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My adventures in 3D printing

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  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Canberra, Australia
My adventures in 3D printing
Posted by aussiemuscle308 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 6:07 AM

There seems to be a general lack of interest in 3d printing on this forum, so i thought i'd share my experiences so far.

1. printing is the easy part

getting my printer home, the set up was fairly easy. i ran a demo print and was ready to go. What to print? ah, no idea. Getting on thingyverse, i found a truck tire and let it rip. it took about an hour and looks ok. Next i tried some other small parts. they look useful.

2. but you need to be an mesh artist

then i figured i'd like to print some other stuff for my current projects. I need some meshes, but nothing i want is on any of the free 3d websites. most expect money for them. i'm converting a Ford Explorer into a Jurassic Park ride. After much hunting, I found some 3d meshes of an JP car and extracted the JP specific parts to print. they were too fine for the printer and ended up a mess. i needed a better program. Fortunately, i'd been using 3D studio max for some computer game meshes and was able use it to fix the JP parts to print a bit nicer. This photo shows my 3d printed front guard with the one i made from brass rod and styrene.

The rear guards didn't come out due to being too thin. this is when i realised why so few modelers are using 3D printing. You need to be a wizz with 3d software to create your own stuff.

3. getting my way

What I've been wanting for some time is correct 7 spoke GT-7 rims for my Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift Mustang to replace AMT's laughable inclusion of hideous random rims from god knows were. Here i had to learn how to drive Fusion 360 as i was able to get the student edition for free to learn how. first i made some simple wheels and then some complex ones. then i went all in and tried a GT-7. i used a photo and did an exact replica. it came out terrible. it took some trial and error, but i finally got it looking ok. small details like bolts don't come out if they are smaller than 1 mm, and fine detail is often obscured. I had to beef up some of the details to compensate. i'd liken the prints to some low quality resin casting. good, but not awesome. There's lots of clean up required too.

at least they have 7 spokes. I was able to include the edge to allow the kit tires to snap onto the rims.

Mustang

by aus_mus, on Flickr

 

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Canberra, Australia
Posted by aussiemuscle308 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 6:17 AM

4. moving on up

so i decided it was time to try something a little more bold. I found a free mesh of a Tesla Model 3. no kit is available so it might be an interesting addition. I try to only build in 1/25 scale, but my printer can only do 15 cm, so a 1/25 tesla won't fit on the print board.I first printed a wheel, which confirmed i was printing roughly the right size.

i figured it was best to print it in two halves. i printed the front half first with a 15% infill honeycomb so only the outer shell is solid to save plastic reels of PLA plastic. it looks like a tesla and its solid construction means its tough as a brick.

on the downside, the striations from the layering are quite obvious and will need massive amounts of sanding and filler. i've heard you can use acetone vapor to smooth them out, but dabbing it on the plastic doesn't affect it at all.

I drew on some of the panel lines. they are quite fine, and i was worried i'd loose them altogether and want to deepen them.

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by tachyonbb on Thursday, September 13, 2018 1:37 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience.  In Omaha there is a city run/library place called "doSpace" which has a 3-D printer you can use for free (you pay for consumables).  I have been playing with various programs trying to make various parts. I appreciate the work involved. 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by AstroDad on Thursday, September 13, 2018 2:42 PM

 

Try this stuff to get rid of most of the print lines. 

https://www.smooth-on.com/product-line/xtc-3d/

I have had great success with this stuff eliminating most (and sometimes all) of the usual sanding of my home 3D printed parts.  I prefer it to the the acetone vapor as it better preserves surface details and there is no worry of leaving the part in the acetone chamber for too long (which leaves your part as soft puddle of sludge). I also find the resin more predictable and controllable than the vapor chamber which involved much guessing and checking.

On the flip side, for small mostly solid items with low surface detail (like little pokemon figurines for my youngest), the acetone vapor chamber leaves a very glossy even sheen that looks pretty much like porcelin which for these types of things is pretty cool.

I know you didn't ask, but just for reference my vapor chamber was quit minimal:

1 gallon paint can, acetone soaked paper towels, magnets to hold the acetone soaked paper towels to the paint can wall, and metal washers to raise the item being treated off the paint can bottom in case of any acetone puddling on the bottom.

 

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Canberra, Australia
Posted by aussiemuscle308 on Sunday, September 23, 2018 1:27 AM

more play-time

 i was playing with printing a Maserati Merak, as a kit of this car will set you back overy a $100 (saw some over $150).

The print had a few issues, as it wasn't intended for 3d printing, and it was free. as usual, you get what you pay for.

1. a pile of waste, or a model of a Lancia Beta? Stick out tongue When you print stuff, supports are a necessary evil.

i printed it in two halves. i should have removed the seats, as they made it difficult to remove the supports. it also wasn't thick enough in the roof area and it's fragile. a few areas had holes from lack of supports, including the above rim.

I wonder if printing clear windows will ever be an option?

 

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Canberra, Australia
Posted by aussiemuscle308 on Sunday, September 23, 2018 1:30 AM

another model i tested was this Mini Moke. unlike the above, this came out as solid and straight. thanks to its simple and straight lines, its easy for the printer to put this one out. It's next to a Revell Dodge Charger chassis to give an idea of size.

No chassis detail

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: sunny Sydney, Australia
Posted by nottheband on Monday, September 24, 2018 2:01 AM

Thanx, fellas, for sharing your 3D printing experiences.  I doubt that I'll ever get into it, but it's very interesting to hear your stories and see the photos of your results.  Your Moke looks like a winner, aussiemuscle. Cheers, and thanx again.

Steve

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Burleson, Texas
Posted by ModelTexan on Monday, September 24, 2018 10:20 AM
Please note that Acetone and Smooth-On work on ABS only. If you are using PLA, as the OP stated, then it will not work at all. PLA doesn't respond to it so to date only sanding really works.
Oops. Oh, well it'll buff out...maybe...
  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Burleson, Texas
Posted by ModelTexan on Monday, September 24, 2018 10:28 AM
I've been using a 3D printer for about 6 years to make detail parts and a 1/12 scale scratchbuilt Tucker. Most printers use 0.4 mm nozzles which is the main hurdle to getting prints with the detail we want. Those nozzle sizes can be changed but you will need to "tweak" the settings. The smallest nozzle I've used is 0.2 mm on my Prusa and previously on my Printrbot. That size is great for making 1/25 parts and even 1/32 in some cases. It takes longer to print but when making small parts that only amounts to a minute or so. Believe it or not Testors semi-liquid glue (in the black squeeze container with thin tube applicator) will glue PLA when sanded smooth on the mating surface. Superglue works well otherwise.
Oops. Oh, well it'll buff out...maybe...
  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Burleson, Texas
Posted by ModelTexan on Monday, September 24, 2018 10:58 AM

This is the 1/32 Airfix kit that has firewall details under the massively thick hood but no engine.  I wanted full detail so I designed and printed the engine, compartment details and a new, thinner hood with an actual folding hinge. The hinge is larger than scale but it was as small as I dared.  All were printed with 0.2 mm nozzle. The entire model is approximately 4.5 inches long.

Oops. Oh, well it'll buff out...maybe...

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