3D Printing - Day One - The Rook
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
These two 50mm tall Rooks were 3D printed using "Elegoo" Water Washable Resin on a Mars 3 Pro 3D Printer. The STL (Standard Triangle Language) file for the two models actually comes on a USB memory stick which is included with the machine and is used to test out the levelling of the build platform with the 4K LCD screen.
The figures took a little under three hours to print and were then cleaned/hardened in an "Elegoo" Mercury Plus 2.0 Wash and Curing Machine. This was the very first time I had ever done anything like this before, and success was achieved within just four hours of opening the 3D printer's box. The instructions for both devices are excellent, however, I actually closely followed the Elegoo Mars 3 - 4K 3D Printer - Unbox & Setup video on "YouTube" by Just Vlad.
This thirty-eight-minute tutorial was perfect for helping me assemble my Mars 3 Pro, levelling it and then using the equipment to make my first print. Admittedly, due to the video being a year-old, I did need to refer to the instruction booklets from time-to-time. But this was largely due to my Mercury Plus 2.0 having a dual Washing Mode Curing Box as opposed to being two separate machines. I also repeatedly watched/re-winded the 'seminar' on several occasions during the process - as well as a couple of times before I even bought my 3D printer.
From a lesson/s learnt perspective I am very pleased I went with the water washable resin as it meant I didn't need to worry about isopropyl alcohol getting everywhere and could simply fill my bath with ordinary tap water (plus a little washing up liquid). I did though make the mistake of placing the models in the curing machine before they were totally dry (as being hollow they trapped some of the water), and that resulted in their bases turning a disconcerting white - as opposed to a pleasant light grey.
With my first ever 3D prints finished (or at least in the Mercury Plus 2.0) I decided to throw caution somewhat to the wind and try my hand at producing my own CTB file using the "professional 3D printing pre-processing software" called "Chitubox" Basic. I really wanted to see what my Mars 3 Pro could do, so simply dropped a free 28mm Hero Monk STL by "Titan Forge Miniatures" into the mix, along with some of the "Doctor Who" STLs I've previously had "Encounter Terrain" print for me - albeit this time I reduced them to just 15mm scale rather than 40mm.
I really found "Chitubox" incredibly intuitive when it came to positioning my miniatures across the virtual build plate, scaling the digital sculpts down, and even placing supports for all my figures to better ensure a successful print. Indeed, the programme comes with an auto-support function which took care of the bulk of the work. The only problem I did encounter was when I tried to save the file to the USB stick, as it was repeatedly ignored by the Mars 3 Pro - until I spotted I had to tell the programme which printer I was using so it could better calibrate the slices and incorporate the relevant exposure settings into the saved CTB file. Once this was done, the printer immediately recognised the file and it was simply a matter of pressing print on the display...