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The cheapest edition is $99, but I'd reccommend getting one with a heated printbed. (You need it for some materials, and for others it helps with adhesion and warping) As far as I can see, they've mostly cut the price by removing most of the frame. Whether that results in loss of accuracy as it wears over time is anyone's guess. With a 5x5x5" build volume it should be capable of printing 4x DragonLock, OpenForge or similar 2x2" tiles at the same time.
This topic (here) reminded me that I actually bought five orc figures to print on my 3D printer from Dragon Lock, so I figured I might as well make a WIP out of me painting one of them. I picked the one I though looked the best, and would print the best. The printer I've got is a Dremel PLA printer, and I've been using the default software that came with the machine. They've since partnered with Auto Desk's Print Studio to add the ability to do supports, repairs and that sort of thing. Aside: I've been playing around with it while writing this post, and found a rather unusual thing happened. Print Studio had an "optimize rotation" button, which, being shiny and candy-like, I pressed. It put the orc snout down, and touching the bed in several spots. That's... an interesting idea of how to print it. Might do that just to compare. It might actually print better. The settings I used for it are below. It's a pretty basic printer, and I've done some dungeon terrain from their Kickstarter back at some point. I've also printed up large stuff, and attempted a CAV scale wooden pallet (yeah, that was too small). .10 mm layers .25 mm first layer 3 shells 35% infile, lines 80mm/s with 100 mm/s travel speed 220Â°C Fan on, 45Â°overhang So using the values above, here's the first picture. It's printed out in black. If one looks at the ax handle, at the top knob you'll see a little curly que. That's what happens when the printer doesn't have any supports across a location. By default (as shown in the settings), it's looking for a next layer that's no more than 45Â° angled to the next one. Well, that doesn't work very well with sudden horizontal surfaces such as the bottom of the torso portion of the figure. There's a lot of curly bits under the "kilt" (English failure for me noggin'), but I could always paint those as decorative tassels, really thick hair, etc. All told, it used less than 1.5m of PLA, which using the price I pay, comes out to about 30 cents for the material. That's really affordable for building up masses of mobs for a group to plow through. But let's get painting, and I'll start documenting some insights into this figure. Now it's really easy to see what we're up against. This is just automotive filling grey primer. And there's a lot that it didn't fill. But, it's a mook, and cheap, so let's not worry about winning any awards with it. (I've got a resin printer Kickstarter I've back, OLO, so it may do this at a better resolution; we'll see). There's that big curly string at the bottom of the base. That's a vine tendril maybe. The handle of the ax... that's... uh, very worn and aged wood. Yeah. The snout is... uh... lots of hair. Yeah. That's the ticket. Okay, so it's going to be pretty obviously a 3D printed figure. Meh. Mook. Cheap. Skip it. Let's start a base coat. I'm using Olive Drab, and going over the areas that are skin... and places that I think are skin. Here's where some insight comes in on how we can make this look better. Thought #1: There's no way a wash is going to work on this. It'll just exacerbate the layering. Not much to do there but avoid washes. If I'm going to want to do shadows, it's going to be by the brush. Thought #2: Forget painting sculpted details. Anything I can do to add detail however, will probably help hide the layering. Fancy patterns to simulate fabric (which might be really well looking, as I've got half the "weave" already built in), or insignia, or other such clutter will be useful in hiding the layers. Now, in the, (ouch) four hours I've been writing this post, I hit upon using the support features of Print Studio. Here's what it looks like if I print it in the same position. I believe all the yellow areas are locations where it's unsupported, and will frizz on me. Eh. Let's see what happens. And since it's pretty easy and cheap, let's do that strange optimized rotation, with supports. It looks like this: That's... interesting. But for science! I proceed!
I was trying to save this all up for a single Show Off thread, but it's been gnawing at me to show everybody what I've got in the works. I can't recall if it was a thread here or something at ReaperCon that got me started thinking about trying to print a paint shaker. Jay's thread on a 3D printed painting mini-station (link here) sort of kicked me into gear that I needed to get on this. Spent a couple of evenings working up the mechanics of this, and got Version 01a of the shaker. It was never bound to be printed like this, since this was just proof of concept. I'm using my company's high powered CAD software (allowable for non-commercial, personal use during non-working hours) rather than the free solid modeler I've got on my home computer since it actually has kinematic simulation (translation: you can move things). This shows that there's a drive gear (the bigger one) spinning the shaker gear (the smaller one), which drives a shaker stick on a peg on the base. It's getting a 1:2 ratio, so every turn of the big gear moves the small one twice. I've also got the limitation of my printer's capacity, which restricts how big I can make these things. It's meant to be hand held and powered. I then decided to try Version 02, to try out a different shaking scheme. There's no pictures of Version 02. Failure it was. Show it, I shall not. Version 03 was the "to the printer" version, and spent last Saturday working it up. Never knew how much my eyes could cross trying to decipher gear design equations. Fudged a lot of it. I'm neither going for high speed or super strength, so I'm crossing my fingers that nothing breaks once it finishes printing. The two images above show it with and without the shaker box cover. I was wracking my mind trying to come up with some way to physically constrain the paint bottle, and as usual, simpler is probably better. Just a sliding cover going over the box. The box is at an angle to the stick (although it is all one piece) because I wasn't going to be able to push the base any further out. It just barely stays in the printable area. I've no idea if this will actually work or not, but I figured I'd at least show the work. I've already got the cover (shown below) and the drive gear handle (should've been taller) printed out in black. The shaker stick/box is printing out now in white, and the two gears will be printed out in red. I've got blue and green I could use to separate the gears better, but don't want to make it look like a clown outfit. Those little strings of plastic are from when the nozzle moved from one side to the other, as the PLA just sort of oozed out. They broke off easily and I'll have to see later if I need to trim them a bit more. This piece is pretty thin, and is 3.5" tall. A bit of a nail biter while it was printing. Didn't know for use it would be able to do something so thin and tall. Actually had trouble getting it off the tape, so I was relieved that it stuck so well. I'm going to change the drive gear a bit, putting some big holes in the main body to drop the amount of plastic that needs to be used. The shaker box uses 13.43m of filament, which calculates out to around $1.73. I suppose that's not too bad, but that gear will be either that or double. Can't let me print something that's sub-optimal, so I've got that little work to do.
Time for a little something different. I've now got a PLA 3d printer, and I'm enjoying it so far. Printed out a reindeer finger puppet and a die (and another after the first one failed at almost the end). Then printed out a reverse engineered dish washer handle cap. Then corrected the CAD model and printed out a second one. Then another correction and two final ones. Then corrected the CAD, but gave up on printing out new ones because it was close enough. Then I got into the meat of what I really bought it for. HOBBY. My first target was the Stone Troll that is from www.mini2print.com. Here's a link to the CMON thread that m2p started to announce it, in case you're interested in some other shots of it. I was asked on another Reaper thread how the material sands. And, honestly, I didn't know. But I've got two dish washer handle caps that are destined to be junked, or at least re-purposed as something. Prefect timing then. I didn't really think about photos until after I'd done all the testing, so I'll explain things as we go and you might have to look back every now and then. Let's start with the materials we've got. From L-R, Cap #2, the Stone Troll, Sir Forscale (Garrick The Bold), and Cap #1 And for what I have on hand to try a little finishing work: a felt disk, a grinding bit, and a poofy... thing. Cap #1 was an attempt at using gesso and milliput to fill in the lines and such. It's not working as the gesso wasn't thick enough and the milliput didn't cure, so we'll skip him. On to Cap #2! This was done in several stages, so I'll explain that first and you'll see the results of all of that in the above picture. The manual doesn't recommend high speed sanding. I haven't actually tried low speed sanding other than by hand. But that's stage 4ish. A google search of sanding PLA found me on a jewelry making website, and several there recommended cloth disks. I'm not sure that it's the same, but I used a felt disk on the right half of the above cap. And it worked. But I wouldn't call it sanding, but more of a blending. I think it was heating the ridges up to a plastic stage (go figure) and then smeared them. Which works. It's going to take a bit of practice if I want to continue to use that technique. It'll be interesting to try to go around curved surfaces, but for flat panels I think it's fine. At this point, I brushed on some brown liner from Reaper. That's what a lot of people are using to "prime" Bones, so figured it might work here. I think that PLA is a little more accepting of acrylic paint that Bones, so that'll be a plus. Then I did some actual sanding with some 180 grit foam sanding files, first on the right side and then on the as-untouched left. That got things really very smooth. It still has that badly mislaid layer, the dark line roughly a third up from the bottom. Now some fresh milliput might be able to fill in the crack. I'm also thinking about getting some liquid greenstuff. I may just go get some automotive putty, as the "mini" I'm planning on building, a true-engineered CAV drop ship, is going to be fairly large. I may wind up needing that much and don't want to break my wallet. One of the odd things is that the putty I apply will probably cost more than the PLA filament. I do have one more test to do, and that's the "low speed" sanding with a Dremel. I figure if I can learn to do it that way, it'll help out a lot, especially with the little surfaces. Speaking of which, let's look at what I'm facing on the Stone Troll. Below are the three major areas that I'm going to be dealing with. For reference, I did NOT print this at the highest resolution that I could, which is 100 micron layers (.100 mm, .004 inch). I did it in 150 microns instead, and I think I'm happy that I did that. That decreases the time for it to build, and thus the amount of time I have to babysit it. While it was building the legs, the edges of them curled up and the print nozzle would knock them each time. I think that's happened a few times, which results in it pulling the object off of the build tape. At that point, it's into the reject bin for it. Happened once on this figure, and on a die. As you can maybe see, there's a couple of layers that didn't line up right, similar to what happened on the dish washer cap. I believe the XY resolution is .150 microns regardless of what the layer thickness is. Those will have to be removed. There are curls and bubbles scattered amount, debris left from the print nozzle and/or PLA defects. Those are pretty common. The big thing I'll have to work out is the tail. It started to lean I think or perhaps was pushed by the nozzle. This made a big mismatch between the two parts of it. I'll have to green stuff that or something else. One thought is to remove the lower part of the tail entirely, and sculpt the remaining part into a stubby tail. That's probably the easiest to do, so may be what I end up doing. One last picture, and what will be one of the easier clean-ups. There's little hairs that form when the nozzle goes from one print area to another. The plastic hardens on one area, then is pulled like taffy to the second. Most of these I can just scrape off with a fingernail, so they don't concern me too much. Just a couple of parting thoughts. The 3D software I've got that sends the print to the printer threw a warning when I was first trying to print, which was at 100 microns. I didn't actually do that, as it was going to require 8 hours if I remember correctly. The warning was that there were some overhangs that exceeded 45Â°, and that was going potentially cause issues. When I went to 150 microns, that error disappeared. I'm not sure what would have happened had I tried to print at that resolution. I suspect two things: 1) that it'd be knocked off the tape due to the closeness of the object to the print head, and 2) those overhands would wind up needing a lot of repair. As I continue on this, I'll update this post, along with the video that I made. It's not going to be a regular series, which I try to do every Tuesday, with little success lately, as I don't want to feel pressured to have to work it. That'll come with the CAV KS Ace package shipping out sometime this next week. I've volunteered to paint a couple out that set and post it online. It's what I'm planning to do on Tuesdays once I get it. Video basically stating everything I've said above is below behind spoiler tags, although I do buff the base actually in the video. Hard to see the result, but it's there. EDIT: Moved the pictures to a different photo album on PhotoBucket, so had to update the links.