Jump to content

Olaf's Adventures In 3D Print Land


Recommended Posts

This thread is to document my trials and tribulations in the world of 3D resin printing.

 

I first thought about getting a 3D resin printer in mid-2020 after seeing the quality of prints my friend was producing on his Anycubic Photon. I dove hard into the rabbit hole, researching all about 3D printing. I eventually decided my requirements for a 3D printer were:

 

  • 4K mono printer
  • Big enough build plate and Z-axis to print small terrain pieces
  • Reasonably priced
  • My unpainted pile of shame needed to get smaller first

 

At the time the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K had only just come onto the market and I felt that the build plate and Z-axis were a little bit small for what I wanted, so I took a wait and see approach, just keeping an eye on the market to see how the tech progressed.

 

In early November, everything changed when the fire nation attacked I saw that Elegoo had released their Mars 3. I knew Elegoo were a well-regarded manufacturer, the Mars 3 was a 4K mono (check) and had a bigger build plate and Z-axis than any of the smaller 3D printers on the market (double check). Plus it was only $475 AUD delivered (triple check). My unpainted pile of shame was no smaller, but the first 3 boxes being checked and my wife suggesting it could be my Christmas present were all the enabling I needed to pull the trigger. 😁

 

Thus begun my downward spiral into madness...

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 29
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Set up was super simple. It literally consisted of removing the protective film off the screen, build plate and the vat FEP sheet, plugging in the power cable, putting the build plate on, then levelling the build plate. The entire process took 5-10 minutes and that was only because I levelled the build plate twice, just to be sure I did it correctly.

 

Since I've never 3D printed before, I figured I should do the smart thing and print the Elegoo test rook pieces first, just to make sure that I'd set everything up correctly. So I filled up the vat with some white Siraya Tech ABS-Like Fast resin and started my first ever 3D resin print.

 

2 hours and 47 minutes later, this is what I could see:

 

1138025989_Rooksprintingcompleted.thumb.jpg.5c20716848868c5510d67514927c097f.jpg

 

And with the lid off:

 

638049147_Rooksonbuildplate.thumb.jpg.3b3040323988f42ae3460bee91692a53.jpg

 

I let them sit for 5 minutes so any excess resin could drip back into the vat and then it was on to washing and curing. I got the Elegoo Mercury X Wash and Cure to go along with my Mars 3 as a lot of people online said that they made the post-printing process a lot cleaner and easier. After just one use I have to say that I fully agree with them.

 

My post-printing process was literally:

  • Unscrew the build plate
  • Pick up the build plate with still attached prints and move it 40cm to the left into the wash station tub filled with isopropyl alcohol
  • Turn on wash station and wash prints and build plate for 7 minutes
  • Lift build plate out up out of the isopropyl alcohol and let it sit above the tub so that the isopropyl alcohol can evaporate off the surface of the prints
  • Remove prints from build plate (this was the only real failure as the adherence was so strong that it took me 5 minutes to pry them off and I gouged the bottom of the prints in the process)
  • Screw build plate back on the printer (it seemed completely cleaned by the cure station)
  • Cure washed prints for 3 minutes in the cure station

This is what the prints looked like after washing and curing:

1810568064_Rookscured.thumb.jpg.5f8980e178361e5316cd6e4406ea329a.jpg

 

All in all, I'd consider my first attempt at 3D printing a rousing success. Everything printed perfectly and I'm really impressed with the crispness of the detail. I know the rooks are fairly thick prints, but they feel sturdier than I expected them to be. I'd need to use a decent amount of force to try and snap them.

 

The only thing that didn't quite go to plan was removing the prints from the build plate. You can see bits of silver from the metal scraper on the bottom of the prints where I gouged into them trying to pry them off the build plate. It really was a struggle to detach them. They're only test prints, so I'm not all that fussed at the damage.

 

That said, I will be buying another scraper my friend recommended to me. I used the cheap metal scraper that came with the 3D printer for this test as I wanted to see how well it would work. After that experience, I think something a bit bigger and studier, with more of a bevelled edge would work better. That was the whole point of the test piece though, to work through stuff like that.

 

This test print also showed me why you don't want to print directly on to the build plate. Obviously the test prints are designed to print like that. However, for future prints I'll be avoiding doing so where possible.

 

Next up I'll be printing a dice holder for one of our board games, along with some Scooby Doo miniatures from Pop Minis, followed by an Eastman TMNT bust. The Scooby Doo miniatures are pre-supported, so I'm interested to see how that goes.

 

For the Scooby Doo miniatures I'm also going to test out adding 20% Siraya Tech Tenacious resin to the Fast ABS-Like resin as it is meant to add flexibility to the prints, making them more durable.

Edited by Olaf the Stout
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second print is underway now. Just a pair of dice holders off of Thingverse for the TMNT/Batman Adventures Universal Game System board games.

 

Against my better judgement I am building directly on the build plate again. However, I bought a much sturdier metal scraper with a bevelled edge, so that should help with print removal. Plus, as they're just prints to hold some dice, I'm not fussed if they get a little scuffed when I remove them from the build plate.

 

This was my first experience in using Chitubox and, despite it being the Pro version, I wasn't super impressed. I spent ages trying a number of different ways to save the resin  cost in the resin profile section so that I would know the rough printing cost of each model I print. No matter what I tried, it just keeps reverting back to the default cost. So clearly there's a bug with the program. Given such a simple bug exists, it doesn't fill me with a lot of faith that much more difficult parts of the program work well.

 

Next up I'm going to try out the auto-supports of Chitubox by printing an Eastman TMNT bust. Then it will be time to test out a 20/80 Siraya Tech Tenacious/Fast ABS-Like mix of resins on some pre-supported Scooby Doo miniatures. Those prints will have to wait until tomorrow though as it will be about 9:30pm before the dice holders finish printing tonight.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And print attempt 2 was a fail, but I was able to figure out why straight away.

 

It turns out I’m a moron and, while I’d put the build plate back on, I didn’t actually tighten the screw. So it was literally just balancing on the arm the whole time. I should consider myself lucky that the print is as straight as it is and that my build plate didn’t fall off and shatter my screen.

 

On the plus side, I won’t make that mistake again and I didn’t waste a heap of time trying to solve a problem that had a very simple cause.

 

C6FA007A-EB97-42B2-B69A-545CFDDB0DEF.thumb.jpeg.d672f98f311818cd5d0ade93c56f9ed9.jpeg


At least the new scraper works well. Prints were removed in about 10 seconds.

 

Reprinting the prints now and I’m going to see if the failed prints are somehow straight enough to still be usable.

 

Edit: Well the failed prints look like they were made by a drunk monkey, but they're still straight enough for the dice to fit in. So they're not pretty, but are still usable if I need them.

Edited by Olaf the Stout
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Olaf the Stout said:
  • Remove prints from build plate (this was the only real failure as the adherence was so strong that it took me 5 minutes to pry them off and I gouged the bottom of the prints in the process)

Glad to hear you were able to resolve this with the better scraper. I've had great luck with a chisel tipped exacto blade, though here lately I have been using the scraper that came with the printer.  Place it carefully against the bottom edge of the print and then bump the (for lack of a better term) pommel with the heel of my hand.

it helps when you're not printing directly on the build plate and can use a support base with the bevel on it.

 

4 hours ago, Olaf the Stout said:

I should consider myself lucky that the print is as straight as it is and that my build plate didn’t fall off and shatter my screen.

I have actually done this before, on a screen that was relatively new too, was quite frustrating.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

  

6 hours ago, Cygnwulf said:

Glad to hear you were able to resolve this with the better scraper. I've had great luck with a chisel tipped exacto blade, though here lately I have been using the scraper that came with the printer.  Place it carefully against the bottom edge of the print and then bump the (for lack of a better term) pommel with the heel of my hand.

it helps when you're not printing directly on the build plate and can use a support base with the bevel on it.

 

Yeah, I'm going to avoid printing directly onto the build plate for any models I want to paint. I did it again with the dice holders simply because I didn't care if they got a little scuffed during removal (and they didn't now I have a good scraper) and to save on print time.

 

6 hours ago, Cygnwulf said:

I have actually done this before, on a screen that was relatively new too, was quite frustrating.

 

I consider myself very, very fortunate. It could have ended horribly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Olaf the Stout said:

And print attempt 2 was a fail, but I was able to figure out why straight away.

 

It turns out I’m a moron and, while I’d put the build plate back on, I didn’t actually tighten the screw. So it was literally just balancing on the arm the whole time. I should consider myself lucky that the print is as straight as it is and that my build plate didn’t fall off and shatter my screen.

 

 

 

Yeah, I have a bit of a habit of not screwing the build plate back on to my Photon Mono.  It seems to print pretty well even so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, lowlylowlycook said:

 

Yeah, I have a bit of a habit of not screwing the build plate back on to my Photon Mono.  It seems to print pretty well even so.

I only noticed the build plate swaying when the print was 98% done. I’m honestly surprised that it printed as straight as it did, that the print didn’t fail outright somewhere and that the build plate stayed on the arm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The TMNT bust was technically a fail, but I’m calling it a success. Would you believe it, the printer got some sort of memory error on layer 2,156 of 2,158.

 

So the last 2 layers at the top of the TMNT’s head are missing, but I honestly can’t notice it and there is zero chance my 7yo, who the bust is for, will notice it.

 

One of the supports printed along the model in one bit has left some scarring, but the bust has a lot of scarring sculpted on it, so it won’t be very noticeable.

 

I think a couple of supports failed during the print, but didn’t seem to have any effect on the final outcome. The drain holes and hollowing worked. A couple of the drain holes are visible once it is put on the base, but that would require you looking almost at the underside of the bust, so it’s no big deal.

 

The supports have left a bit of dimpling in one area, but I’m sure that will sand smooth very, very easily. I used the hot water method to help remove the supports and they all came off easily enough without damaging the print.

 

So while it literally took me half a day to learn how to orient the models, add auto-supports and adjust them, hollow the mini, add drain holes, locate and fix islands, I’m stoked with the end result.

 

I’m sure everything I learned today will help improve and speed up all my future prints.

 

The white resin doesn’t photograph well, but the detail is fantastic in-person.

 

8FE21957-0202-4271-BFE8-37947CEAD891.thumb.jpeg.ab87da73a7c8f1aa4d20e986769aafac.jpeg

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4E3B03CA-2522-48C9-87DC-5B185EF10018.thumb.jpeg.1c9ad4b2d3b7fcd754ebb06424d57fc1.jpeg
 

Scooby Doo minis from Pop Minis and a couple of Blood Bowl balls I commissioned printed out perfectly. Only a 3 hour print, which I let print overnight.

 

Some really fine details in these too. For example, Velma’s index finger and a wick on the Goblin BB ball. Hopefully the hot water trick helps me to remove the supports without breaking anything.

 

The pre-supported Scooby Doo minis all worked well. Just had to add a single support on 2 minis to fix islands.

 

This was my first time using an 80/20 mix of Siraya Tech ABS-Like Fast White and Tenacious. Settings were exactly the same as just using straight ABS-Like Fast. Hopefully the Tenacious added to the mix gives the prints a bit more strength and flexibility. Given that I plan to use most of my minis for gaming, that will likely be my standard mix going forward.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just took Scooby and the gang off their supports with a dunk in hot water. The Tenacious/Fast mix has definitely added some flexibility to the minis. One downside to that is the supports were harder to get off as they kept bending instead of snapping. No breakages in the de-supporting process, despite some of the fingers and other parts being super fine, so I'm definitely happy with the Tenacious/Fast combo mix.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Glitterwolf said:

Seems like you're doing well and having fun!

It's kinda addictive isn't it?

 

Yes and yes!

 

Summer holidays at home combined with a new printer = lots of time to learn how to print and get stuff printed out.

 

I imagine I'll slow down once I get past this initial burst. It's just that I currently have a tonne of different minis I want to try printing.

Edited by Olaf the Stout
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...