3D-printed ‘Star Wars’ Buddhas: Zen and the art of the Force

Printed in 3D, this Yoda statue is. Chris Milnes

Printed in 3D, this Yoda statue is.
Chris Milnes

Amusing “Star Wars” mashup Buddha figurines power an Etsy store full of geeky Zen statuettes ranging from Groot to Iron Man to Judge Dredd.
by Amanda Kooser
@akooser January 12, 2015 1:24 PM PST

We always knew Yoda had a good dose of Zen master in him. Etsy seller Chris Milnes, proprietor of the muckychris storefront, really brings out that side of the little green guy with his 3D-printed Zen Yoda figurines. The small statues combine Yoda’s head with Buddha’s pleasingly plump body.

The Zen Yoda is just one of many statues Milnes offers. Other geek-related items include Iron Man, “Battlestar Galactica,” Boba Fett (Buddha Fett?), Darth Vader, Judge Dredd and Stormtrooper buddha figures. The statues are built using the body of a Hotei (laughing Buddha) figure originally created by Thingiverse user SammyDavis. Milne then takes 3D models of popular sci-fi and superhero heads and melds them onto the base, creating seamless little nerd-gods. The designs are possible due to the Creative Commons licensing from the original 3D modelers, along with Milnes’ own modeling work.

“My art consists of mashing up existing items to bring a new meaning. In the case of these statues I’m equating Buddhism to ‘The Force’ in ‘Star Wars’ lore,” Milnes tells Crave. “I’m a digital sculptor and do the modeling and 3D print work myself.” Besides his Etsy store, he has also stayed busy with his invention of the SquareHelper, a 3D-printed widget that keeps Square card readers from spinning around when attached to an iPhone or iPad.

Milnes is a Makerbot user with Replicator 2 and Replicator 2x machines in use. It takes about one hour to print a 2-inch figure, three hours to print a 4-inch figure and six hours to print a 6-inch figure, the largest size he offers. Prices range from $7.99 (about £5, AU$10) for the small statues up to $27.99 ( about £19, AU$34) for the big ones. The shiny gold and chrome offerings are particularly eye-catching.

While Milnes has quite a few popular geek brands covered with his Etsy store offerings, he says Yoda, Darth Vader and Stormtrooper statuettes are the most popular. Considering that Jediism has a minor religious following around the world, it’s no wonder Buddha-Yoda is such a hot commodity.

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