Next time you're visiting the Vatican to say hi to the Pope, or just check out the amazing art collections, take a second look at the helmets worn by the Swiss Guard. Turns out they might look like metal, but they're starting to be 3D printed plastic.

The mercenary guard of the papacy might not be required to fight wars anymore, so it seems they're deciding to get a little more efficient with making their fancy helmets. What used to cost US$2,000 is now being 3D printed – to a very high quality finish, of course – for half that price.

The helmet's are delivered through an HP commercial 3D printing system, called Multi Jet Fusion. The helmets are a perfect scan of the original forged helmets, and they take about a sixth of the time to make too.

And if there's one thing that makes them more suitable to daily wear by a formal military guard, it's the fact they aren't a 16th Century design that gets super heavy and heats up on a hot summer day. So while they might not stop a sword blow to the head like the old version, at least your guards will be able to run and turn their heads quickly to deal with a tricky situation. And still look good while doing it.

Spotted via Fast Company.

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