Archive for the ‘3d printing’ Category

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Photonstering

September 15, 2019

Apparently I am now what is called a Photonster, as I’m completely hooked on the Anycubic Photon I mentioned in my previous post. I’m really not exaggerating when I say the printer has been running almost day and night after I got it, and I’m in love with the results. There’s been a bit of trial and error, but so far only a couple of prints have failed and even those were due to user malfunction and could actually be salvaged.

Obviously my main interest has been in 28mm miniature stuff (although I’ve also printed a pair of earrings for Emmi), and the printer is wonderful for that. I’m still playing with the settings a bit, but it appears that it’s fairly easy to get a lovely result with minimal if any print lines showing. The detail level is more than adequate, easily ahead of Reaper Bones minis for example. It’s not on par with resin or the best metal casts, but it’s not far behind either.

I was initially worried about everything being very messy and time consuming, but those fears proved to be unfounded. The plant-based resin I’m using is very low odour, and now that I have my cleanup routine for the prints in place, even that bit is easy. After printing the prints are dunked into isopropyl alcohol and scrubbed lightly with a toothbrush to remove excess resin, then rinsed with water and detergent and then cured with UV light (in my case by putting them out in the sun, I’m still waiting for my UV lamp to arrive). It’s a bit of work, but no more than say, removing paint from old minis.

What have I been printing? Sharks! Pirates! Battlemechs! Monkeys! Parrots! A dead whale (yes)! I definitely see a very, very real chance of going overboard here. Luckily enough I’m at a good place in my hobby right now, more in the “time to get rid of stuff I don’t need” zone than the “I don’t know what I’ll use these for but I’ll get them anyway because” one. Shown below are a couple of the pieces I’ve done – a shark and some fins that I already painted up, the aforementioned whale carcass, another shark model from PrintYourMonsters and a pirate from Depths of Savage Atoll. I undercoated the pirate to bring out the detail.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

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The whale carcass with a Black Scorpion pirate for size

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With the whale I botched the print a bit – another user malfunction – so had to fix a gap between its head and its body. Nothing new to anyone used to bigger models, though! As you can see from the pictures, the whale is massive. After hollowing the model instead of printing it solid, it cost me something in the range of 5€ in resin, which isn’t an awful lot. The pirate shown also shows how the printer really makes it viable to print 28mm minis, I have metal stuff that has less defined detail.

So, if it’s not clear by now, I love this machine and I can’t recall the last time I was so excited about a hobby thing. While this may of course be a passing thing, I’m sure going to ride this wave while it lasts!

 

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The fine print

August 24, 2019

 

Picture of Anycubic PhotonSo, in a moment of wild enthusiasm I went and ordered an Anycubic Photon! I’ve been looking to get into 3D printing for quite a while now, but it has always seemed like too much of a hassle: hours and hours of tinkering for results that have never quite matched my standards. Make no mistake, I’ve seen some wonderful results from 3D printing, but a lot of the stuff displayed online has a lot of striation, and for 28mm minis in particular that won’t do.

Now, the Anycubic Photon is a DLP resin printer, which means that rather than extruding plastic filament, it builds up a model by curing thin layers of resin with UV light. If you want a more thorough explanation, you could do far worse than spending 9 minutes on the following video:

The quality of a resin printer is quite enough for 28mm work, so it’ll be possible to print my own minis and other detailed pieces. The price of resin printers has come down a lot, and the Photon set me back about 300 EUR including a litre of resin. 

Now, after looking at a ton of discussions, joining various online groups and going through video tutorials, resin printing isn’t always easy work: there are resin fumes, the hardware and software can be finicky, prints will fail and so on. However, I’m super excited about this thing! There’s something awesome about the idea of not only being able to print a huge variety of stuff other people have designed, but also to maybe one day designing my own pieces – provided I’m willing to take the time and tackle the learning curve. 

I already have a ton of miniatures and scatter terrain, so what do I need a 3D printer for? To be honest, I don’t need it for anything, any more than I need any of the miniatures stuff in my cupboards and on my desks. It’s something that’s somewhat hard to rationalize, as these things often are. Maybe it’s the above mentioned potential for limitless creations, or the joy of tinkering? Those definitely play a part. The possibility of using something like Hero Forge for creating custom miniature designs is another thing. Then there’s also the option of creating things that are not miniatures-related. For something to print, I got in on the Depths of Savage Atoll Kickstarter, which features a ton of suitable stuff for my piratical needs.

Whether this will be a fun expansion of my hobby horizons or a failed experiment (looking at you, Mr. Soon To Be Sold Airbrush) remains to be seen. The printer will arrive in the next week or two, and I’ll be sure to let you know all about it!

Picture from the Anycubic Photon website.

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