Resin Printing First Impression!

Hi everyone - I'm happy to announce that I'm the proud owner of a Prusa SL1 resin printer, meaning that I'm going to have a whole new set of 3D printing lessons to learn and then write about!  Since I just finished my first real resin print, I guess that this is an appropriate time to write about my first impressions, and specifically how resin printing on a Prusa SL1 differs from PLA printing on a Prusa MK3.

The first and most apparent difference for me is the amount of effort that goes into a print.  When I want something on my MK3, I just plug in the SD card, wipe down the bed with IPA, then start the print.  I check on it every hour or so to make sure that nothing's gone terribly wrong, then a few hours later, I come back and turn off the machine, pop the object off of the bed, and remove the supports.  It's nice and simple.  Resin printing has a lot more process to go through.

First, you double-check that everything's clean, then you measure out your resin…

Using Reference Images in Blender 2.8 to Make a Centaur!

I've been working on a Centaur like demon model recently, but I've never made anything even remotely equine before... so, I decided that I needed some reference images.  In Blender 2.7, I would've just set the reference image to the background image from any of the orthographic views, but Blender 2.8 has changed things.  At first, I didn't like the change, but now that I've used it for a bit, it's really grown on me.

Instead of the old background images, you can import your image as another object in your workspace, just like the 3D meshes that you make while modelling.  So, adding an image is done by hitting shift-A and going to Image -> Reference.  Then, you just browse to the image that you want to import, and there it is!

I did a google image search for "horse reference" and found this image on Granny Dibala's Pintrest page.  I really liked having the horse cleanly broken down into these major parts, as that nicely mirrors the 3D modelling w…

Use Print Preview to Look for Problems

About a year ago, I wrote about how important it is to use your slicer's print preview function to look at your print before sending it to the printer.  Well, I've learned a lot about 3D printing since then, so I figured that it was time to write a newer post and go into some greater detail about what exactly I'm looking for when I'm going through the print preview.

The most important thing to look at is the model's footprint and it's where I always start.  A successful print depends on the model not moving relative to the printer bed.  Keeping the model in place requires a strong connection to the printer bed, which means that you need a good footprint.

Always look at the first layer of your prints, even if the object is really simple and doesn't look like it'll need support.  In addition to looking for any weird bits sticking out the bottom of the model (which is what that last link was about), it's important to think about how strong that connect…

More Techniques to Make Hands

I've experimented with a lot of different ways to make hands, but I used a new technique on a recent model (a creepy demon) that I'm really happy with.  I basically used my normal whole-body object posing technique, but on the hand scale, and it worked really well!

So, I made my hand out of 16 different objects (and eventually added claws to the finger-tips).  Each finger was 3 elongated and subdivided cubes.  The thumb was two such cubes, and the palm was another two cubes (but shaped a bit to create a more palm-like shape).  I decided to use two separate objects for the palm because so much of the palm shape changes based on thumb movement (I guess, technically, that second half of the palm is basically the first segment of the three-part digit that makes up the thumb, but whatever).

When I made those cubes though, I changed things up slightly from my normal technique.  Typically, I would resize and tweak the cubes in Edit Mode in order to change the length of the individual …

Making Hair for a 3D Printed Character

I've been focusing on making better looking character faces lately, because faces are hard!  Part of that has involved learning to make hair, too.  There are a ton of great tutorials out there for making faces, but most of the tutorials are geared towards visual arts, rather than 3D printing.  For the most part, that's actually fine, as a face for a 3D printed 32mm miniature doesn't need all of the detail that a face for a 3D rendered character would have, but it certainly doesn't hurt to add in extra detail!

Hair can be another matter though.  I've read/watched a lot of hair tutorials and there seem to be a few different techniques that are popular.

The first is really only useful to visual artists, which is to use the Particle system in Blender to make the hair.  This works great for rendering things on screen because you can make thousands of hairs and then style them as needed, but it doesn't work too well for 3D printing.  I have used versions of this tech…

Making Tentacular Horrors!

I love making tentacular horrors in Blender.  Through the use of a few relatively simple curves, you can easily make complex, tentacled monsters, which is really fun!  Using this method, a tentacle will be made up of 3 parts:
A Circle that defines the cross-section of the tentacle (called the Bevel in blender)A Curve that defines the Taper of the tentacleA Curve that defines the pose of the tentacleFirst, I like to start with the cross-section circle.  To make this, I just press Shift-A then go to Curve -> Circle to make myself a nice round circle.  If we want this tentacle to be malformed in some way, we can edit that circle, but for now, let's just keep it round.

Next, I make the taper curve.  You can use either a Bezier Curve or a Nurbs Path for this and I'll bounce back and forth between the two depending on how complex I want the taper to be or just how I feel like manipulating the controls for the curve.  When I'm making a taper for a tentacle, I usually want it to…

Making Armored Characters: Combining Sculpting and Cube Extrusion - Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about how I used cube extrusion to make a plate armor boot for one of my models.  In this post, I'm going to write about how I use Sculpt Mode to make folds of cloth for a cape!  Capes and big cloaks are common features for fantasy characters, and they're excellent features for 3D-Printable models, because they can be used as supports for printing other features higher up on the model!  So, to that end, lets look at the most recent cape that I've made:

I started the cape out with Cube Extrusion, the same way as I made the boot on my previous model.  When working with a cape, I prefer to work with a Plane instead of a Cube, as it's easier to move the plane's geometry around.  I start with my basic plane, then select an edge and extrude extra sections downwards from the back of his neck.  Then, I extrude sections to the left and right to let the cape wrap around his body.  I then go into Vertex select mode and move individual vertices around u…