Wednesday, 8 June 2016

3D-printer and first objects

One of local electronics shops, Kjell & Company, has started to sell 3D-printers and I looked at one of their videos on how it worked and was sooooo tempted.

I showed it to Mrs Miniaturesman and The Daughter and you have to figure a conversation going something like this
Mr Miniaturesman: Hey, look at this.
Mrs Miniaturesman: Bah, useless.
Daughter: Cool!
Mr: I do think one could find a lot of uses for it, really, and it’s plug and play and finally affordable.
Mrs: Bah, useless.
Daughter: Coooool!
Mr: The Oldest Son could learn to program 3D objects.
Mrs: Bah, useless. You want it for your hobbies, I guess.
Mr: Ehr, yes, obviously.
Daughter: Cool
Mrs: Bah, useless, but buy one if you want to.
Mr: Considering the ability to print spare parts and such I think the potential…. (long silence) … What did you say?
Mrs: You seem to want one a lot and I’ve heard you talking a lot about the tech, so go on and buy one.
Mr: (silence)
Next day I bought one.
Printing a wall section with the transparent PLA-filament that was supplied with the printer. The small 1/4 kg spool is situated under the print-bed. Handy if you want it out of the way, but annoying as you can't see how much is left until between prints when you remove the print-bed.
Since then it’s gone hot (well, obviously) and I’ve printed this and that to try it out and check what works and what doesn’t. It’s a lot of trial and error, which setting to use for which sort of piece and so on. With a spreadsheet on all my experiments with notes on what worked and what didn’t (yes, I’m an engineer at heart) I think I’ve started to get a hang of it now.
A soon bought a large spool of white PLA-filament and feed it from an obviously home-made external source.
Most of the stuff is from Printable Scenery and their Winterdale 2 Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign. If you’re interested in their products they have a new campaign at Kickstarter with a lot of ruins and a chance to buy into some of the stuff from the previous campaign.
This is some of the stuff that’s printed so far:
Some of the first objects I printed, from different sources.
Parts for a large tower.
A medieval crane for the harbour.
Walls, painted and ready for action
More walls, a grave-monument, two pieces of pier and some stone slabs.
A small mausoleum. This was printed with thin walls and is very fragile. One of those learning experiences.
A test on statues, printed with different layer thicknesses. 50, 150, 200 and 300 micrometer.
There is a noticeable layering, but it looks okay for stone structures and wood if it goes with the grain. If you want steel plates then it will probably be less than satisfactory. It all depends on what you want from your terrain, I guess. Seen from an arm-length away most looks perfectly presentable.
All in all, this is a great buy for a first printer. It’s affordable, plug-and-play, easy to use and looks nice. There are downsides, one is the limited print-volume, but Printable Scenery has everything made in both larger pieces and also in smaller modules that you can fit into this printer.

You’ll see quite a lot of printed stuff here in the future.

Welcome new follower Lorenzo Calvi with the blog Zerloon Place, where you'll find pulp, fantasy, SF and more. Give it a try!
A big "Hi!" to Google + follower Mark with blog £1 Wargames Rules, where you might find some downloadable scenery for your ordinary printer.

35 comments:

  1. I agree, for terrain it looks good enough.
    Figures and tanks, not yet. But I suppose the technology will get there.

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    Replies
    1. They had sold 50k units by mid-april. Pretty sure there will be a better and cheaper version out by Christmas next year.

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    2. Tanks and figures are still a couple of years away for hose-hold versions, I think, but we're getting closer all the time and there are many actors out there producing printers.

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  2. We can now have the kinds of walls we like, in the numbers we want, and of the types we want.
    Gondor is a farming nation, right?

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    Replies
    1. I hear they have a lot of sheep...

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    2. Printing walls - yes
      Printing sheep - forget it!

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    3. No, I meant they need walls around the sheep.

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    4. 3D walls around 2D sheep then. Or...?

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    5. Well, both Warlord and Warbases have sheep and other critters.

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    6. The problem with sheep is you have to count them as you go to make sure you have ended up with the desired number.

      Sheep 1
      Sheep 2
      Sheep 3
      She...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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  3. Very cool! I could see myself having a lot of fun with one of these.

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    Replies
    1. The fun is definitely a big part of the deal. I'm really enjoying myself

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  4. Cool! Looks like the perfect thing for scatter terrain.

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    Replies
    1. Pretty much so, but the gravestone I printed looked pretty much... meh. The layering was rather obvious on such a small piece.
      The walls above on the other hand.

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  5. Very, very interesting. I have seen a very basic one in action and found it absolutely fascinating to watch, can't wait to see what else you produce with it.

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    1. The large tower is the next piece, and that is not in any way scatter terrain :-)
      It will be huge. Last parts will be ready on Friday and with a bit of luck it will be painted and ready for action next week.

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  6. Very cool. I am still waiting for the prices to come down a bit before I make the plunge. Until then, there is a 3-D printer at our community library that I can make use of. Happy Printing!

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    Replies
    1. I guess prices will fall sharply the next couple of years, with better and better prestanda.
      Until then I will happily print all sorts of stuff and leave the tricky pieces until later.

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  7. Looks like a worthwhile purchase already

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    Replies
    1. I think it is, just for the fun-factor :-)

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  8. very cool. Is it possible to sand surfaces smooth, that are meant to be metal etc?

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    1. If you use ABS-plastic you can 'melt' the surface with acetone and get a smoother finish. I've just made a very preliminary experiment with that and the result was so so. I think that would be a good solution though, with some practice.
      Sanding could work, I haven't tried it. I'll check it out.

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  9. Understand you are still "play testing" the print capabilities, but as you go along, can you periodically tell us what the price per wall, object, etc. would be? It may be a tremendously capable system, but the price for the "ink" and time investment might make it less of an option that it might appear to be.

    JJ

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    1. Absolutely
      As I have this Excel spreadsheet it's no problem at all as I have programmed just that
      The walls above, for example is printed with low fill density and 200 mikron layers and the price for one is about €0,3 with the filament I use now. Low enough that you can print however much you want, essentially
      I'll put in an aproximate price from now on

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    2. The mausoleum was printed with thin walls, no fill and 50 mikron layers and cost a puny €0,35. With low density it would be about €0,9, still very cheap.
      The statues are about €0,15.

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  10. I've seen them in action at various SF-Fantasy conventions and they're the business. One for my One Of These Days list.

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    Replies
    1. Here it is very much like early computers (and, computers nowaday also, I guess) - wait a year and prices will plummet and/or performance goes up.
      But you want to jump in sometime, even though it will be better/cheaper in a couple of months time.

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  11. Those things sure have improved very fast! Even these consumer level machines with extruders seem to be producing quite nice detail that's definitely good enough for terrain. Just waiting for some Stereolithography printers to become a bit cheaper, as you could actually use them for minis as well. Shame that we can't use the one at work for personal projects :(

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    Replies
    1. The speed of improvement on these machines is impressive. Another couple of years and it will truly be interesting

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  12. Would be awesome to create rounded walls.
    When I was at Spartan Games I saw their new 3D printer (Amazing large machine) and got the idea to maybe one day make all the walls in resin (first print a 3D model).

    After seeing the picture you made of the rounded walls I can only fantasize about all the things one could do with a 3D printer.

    Hopefully one day :).

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    Replies
    1. Curved wall to match the straight ones are in the printing queue.
      Check Printable Scenery's kickstarter and dream even more :-)

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    2. I mean to go with the stuff I have already made ;).

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  13. How long does it take to print for example a wall?

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    1. Ther wall, center section of in the pic with painted walls, took about 4,5 hours (200 mikron layer-thickness and thick walls) and the ruined sections around 3,3 hours.
      The piers/jetties took around 7 hours.
      I'll put in that in future posts also.

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