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Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Hold on to your pauldrons, you're in for a long post...

Hello!

I've spent the past few months playing around with products from Shapeways (www.shapeways.com) and figured I'd write it up and post it. Let others learn from my mistakes! The first thing I did was order the sample kit just to get some hands on time with the various materials. It's a bit expensive, but it does come with a coupon that mitigates that a bit. It's a lot smaller than it looks on the webpage, being about 95mm x 50mm.
It contains eight samples:

1 - Antique Bronze
2 - White, Strong and Flexible
3 - Alumide
4 - Full Colour Flexible
5 - Black Detail
6 - White Detail
7 - Transparent Detail
8 - Grey Robust



It arrives kinda dusty actually. I was expecting something slicker after my experiences with cast material but it's mostly dusty, especially the sintered parts. A quick brush got rid of most of it though. Antique bronze looks nice, but it's got (and this will become a constant chorus) a slightly sandy texture to it, like something that's been sand cast and not polished yet.

White Strong and Flexible (WS&F), which many many of the 40K parts seem to have as their default setting is the next sample in the kit. It's also really sandy feeling. I'm hoping that a coat of paint or two will cover that up.

Alumide basically feels just like the WS&F, only a little colder since metal transfers heat more efficiently. It does have a better detail than WS&F, but it's not as good as any of the Detail plastics.

Full Colour is colourful, but a touch muted. The colour separation around the printed letter that labels it is fantastic, but the edges are a little sandy and they also have a lot of little white bits of flash on the edges. Those might be easier to clean up if the piece wasn't trapped in the sample frame. It is pretty soft, and a fingernail can scuff up the surface.

The three Detail materials are basically the same. They do not have the sandy feel of the WS&F and feel closer to cast resin parts. The clear seems to have slightly more details than the others, and the white feels the hardest. The black and clear have a slightly more rubbery feel to them. However, the differences are not major.

The Grey Robust feels the strongest, but it also has the most obvious tool marks on it. It's actually sort of distracting, it's got enough ridges that it sort of looks like the surface of a record.



I then ordered a field gun and vehicle light in WSF and some bolt-heads in Clear Detail (CD).

http://www.shapeways.com/model/174397/w4k10_mk4_gun_kit.html?gid=mg

The first picture is of the detail bolts that I ordered They look fantastic really. Haven't worked with them too much. They're really tiny. A few broke off during shipping, but that's not really a big deal, since you want them off the sprue anyway.



The field gun came in a number of pieces allowing you to assemble several different gun options. I think I'm gonna need more magnets. Or I'm just going to build one and use the rest for parts.



Once again, it's smaller than expected. One really does need to pay attention to the dimensions when ordering. It would be fine for IG, but it's a little small for orks. Having worked with it a little the WSF is really strong. In order to assemble the two gun barrels I had to use styrene tube. The creator figured why print tubes when any modeler worth their salt has already got some. Save you a bit of cash. If you look at the las-style barrel (the one on top) you'll notice a little cast ring. What is hidden behind the barrel is the thin bit of plastic that's holding that ring in place. I had to drill through that ring to drill out the base. It was, to be perfectly honest, a recipe for disaster and even though I was drilling very carefully I expected it to tear off at any second. It did not. The pieces were actually sort of difficult to drill into. They were also sort of difficult to file down. They were also sandy. The piece required a bit of brushing and the use of various pointy things to clean un-sintered powder out of the various voids. No flash or air piping to cut off, but it's got it's own special problems.

It doesn't take zap-a-gap real well. It's too porous and the glue sinks right in. I've dug around on the forums and they suggest using the actual gel zap-a-gap since even the thicker "gap filling" style soaks right in. I wasn't able to find actual gel style superglue, but I did buy a tube of the extra-thick FLGS brand CA glue and it seems to work just fine.

While searching for glue advice I found these links which might be of interest.

Painted tiny tank turrets (and a demonstration of why it's called White, Strong and Flexible)

http://www.combatgroupdynamix.com/index3.html

The same individual had problems with White Detail warping. Something to keep in mind when ordering something with long thin bits.

http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=tree&th=1800&S=5e904b4c9443bf8ea4d6317a081aa127

I assembled field gun kit as a mortar and bitbashed some of the remaining parts into a sorta freakishly long Kan-gun and both of those sorta primed. I also used one of the bolt-heads on a piece I later made a cast of with less than stellar results. The rough texture of these parts tends to grab your mold making material, even when you remember to apply your mold release stuff.

This stuff really is stronger than it looks. It looks like it's made out of sugar cubes and it makes you really nervous handling it. Then you try and saw through a bit and it actually seems stronger than plain old polystyrene. One problem with modding WSF is that any place you cut or saw has a smooth surface instead of a sandy one.

Priming is interesting. WSF is porous, so it soaks up primer. This isn't a real problem unless you've got something you've already bashed together that is a mix of polystyrene and sintered nylon. The PS is completely, thoroughly primed after one pass and the nylon is just sorta light grey. It also looks like the standard GW primer doesn't stick to the sintered nylon really well after it's been cut. It works just fine on the sandy bits, but the smooth spots left by sawing don't hold onto it well at all, coming clean with just a scrape of a thumbnail. I might need to sand it a bit before priming again, or find something designed to stick to nylon. Or I can just superglue a piece of PS sheet over it.



So in short, I'd be wary of using this in a project that involves doing a lot of cutting since you'll wind up with smooth bits. You also want to prime your piece before you start gluing other bits of plastic to it. Once it's primed it takes paint pretty well, but drybrushing tends to go awry due to the rough texture of the surface you're working with. You can slightly smooth out your surface by ignoring the THIN YOUR PAINTS rule and applying them a bit thick. Here it is completely painted. I didn't really "ork it up" much due to the aforementioned difficulties in mixing WSF and PS. If anyone asks I'm going to just say it was recently captured and the meks haven't had time to tinker with it yet.



Working with the various detail plastics has it's own problems. First off, a lot of the time your model will arrive slightly damp. You just need to set it for a day or two to let the fluid evaporate. Do not try and assemble a damp model, it doesn't work. You may also need to clean off the substrate that is used to support the model while it's being printed. Depending on exactly what product you used for your printing you'll need to use different cleaner. The shapeways forums have advice depending on the material. Sometimes it's a simple as simple green, other times it's pure acetone. Don't skip this step, as horrible as the cleaners may be. It's all that stands between you and a lumpy model. The details plastics, while not as powdery as the WSF will have a distinctive "grain" caused by the printing process. There is no way to control exactly how your model will be positioned when printed, so you just have to roll your dice and take your chances. Once again, a good thick non-thinned layer of paint can help hide the grain on large smooth surfaces.

Working with these is a little different than PS. They aren't as flexible and thus may snap instead of cutting cleanly with a knife. If you have to make any cuts through thick parts you probably want to bust out the razor saw. They do at least take primer a lot more like PS, so you shouldn't have as much trouble mixing and matching PS parts with detail parts.

After finishing working with these pre-designed parts I decided to try and make my own. Why the hell not... I decided to try and make Killa Kan weapons since I'd got a pack of the new plastic Kans for my birthday and was sorta pissed off that despite Kans coming in squads of three, and being sold in boxes of three ...

you only get one of each weapon even though you pretty much always field them with matching weapons.

I started off with a pencil and paper, doing a bunch of quick sketches. Many of these sucked, and quick sketch is as far as they'll ever get. The ones that didn't suck got more detail added. I usually used some pre-existing weapon for an inspiration, and then orky-fied it.





This one is based of an Ork-ified version of the old Mitrailleuse early machine gun.

Once I had a good number of sketches I then realized I hadn't used a 3D rendering program since using Lightwave. On my Amiga.

I wound up using Blender since it was free. Now, there are plenty of tutorials available for Blender, but most of them are for older versions and thus don't really help. Make sure to check that version number before you start reading, or you'll get really detailed instructions calling for you to push a button that no longer exists.

After a few days of intermittent work and swearing ... I was on my way.



When you're making a 3D model for printing the big concept to keep in mind is "manifold". Basically this means that you've got a model with an inside and an outside. Otherwise the program can't figure out what should be solid and what should be empty. Hopefully this diagram will help. If you mess this up your model won't print. You also want to make sure that none of your parts are too thin. There's a guide on the shapeways site listing the minimum thicknesses of the various printing materials.



You want to build your model assuming that the grid squares in blender are going to be one millimeter.

The next step I took is to scan my drawings and lay them in the background of blender so that I can use them as guide to start working on my model. Since I was working on a Killa Kan gun I also took a photo of a killa kan gun and used that to make sure that my scaling was correct.



The shoulder ball is exactly 7mm across. Scale accordingly.

Of course I only figured this out after screwing it up once and producing some hilariously liliputian weapons.

Once you've gotten your design finished you need to select all the pieces you want to print and "Export as .stl file". Then upload it to Shapeways, tell them that 1 unit is equal to 1 millimeter and wait for them to check it for manifold problems. This usually doesn't take more than ten or fifteen minutes.

Some of you might be wondering why I have sprues on a model that is being printed in 3D with lasers. Shapeways doesn't support multi-part models, so you have to make little sprues to join all your parts together. Don't make them too thin or bits can break off and get lost during the packing and mailing process.



The finished Mitrailleuse style Big Shoota.



Of course RPGs will still be around.



I might have watched too much Robotech as a kid.



The other Big Shoota.

These designs are for sale! SHAMELESS PLUG

Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -0314915.M2

Not affiliated with the Unistrut Corporation. 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





Thanks for the excellent reviews.



I am currently taking commissions.

http://www.facebook.com/EastgatePaintingStudio
 
   
Made in us
Excellent Exalted Champion of Chaos






Lake Forest, California, South Orange County

While I can only imagine that the quality will increase as the tech matures, the graininess of the finished pieces is a bit harsh for my tastes. It seems to work well for Orks, but for marines and such it may not.

Also, if I had the cash I'd order that gun in pure silver, just because.

"Bryan always said that if the studio ever had to mix with the manufacturing and sales part of the business it would destroy the studio. And I have to say – he wasn’t wrong there! ... It’s become the promotions department of a toy company." -- Rick Priestly
 
   
Made in us
Druid Warder





central florida

Depending on what printers they use. Will determine how grainy it is. Most of the high end printers don't have that problem. They could be printing for speed more than detail also, so they can mass produce what people want done. 3D printing is exciting stuff, I just about bought one about 8 months ago, but decided against it.

DA:70S+G-M+B++I++++Pwmhd06#+D++A++/hWD199R++T(M)DM+

Big Guns Tutorial

Skarpteef's How to's on Orkiness 
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Yes, the grainy-ness is really determined by the material.

For reference, in order of most grain to least ...

White, Strong and Flexible - the mortar from above - actually not so much "grain" as just a generally rough surface.
White Detail - the Mitrailleuse, Kan o' Rockets and Lewis gun - definite grain
Frosted Detail - the RPG - Almost no grain. HOWEVER - there is a lot of gooey substrate to clean off.

In all cases, for tabletop use the grain is hardly noticeable. If you're out to win a Golden Demon you'd want to use Frosted Detail or even Ultra Detailed.

-Ruff, if you were looking at the Makerbot or RepRap 3D printers I've got a friend who has one. The print quality from those is pretty much like the Grey Robust from the sample kit.

Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -0314915.M2

Not affiliated with the Unistrut Corporation. 
   
Made in us
Druid Warder





central florida

Wasn't looking at those, but they did come up in conversation from a friend that is a engineer. They looked good, but wasn't impressed when I seen the results. I cant remember what the company name was I was looking at, but the price was about 8-9 grand. The specs where really impressive on it.

DA:70S+G-M+B++I++++Pwmhd06#+D++A++/hWD199R++T(M)DM+

Big Guns Tutorial

Skarpteef's How to's on Orkiness 
   
Made in fi
Junior Officer with Laspistol







Thank you for your report, it's an interesting industry, to be sure, and at the very least, you have a set of very nice Kan weaponry.

"The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas." 
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




Rancho Cucamonga, CA

ruff wrote:Wasn't looking at those, but they did come up in conversation from a friend that is a engineer. They looked good, but wasn't impressed when I seen the results. I cant remember what the company name was I was looking at, but the price was about 8-9 grand. The specs where really impressive on it.


The results from the Reprap have to be weighed against the fact that it costs less than a grand. It isn't up to the standard of the pro machines, but it costs a heck of a lot less and fits in your garage. I actually remember my dad bringing home a video of some of the really early prototype machines around 1990. Room sized machines that required swarms of dudes in lab coats to get working and could really only afforded by a company working with DoD size budgets. Amazing what 20 some odd years of development gets you.

In any case - moving on! My goal is to have two of every Grot weapon available in the store so that folks who buy a pack of Kans can easily get a trio of weapons. I started with the Big Shoota and Rokkit Launcha since I had the best ideas for those. However, my favorite weapon for Killa Kans is actually the Grotzooka so I was eager to start working on those. For those curious, the flamer is coming last. Seriously, who puts a flamer on one of the units with the highest BS in your whole army?

I started bouncing ideas off of Bloater Paste and quickly sketching out ideas.



"Big Revolver". Says it all really. I imagined all the chambers packed with scrap, sort of like a cross between a Jackhammer and a Magnum.

After deciding to go with that, I did a few more sketches to get an idea of where I was going with this.



The hammer has changed a bit, and I've at least started thinking about how I'm attaching this thing to the Kan. I think the angled metal gives it a bit of a gunslinger look, which I find humorous.

I open up my bits template, which has a properly scaled shoulder ball and a selection of screw, bolt and rivet heads and get to work. I'm fairly confident in this one, so I don't load the sketch into the background, but I do load in the scale reference. Teeny tiny guns is only funny once.



Possibly a little on the small side.



Here we are at the end of day one. I've got a lot of the basic elements blocked out, and I've mostly remembered all the stuff I've forgotten about Blender. Still can't make the damn boolean tools work how I expect though...

Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -0314915.M2

Not affiliated with the Unistrut Corporation. 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Pleasant Valley, Iowa

Fascinating read.

How much is it costing you per print, if you don't mind me asking? EDIT: the prices are in the link. Derp.

My friend built a reprap and he's had nothing but problems with it, mostly problems with the software. Even when it works well, the best pieces he has come up with are still way too grainy for our purposes. He replaced the print head the other day, and I haven't seen anything from the new one yet, though.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2012/04/23 05:38:06


 
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Ouze wrote:Fascinating read.

How much is it costing you per print, if you don't mind me asking? EDIT: the prices are in the link. Derp.

My friend built a reprap and he's had nothing but problems with it, mostly problems with the software. Even when it works well, the best pieces he has come up with are still way too grainy for our purposes. He replaced the print head the other day, and I haven't seen anything from the new one yet, though.


My friend who has one does programming for a living, so he's not as bothered by having to tinker with the software, although that has also been his biggest challenge. His first prints were all screwed up because the head temperature was wrong. He had changed it in one of the programs, not realizing it was also set in another program. It'll never be good enough to print miniatures, but it's fun to tinker with, and I guess if I wanted to make some cheap proxy models that were at least a little more classy than "Dat soda can wiv da angry face sharpied on it is a Deff Dread. Fear it." it would do well for that.

[EDIT]

Just upgraded to the newest version of Blender! Hooray! The Boolean tools are no longer quite as horribly broken!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2012/04/23 08:59:28


Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -0314915.M2

Not affiliated with the Unistrut Corporation. 
   
Made in us
Tough-as-Nails Ork Boy





Simi Valley, CA

Unistrut wrote:
-Ruff, if you were looking at the Makerbot or RepRap 3D printers I've got a friend who has one. The print quality from those is pretty much like the Grey Robust from the sample kit.


Just to chime in, Unistrut and I have the same buddy, and the RapRep /might/ be good enough to print our low quality vehicles, but it not nearly detailed enough for individual 28mm models, Ork or otherwise...

Also, I'm totally in love with the idea of being able to buy bitz designed by people who love 40k and love the fluff, as opposed to GW. In 5 years, GW may not be required as a source for our models, or at the very least, competition from print on demand services should give them enough competition to reduce their prices.

These look great Unistrut!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2012/04/23 14:49:46


 
   
Made in us
Yellin' Yoof on a Scooter




Rancho Cucamonga, CA

BloaterPaste wrote:
Also, I'm totally in love with the idea of being able to buy bitz designed by people who love 40k and love the fluff, as opposed to GW. In 5 years, GW may not be required as a source for our models, or at the very least, competition from print on demand services should give them enough competition to reduce their prices.


I'd actually prefer they use it for more variety. I'm getting really tired of painting the same ten ork headz over and over.

Back on topic... PROGRESS.



Rivets. Lots of rivets. Not entirely sure I'm happy with the bent girder arm, but it's growing on me.



More rivets, and a cut out opening to load charges in the back. I'm sort of imagining this thing using huge shells that resemble blanks. You load one of those in the back and jam scrap in the front. I really should add some hand and foot holds for the grots who have to load those things... A job for tomorrow.

P.S. Remember when I said boolean operations worked? I lied. They're still broken. They worked as expected once and then went back to suck and madness.

EDIT - fixed that broken quote tag...

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2012/04/25 05:15:08


Men, I am not ordering you to attack. I am ordering you to die. In the time that it takes us to die, other forces and commanders can come and take our place.
- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -0314915.M2

Not affiliated with the Unistrut Corporation. 
   
 
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