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Author Topic: 3D Printing Tips  (Read 5380 times)

NutritiousSlop

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3D Printing Tips
« on: 24 October 2019, 09:51:55 »
I'm considering getting into 3D printing as a hobby, and was planning on doing a few miniatures for personal use only.  I'm at the phase where I'm just reading a bunch of beginner questions and FAQs online, and haven't actually looked at any printers.  Does anyone here have any insight on what to look for in a 3D printer that would be suitable for low-volume BattleTech miniature production as well as other things? 

NeonKnight

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #1 on: 24 October 2019, 11:06:40 »
Depends what you want to print.

Do you want to print some mechs/vehicles/turrets, etc?

If so, I recommend the ANYCUBIC PHOTON. This is a Resin printer, and prints very fine details wonderfully.

If however, you are looking to print terrain/buildings where the detail does not need to be as exact, then a PLA printer would work. I recommend the CREALITY CR-10S. This has HUGE build plate enabling the printing of some very large buildings.

And of course, there's weapon effects, which you could use either an PLA or Resin printer. I used my Photon to print the Missiles for the Catapult.
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NutritiousSlop

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #2 on: 24 October 2019, 12:26:19 »
In addition to household gadgets and bits, I'm primarily planning on producing 'Mechs/vehicles/infantry.  The Photon series was at the top of my list given the affordability of the printers and how readily available the materials are. 

I've also seen the stereolithography machines (from FormLabs, in particular) that appear to cost much, much more but produce cleaner, higher resolution models.  Is it worth the money for the "next gen" process or is that some marketing hype? 

worktroll

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #3 on: 24 October 2019, 12:57:16 »
A friend of mine gets totally great quality out of his FDM printer. But he's prepared to take time - eg. a couple of hours per tank.



They paint up very nicely



But my friend may be against the grain. Advice from another site:

Quote
A lot of this depends on what kind of printer you're using: FDM (plastic filament) or SLA (resin). You can get a low-end hobby machine with decent quality for about the same cost either way (about $250 for the Ender 3 Pro or the Longer Orange 10, by way of comparison). A kg of decent filament will run you about 20-25 USD, while a kg of resin will cost about twice that. This means that a person-scale 28mm mini costs about 5-15 cents in filament or 10-30 cents in resin, depending on size and complexity. Manually balancing the print surface on an FDM printer is a bitch and a half, but it doesn't have to be done very often; balancing the print surface on an SLA printer takes literally 30 seconds, but you have to do it every few days at least.

Getting FDM minis to look as good as Bones takes a lot of work--a new, smaller nozzle, really good filament, a precisely balanced bed, and just a lot of fiddly effort to make it all work. Getting SLA minis look good is easy, but it takes a fair bit of post-production. Even FDM minis will take some post-production, mainly in terms of clipping supports, sanding rough spots, and spot-cleaning. Resin minis need to have their supports trimmed, be washed in an alcohol bath to clean off uncured resin, washed, and then cured either in sunlight or under a UV lamp. (I personally use a $20 nail curing box.)

In my experience, the two kinds of machines are good for different things. An FDM printer is good for very large minis (giants, dragons, etc) and terrain pieces, while SLA printers produce beautiful miniatures with very little technical knowledge. As someone who owns one of each, my recommendation is that if all you want is quality minis, get a resin printer. If all you want is terrain and large creatures, get an FDM printer. If you want to do both and can afford it, get one of each.
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NeonKnight

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #4 on: 24 October 2019, 13:15:01 »
As Worktroll's Advice from another site states, different tool for different jobs.

I have both (Fillament and Resin), and I use either as the job neccesitates.

Fillament



RESIN
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dgorsman

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #5 on: 24 October 2019, 15:07:39 »
Check for local maker spaces and the like.  They may have machines that can be used or rented at cheaper rates than owning for small random batches.  They also have some good technical advice available even if you use your own.
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Nomad

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #6 on: 25 October 2019, 12:27:22 »
Thank you guys for breaking down this discussion - incredibly helpful!

As Worktroll's Advice from another site states, different tool for different jobs.

I have both (Fillament and Resin), and I use either as the job neccesitates.

Fillament



RESIN


Quick question - which software are you using to develop/print your models? I’ve experimented with Autodesk 360, but that’s a parametric program meant more for CAD and systems design. I’ve also toyed with Blender, but the learning curve is steep. I’d love to hear peoples’ advice on which software is best paired with a printer. Thanks!

NeonKnight

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #7 on: 25 October 2019, 12:33:33 »
Thank you guys for breaking down this discussion - incredibly helpful!

Quick question - which software are you using to develop/print your models? I’ve experimented with Autodesk 360, but that’s a parametric program meant more for CAD and systems design. I’ve also toyed with Blender, but the learning curve is steep. I’d love to hear peoples’ advice on which software is best paired with a printer. Thanks!

Currently the models are all found from THINGIVERSE.

But I have breifly played with Fusion 360, and while I've looked at blender...Holy Heck, I agree...STEEP learning curve.
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Cache

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #8 on: 25 October 2019, 12:54:23 »
I've done a bit on the free version of Sketchup because the UI suits me, but it is much more limited than it used to be. I can make some damn nice looking parts that don't print due to errors I can't see/fix easily (limitations of free). Now I'm taking a run at Blender. Yes, steep learning curve. I need a 2nd monitor to make the process easier. Tutorials and Blender each on 1/2 screen ain't easy. The 2.8 UI upgrade is so much nicer. If I can't pick up on Blender I may pay go back and pay for Sketchup.

faithless

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #9 on: 25 October 2019, 13:12:36 »
I design stuff in fusion360. i have made some roads, bridges and some rc car parts. I am by no means an expert but have come a long way in a short time.
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worktroll

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #10 on: 25 October 2019, 13:24:33 »
I understand there's a difference between the designer (like fusion360) and the slicer, which manages the printing.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

dgorsman

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #11 on: 25 October 2019, 16:03:34 »
For everyone's reference, Fusion360 is a hybrid online/offline product with licensing free for hobbyists and certain businesses.  It's a parametric modeler which started based on supporting "makers".  I'm an Autodesk guy, member of their Expert Elite group (names a little cringey), so I might be able to help out with directing questions to places where they can get answers.

Blender is open source and free to use.  It runs on multiple OS's, including Linux, Mac, and Windows with fairly modest hardware requirements.  It's primarily a content creation, animation, and rendering program.  It's not CAD, and the main line is missing a lot of related tools.  Its better at presentation-based models i.e. mechanically impossible but otherwise cool looking minis.  Take a look at the artwork section of blenderartists.org for examples.
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Cache

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #12 on: 26 October 2019, 16:02:47 »
I understand there's a difference between the designer (like fusion360) and the slicer, which manages the printing.
Yes. They perform two completely different functions.

I've read posts from people who design in one program, modify/combine in a 2nd, add printing supports in a 3rd, and slice with a 4th. That's getting a bit complicated for me.

Daryk

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #13 on: 26 October 2019, 16:12:11 »
My wife and I have an Ender, and I have to agree... leveling the bed is a bitch and a half, and it absolutely makes the difference between a nice looking mini and an amorphous blob of plastic.

NutritiousSlop

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #14 on: 28 October 2019, 10:00:21 »
Started looking at an Elegoo Mars SLA-type printer, as it's pretty cleanly within my price range and I get 5% cashback from Discover if I buy off Amazon until the end of the year.  Does anyone have any experience with that or similar models?  I definitely like the potential for higher definition, as well as the lesser amount of maintenance one has to do with leveling the bed. 

Pythagoras

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #15 on: 03 November 2019, 22:41:03 »
You can get prints with an Elegoo Mars printer as good as you can with an Anycubic Photon. They are roughly equivalent in print quality. I prefer the Photon because of the front door that opens to access the vat as opposed to the Mars where you have to lift the entire top off. Minor issue though.

croaker

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #16 on: 03 December 2019, 18:30:39 »
As far as software goes, I've worked extensively in Sketchup, and can highly recommend it for those with a more technical bent to their drafting skills. It's great if you want to go "I want a line at (x) angle that's (y) long, then turn (z) degrees and go another (p), come back to the start, and then extrude the resulting face by (f)".

Here's a few samples:


A rendering of one sculpt I've been working on


A pair of prints from last year

I am Belch II

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #17 on: 03 December 2019, 20:25:55 »
Been thinking alot about 3d printers now. I really wish I knew someone or could test one out more before I pull the trigger and get one.
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dgorsman

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #18 on: 03 December 2019, 20:58:43 »
Been thinking alot about 3d printers now. I really wish I knew someone or could test one out more before I pull the trigger and get one.
Look for local maker groups.  They'll have people who have experience with different devices and materials, and some have shared facilities and equipment so you can try stuff out without a lot of money up front.
Think about it.  It's what we do.
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Thunder LRMs: the gift that keeps on giving.  They're the glitter of the BattleTech universe.

Hptm. Streiger

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #19 on: 03 December 2019, 23:51:59 »
Coming from Sketchup, but now working with blender its totally possible to create - good looking models that print well.
Sure it depends much on the slicer, but that one of the most important features (boolean) was a paid feature in sketchup was a total no-go. Also then I hadn't so much money or just a hobby.


Important for printing from blender, make solids - bool tool a s 3d printing tools are the way to go, for boolean it's only important to know that non of the faces of both objects touch each other.
Becomes terrible to fix when you have two very complex objects- so do it early or not at all and script the internal meshes "away"
I know its possible, but I don't own a printer so I can't say which tool the other guys have used.

Cache

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #20 on: 04 December 2019, 11:13:00 »
As far as software goes, I've worked extensively in Sketchup, and can highly recommend it for those with a more technical bent to their drafting skills.
Do you use the paid or free version?

I took to Sketchup because of the drafting-type interface--you can literally draw what you want. Creating with Blender is more like creating a sculpture from shapes and/or a blob of clay. I've never been good at that.

wolfspider

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #21 on: 04 December 2019, 11:23:12 »



A pair of prints from last year
Star Blazer Fleet Battle Systems?
I may have a low amount of posts but I have a PHD in Battletech and mechs older then most people on this board!

croaker

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #22 on: 04 December 2019, 14:45:36 »
Do you use the paid or free version?

I took to Sketchup because of the drafting-type interface--you can literally draw what you want. Creating with Blender is more like creating a sculpture from shapes and/or a blob of clay. I've never been good at that.

The difference between the paid and free version is very minor, so long as you go with the 2017 version or earlier. The web-based free version is not anywhere near as capable as the older ones.

I've also been sculpting several fleets for Starfleet Battles' Shapeways store, including the Lyrans, Orions, most of the Hydrans, and about half of the WYN.

Star Blazer Fleet Battle Systems?

Nope, drew it myself in Sketchup and had it printed by Shapeways.
It's available on my Shapeways store.


Hptm. Streiger

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #23 on: 04 December 2019, 14:51:57 »
Yes blender seems to have a steep learning curve and I miss two or three features from sketchup, but decide for yourself





Both are done after 10months working with both tools and not using any additions (ok the blender version is rigged (with rudimentary suspension)
And the blender version with some details less is available at thingi (has some issues)
« Last Edit: 04 December 2019, 14:54:11 by Hptm. Streiger »

Cache

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #24 on: 04 December 2019, 16:09:21 »
The difference between the paid and free version is very minor, so long as you go with the 2017 version or earlier.
I didn't know the older versions were available.  :D This changes things.

Yes blender seems to have a steep learning curve and I miss two or three features from sketchup, but decide for yourself.
I don't need the meshes to be colored and finished with scenery. I just need to be able to print them. Architectural over artistic for me.

Hptm. Streiger

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #25 on: 04 December 2019, 16:21:22 »
I don't need the meshes to be colored and finished with scenery. I just need to be able to print them. Architectural over artistic for me.
Well, done in blender - in roughly 6hrs (turret in one)


What I want to say, its absolutely not correct that Sketchup is the better tool for 3d printing, even with the stl export available since 2019 you end with a couple of issues, when using d the mirror function for example half of your meshes have the wrong facing.

You also have a couple of addons in blender like 3d printing tools that analysed your object and help you to have a mesh that is printable without additional scripts.

Also the so called minor functions of pro sketchup ate the boolean tools and those are very very important

The only tripwire are the units, a unit in blender could be meter or inch, what ever you like  but in most 3d printing tools a unit is a mm.. so 1m became 1mm.

Sketchup on the other hand has the issues as well but hidden in groups... ok I strike that the stl export get rid of different scaling of different groups. Still you get a large mesh and it is lots of work to clean up and make it printable  might be mistaken but that's my opinion and experience (I have used both for 2 years and while I regret that I not startet with blender right away - it was ok for the first steps)
« Last Edit: 04 December 2019, 16:37:02 by Hptm. Streiger »

wolfspider

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #26 on: 05 December 2019, 00:01:45 »
The difference between the paid and free version is very minor, so long as you go with the 2017 version or earlier. The web-based free version is not anywhere near as capable as the older ones.

I've also been sculpting several fleets for Starfleet Battles' Shapeways store, including the Lyrans, Orions, most of the Hydrans, and about half of the WYN.

Nope, drew it myself in Sketchup and had it printed by Shapeways.
It's available on my Shapeways store.
Whats the name of your Shapeway store?
I may have a low amount of posts but I have a PHD in Battletech and mechs older then most people on this board!

croaker

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Re: 3D Printing Tips
« Reply #27 on: 05 December 2019, 16:55:23 »
Whats the name of your Shapeway store?

Mine: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/hyborea

Amarillo Design Bureau, only licensed source of Trek miniatures on Shapeways: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/amarillo-design-bureau-inc?li=pb

As for Blender vs Sketchup, it's all a matter of how you work to design things. I've tried Blender and found its controls incomprehensible. In Sketchup I could bash out something like Hptm. Streiger's tank in a couple of hours.