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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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planetmut
2022年12月09日

I'm really enjoying your travels through the worlds of 3D printing! Some of the supports on those models look like a nightmare to remove, but then again having to take some off a few of my Etsy purchases I know they're not too hard to get off. Looking forward to seeing more of these posts!

いいね!
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
2022年12月09日
返信先

Thanks Matt. My next article will actually look at Etsy and how some companies seem to take STLs and change their scale so as to fit certain price points. Might raise a few eyebrows. 😉


Nowadays I always remove the supports straight after washing the prints, preferably with hot water, as most just melt off as a result. However, I still have plenty which have been cured along with their supports, and need proper clipping etc. This element was definitely a learning process, LOL!!!

いいね!

undercoat2670
2022年12月08日

These little articles about your 3D printing hobby journey are great reads. I enjoy them enormously, and while you are doing your best to demystify it, it still seems a little complex for me and my small brain! Keep these coming as they are super interesting.

いいね!
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
2022年12月08日
返信先

Cheers Undercoat. Almost at the end of the my articles covering the first week, and then I'll be moving on to some thoughts on a weekly basis. I now own some of the 3D Printing Service prints which I haven't based, so I'll be measuring them up to better establish the shrinkage ratio they used.


Chitubox Basic does so much work with supports & slicing etc that its made the printing hobby a lot more accessible imho. I fear once I move to the weekly posts about it, a lot will simply be about all the awesome Patreon subscriptions out there. But they should still be fun to talk about.

いいね!

Dai Dead
Dai Dead
2022年12月07日

Better you than me on this 3D printing lark Simon, Forget the startup and running costs, the pfaffing about with scales and supports and cleaning just seems too much for my levels of patience. Add in the then removal of the print supports and how they seem to just obscure all sorts of detail..... Yeah no thanks. LOL


Still, it's been fun following your own adventures on this. I hope to see some fun stuff in the future!

いいね!
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
2022年12月07日
返信先

Thanks Dai. LOL!! I think your paragraph quite neatly sums up all my feelings too before I took the plunge and picked a 3D printer up. The scales are only a issue if you're trying to match something someone else has previously printed for you, otherwise you just dollop the digital sculpt down on your build plate, press a button so Chitubox Basic can add all the supports, and away you go. 😁


Cleaning is also super easy as you just dunk the figures in the Elegoo cleaner and it whisks water around them for 10 minutes. Then, providing you've used warm water, the vast majority of the supports should come straight off with just some light finger pressure, and…


いいね!

wsd50
2022年12月07日

I've had problems with scale, long before the 3D printer was even thought of, so nothing new there, though the trial and error of getting the sizing right must be a bit wearing when there's so much you want printed. I have to admit I'm less keen on the "human" figures as opposed to the Dalek/Cybermen alien style figures from this range.


Sorry I have no idea who Barnabus Collins is, is that his actual name, or is it a clever "not" name?


Cheers Roger.

いいね!
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
2022年12月07日
返信先

Cheers Roger. This was the first time I'd actually encountered a particular issue as ordinarily i'm fine with what a company states its figures' scale is. On this occasion though I didn't want to wargame with 100mm models but at 40mm I felt I'd still have each sculpts detail as well as a reasonable footprint to game with. If it was me I'd have simply reduced everything by 60%. But as I say the 3D Printer Service has been cleverer than that - which is why I'm struggling to imitate it exactly.


I think Splunjohnny's style is probably a bit marmite in its cartoon-like look. But I really like them, and they're a lot of fun to paint.


Barnabus Collins…

いいね!

wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
2022年12月07日

Having had scale issues from printers in the past can understand the frustration, but I'm sure you'll get there in the end, Can understand wanting the Cybermen and Terminators all the same size.

いいね!
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
2022年12月07日
返信先

Thanks Dave. I think the problem with this particular range is that the Printing Service in question apparently took their 40mm measurement from a single figure's eye level, and scaled everything else around that. At the time I was delighted but now I'm trying to replicate the process its infuriatingly, LOL!!! 😀


I think the sweet spot is around 48.17% tbh, but the only way to make sure is to print some figures at different reduction rates - essentially wasting a tank of resin in the process. 🤔


I've a follow-up piece planned for next week where I look at some of the figures sold on Etsy which were supposedly certain scales. Now I own the STLs for them its…

いいね!
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