Tuesday, May 1, 2018

3-D Printing for My Collection

Have I written about 3-D Printing before? Maybe, maybe not. I started getting involved with 3-D printing as a part of my job as an Engineering Teacher for middle school students. The county that I had previously worked in had a big enough budget in which they could afford to buy a MakerBot Replicator+ for my classroom.

It also helped that I had previously worked with the 3-D design software SketchUp. It's a free 3-D design software and fairly easy to use. That's not always the case for students though, because they usually want immediate gratification and don't want to take the time to learn the tools. I'm trying, really, I am.

One of the first things that crossed my mind, was what can I make and print for my action figure collection? I've printed a few odd ball things, but what has really struck my interest lately, is making what I call mini-dioramas, maybe even figure review environments.

They are meant to be basically small in size and designed to pose one or two figures on the base, primarily with the goal of reviewing the figure or figures.

This is one of my earliest attempts. It's a very small "stage" with just enough room for one figure. This is a two piece print, with the walls being one unit and the floor is a separate piece.

Next up, I tried for some different wall detailing. Nice ideas, but I wasn't really thrilled with the end result. Improving and the design aspect is what I find the most enjoyable part of the whole process.
Bigger and bolder for these next three sets. This particular one is Death Star inspired. I liked the work that was involved in this one, but I wasn't really satisfied with the end result. It looks okay, but not quite what I'm looking for. The smaller wall looks great to me, but I'm not really thrilled about everything on the bigger wall.  
It's a much bigger set and can easily hold a few figures. I printed this in three sections, all flat on the print bed. I've got an issue with curling on large flat jobs and there are some issues with the quality of this one.

A much more simple design, very basic, but I like it... mostly. I tried something a little different and rotated the pieces so that they would print vertically. As long as the detailing doesn't stick out too far, the printer handled the overhang of the details with no problems.

Another different design. I don't recall my exact inspiration for this design. It's definitely Star Wars-ish. This one was fun to design in SketchUp. It involved a lot of math and trial and error in the designs on the larger of the two walls.
Eventually, I'm going to paint these. I think a flat coat of a gray may work. I'm sure that there are ways to weather them a bit as well. Time will tell. Right now, I'm just enjoying the process of designing right now. Stay tuned for more 3-D printing updates!

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