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One of the coolest parts of 3d printing and digital design is rapid prototyping.


I was staring at my design trying to figure out what the best diameters and thicknesses for wheels/tires would be, when it hit me that I could simply make some simple cylinders first. Not only for this project, but later ones as well.


3 hours later I had a selection of 24 different wheels in 4 diameters and 6 thicknesses.



Test fitting them shows that 15mm dia by 6mm thick are the best "stock" option for the Cowboy UV:



The 18mm dia by 10mm thick wheels are too big for the rear wheel well, but don't look too out of place on the front:



One of the ideas on my models to make list for this was a "lift kit", which would be a couple of pieces that would glue onto the bottom and lower the axle, so eventually there will be large, thick wheels.

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Had to take some time off from this because Fusion 360 was throwing errors at me that I couldn't figure out what they meant.  Looked at it with a fresh eye last night, finally figured out the vertices that were causing the issues, and figured out some workarounds. Anyway, I got the rear half details finished, and it's off to my printer for a final prototype (well, as soon as my current print job is done in an hour or so.

Still have to finish up the detailing on the front, and then it's on to designing the wheels. 

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Details add a lot:



Rear end for the 4 door version is finished. Need to finish the details on the front end, then design some wheels.  I expect the wheel designs will go rather quickly.


Then on to the front bumper - again, I expect I'll be able to get a couple simple designs done quickly.


After that, I'll be creating a rear end for a 2 door version.


After that will come the really fun part - designing variants of all the other pieces.

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5 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

Neat!  I'm curious -- is it possible to sand down surfaces of 3D prints like this, to try to minimize the "scan line" effect?

It is, as well using various methods of "filling" them in. There are also different methods available for different types of filament - for example, with ABS filament, you can use something called acetone smoothing to smooth out the surfaces.

It can be a tedious effort though, especially on something with lots of small details.   So how much effort I will put into it really depends on what my intended purpose for the print is. Things like my tanks, which will tend to be centerpieces of a tabletop force for a game, I will spend a lot more effort filling and sanding than I will on things that are basically scenery or test prints for various ideas, such as these cars are.  

It is my intention to do up at least one of these Cowboy Utility Vehicles as a centerpiece for a diorama - on that particular print, I will very likely print multiple copies with different filaments and settings, then take the best one of those prints and spend a lot of time prepping it for the best finish possible. 

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So I dropped any sort of vehicle projects last year while working on my RCon diorama, and then got caught up in prop builds for Christmas, and then went into a 3d design slump when I got frustrated with a CAV building design I was working on wasn't coming out like I intended. Finally logged in and started working on something new. 

Still need to get back to my Cowboy Utility Vehicle, but first I decided I needed a bigger rover type vehicle for another squad I just painted up. 


This is the start of what I'm calling the Raider Planetary Exploration Vehicle.   It's going to be modular like the Cowboy is. It's boxier design is going to make it easier for me to finish a bunch of variants, so I'm going to try and get a few of them done before getting back to the Cowboy. 


I'm intending this guy to be big. On the table top it's 2" wide x 4" long and about 2.5" tall with wheels. Got the cab portion on the printer right now. 

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19 hours ago, Reverend Shartan said:

These are really fantastic. How hard would it be to design Prohibition era vehicles?



Depends.  I'm not real good with doing curves, but many of that era are still boxy enough I could probably manage it.   There are tons of designers out there who I'm sure could do it easily. 

The bigger obstacle that I run into  is that I design to print on my Prusa printer, and so I try to work within it's limitations. I also like to design things that are relatively quick and easy to print.  Thingiverse is full of thousands of beautiful designs that are difficult, if not outright impossible to print on a common FDM printer. 

A lot the vehicles in that era have fine details that might be hard for me to pull off. 


On 7/18/2019 at 4:20 PM, GHarris said:

I am totally getting a great Star Frontiers vibe from that Raider Planetary Exploration Vehicle!


On 7/18/2019 at 9:02 PM, Corsair said:

Makes me think of the SHADO ground vehicles from the old UFO TV series

Probably subconsciously or indirectly influenced by both, even though I can't specifically recall what either look like. 

My design process works like this - I have an idea for a general shape.   In this case, the general shape was inspired by some RBJ Games H.E.A.T. Troopers I had just painted up - I felt they needed some sort of lunar rover looking vehicle. 

I then go looking on Pinterest, DeviantArt, Google Images, and other places to find drawings/models of similar things.  When I find an image that has a feature I like, I save it to a Pinterest board. I then start blocking out my idea, and as I get to various parts/details, I go look at my saved drawings and/or find more, and then put my own twist on the feature based on my personal preferences and modeling/printing capabilities.  I known I'm drawing inspiration from artists and model makers who have drawn inspiration from multiple other places. 

The only well known source that I know I directly drew inspiration from for the Raider is the lunar rover from 2001: Space Odyssey. The other source I can identify as direct inspiration is a German fire truck company.  I have no idea where any of the other concept artists I took inspiration from got their inspiration from.  I image that somehow I can probably trace a path from me to both those sources. "

I have two test prints done, but I couldn't get the raw black PLA to photograph well enough to post. Once I get a layer of gray primer on them, I'll take pics.   I have five different wheel variants done and printed as well but I still have some greeblies to design for the two holes in the top of the cab.   I also have a variant cab and two rear end ideas.  I'm hoping that when I finish, there will be about 4-8 different cab/rear end combinations that will be further customizable with the greeblies and wheels. 

When I finally get around to posting it up to Thingiverse, I'm planning on including a drawing that shows the exact dimensions of where the two halves meet, and the wheel specifications, so hopefully some other people will be inspired to add their own variants of cabs and rear ends, thus further multiplying the possibilities. 


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On 3/14/2018 at 9:46 AM, Jordan Peacock said:

Neat!  I'm curious -- is it possible to sand down surfaces of 3D prints like this, to try to minimize the "scan line" effect?

I don't have tons of experience working with 3d prints, but when I dabbled with it a few years ago I found XTC 3D from Smooth-On to be a pretty neat product. It's a clear two-part epoxy, which fills in the low spots and really cuts down on your sanding time:




Take the tip in there about pouring the epoxy onto the tinfoil seriously - it's an exothermic reaction and heat accelerates the cure, so spreading it out will help your working time.


I think they mention it works for PLA in the video, but they have great "technical bulletins" they put out for each their products (instead of just an SDS) which will should tell you more.

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