In a moment of weakness, (that may have included a lessening of restraint following alcohol consumption), I bought a 3d printer. In my defence, I have wanted one for a long time, but so far have resisted. The model concerned, the Anycubic Photon S is a resin rather than FDM printer, and was on special, and cost me less than £200 shipped. (Interestingly, the same model in black was about £50 more expensive..)
|A neat little unit|
So, hugely excited, I proceeded to try and get the thing to work. Hmmm. First find the files you want to print from, convert them into something that can be opened by software that supports your printer, and 'slice' them into the appropriate file format, pop that on the (supplied) USB stick, and press print.. easy eh?
Well no - not exactly. A few abortive attempts later, I am gradually working out how to do this with a minimum of mess, how to use the software, and get some half decent results.
The process is a bit of a palaver till you get it down.. level the plate after every two or three prints, keep the film in the resin vat clean, pop the freshly done print into isopropyl alcohol in a zip lock bag in my little ultra-sonic cleaner (a 1001 uses, and wargamers, impress your partner by showing how easily it cleans jewellery). Then expose to UV to cure properly.
Also - be patient, even relatively simple prints will take a while at a decent level of detail. I have the Anycubic set to 0.05mm although it can apparently go to 0.025, but the time to print would be a major pain. Every so often, you may also get a failed print. So far, the ones I have had are due to the resin not adhering to the build plate, so fiddling with the settings will usually sort this out. My one gripe is that it can be difficult to tell the print has failed until well into the print process, so you can lose time and resin.
There's a little bit of experience required to figure out whether you need supports, and how heavy and how many. Generally though - it's not too hard to get the hang of. And provided you don't intend to sell the results, there are a lot of free 3d files out there.
So these are some of the results so far.
|15mm Bren Carrier and 1/56 Ram Kangaroo|
|A single piece BT7 with a Bofors gun in the background.|
The BT7 was a Sketchup 2017 file (SKP) converted to an OBJ file, sliced using Chitubox. It's a very accurate sketchup, too much so for printing really, with very fine tracks and nose panels. I still have to clean up some of the supports.
|Undercoated prints, Marder, Ram and Marmon Herrrington|
The Marmon Herrington will be joining the forces for Malaya, and I am reasonably pleased with this, except I managed to jar the printer (I think) and there is a just visible line halfway up the hull.
And I grabbed another sprue of Warlord Games plastic Japanese to make up the crew. Green Stuff surgery to reposition some of the more 'active' poses.
Am I pleased with the 3d printer? Yes. Do you need extra 'stuff' to make it work properly? In my opinion yes, UV lights for when sunshine is in short supply. sonic bath for clean-up (not essential but very effective), Isopropyl alcohol, and fresh supplies of resin. Do you need space? Yes, don't use without decent ventilation, and you need to have the room for the 'process' of cleaning and curing, as well as storing teh various bits and pieces, like paper towel, gloves, spatula etc.
Now, time to see about printing 3 Universal carriers at once.. :)