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As I am working in 1:160 and 1:87 scales, I need to look into really small sizes, say between 1 mm and 3 mm long maximum. A 0.1 mm positioning accuracy wouldn't be good enough. Blocks of 2.5 mm and above a can make using traditional methods.

 

A year ago I bought a cheapo laser-cutter and that also needs a lot of trial and error to get the right settings for a particular set of parts. I don't need these for my current project, but in another project I will need deadeyes of about 2 mm diameter and will probably make these in layers of paper cut out with the laser-cutter. But this will be pushing it. With 1.5 mm long block I did not have the desired succes so far, at least not with double-blocks. I'll keep trying ... That's why I always keep an eye on 3D-printing developments.

Edited by wefalck
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Had a quick'n'dirty go at a 2mm x 2mm x 1.5mm thick block this evening with a 0.5mm channel for the rope, while doing something else. No dice, basically just got a blob of plastic. I don't think that's necessarily the end of the issue, just that this would need some thinking about, as I've already printed detail down to about 0.3mm. I'll be trying a 0.1mm nozzle presently for the crown above the entrance so may have another go then.

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I've been designing and sourcing printed parts for some 11 years now. I still do not own a printer, as I don't want it to become the hobby itself. No interest in maintaining the equipment, tweaking it, and otherwise being encumbered by it, just to get sub-standard results. So I pay more and and just get my parts from pros, like Shapeways and Sculpteo. And these pros keep a stable of different types of printers, whatever is best suited for the job. FDM if you like making wicker chairs, multi-jet, true SLA, several flavors of SLS, and even waxes for investment cast parts. Have yet to pop for laser-sintered metal parts, though I did some back in my working days. 

 

Two models I did, with almost 100% printed parts:
 

  

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Your work is on another level altogether Patrick, stunning stuff. Can I ask what CAD package(s) you use? I too don’t want 3D printing to become a hobby itself, for me it’s just a tool to compensate for a lack of fine hand skills - as they say, my ambition outweighs my talent - but I could see it costing a fortune to have parts printed professionally, plus you must need to be very sure you’ve got it designed to perfection. I’m guessing your CAD allows you to test fit against other parts on screen? I smiled at ‘wicker chairs’. Yes, FDM is a bit in that direction but not quite that bad. I wouldn’t want to be making 100 of something curvy that I had to skim and smooth with putty but it’ll be fine for one-off’s and if it’s a flat surface, printing face down on a glass platter will give a perfectly smooth, glass-like finish.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just ran across this thread and found it fascinating.  I’ve been working on an old wooden model, although I haven’t updated the build log for a bit, I’m getting ready to do so.  

In the process of trying to develop what, for me was an extensive kit bash, i worked with several of the free 3D CAD programs.  I ended up with using Fusion360 and had reasonable success with getting my modification ideas into a 3D visualization that worked well.  My experience with getting the Fusion360 design into the file format that I needed to use to do some laser cutting, was poor.  I eventually developed standalone files in Inkscape to go to the laser cutter (Epilog mini) that our local library has available.  

 

I think the Fusion360 would have worked better with 3D print files, but the 3D printers at my local library are not great for the detail i would want in a model.  I wasn’t brave enough to try the print shops for this.  I find I end up printing 3 - 5 attempts before I get everything right, and the cost and time to do this remotely would have driven me crazy.  I’ve attached a copy of what the laser cutter deck turned out.  

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With recent changes by Autodesk, the free version of Fusion360 can't save files to DXF, which you could use in most laser cutters. The paid version will allow this though- you make your sketch, generate solid parts from that, make a 2d drawing from the solid, and save an appropriate view as DXF.

 

Regarding the print shops- you can have confidence in their printing ability the first time through. Unlike with the cheap filament printers, their processes are robust and well dialed-in. But yes, you do need to design a good part to begin with! And you need to be familiar with the main types of printing, which each have their benefits and challenges.

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I’ve just bought a SLA printer (Elegoo Mars, around £300 including the other essentials to start printing) as I was never going to get the results I wanted with the filament printer. I was a little nervous that this would be as frustrating and disappointing as FDM but the  results of a few tests are fantastic and it’s a darned sight easier than FDM. I went down the FDM route when I originally bought, this time last year, as SLA sounded messy and fiddly, having to wash and cure resin prints, but actually this is not the hassle it sounds like and only takes 10 minutes after each print. The build size is a bit limited but more than enough for 99% of what I’ll be doing.
 

I’m sure I’ll still use FDM for some stuff, possibly try a laser attachment at some point, so I’ll hang on to it for now. Meanwhile, I’m busy creating all the decoration on the stern of the heller victory, the trophy of arms, rope edging, balustrades, figures etc, having established that the printer can deliver this level of detail comfortably. Having totted up the cost of buying all the aftermarket items, it’s cheaper to do it myself and, taking into account all the other bits I’m likely to want to remake, significantly so. Plus I’m a bit iterative on the design side. One of the things I really like about SLA is that there are hardly any settings to have to mess around with, it is basically just a machine that magically produces what you’ve designed straight out of the box.

 

I’m still struggling with F360, finding it hard to get to grips with the basics. Same with Blender, Meshmixer and a host of other 3D applications, so keep reverting to Tinkercad, where almost everything is possible if you put your mind to it, along with a site called Lithopane Maker. It’s probably that I’m wanting to do complex things from the outset on F360, and if I persevere long enough to successfully make one item it’ll start to fall into place, but it’s hard going.

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The history in this thread is very interesting. I started with 3D printing back in 2011 using shapeways and other services. Since then we now have a projet and an Fabpro printer and have been having some pretty good success printing parts for our kits and prototypes.  Though I have a history with Solidworks and Autocad, I really prefer Rhino as I found it much easier to use (though still similar to Autocad in complexity overall) It was also developed as a ship design tool.

 

3D printing has really opened up the ability to provide some interesting parts that would have been quite difficult to provide in resin or pewter castings. There is still the issue of supports to deal with, but with some clever designing, these are somewhat easy to hide.

 

As mentioned here it is well within the reach of the average modeler to have their own 3D print capabilities, but the time investment comes from doing the 3D designs themselves, which can compete with just scratch building a single physical model that is needed.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/17/2021 at 9:17 PM, Rail and Tie said:

As mentioned here it is well within the reach of the average modeler to have their own 3D print capabilities, but the time investment comes from doing the 3D designs themselves, which can compete with just scratch building a single physical model that is needed

And then some! While I’ve largely got (beginners level) grips with F360 now, it can take many, many hours to create each piece. The upside is that instead of tearing your hair out when the scratch built doesn’t fit or doesn’t look good enough, you can just tweak the design a tad, print again and so on. And the 3D route also means you can make several extras with no additional effort, to play around with painting, glueing etc until you’re happy with what you’ve got. But, in case I make it all sound too easy, it still requires a lot of determination and perseverance and there are some long learning curves along the way.

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Similar experience with my laser-cutting: I usually need at least three to four runs, until I get the parameters right. Perhaps also, because I am pushing the cheapo laser-cutter to its limits in terms of resolution etc. In this sense, it is actually not so different from making parts with traditional machine tools. That also may take several tries, particularly, when you push material and tools to the limit. However, the advantage with CNC machines is, that once you found the right settings, you can reproduce the same part of the same quality at the push of a button ...

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I took a break for a number of years for several different reasons from modelling and got back into electronics & micro-computers. One of the frustrating things when building your own projects was cases to put them in. All the ones you can buy were too big, too small, too expensive etc etc.

 

So I purchased one of the cheap chinese 3D printers with the thought of making my own cases. After numerous failures due to inaccuracy, mechanical & electrical problems and a lot of hair pulling and the nashing of teeth I bit the bullet and purchased an original Prusa i3 Mk3s printer. About $900 landed in Australia when I purchased mine. I purchased the kit version and had a ball putting it together. It also gave me a great understanding of how the printer works, which greatly enhances my ability to fix anything that may go wrong. 

 

https://www.prusa3d.com/original-prusa-i3-mk3/

 

This machine is brilliant, it is very accurate, mechanically sound and does almost everything I need. I have gone way beyond building cases with it.  I have printed parts for cars, holders for various items in my workshop and numerous other things.

 

There is a large element of understanding the materials you are printing with. This machine can print, PETG, PLA ABS, NYLON and so forth. These all require different settings, like extruded temperature, speed of travel, blah, blah, blah.

‘Learning to use the design software was also a bit of a learning curve, Some of the newer filaments for 3D printing are  “wood filled’, “metal filled, “carbon fibre’ and many others. Quality of the filament is another issue, with quite a number of manufacturers having very poor tolerances this is a particular problem with some of the aforementioned specialty filaments.

 

I started out with some basic 3D design packages, but now use Sketchup & Fusion 360 for 99% of what I do.  They are both great packages but Sketchup is not cheap, whilst Fusion 360 is free for the hobbyist/student package but that does have some limitations compared to the paid version. Having said that I have found, to date, that it is more than adequate for my needs. They both have a sharp learning curve but it has proven to be worth the effort   
 

There are numerous web sites out there that people post there designs ready to print for free. One of the biggest is called ‘Thingiverse’. It has 1,000’s of items available to download. For example I typed in ship’s wheel and this was one of the models that came up.

 

https://www.thingiverse.com

 

 

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This year I started back into building ships again building the Model Shipways Chaperon. I have noticed by reading many of the wonderful build logs from others who have built this model, that there are a number of items I could print to enhance this model.

 

An important point to note is that most of the printers are designed to print 1 off’s and are not really suited to mass production. The level of details can easily be increased or decreased by adjusting the layer thickness. Normal layer thickness is 0.2mm which gives reasonable detail for most printed objects.

 

As others in previous posts have stated, there is a time element involved with designing your own parts and in many cases the amount of time that it takes to design & the print the part, whilst it may be satisfying, is not really worth it when the same part can be purchased for only a few $’s..

 

One of the things owning this printer is enabling me too do is to build my own CNC machine. The machine is called the MPCNC which stands for Mostly Printed CNC. Excluding the cost of the router the total cost for my 600mm x 600mm machine is less that $500 which met the chief financial officer’s approval.

 

https://www.v1engineering.com/specifications/

 

Well that’s my 2 cents worth. 
 

cheers Russell

 

 

 

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That MPCNC is really interesting. What kind of accuracy is possible?

 

You're right that the time and effort involved in designing stuff, especially very detailed or awkward bits, can be disproportionate but for me this is okay as I'm a problem solver by nature and quite enjoy that moment of triumph when you figure out how to get what you want out of the software or hardware; if I wasn't designing model parts, I'd just be looking for something else to fix 🙂. And as it's a cold, wet winter I'd rather be sat here than in the workshop with numb fingers and toes.

 

The setup for filament printing micro-parts is much more difficult than resin and you can end up chasing your tail with so many variables. Although I've never been able to print a single thing in ABS I've had great results with PETG & PLA on larger items and one major advantage over resin is that with, PETG for instance, the parts are flexible and robust whereas small or very fine resin parts are quite fragile and brittle. The downside (of filament) is that you simply can't get anywhere near the  level of detail possible with resin and, unfortunately, this is visibly apparent. I've tried the smallest nozzles (0.1mm) but the reality is that this is pushing too far at the margins, at least of the home printer. Resin is a different ball game altogether. The point at which it's too small to print (less than 0.05mm) seems to be below that which is noticeable to the (unaided) eye. The pic below is work in progress, designing & printing the Trophy of Arms for the stern of the 1:100 Heller Victory. Feathers not quite there yet but look at the detail on the crown and the feather edges. Horses for courses I guess.

 

 

 

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Glad I found this thread - I've been designing and printing hulls for the past few years (mostly designing as I like that part the most) but do print some in large scale using PLA+,  but I did pick up a resin printer so i can start printing them out in a smaller format for even more fun. I've been using fusion and it took me awhile to figure out how to do it (that was back in 2018!) Largest hull I have is about 1.7M long but I have a few plans for 2+ meter long hulls.  

 

Since most of what I print is large I spend a lot of time maintaining machines (especially the wiring) and used to use a battery backup until I figured out how to configure printing resume after power loss (happens occasionally where I live due to trees!).  I have been refining the design for the hull joining tabs that helps with alignment - not perfect yet but what is?

 

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Edited by Haze Gray
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15 minutes ago, wefalck said:

What about cost - there most go a considerable amount PLA going into such hulls ? How do you smooth them after printing ?

Cost can vary depending on the skin thickness and the infill percentage - these days I go with 0.7mm skin and 20-25% infill depending on the part - and the cost range from ~$60 - $120 for the hull.   I've noticed though that some resin ship kits can get pretty expensive, more than what it costs to print a large scale one in PLA. 

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1 hour ago, wefalck said:

What about cost - there most go a considerable amount PLA going into such hulls ? How do you smooth them after printing ?

Wefalck, I forgot to address your question on smoothing out the lines - I typically sand down the layers (sometimes by hand, sometimes using a small orbital sander) and also I sometimes put a very very thin coat of gesso and then sand that flat.  when I say thin, I mean very very thin layer of gesso - it can work really well but I've not perfected that technique but it can work extremely well. 

 

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Please, no more, I can't take it :-). Way, way back I came to these forums because I'd just bought the heller victory and needed to figure out some really simple things. After seeing Danials amazing work and that of several others I became lost to this hopeless pursuit for making the detail better. Now you're throwing self-printed hulls into the mix. I have the kit - both filament and resin printers. I'm starting to get a handle on F360. It's not looking good. More seriously, I'd love to be able to build the entire kit from scratch, since that would allow me to design in all the detail I could ever wish for.

 

Those are some very impressive models, Haze, and if it wouldn't lead me astray I'd love to know how you set about designing them.

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1 hour ago, Kevin-the-lubber said:

Please, no more, I can't take it :-). Way, way back I came to these forums because I'd just bought the heller victory and needed to figure out some really simple things. After seeing Danials amazing work and that of several others I became lost to this hopeless pursuit for making the detail better. Now you're throwing self-printed hulls into the mix. I have the kit - both filament and resin printers. I'm starting to get a handle on F360. It's not looking good. More seriously, I'd love to be able to build the entire kit from scratch, since that would allow me to design in all the detail I could ever wish for.

 

Those are some very impressive models, Haze, and if it wouldn't lead me astray I'd love to know how you set about designing them.

Uh-oh.... sounds like you're jumping down the rabbit hole that many of us have.  On the serious side, have fun with the processes including looking at and/or using new tools and tech.  

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2 hours ago, Kevin-the-lubber said:

Please, no more, I can't take it :-). Way, way back I came to these forums because I'd just bought the heller victory and needed to figure out some really simple things. After seeing Danials amazing work and that of several others I became lost to this hopeless pursuit for making the detail better. Now you're throwing self-printed hulls into the mix. I have the kit - both filament and resin printers. I'm starting to get a handle on F360. It's not looking good. More seriously, I'd love to be able to build the entire kit from scratch, since that would allow me to design in all the detail I could ever wish for.

 

Those are some very impressive models, Haze, and if it wouldn't lead me astray I'd love to know how you set about designing them.

 

I think Bilge rat is probably right about the rabbit hole - but I'd say you're probably further down that hole than you think!  This topic has a lot of great information:   https://modelshipworld.com/forum/34-cad-and-3d-modellingdrafting-plans-with-software/

 

How things are done in fusion similar to how things are done in blender  - basically tracing hull lines and then some lofting operations. I'd recommend just finding plans of a ship that you're passionate about and heading over to that "model drafting plans with software" topic and start posting your attempts, you'll get a lot of help.   Next time I do a hull I'll make a video to show you a few basic techniques. 

 

If you like to witness torture: here's 40 minutes of me hating life and trying to model a French Torpedo Aviso....  lofting hull in fusion 360 - YouTube

 

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Oh dear. I feel myself falling....

 

I've had a few stabs at blender and meshmixer without the least success, but they may make more sense now that I'm over the hump with F360. Even between this and my last reply I was starting to think, all the plans are there in 'the anatomy of...." series, section by section. It probably wouldn't even be that hard to scan and convert to sketches, then loft.

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22 hours ago, Kevin-the-lubber said:

Oh dear. I feel myself falling....

 

I've had a few stabs at blender and meshmixer without the least success, but they may make more sense now that I'm over the hump with F360. Even between this and my last reply I was starting to think, all the plans are there in 'the anatomy of...." series, section by section. It probably wouldn't even be that hard to scan and convert to sketches, then loft.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.  It's large and comfy and theres' a lot of us in here.  However, there's no way out.  :D:D:D

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I've been working with Fusion 360 for a few months now, and am able to model many things fairly well. My son has 2 filament printers and one resin printer, but in printing guns for my 1:98 Victory cross section, has had a lot of problems. MANY failures in resin printing, replacing several film vat bottoms (or whatever they're called) and failed objects. Finally got enough to work for the model.

 

Now he's tried a desktop size barrel, which also failed, and he's basically given up on them for me. All HIS stuff works great, but very few on mine.

 

One problem I've had with the STL files created by Fusion 360 is that some components come out hollow, while others are solid. For example, on the barrel, the main barrel was solid, the trunnion and gunlock hollow. On my gun carriage, the sides and axtrees were solid, while some other parts were hollow. I could only confirm a solid model by starting with one solid part, then JOIN another part to it, making the combination solid, and doing that for every piece in the assembly, which was a real pain.

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Maybe try to export the object as a .Obj file and load it to the slicer. BTW, what slicer program are you using? So far I found LycheeSlicer to be the best free program. It does a good job finding islands and faults in the model. I printed my Bounty cannons straight up with the muzzel against the print plate. Though I modelled the cannons in Cinema4d.

 

Edit:

Also there is a BIG difference in resin quality... went through some brands before I found one that works ok with smaller items...

bounty.jpg

 

Edit again; I'm printing in resin,,,

Edited by puckotred
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2 hours ago, Canute said:

Aha, welcome to the "Hotel California".

 That made me laugh. Yup, perfect description.

 

Re’ F360, guns etc. I haven’t used the function yet but somewhere there’s a tool to add a wall thickness, might that help? Personally, on my try out on the filament printer (as far as I’ve gone with cannons), I split it halfway down the barrel and dowelled the two halves together with a bit of filament, which came out fine. That way you avoid the ugly seams along the length and possibly any need for supports if using resin. It was too tricky doing upright in filament, far too much tendency for the filament to cause the barrel to wobble, so I’ll do them in resin when I get to it. I don’t have any probs with my elegoo, so long as I set the supports and orientation right.

 

 

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11 hours ago, rraisley said:

I've been working with Fusion 360 for a few months now, and am able to model many things fairly well. My son has 2 filament printers and one resin printer, but in printing guns for my 1:98 Victory cross section, has had a lot of problems. MANY failures in resin printing, replacing several film vat bottoms (or whatever they're called) and failed objects. Finally got enough to work for the model.

 

Now he's tried a desktop size barrel, which also failed, and he's basically given up on them for me. All HIS stuff works great, but very few on mine.

 

One problem I've had with the STL files created by Fusion 360 is that some components come out hollow, while others are solid. For example, on the barrel, the main barrel was solid, the trunnion and gunlock hollow. On my gun carriage, the sides and axtrees were solid, while some other parts were hollow. I could only confirm a solid model by starting with one solid part, then JOIN another part to it, making the combination solid, and doing that for every piece in the assembly, which was a real pain.

 

Ambient air temperature can make a bid difference with resin printers - you might want to try putting the resin printer in a closet with a small space heater on low, get the air temp in the 70's or low 80's and see if you get more successful prints. 

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On 1/15/2021 at 9:44 PM, Patrick Matthews said:

With recent changes by Autodesk, the free version of Fusion360 can't save files to DXF, which you could use in most laser cutters. The paid version will allow this though- you make your sketch, generate solid parts from that, make a 2d drawing from the solid, and save an appropriate view as DXF.

 

Regarding the print shops- you can have confidence in their printing ability the first time through. Unlike with the cheap filament printers, their processes are robust and well dialed-in. But yes, you do need to design a good part to begin with! And you need to be familiar with the main types of printing, which each have their benefits and challenges.

Sorry for the late reply.  I just noticed I had a red highlighted icon in my forum page and realized it was your reply to my post.  I find this thread fascinating, and the information very good!

 

I appreciate the confirmation that I couldn’t save the DXF files from the free version of Fusion360.  

 

I actually did look at having some of the 3D print shops around where I live to check into printing 3D files, but that was in the middle of COVID, and many of the shops were either not open, or at least not responding to phone calls.  I decided that, for what I was doing, it wasn’t worth the time, then.  I also wasn’t willing to invest in buying a higher end 3D printer for what little printing I would be doing.  

 

COVID has also complicated working with my local library.  They have been in and out of “contactless” support.  Basically I can email the files, but they can only print using their wood stock.  Mostly their stock are in thicknesses that I can’t easily use.  

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