Grim Fandango - Manny Calavera (3D Print)


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I've begun work on a more complicated project, but in the meantime I wanted to get something new and quick done for PAX this year. I wanted it to be comfortable and easy to wear, since the only cosplays I currently have are neither of those things.

I chose Manny Calavera from the 90s point and click puzzle adventure game, Grim Fandango, specifically the beginning of the game outfit. Most people seem to do the white suit; I want to do something different and white suits are harder to source. Plus, doing the early game version means I get to choose from some of the best objects in the game to carry around with me. I am absolutely making a balloon animal Robert Frost. Hahaha I can't wait to walk around the con, wiggling the weird people.


I'll be 3d printing the head, finding a cheap suit and shoes, and making some simple gloves. I've already finished the head model and started printing.


I could have gone a few directions here: keep it true to the original and be completely low poly, but that doesn't look very nice in real life and looks too much like it was folded out of paper; make it hyper realistic and round, but that would look weird and stray too far from the feel of the game and nostalgia; or, find a happy medium between beautifying it and staying reminiscent of the original low poly. I went with the last one. I kept the facets at the extremities but rounded them out to make them look nicer. I replaced the awkward side polygon edge with a nice curved crease, which represents the cheekbone.

I made almost every black part of the head into a hole to maximize air flow. They will all be covered in a black mesh. The only part I didn't do was the loop around the teeth since the teeth needed to attach to something. I'll paint that line black.

It will sit on my head about like this:


Normally there wouldn't be quite so many nubs on the prints I make, but this particular filament works best when the temperature is set very high, which causes stringing across gaps. It's easy enough to remove. In this picture I've broken off as much as I can with my fingers and I'll clean up the rest with a file. It usually pops right off.

I split the model into 13 parts to reduce the requirement for support material. Filling seams is much easier than trying to fix the scarring on the surface from the support.

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Re: Grim Fandango - Manny Calavera

115 hours of printing later, and I've glued the 13 pieces together!
It fits me perfectly!

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It was a pain to line up the pieces and hold them together while gluing, especially the back side which has very long surfaces I had to glue all at once. There was one I had to do where I had to hold 3 sides at the same time! This led to some slight misalignment.

I tried out a new glue this time. I saw Adam Savage use a glue called Weld-On 16 on Tested, which sounded like it'd be a better option than the cyanoacrylate (super glue) I had been using, which is brittle and not incredibly strong (strong enough to work, but I have dropped a glued print in the past and it did break apart; luckily this was before any finishing had been done).
Here's where I got mine. It comes in different viscosities, which is what the 16 is referring to. 16 is fairly thick, but will still run if you use too much. It loves to just fly out of the tube so be careful when tipping the tube. I not only used it to glue the pieces together, but also ran a bead of it along the inside and outside of the seams afterward (smoothing the outside one with my gloved finger), to further strengthen them and fill any gaps. Because it's thicker, it will stay where you put it, allowing you to build up strength in the areas you need. If you needed to fill a large gap you could use the trick of mixing glue with baby powder.

Anyway, the verdict for Weld-On 16 is: I love it! I tried it on a pair of scrap pieces of printed PLA and after it had fully dried, tried to break them apart. It was extremely difficult! Eventually I did get them apart but it was definitely way harder than breaking something that was glued with cyanoacrylate. And I hadn't even reinforced it or filled any gaps.

I've since done a pass with Bondo to fill the larger problem areas, namely slight mismatches along seams where one side sticks out a bit. I sanded it with my Dremel Multi-Max and a bit of hand sanding, both with fairly low grits, about 100 to 150.
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Next I'll do another Bondo pass to fix some spots I missed, sand again, then do a Bondo Spot putty pass to fill in the small imperfections.
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Finished sanding passes and painted it flat white.


Then I painted all the sides of the holes and bevels matte black, and painted the ring around the mouth. I'm very happy with it! The matte black is almost indistinguishable from the black void of the holes, so the teeth lines and the ring around them look like the same thing!


I bought some black speaker cloth to cover the face holes. Hopefully you won't be able to see my face through it. I'm going to be leaving the side and back holes uncovered since I'll be wearing a balaclava (whole face open) and I need to maximize air flow.

Next I'll be hot gluing in some straps so it will sit on my head at the right height. They'll be in a plus shape about halfway up the forehead and the plus will sit on the top of my head. I'll also add some thin foam padding to make it more comfortable and so it doesn't wiggle around (though even with just the straps it seems pretty secure).

I've also painted some white spandex gloves with black fabric paint in the pattern his hands have, but no pics yet.


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Looks great.... what an awesome idea for a simple but cool recognizable costume.

"black speaker cloth to cover the face holes" probably don't need to say this, but there is a good chance your face will be visible in photos if flash is used. So turn off flash.


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It's finished! I wore it to PAX West and will be wearing it to Rose City Comicon in Portland, OR this weekend. Wearing it at PAX was great! I was very comfortable, with the exception of my feet being very sore, and the one time I had to stand in line for a panel for 2 hours in the hot sun. I was able to enjoy the show floor and everything, though reading text and seeing details was a challenge due to the speaker cloth. But, I could easily take the head off! I love this costume.

So many people recognized it! That made me happy. Also, hilariously, a lot of people thought I was a dude.
I ended up covering all of the holes with the speaker cloth; you were able to see through the side and out the back even though you couldn't see me. The cloth does a fantastic job hiding my face! Even right up against it or in the sunlight you couldn't see me. It also let enough air flow to keep it cool. I'm very pleased!

Soon I'll add close up pics of the finished head and better pics of the gloves.


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More pictures!

Here's one of when I was doing bondo passes. The marks on there are problem areas I needed to fix with more bondo.

To keep it in place on my head I hot glued in a single backpack strap. Previously I had said I wanted a cross shape, two straps, but this turned out to both be unnecessary and problematic since there wasn't a good way to attach the front of the cross to the forehead.

The padding is from the sheet of foam I got from Joann a while back to make my khajiit tail. It's fairly stiff, but still soft enough that it doesn't hurt my face. I also used it in my khajiit mask. I cut out pieces and in a trial and error fashion, tried out shapes until the head fit just right. It's really comfortable and nicely snug and stable on my head.
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Here you can see the speaker cloth from the inside. It was secured with a few dabs of hot glue. It looks really transparent from this side but from the front you can't see my face at all! As I mentioned previously the cloth does make it hard to see details at a distance but overall it's super easy to see out of!
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The gloves are white silk glove liners. They were pretty transparent so I bought a second pair to wear underneath. This also helped fill them out a little and make the fingers less baggy looking. I painted the pattern with black fabric paint. I'm a righty, so painting the right hand was really hard. For most of it I had the glove on my left hand, which made it upside down. I messed up in a few places because of this but you can't tell.
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The finished head.
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He now lives in my bookcase with my other 2 cosplay heads. I'm running out of room!


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I finally had some time to make a Robert Frost (see first post) so I made one in preparation for wearing the costume to work for Halloween. I went for something quick and dirty rather than a polished prop, but it still turned out pretty great.

At first I was going to try to make it soft so I could store it in my suit coat. That ended up being more time than it was worth; I'd have to use the sewing machine (I hadn't learned yet so I'd have needed help from my sister), it would have been extremely difficult to make a pattern that worked, etc. The original idea was to have spandex stuffed with fiber fill and a semi-flexible wire running through it. I made two wire shapes before I realized how much of a pain this was all going to be.
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Then I thought, maybe if I make the shape in craft foam and stuff that to keep the wire in the right place. But then I realized this was a waste of time and I might as well just 3D print the damn thing.

So I looked at the in game model I had grabbed earlier when I found Manny's head model, and used the Robert Frost model as reference. It was super sloppy and wouldn't work for printing even as a starting point. I made my own model, cut it in half thickness-wise to make printing easy, and also separated it top from bottom so it would fit in the printer bed. After gluing that together I did several coats of black plastidip, one coat of white (all I had), and then a couple coats of orange DupliColor car wrap. I went with rubber coatings to help sell it better as a balloon-like object, even though it's angular. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out!

Here are the only pictures I have so far of me holding it. They're both pretty dark but you can see Robert Frost fairly well. I was also on our livestream in the costume parade; you can see it much better there.
I won best overall costume!
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Sr Member
oh my god i absolutely love this. Grim Fandango is still one of my top adventure games, very fond memories attached to playing through it. also the Robert Frost balloon is a hilarious addition. "run you pigeons! it's Robert Frost!"


Well-Known Member
oh my god i absolutely love this. Grim Fandango is still one of my top adventure games, very fond memories attached to playing through it. also the Robert Frost balloon is a hilarious addition. "run you pigeons! it's Robert Frost!"

Hahaha thanks!

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