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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

3D Printing - Day One - The Rook

Updated: Nov 4, 2022


Two Rooks - 3D Printed to test out my Mars 3 Pro's calibrations

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.

Chitubox Basic Virtual Build Plate - Covered in a combination of 15mm and 28mm miniatures

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.

Chitubox Basic Virtual Build Plate - The default exposure settings for my first ever build plate

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...

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planetmut
Oct 31, 2022

Ooo, he's got his own factory LOL! I admit to being a bit jealous — I wanted to get a 3D printer once we'd settled into our house, but I decided against it on the grounds that I'd probably need a new PC as mine is almost 10 years old, and the technology in 3D printing was then changing so fast that any printer I'd bought in 2020 would have been out of date fairly soon. Then there was the whole cleaning and washing thing, which I didn't realise needed to be done, as well as the hassle if things went wrong.


But seeing the results you're getting I'm again thinking about getting one :-) Looking forward to seeing more…

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Oct 31, 2022
Replying to

Cheers Matt. Lots to show and see over the next few weeks Ref 3D Printing. Already working my way through some great STLs off of Patreon - to the point where I'm genuinely questioning whether I'll ever buy models from a store again - at least non-metal ones.

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wsd50
Oct 29, 2022

Oh lord! Simon has turned to the darkside!!!


There will be no stopping you now, if you had a backlog of figures before , you'll need to rent a storage unit now! 🤣🤣🤣


The very best of luck with your new toy mate, I look forward to reading all your adventures with it.


Cheers Roger

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Oct 29, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Roger. obviously there's an initial financial fork-out, but considering some 3D companies are charging £10 per 40mm fig to print, I figured I'd quickly make my money back and then actually start saving. The costly thing has been the Patreon monthly fees which are approx £12 per company - so i'm limiting myself with those. I'm also planning on selling much of my backlog - keeping mainly the metal stuff.


The next instalment of my 3D printing adventure should be soon, but first I have the last of my Zomtober entries to post.

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undercoat2670
Oct 28, 2022

What an interesting and captivating blog post. You are clearly well prepared, enthusiastic and having fun, and this is a great addition to your hobby I think. I can't wait to see and read more. Great stuff, I enjoyed this a lot.

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Oct 28, 2022
Replying to

Cheers Undercoat. Very much appreciated. Lots of 3D Printing posts to come I assure you. Still early days but the sheer size of some of the models I can make for a 20th of the cost from a store is very exciting.

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wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
Oct 28, 2022

Interesting review into your start up on 3D printing Simon, the rooks look good, and nice to see no lines, will be interested to see how your figures come out, maybe one day I'll get one ! LOL

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Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
Oct 28, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Dave. I've hopefully got the Mars 3 Pro locked in so there definitely shouldn't be any lines. Indeed, I'm already a few days ahead - albeit I do plan to post a series of day-by-day printing trials & tribulations - and my Doctor Who prints are much cleaner than those I buy from Encounter Terrain.


I'd definitely recommend one. It is certainly going to change the way I go about my hobby, and my gut reaction is that I won't be buying many more non-metal minis - and even then, they'll need to be special or part of a range I'm currently collecting.

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