top of page
  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

3D Printing - Day Two - Unsuccessful Scaling And Supports

Updated: Nov 6, 2022


A 28mm resin print of a Monk Hero by "Titan Forge Miniatures" with supports by "Chitubox" Basic

These various miniatures were 3D printed using "Elegoo" Water Washable Resin on a Mars 3 Pro 3D Printer and are available as STL (Standard Triangle Language) files from "Titan Forge Miniatures" and "SplunJohnny" on "Cults" respectively. The Monk Hero is actually one of several free models which come in a digital Welcome Pack once you have subscribed to the "Polish based sculpting/casting/inspired-and-head-blown" company's Patreon service. Whilst the "Doctor Who" figures can be bought individually.


None of the figures came supplied with any supports (or at least I didn't spot the supported version of the Monk Hero until later on) so they all gave me a chance to apply my own supports to each miniature using "Chitubox" Basic. In addition, I wanted to see how the programme's scaling feature worked, so set about shrinking my Doctor Who STLs down from 100mm to 15mm in height simply by reducing them to 15% of their original size.

Rescaled 15mm resin test prints of Leela, the Seventh Doctor, a Zygon and the Kandy Man

This all seemed to work out quite well initially, as "Chitubox" has a handy little feature which automatically provides sculpts with supports with just a click of a button. All you have to do is decide whether you want Light, Medium or Heavy supports - the bulkier being more stable during the printing process, but potentially harder to subsequently remove without damaging the model once it's been printed. Furthermore, there is an option to place the base of each STL hard down on the actual plate of the printer, so the figure is literally built from the feet up.


Such a technique clearly gives the build plate plenty of grip on the miniature straight from the start. However, as its initial layers are 'overcured' so as to ensure a secure bond, the bottom of the model might not be as flat as a person might want and suffer from 'Elephant's Foot' - which is why so many companies who produce STLs provide the bases as pre-supported files which sit at an angle well away from the actual build plate's surface.

A 100mm tall STL of the Sixth Doctor shrunk to 15mm and supported through "Chitubox" Basic

As a result, I decided to have three of my diminutive "Doctor Who" figures 'floating' on supports, and the other half sat snugly on the build plate with just a few additional supports keeping their arms etc in place. Approximately three hours later I discovered the error of my ways and realised that when 3D printing anything quite so fragile as 15mm some seriously numerous supports are probably needed if the miniatures' bases aren't placed flat on the build plate. Sadly, this meant both the Sixth Doctor and poor Ace never saw the light of day and were turned into blobs of hardened resin stuck firmly on the bottom of my resin tank.


Of course, such a minor catastrophe did mean I now needed to quickly learn how to clean the tank of my printer, so understandably I immediately turned to the company's official "Elegoo Mars: How to clean the resin vat after printing" video on YouTube. However, after a quick scan of its comments revealed this was not the way to do it (unless you wanted to potentially badly damage the FEP), I simply emptied the tank and followed the extremely sage advice of 'pushing lightly underneath the transparent film where any solid resin was stuck" and delightfully watched them "come off easily without scraping." In addition, I also learnt that the paper funnels supplied with the machine allow the resin to flow straight through the entire cone, not just the 'filter' at its bottom - which resulted in almost an entire tank of resin accidentally spilling all over the table and floor...

148 views8 comments

8 commentaires

Noté 0 étoile sur 5.
Pas encore de note

Ajouter une note
undercoat2670
06 nov. 2022

This all sounds rather complicated for a bear of very little brain like myself! It looks like you are learning and progressing though, which is what a new hobby is all about. I am not sure those Dr Who minis translate that well into 15mm scale to be honest. I thought most sculptors sculpted to a specific size exaggerating detail where necessary etc? But what do I know, my efforts with playdough would make Mr Potato Head look like Michelangelo's David!

J'aime
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
06 nov. 2022
En réponse à

I think the Mars 3 Pro 3D Printer is an excellent starter machine, as it really is a bit 'plug and play' straight away, as long as you follow the instructions closely and don't rush anything.


I was admittedly planning on doing many more 15mm Dr Who figures - with an eye on some seriously large Cybermen battles. But as you say, Nikola's sculpts are simply not designed for such a scale so I'll be sticking to printing them at 40mm - albeit trying to get them to match-up precisely with the size of the figures made for me by "Encounter Terrain" is a job in itself, LOL!!!

J'aime

planetmut
05 nov. 2022

I've wondered what the support things were, and now I know, so thanks for the lesson! I guess this is why some Etsy sellers make a big deal of their stuff being pre-supported; it means the print will always work?


As Roger says, it looks like a steep learning curve and it can be a bit hit-and-miss, but give you can churn out minis whenever needed it'll be worth it :-)

J'aime
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
05 nov. 2022
En réponse à

Thanks Matt. I definitely prefer pre-supported STL files over others - especially on Patreon as they always claim they have successfully printed out the model themselves using it.


However, I do have a 3D printing post planned where I look at one STL file supplied by a 'big' company which repeatedly failed, so I ended up realigning & supporting the piece myself (using Chitubox) and got a successful print straight away. Even with supports you are never guaranteed a successful print as so many other things can cause issues - voids caused by plate layout or temperature of resin etc.


I have certainly churned some minis out. LOL!!! 😂

J'aime

wsd50
04 nov. 2022

Interesting stuff mate, looks like it's a steep learning curve!


Cheers Roger.

J'aime
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
04 nov. 2022
En réponse à

Cheers Roger. I genuinely think it's okay once you get your head around it. I've emptied the resin tank, cleaned the FEP and realigned the printing plate a few times now, and its fine. You just have to go through the process without rushing and give yourself the time needed to complete each part. Once completed you're good to go until the next failure. I think the benefits of producing some simply superb figs - as you'll soon start seeing - greatly outweighs the 20-30 mins needed to clean the printer up after a failure.

J'aime

wargamesterrainworkshop
wargamesterrainworkshop
04 nov. 2022

Interesting to see all the different processes involved Simon.

J'aime
Blaxkleric
Blaxkleric
04 nov. 2022
En réponse à

Thanks Dave. I'm finding this a ton of fun and once you get your head around it, I think its really quite straightforward to understand. I think the biggest issue is understanding that the model is printed upside down, so the most useful function of Chitubox Basic for me is the ability to flip the build plate over and see what gravity is going to do to the print - and thus spot where supports need to be placed etc.

J'aime
bottom of page