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Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

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TonyG2
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Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

#1

Post by TonyG2 »

Ok I've been giving serious thought to 3d printing. What had been holding me back had been
1. Price of printers and
2. Lack of expertise in design

I've recently seen ads for printers that come in circa £200 (saw one on YouTube for around £60.00 but it seemed very flimsy)

Also seen a number of sites where 3d files can be downloaded either free or at very low cost.

That seems to address my initial concerns. My intended first project is a Star Trek design to 1/2500 scale (yep, loving the small scales) and I understand the final size of the print can be set so you can calculate and determine the scale.

What I am still unsure over is what software you need to run the printer and make any alterations, such as size or splitting the model into sections. Does that usually come supplied with the printer?

The brand I'm considering is the Creality Ender 3 but after some research I'm still in the dark about the software angle.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

If I can get it working and could find suitable files, I would branch out into aircraft, vehicles and ships etc but at present it's all very much speculative.

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Re: Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

#2

Post by Leo - zd »

I do a little bit of 3D design but I'm not an expert on printers although to optimize the results I communicated a lot with the people who printed for me to align and get the best possible result.
As my goal was to get the finest possible details, recesses, protrusions, panels, the minimum dimension of the print was always 0.1 mm.
They explained to me that for that you need to have a printer with a resolution that is at least 3-4 times smaller than the minimum dimension, that the optimal resolution of the printer would be 0.025 mm, and as far as I know this is only feasible with resin printers.
I think that this type of printer is needed for useful printing in modeling, where the highest possible level of detail is required.

Another problem, in my opinion more serious, are the files or drafts that you want to print.
Printing and drawing are demanding and expensive. What is free and available are mostly simple models, either without detail or relative accuracy.
And not even the best and most accurate printer can print something that is not given to it.
A good and detailed STL file needs good drawings and references and a lot of work.
Since there are a bunch of print services today, it seems to me that it is more important to make a good draft, adapted to the scale and the printer.
It is also an important scale, unlike all other electronic drawings in various CAD programs where it is irrelevant whether the unit is mm or km long, the scale of the drawings is important for printing.
Of course, if the STL file is 1/72 scale and well and precisely made, it is possible to print in 1/35 or 1/144, although there will be rougher details or loss of the same.
Namely, the printer does not know the lines, the line of the panel means nothing to the printer, for the printer the line of the panel must be at least 0.1 mm wide and 0.1 mm deep.
And now if it's on STL at 1: 100 and I want to print at 1:10 it will become 1 mm deep and wide, and if we want to print at 1: 1000 it will become 0.01 mm or disappear because it's even less than the minimum print layer.

My advice is that if you are interested in subjects that are not on the market or are of very poor quality, throw yourself into designing, because buying models, especially styrene, are several times cheaper than quality 3D prints.

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Re: Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

#3

Post by glehn »

Tony,

There are different types of printers but the accessible home printers are either FDM (the ones that print with plastic filaments) and resin printers. If you want high definition of small details, I would recommend a resin printer.
As far as I know, the Ender 3 is FDM and not resin. You should take a look at the Anycubic Photon (which is the one I have), the Elegoo Mars or similar printers. Pricewise they are in the same range, I believe.

The printers come with a software (called slicer) that allows you to prepare a file for printing (positioning, scaling, adding supports and slicing the file with the parameters you choose). Or you can download other slicers. I like Chitubox, which come with some additional functions.
If the files are ok, this software should be enough. But as Leo mentioned, many times this is not the case and you may need or want to make changes to the 3D model, and for this you will need another type of software and some skills.

I prefer to model everything from scratch using a 3D CAD software (I currently use Fusion 360). I have been doing it for many years and I was really happy to have Shapeways printing my models for me up until when their prices went crazy. I then bought my own resin printer, but I really find the printing at home process very messy and frustrating some times. It is definately not like a laser or inkjet printer yet (although those can also be frustrating at times).

I would recommend learning a 3D CAD. I like Fusion 360 and it is free for hobbyists or personal use. Blender is another interesting software that is widely used for 3D Printing but is aimed more towards a different kind of modeling than Fusion 360, being better for things like characters and figures, in my opinion.

Regards
Luis

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Re: Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

#4

Post by TonyG2 »

Reviving an older thread here. Been pondering this for some time and am still inclined to dip my toes into the water of 3D printing (given the price, more of a plunge than a dip....). Been looking seriously at the Eligoo Saturn 4k resin printer. Seen some articles strongly suggesting the 8k version as a "future proofed" device but the 4k comes in at around £300 to £350.

Most suggest that the Eligoo has an easy (easy being relative) set up with auto levelling of the printing plate etc as well as a good range of settings. Large enough for decent sized models without having to spilt the model into parts. I dont claim to have any graphic design skills so would be looking for a "plug and play" approach (hell, what I want is a Star Trek replicator but I'll take anything that can deliver me a reasonable replica with as little complication to overtax my mind as possible.

As a complete newbie to the idea, I see numerous websites as well as YouTube videos offering/discussing printable files that are on sale and have assumed it is "simply" the case of (after purchase of the file), down load the file to a thumb drive, plug into the printer, select the model, select the size, choose the nature of the supporting frame and press "Go", sit back with a coffee and "bing" hey presto the gaming figure/car/scenery part/aircraft of your choice is on the platform just needing removal cleaning and painting. Yeah, if only reality was that simple.

What has fired me up on this was a recent thread concerning Vietnam airfield dioramas as I found (and lost) a site that had a file for Vietnam revetments. Nice simple shape, modular and probably easy to print. Baby steps. Start slow and work up to something more elaborate.

Maybe by this time next year......

Before I forget, are there any good reliable sites for models that anyone can recommend? Kind of a wide range of things I would be after. Airfield components, such as Nissan huts and WWII dispersals, figures, utility cars and trucks. Modern day airfield vehicles, crash tenders etc, smaller (ie 1/144 fighter and helicopter) size aircraft and tanks. Ships and subs (smaller 1/700) plus larger ships in 1/1250 both military and civilian. Gaming figures (SF, Fantasy military) in both regular 28mm and 1/144. And SF ships (at present looking at The Expanse style designs, but anything really as well as properly thought out fleets for table top gaming).

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Re: Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

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Post by Arheddis_Vaarkenjaab »

TonyG2 wrote:
Wed Sep 28, 2022 8:21
Before I forget, are there any good reliable sites for models that anyone can recommend? Kind of a wide range of things I would be after. Airfield components, such as Nissan huts and WWII dispersals, figures, utility cars and trucks. Modern day airfield vehicles, crash tenders etc, smaller (ie 1/144 fighter and helicopter) size aircraft and tanks. Ships and subs (smaller 1/700) plus larger ships in 1/1250 both military and civilian. Gaming figures (SF, Fantasy military) in both regular 28mm and 1/144. And SF ships (at present looking at The Expanse style designs, but anything really as well as properly thought out fleets for table top gaming).
There seems to be plenty of relatively inexpensive STL files available of places like Etsy:

https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead ... ECA&adurl=

I have the Anycubic Photon Mono resin printer, which I purchased about 15 months ago. Unfortunately I haven't been able to spend much time to learn how to use it properly, but I have been able to produce a couple of things with it. The level of detail in the resin print is simply INSANE!! Having said that, I have had more failures than successes, but I put that down to my lack of knowledge more than anything.
Photon Mono Test Print.jpg

This print is the test print file provided by Anycubic for test printing.

CAC Boomerang.jpg
The prop hob had broken off recently and has been eaten by the Carpet Monster

Bushmaster IMV.jpg
Australian-made Bushmaster IMV

I am hoping that once my chemo is done and dusted (had my last round a couple of days ago, but it will be a couple of weeks before I have enough mental acuity to think about it) & my immunotherapy begins, I will get back into it again. The whole reason I bought the printed was to print models. I would also like to learn to design them.

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Re: Thinking of getting into 3d printing, but...

#6

Post by Decapod »

Hi Tony,

Thingiverse (all free) and cults3d (free and paid) have a fair selection to experiment with, although quality of the models can be variable.

I have an 18 month old anycubic mono too - effectively "2K", there's a 4K version of that now with 40% better resolution.

I've been building 3D models for train sims, flight sims and for 3D printing for about 20 years now
A few of my 1/144 WW1 a/c and some 1/700+1/1250 ships are free there https://www.thingiverse.com/decapod/designs
There are also massive sets of 1:100 vehicles that are easy to scale e.g. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3553160 or https://www.thingiverse.com/tigerace1945/designs
Searching can take a while to find the good ones.

Unfortunately the plug in and print option is really only about a quarter of the resin printing battle.

Unless it's pre-supported you first have to load the file into a "slicer" program.
Orientation of the model can be critical - avoid flat surfaces, tilt the model on two axes slightly.
Add supports - most programs have an auto add option (I use chitubox)
Then select the printing and resin parameters - a bit of trial and error with test prints here
Finally export the file to a format the printer uses.
I'm just printing a Steyr ADGZ in 1/72 for a mate, even after hundreds of models I still get failures. First attempt one wheel failed due to lack of support.

Once printed, it gets messy, removing the supports and thoroughly washing in isopropyl alcohol.
Some breakages can happen here too.
Finally cure under UV or low powered sunlight we have in the UK
The wash/cure boxes you can buy are pretty good.

The result is wonderful and worth the mess and horrible smells :)

Paul

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