Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Intersection of 3D Printing and Modeling - Another Diorama

While not at all a finished project the diorama shown below does illustrate the birth of another heavily 3D Printed diorama (here is my first one).  I keep getting distracted by other projects but I will ultimately finish this thing.  In case you are wondering about the shape...it fits a stack of shelves that I printed for my man cave.

Below are the first couple of prints.  On the bottom is the foundation for the diorama with a footprint for a ruined building, a sidewalk of concrete slabs, and a cobble stone street with some shell holes.  At the top are the ruined building, a model who's files I purchased downloaded and printed, and to the right are some initial pieces of bling to decorate the project.

Here I have painted the street and started to landscape the are outside the ruined building.  It is hard to tell from this print but I have another print that has added a layer of ground in the area at the top left of the diorama.  In hind-sight there were a number of things that should have been designed into the initial print above, or out of in the case of much of the time that I put into sidewalk that I then covered!

Most of the heavy duty landscaping is now done.  Note that I am very much a beginning modeler so please humor me in my attempts on this project.  Like the two colors of earth with the darker being older and the lighter being newer...?

In the below two shots we see a traditional model from Battlefront integrated into the diorama.  We can also see, particularly in the shot that looks into the ruined building, some of the bling that I have designed for Flames of War gamers.  The tank is a high resolution print of a model done by M_Bergman and available on Thingiverse along with all of my bling.

Not quite the end by any means but getting close.  My vision is to replace the Panther with a Tiger II and to have figures populating the model.

Some Pictures of Bling

This post is actually just a placeholder for some pictures of various FoW Bling!
Basic Wagon 
Upgraded Field Wagon

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tale of Two Marvins

Someone had asked what settings I was using for ABS on my Ultimakers referring to problems they were having with printing the Marvin calibration object.  I had not printed a Marvin in a while so did the below as a test.   They are not perfect but they are pretty decent.  Left is ABS and right is PLA.  Both at 80 micron layer height.

Simplify 3D profiles used for the above: ABS PLA

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tale of Two Materials (PLA and ABS)

My first printer, the Prusa I3, was a completely open printer with a 12v heated platform.  It printed PLA well and ABS pretty much not at all given the time it took heating up the platform and then the issues with prints adhering to the build platform at all in my drafty man-cave.

Enter the Wanhao Duplicator 4S.  It was a completely enclosed printer with a 24v heated build platform and it did ABS brilliantly.  It still took time to heat the build platform but I was ok with that....first, because it really did do ABS well, but second as I was NEVER able to get it to print PLA well!  No matter what build surface treatment that I tried I could not get reliable print adhesion.  I know that I should have been able to get past this but I could not in the time I gave myself so I just printed ABS, brilliantly, I might add.

Now we are in the Ultimaker age and I am largely printing PLA.  To me it seems like the stock UM2 is really designed more for PLA than ABS given that it is partially open.   In my man cave this results in print adhesion and warping issues so I got a door and a cover for both of my printers.   Now I can print either ABS or PLA on either printer.

So what are the benefits of one material over the other?   PLA is much, much easier for me to print with on the Ultimaker 2.  Print adhesion is more straight forward (clean build platform and hairspray) and things are just so much faster given a build platform temperature of 60 versus 110.  The other worry with PLA is that it has a pretty low melting point and I can envision parts being left somewhere and getting hot enough to warp (hot car even though probably not in the UK)!  

PLA is also bio-degradable which is both a good thing from a landfill perspective but could be a bad thing if your print bio degrades out from under you!  In reality I have seen no evidence of PLA bio degrading in normal use.  I even have some shelves under the kitchen sink where they are frequently wet and after more than a year they are just fine.

Finally, and obviously importantly, I think that PLA looks a little more crisp than PLA.  I need to document this as it may only be subjective but the combination of this with the speed and ease of PLA has me liking PLA a lot better than ABS.   Except.

So what is the quandary?  Simply the issue of prints that need supporting material.  No matter how I tweak my setting it is still a real pain in the ass to get the support off the PLA prints.   The major variables are temperature...need to print as cool as possible so the layers don't rebond and then some slicing settings that control the offset between the support and the working part.  With either material I like to print plenty extra support material (inflation distance on Simplify 3D) but the setting that seems to make the most difference is the separation distance between layers but this comes issues on the parts that I have been printing in terms of some stray extrusion strands!

So I am back to thinking about using ABS for prints that require a lot of support material!  But I like PLA better.  That is the quandary.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Another 3D Printed Kit - German Field Wagon

Somehow I got distracted from finishing my urban diorama so that I could do a German Field Wagon.  Have actually done two different models at this point with the first one being loosely patterned after some wagons that I found on the web and the second being a much closer to reality model.

Here are a couple examples of field wagons from searching the web.  Interestingly some of the first images that are returned are those from one of the other kits out there.

With those pictures as inspiration I simplified things a little and came up with version 1.  Here it is on the cutting matt and also on the urban diorama.  I like it but thought that I could be a little more accurate from a modeling perspective so came up with a new version shown below.

I know, the paint still needs work!  The model however, IMHO, looks pretty tight.  I believe that it is pretty close to the right dimensions though  some allowances were still made for the small scale.  I have some horses on order and will update this post and the wagon once I have them in hand.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

T-34 and Panther in Diorama Shots

I printed a Panther G and a T-34 85 at a pretty high resolution and then had them painted by David at Prepared for War.  This was before I decided that I needed to be able to paint my own tanks but I still refer back to his work for ideas and guidance.

The first set of images are taken with the urban diorama that I am currently trying to finish.  It will feature a Tiger II with open hatches getting a resupply.  The diorama is intended to illustrate the impact that a 3D Printer can have on modeling and as such I have thrown a lot of plastic at it from my collection of bling that I sell on eBay!  More on this diorama later.

The remaining two photos are of the T-34 on the diorama that I built to show off my Bailey Bridge.  Since I do not think that Lend Lease provided the Soviets with any Bailey Bridges the accuracy of showing a T-34 on one is clearly questionable!  In thinking about it, however, it could have been a bridge in part of the allied captured area of Germany that was ceded to Soviet control?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting Tanks - Part 2b - Ready to Start Painting

Assembling the Tiger II was a lot more work than I anticipated!  Not the kit's fault that I lost a couple of the tiny little fiddly bits and had to design and print replacements (hatch on top of turret and the exhaust stacks).  Also the fact that I am a pretty inexperienced model builder and it shows in some of the assembly!

The kit gets some credit though as some of the parts are really fiddly and while they all ended up fitting logically the instructions were not great (not really instruction just a page illustration) and some of the parts required a lot of cleanup and twiddling.

I do love the feel of the Battlefront tank though.  It is heavy.  Just like a tank should be!  Not sure I would want to carry a case of them around though!