3D Printing: Tutorials, Tips and questions.

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3D printing is quickly becoming a game changer for both creating customs and dioramas.
I thought it would be helpful to have a dedicated thread to showcase the possibilities and have Q&As regarding it.

I'm a novice at it but I am lucky that my library has a Luzbot 3D Printer which is free to use and only costs $0.10/Gram.
One can buy files to print, create their own, or go to places like Thingiverse.
I'm on there, also under the name Utinniii.

Here was my first successful print.



Until one gets the hang of it, it is probably better to print one item at at time since if one goes wrong, ALL of them get aborted.



It is also good to watch, until you know enough. Otherwise you are wasting filament.
 
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This is a great idea. So at your library, do they have someone there to help you with the printing, or do they basically turn you loose? For the models that don't come out right, they still make you pay for the filament, though?

Here's a link to a troubleshooting guide that has been pretty helpful to me:

https://all3dp.com/1/common-3d-printing-problems-troubleshooting-3d-printer-issues/

I own a Hictop Creality CR-10 because it has a huge build area (11 inches width and length and 15 inch height) and is considered a really good all-around printer for its price range (got mine on amazon for around $440). I joined the CR-10 user group on facebook, and you can get some really good info there, but they don't like it when you ask basic questions like how to level the bed, etc.

I've found youtube to be the most helpful source for most troubleshooting issues. This guy has some pretty good tutorials, and in fact I followed his videos to get my printer set up for the first time:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC55pmMthdArS4MV1x9FT9nQ

To anyone wanting to learn to create their own files, I recommend starting with blender, which is free software and should have all the functionality you need:

https://www.blender.org/download/

Obviously there are tutorials all over youtube.

Learning 3d modeling can be a steep learning curve if you're new to it, but it is very rewarding, especially when you see an object you designed starting from little pixels on the screen come to life on your 3d printer. It got me back into 3d modeling, for sure.

I'll post some more later on, maybe some pics and stuff. I have a few more models that I've printed for my Death Star project that I haven't shared yet.
 
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My library has a worker that oversees the area. Some of the workers are really helpful (and ordered colors I suggested), but one wasn't.
I've always paid for my misprints but I could have thrown them out probably (depending on who was working). I think people should pay though since the money goes back into buying filament and they just upgraded the computer for the 4 3D printers.

Another newbie mistake I made was when downloading files, I deleted the instructions. They are really important for knowing if supports are needed and if a brim, raft or the 3rd one is needed.
This was helpful to me.

I haven't watched these yet, but they look promising.

The thing I want to learn is how to slice existing .stl files so for example, I like this queen head but don't want the torso. Or I just want the claws of a creature.

I'd also like to know how to cut and graft different things together. For example, I want to make a Plonk. I know it can easily be done by someone that understands how.

I've played around with Sketchup, but only a little. It seems good for geometric shapes.

At this point, I's rather still do most things by hand and the Luzbot isn't great for fine details but it is still fun to do and I'm happy with my few successes.

We have a coffee maker at work and I tried pouring water on some support material but it wasn't hot enough to either melt it or soften it up to move. I'm hoping I can melt the scrap and use it in my molds.
 
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Here is another model I designed and printed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZvInF2GAqk
Beautiful work as usual, izzy!

My library has a worker that oversees the area. Some of the workers are really helpful (and ordered colors I suggested), but one wasn't.
I've always paid for my misprints but I could have thrown them out probably (depending on who was working). I think people should pay though since the money goes back into buying filament and they just upgraded the computer for the 4 3D printers.

Another newbie mistake I made was when downloading files, I deleted the instructions. They are really important for knowing if supports are needed and if a brim, raft or the 3rd one is needed.
This was helpful to me.

I haven't watched these yet, but they look promising.

The thing I want to learn is how to slice existing .stl files so for example, I like this queen head but don't want the torso. Or I just want the claws of a creature.

I'd also like to know how to cut and graft different things together. For example, I want to make a Plonk. I know it can easily be done by someone that understands how.

I've played around with Sketchup, but only a little. It seems good for geometric shapes.

At this point, I's rather still do most things by hand and the Luzbot isn't great for fine details but it is still fun to do and I'm happy with my few successes.

We have a coffee maker at work and I tried pouring water on some support material but it wasn't hot enough to either melt it or soften it up to move. I'm hoping I can melt the scrap and use it in my molds.
Thanks for the resources, I'll have to take a look at those when I get some time. I agree it's good to pay for your bad prints anyway, as it helps support the library, which is a good thing. If it's a maintenance issue, though, that would be on their end, as I assume they don't want people fiddling around with their expensive printers when they use them.

So as far as knowing what type of adhesion is best, I've found that brim works fine for items that have a flat bottom, or a lot of surface area contacting the bottom. With a giraffe I tried to print, I had to use a raft, as his leg kept coming off when being touched by the nozzle during printing since his little feet were such a small surface area contacting the heat bed. That solved the problem.

So on the printer you use, what kind of surface is the heat bed? Mine is originally glass but I replaced it with a mirror, which is supposed to be more flat, though I don't really notice a difference. I also use a glue stick and apply that directly to the bed before printing. Sometimes I can get away with printing a few items back to back without applying more glue. Some people use masking tape, but I just don't see the practicality of it, and had no luck with it at all when I used it.

I don't know for sure if there is a way to edit files once they are in .stl form. Though if I remember correctly, you may be able to import them into a program like Maya or Blender. Cutting off the queen's head would be a very simple thing with something like that. I definitely recommend spending a little time getting familiar with those programs and just finding some basic tutorials.

I don't know anything about sketchup other than my son has used it in school, and he seems to think the same thing, that it's good for geometric shapes, but I don't know how detailed you can get with it.

It would be awesome to find a way to re-use extra filament in some way, as between all the support material and bad prints, this couple save money. I'll let you know if I figure out anything on that and you do the same! Oh and congrats on sticky status!
 
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Today all 3 printers were having problems as they would stop mid print. I didn't pay for the crap that didn't work. I managed to print a FNAF security badge although some of the letter parts and details failed to print.

I used Pebeo Cerne Relief to fill in the missing details.

I think the bottom is ceramic but I'm not sure. Today, someone else's think lifted but I haven't had that problem unless it was super tiny (a 3.75 scale candlestick).

I think Sketchup would be good for making jabba's dais or tables. I really don't know enough yet.

With regards to the scrap, I think a lot of it makes good Jawa junk, and some parts can become greeblies for dioramas.
I'm going to either dig out or buy a second smelting ladle (for melting lead) and see if the filament melts again. Then I will see if I can pour it into molds or sculpt it like clay. A fine Soldering iron (or Doodlepen or gluegun) might soften it up as well.

Thanks! I'm hoping this thread becomes the go to place for questions and tutorials.

I'll be posting what I'm doing once I retrieve my camera from the cottage.
 
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I was so delighted to find a Dingbot on https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:389130.
I had one when they first came out but always wanted on to scale with my Star Wars figures.

I'm not sure about the scale though. I may make an even smaller one. I'd love to have an accurate 1:18 scale one but I know the Luzbot won't print it that small with enough detail.
 
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The best advice is to print a successful first layer and know how to slice.

And it's easy to 3d print, it's just frustrating at times because the first layer either didn't adhere properly, a clogged nozzle, or the slicing wasn't thorough.

I hate long prints. Longest print I've done is 11 hours. It's because I didn't mess with the supports enough. Had I spaced them out a little, I would save time.

The RGC landspeeder took 24 hours total time for 8 prints. I'd say that's the longest total print time on a model for me so far.

As far as small goes, I printed a Duros head bust in 1/18th scale and to me, it looks really good. Better than an 80's JOE headsculpt, but still has the layer striations.

What I love most is making models of my own design and printing it. Feels great.

And then I also love looking at scenes from the films and modeling background stuff to print for dioramas.

I'm slowly learning to model more organic things and hope to start making creatures like Voxyn and Gundarks soon. Simple arm/leg swivels are definitely possible and ball joints are too depending on size.

I'll be posting some pics on my threads in the next few days of some of this.


And if anyone is interested, I'm willing to print stuff for a printer use fee. I only print in PLA's though. And most models can be scaled up or down and can always be adjusted. :{J
 
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Here is my latest project. A 1:12 scale Rebel Hoth Turret. I was asked by a fellow Star Wars fan if I could commission it with a follow on Hoth Dish Turret later to follow. Here is the result of the 98% finished print. Thanks for looking:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mO8Vp1qFnQc
 
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Fantastic! I've always found the 3.75" scale turrets to be undersized and would love to add one of those to my 3.75" Hoth diorama.
 
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These are my go to guru's on youtube for 3d printing:

Angus at Maker's Muse: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMakersMuse

Thomas at Thomas Sanladerer: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThomasSanladerer

And Danny at 3d Printed Tabletop: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_uz-iWzyR1VJNlN-E1y7w

Angus and Thomas are the best 3d pritner gurus I've encountered so far and they're really accessible if you need help. They're also extremely professional about their videos and tips.

Danny is great because he likes to show how it's possible to get better details on prints and how to successfully print miniatures for gaming.

Joel at 3d Printing Nerd is cool too, I just think he's too...popular. He appeals to a wide audience and not just 3d printing hobbyists if you ask me. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_7aK9PpYTqt08ERh1MewlQ

And of course there's always Josef Prusa himself at: https://www.youtube.com/user/prusajr

On Thingiverse Zanza Toys is my favorite free file maker: https://www.thingiverse.com/zanzastoys/designs

And here's my other favorite TV artists:

https://www.thingiverse.com/cheffrey85/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/ricktress/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/300zxcolin/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/Curufin/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/McAnultyMiniatures/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/xenor/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/Snickett/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/Astrofossil/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/Jace1969/designs
https://www.thingiverse.com/FigureWorks/designs

Through these guys and maybe some other users you can get a free file for just about everything seen in the films.

And if it's made for 1:12th scale, scale it down to 66%. If it's made for 1:18th and you want it in 1:12th, scale it up by %33.

If it's legion scale, somewhere between 200-250-300% scaled up is the way to go. But you'll probably want to check wookieepedia and BTS resources to see if the model is scaled up properly.

I hope this info helps the other 3d printers here.

And if you guys know of any vehicle or droid files I might not have already, let me know. :{J
 
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One other thing I would add, Kyp, which I found through experience: In scaling down for 1:18 scale, it wouldn't be exact SW scale, since the standard figure size is 3.75" as opposed to 4". So in going from 6" (1/12) scale to 3.75" scale, I've found that scaling to 62.5% actually works a little better :)
 
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Not trying to argue, but it's the same scale.

A couple(4) of mm difference in height between a SA Stormtrooper(98mm) and a 25th Anniversary GI JOE(102mm). An ST is actually 3.858 inches if you want to nitpick. It's like saying the ST is 6' and the JOE is 6' 2".

I've scaled enough prints to know I'm correct in saying 1:18th scale/66%. And scaling any smaller than it has to be risks weakening the print.

I've printed over 200 SW prints so far. Most of which I had to scale a 1:12 scale model down to 1:18th. I have plenty of XP with this and know that 1:18th scale is correct.

If I had scaled that Patrol speederbike 62.5% for instance, it wouldn't have held the figure as well. Same with the Mando speeder bike. Same with the Kyber crates. Cantina chairs/tab

I can keep going.

You're actually scaling it down more than needed. :{J
 
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Yeah sounds like you've printed a lot more than me. The reason I had come to that conclusion was admittedly based off the cantina tables which I printed off. When I printed at 66%, it turned out larger than the actual table that was packaged with one of the figures. 62.5% got it to the right size in that situation. For the few things that I scaled down after that (crates, barrels) I kept it at the 62.5%. Hard to say if they're off without anything to compare to, but I'll take your word for it :)
 
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@Darth Sceptaurus Sounds like the specific file you used, not the formula. Who ever made that table in 1:12th probably oversized it.

The ones I've used 66% works best.

And your way might cost someone a print/time. That's why I'm telling them 66%. To save them the headache later.

And again, we're talking a 4 mm difference in scale. I doubt that if the table file you used was accurate that it would be noticeable scaled.

And again again, Kenner may have been 3 3/4 scale, but the more modern SA Hasbro is 1/18th.

I'm just trying to save people the frustration of printing it slightly too small and them having to reprint it correctly.

Frustration can cause people to get out of the 3d printing hobby. It's not worth the risk. We need more collectors in the 3d printing hobby. :{
 
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It can be frustrating. After Halloween I will post some of my mistakes and how I can fix/use them.
I looked online for a smelting ladle but they were more expensive than I wanted to pay.
 
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Yeah I have a box full of waste PLA. A smelting ladle is a good idea. I was thinking of using a plain cooking one(metal) and seeing if I can heat the waste enough to fill a simple press mold.

Some of my mistakes have worked out for junk piles for the Jawas or repair shops. That's just another reason why I love printing. You get these happy accidents as Ross would say. :{J
 
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Here's some tips for speeding up printing:


Reduce the infill as much as you can allow. I usually do 4% but sometimes I need 5-10% because the model has lots of flat spaces that need infill underneath to print successfully. My RGC speeder only took 24 hours total print time because I had the infill at 5% instead of 4. It would have probably saved a whole hour off the print. But would also be a weaker model.

Set vertical shells to 2. If you have infill, this should be plenty of shells. But if you want it stronger, set this higher. It will take longer though since the extruder has to travel that shell's path more than twice a layer.

Use rectilinear infill and supports. These seem to print fastest. Honeycomb is probably the strongest of the basic infills but it takes longer due to the more complex infill shape.

Try to slice and orient the model with as few supports as possible. Supports take away time from the model itself. And if you can print without the supports it obviously is faster.

Print one part at a time instead of a set of parts. (depends on size of parts though, a lot of small parts is still faster than setting up multiple prints of small parts) At first I tried printing droids all in one go but it takes about 2 hours to do the simple GNK I print. Leaving the parts separate only takes about one hour per whole GNK droid.

And of course, increase the print speed if the model doesn't have a lot of varying geometry. If the shape is complex and the extruder has to jerk around a lot to make the shapes, slower is better as this will leave surface artifacts at higher speeds.


It's really sort of Rock, paper, scissors though. Speeding up the print too much usually means it's weaker or doesn't look as nice. Hope this helps. :{J
 
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That was pretty helpful.
I hope to do a bit more printing after Halloween.
 
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Thanks.
One advantage to printing multiple objects is that it gives each object time to cool before the next few layers. Since we mostly print tiny and sometimes thin objects, this is helpful (but controlling the speed can also accomplish this.
 
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Doing multiple thin objects risks the nozzle knocking them off or snapping them. It's best to do a thin object by itself on a slightly lower nozzle temperature. You could also speed it up by 5-10%.

I can see that working on larger wider objects. But this will still increase the print time due to each layer's travel times. The nozzle has to move between the parts and that adds up over the layers.

And of course the slicing is important. That guy Danny I posted the link to shows how you can make 28mm scale minis that look almost completely smooth when printed on and FDM style printer. He uses an Ender 3 I think. Point is he was able to get small details as well as thin spears and arms to print by tweaking the settings just right. :{J
 
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Another tip is if you're going to use a PLA blend or HTPLA or anythign other than standard PLA, get a new nozzle and possibly heat break ready.

PLA's like the Stainless Steel or Magnetic Iron or Carbon Fiber and filaments like PTGE and the other stronger filaments eat up your nozzle fast.

The Stainless Steel PLA ate up a brand new nozzle with just a half roll. It told my nozzle "he doesn't like you and I don't like you either!" and my nozzle was easily pushed into some cantina tables. Luckily I went all Obi Wan and removed the nozzle like an Aqulishi arm.

(an example of Stainless Steel PLA)


I keep an e guitar string on hand to clean the nozzle when it's clogged and they make kits that are basically acupuncture needles to jam up in the hole.



And another different tip is how to print with multiple colors without dual or multiple extruders.

I simply let the print get to the desired layer height and cut the filament that's loaded and take the one I'm adding and follow the first filament down into the extruder.

Once the filament is loaded kind of push it through a little more to get that color coming out.

I've used this technique a lot to get this effect but also when I simply ran out of one color.

(an example of multi-color printing)



:{J
 
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Nice! Which paint app are you going to do? Like is it for Neyo or any specific group of clones yet? :{J
 
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Beautiful, as always Izzy.

I finally had a chance to 3D print again but it failed. The printer was making a strange sound.

I was talking to a worker there and he told me 2 really interesting things.

First he mentioned that an acetone vapor bath will remove the striation lines for a smooth finish.

Second, he said the library does have a 3D scanner, but it probably won't get the details I want. More importantly, he said that anyone with an Xbox can use it as a 3D scanner!! Someone discovered that the motion capture function can get really fine details. I don't have one so I didn't look into it but I thought I'd pass on this information in case one of you has an Xbox and wants to try it out.
 
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Utinnii,

Appreciate the compliments and thank you for the information. I tried using Acetone in the past. It doesn’t work with PLA. It will soften the material but it will not smooth out the lines. There is an another chemical you can use but I can’t remember what is called off hand. I usually sand and use primer filler to help with the lines or if the part is really big I use smooth on XTC resin.

I havent tried using the Xbox to scan items but I did see a few demos at a few 3d expos. Right now it’s not where I would like it to be. Not mention copy right issues that could arise. I try my best to stay away from doing that and design/model the parts myself. Thanks again for the information.

Izzy

Beautiful, as always Izzy.

I finally had a chance to 3D print again but it failed. The printer was making a strange sound.

I was talking to a worker there and he told me 2 really interesting things.

First he mentioned that an acetone vapor bath will remove the striation lines for a smooth finish.

Second, he said the library does have a 3D scanner, but it probably won't get the details I want. More importantly, he said that anyone with an Xbox can use it as a 3D scanner!! Someone discovered that the motion capture function can get really fine details. I don't have one so I didn't look into it but I thought I'd pass on this information in case one of you has an Xbox and wants to try it out.
 
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I should have separated my post as it wasn't all directed at Izzy. The second part was for anyone.

He's correct about PLA and acetone not working.

With regards to both 3D printing and 3D scanning, I agree that it can be even better and isn't quite where I need them to be. (I want want of those tools Wesley's fellow kidnapped kid used in STNG where he imagined an object and it replicated it: from the alien abduction episode).

I want the scanner for my own creations, although copyright is still an issue if it is based on an existing property. I doubt Hasbro would make puffer pigs, Blurrgs and many other creatures I've created.

Although, scanning Hasbro parts for personal use is still something I am interested in.
 
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Hey, I just discovered a new poster on Thingiverse that is making a lot of droids from Star Wars in 3.75 scale!
Enjoy!!
 
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Hey, I just discovered a new poster on Thingiverse that is making a lot of droids from Star Wars in 3.75 scale!
Enjoy!!
Yeah I requested an MK and he made it. Isotelus is really churning out the background droids, especially from Solo. I've printed out six so far and I'm really loving and appreciating that he made these models and was cool enough to put them in 3 3/4 scale and actually add some basic articulation.

And I really want to scale some up to 6" and down to Legion scale too. He's definitely a boon to the collecting community that prints. :{J
 
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