don’t know… I like bigger watches, but I’m thinking that the lug-to-lug distance on this one might be just a little to wide for my liking. I’d have to try it on before making a final decision.

  • 5803822

    Perserverence, planning, engineering skill and innovation – quite a “tour de force” – great effort Mr Pettis..

  • joshgraves

    SuperStrapper You could wear it as a belt with more links added to the band.

  • Man, that reminds me of those old giant belts that were working clocks/watches that you would win at crooked carnival games… I havn’t seen one of those in donks.

  • Shawnnny

    Where’s Flavor Flav when you need him?

  • Time2Go

    I dunno. It’s a Rolex, so it looks just like grandpa’s 300% scale watch/clock to me…       🙂

  • bichondaddy

    Hummm..makes me wonder if this isn’t the way some of the “homage” watch makers come up with their….:cough: :cough: designs :cough: : cough: ? Only doing it on the same scale…..

  • Twinbarrel

    If I was Rolex or any other brand that could use commercial props for retail or event promotion I might think of approaching the creator to refine its process and possibly work together.

  • RipJJ

    I tip my hat to the high level of intelligence, curiosity, engineering, and passion that a project like this would take. Innovation and advancement in science, has always been interwoven with whimsy and imagination. So many people will never understand, but those that do will always change the world, and lead generations in the direction of advancement. Congratulations on your project.

  • RipJJ

    Memories of my grandfather are of a kind, passionate man. I cherish those times. I hope the same is true for you.

  • RipJJ

    That made me laugh. Thanks!

  • Twinbarrel Ah, but did he use “904” ABS or PLA plastic filament for the case?

  • bapackerfan

    Humungolex!

  • FrancFalco

    I used PLA – maybe not as long term stable as ABS but for this type of application its perfectly suited.

  • DG Cayse

    Chaz_Hen “Save the Naugas !”

  • DG Cayse

    Well done Mr. Falco !

  • graham3

    Absolutely outstanding, and astounding, are we possibly witnessing the future of watchmaking?! I’ve been buying and modding watches for a few years now and this makes my jaw drop, so does this mean that I can “make” my own watch over the weekend in 10 or 20 years? Seriously freakin” cool. I am assuming that the $100 budget mentioned does NOT include the 3D printer or the dozens of %$#@ ups that will naturally occur with this type of learning curve. Now if I can just convince my wife that I am just reading about watches and that ABTW is not an internet girlfriend  I just might get a 3D printer for Fathers Day. Great project! I’m gushing now, really GREAT project. Can we get a hands on review and more details please Ariel?

    G

  • MichaelDemone

    partnersinrum watchville I’m fascinated by it. I’ve get something printed.

  • graham3 Toys and how to use them to good effect are not the same thing (sadly). Cheers.

  • Let’s see Arnie pull this one off

  • FrancFalco

    graham3
    Not only watch manufacturing, but i guestimate that within 5 -10 years most manufacturing processes that we know today will be adapted/affected by 3D printing tech in some way. Industrial 3D printing has been around for 20 years or more but my particular interest – desktop/consumer 3D printing has only really emerged in that last 5 or so years and it really has blown my mind!

    However, whilst it is a fab technology it doesn’t (as yet), have the ability to 3D print fully working watches on demand – but i’m sure that day will come. My printer has a max resolution of 0.02mm (20 microns), when technological advances improve that to say, 1 micron or less, then watch printing could be viable.
    Materials are being developed all the time and ‘metallic’ filaments all ready exist that can be used on my printer.

    And because 3D printing is an ‘additive’ manufacturing process there isn’t (in theory) any wasted material, as opposite to CNC technology.  Iterations and development are easily achieved and if designs are left ‘open source’ then users anywhere in the world can adapt/improve on existing designs – the possibilities are endless.

    But for now my young son wants a Moshi monster character printed out – world technological domination will have to wait 😉

  • iamcalledryan

    Is 3d printing the most embarrassing invention of the 21st Century? It’s that or those stick people use to take selfies.

    Anyway – this is the best-of-the-stupid things that I have seen come out of those stupid machines.

  • FrancFalco

    I’ve 3d printed a selfie stickU0001f609

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  • FrancFalco 3D print a selfie and I’ll be impressed!

  • graham3

    MarkCarson graham3

    So true, C’est la vie, but what fun we have. 
    Cheers.

  • FrancFalco
  • SarthakSharma

    So he took a Sub and just enlarged it to the size of a Panerai..

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