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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

3D Printing - Day Five - Trying To Replicate 3D Printing Services

"Splunjohnny" WIPs - Barnabas Collins, a Cyberman and a Judoon

These miniatures were created using "Elegoo" Water Washable Resin on a Mars 3 Pro 3D Printer and are available as unsupported STL (Standard Triangle Language) files from Splunjohnny on "Cults". These sculpts are clearly inspired by various famous television and film franchises and are all created in 100mm scale.

This range is actually one of the main motivators for my purchasing a machine as I had previously been using a 3D Printing Service to produce the models for my tabletop gaming, and up until quite recently I had been extremely happy with their "high resolution" figures. However, much of this satisfaction stemmed from me believing several myths concerning home printing, such as the nauseating smell given off by resin, the nastiness of Isopropyl Alcohol, the financial outlay for a 3D printer, and the enormous effort required to calibrate a device so you can actually achieve a successful print (e.g. exposure settings, curing times and supports).

"Chitubox" Basic easily provides the rafts and supports for all the figures on the build plate

Having invested some hours watching numerous videos on "YouTube" I soon discovered that whilst "Elegoo" Water Washable Resin has a strong, pungent odour, as long as you're wearing a face mask in a well-ventilated area, its effects are minimal. Indeed, my initial thoughts around potentially needing some sort of thermo-nuclear chemical suit swiftly evaporated. Furthermore, there is plenty of advice out there to help a novice get the best from their printer's settings, with "Chitubox" Basic arguably doing the vast percentage of this heavy lifting with just a few clicks of the mouse - at least for me.

Furthermore, despite the definite monetary commitment needed upfront, I quickly realised that no matter how pleased I was with the end result, paying a tenner for each "4k resolution" (plus postage) would quickly add up and surpass the cost of a lower-end 3D printer like the Mars 3 Pro (as well as an "Elegoo" Mercury Plus 2.0 Wash and Curing Machine). True, at the time I also thought I was getting additional value as the service was (in my mind at least) employing some serious time-consuming witchcraft by adding numerous intricate supports to the miniatures and slicing them, as well as reducing their size to 40mm scale.

A size comparison between a 40mm scale 3D Printer Service Terminator (Orange) and mine (Grey)

Disconcertingly however, I have encountered one sticking point since stopping using a 3D printing service, and that has been trying to perfectly match the reduction size they employed whilst shrinking my STL files down from 100mm t0 40mm. Initially, I had simply expected the miniatures to have shrunk by 60%, but that is most definitely not the case.

Indeed, the actual figure appears to be around the 48% mark, with the heights of some previously printed models requiring a little more or less according to my ham-fisted measurements. This difference is debatably not noticeable from a distance on the tabletop, yet it does grate upon my obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) somewhat when I want to add reinforcements to already pigmented forces. Resultantly, I might 'ramp up' future prints to the 48.20% bar to see how that pans out...

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