The Flying Tortoise is starting to emerge. At the end of last year I purchased a 3D printer it’s a fairly entry level 3D printer and since then I’ve been printing the same 3D figure over and over and over. On the one hand it is a bit of a waste of filament to just do one figure. On the other hand I think i’m learning quite a bit.

At first my aim was to conserve as much filament as possible I wanted to get a the best result with the least amount of filament usage. I thought I could get a somewhat final result that I could then make a resin copy of. Which as it stands now I probably could do. But I ran into some issues – the 3D build would get shifted on the build plate of the printer and I would just lose the print and the filament and the time. Load shedding was a regular guest in December so that sometimes put a stop to things. But It seemed that when the print was hollow it moved too quickly across the empty space on it’s track to the next layer of the figure and the supports that it would just pull the whole build.

Then I had issues with detail and supports – supports are additional layers of filament that are built up around the figure to support parts that hang or are in the air. There are different kinds of fills and supports and I used honeycomb supports for a while. It was a nightmare to get my figure out of them.  I don’t think they are meant for small detailed figures.

On a small scale I also lost allot of details and the supports create ugly uneven edges. The layer “steps” were also very prominent. The first solution was to print bigger – I was still attempting hollow prints at first. The one big figure came out quite well until it didn’t. (See image below one of the black prints that’s quite big doesn’t have legs)

I later did some edits on the model itself cleaning up the shell and some details. I also figured out how to set the correct size in the modelling software so that once it imported into the Printer’s slice software it was already at the size I wanted.

Having figured out the scale was wonderful because now I could attempt separate pieces knowing they would all fit together. It’s probably better to do separate pieces. I was also playing with layer heights and this was good to learn but you could make the layers smaller to get smoother and slightly more details especially on bigger prints.  So I found a formula that worked and then also decided to not print hollow figures. Having a big amount of fill in the character really helped I no longer get builds moving around and the prints were fairly sturdy.

With a winning print formula more experiments ensued this time I played around with different kinds of joints that would keep the arms and head attached to the figure. I ended with different sized peg joints and one sent off ball joints. The ball joints came loose quite easily and with a bit of tweaking they might be the best it made the figure feel like a real toy. But in the end I went for a simpler straight cylindrical peg joint.

There is one more print experiment I want to try but I need to wait for the world to start turning again so I can go outside and shop for supplies.

For now I’m trying to see how close to a “finished” look I can get with my current print. I’ll show the results of that soon.