Using PrusaSlicer to Design Tree Supports for FDM Prints

I've done a lot of work with tree supports in Meshmixer.  I don't want to denigrate the awesome utility that Meshmixer brings to the table, but it also hasn't been updated in two years.  Meanwhile, Prusa forked their version of Slic3r into PrusaSlicer and has added a bunch of support for MSLA printing... including tree supports!  And, they obviously paid a lot of attention to how tree supports are designed in tools like Meshmixer, because the PrusaSlicer interface neatly bypasses just about all of the pain points that I have when working with MM!  The one drawback is that the Tree Supports are only officially available for MSLA printers... but there's an easy way around that!

In order to use PrusaSlicer to generate support trees, you need to change to one of their supported MSLA printers.  At that point, when you slice your model, it will automatically generate support trees that are tuned for that MSLA printer.  These automatically placed trees are a really good start…

Building Buildings

I've been working on my King of Tokyo proxy models for a while now, which has meant that I've needed a bunch of buildings to put onto the bases for the various Kaiju to rampage through.  Rather than building each of these buildings by hand, I put together a system of arrays to do it for me.  Since I'm rather proud of how it all comes together, I figure that I should go ahead and write about it here!

So, let's talk about how it all works.  First, here's the meat of the "city building" collection that I use (for those of you on the Patreon, that's the actual name of the collection where I keep all of this stuff in my King of Tokyo files, if you want to look at it in Blender).  As you can see, there are several partial buildings there, as well as some random bits on the right.  It's a bit harder to see, but directly in front of the left-most building, there are three bezier curves (although each is a straight line), running parallel to the world axes.

RPG Map Assets: Diner Booth and Stool

This is a bit outside my normal topic range on this blog, but I wanted to share these images with the community and this seems like the best place to do it!  In addition to my love of 3D printing, I love playing tabletop RPGs.  When we play, my group typically uses a virtual tabletop, as we've been playing for far longer than I've been doing 3D printing!

Anyway, I'm running a game set in a modern setting at the moment and want to run a combat that's going to start in a 50's style diner.  I couldn't find any good art assets for the diner booth, but I thought to myself, "I've learnt a fair amount of about using Blender... maybe I can whip something up real fast."  So, I did!

Admittedly, these aren't the most detailed art assets ever... but they get the point across!  And, since I wasn't able to find anything like this when I was searching, I figured that I should post them here in case anyone else would like them.  So, here's my diner bo…

Making Chainmail in Blender

Hi everyone - this week I came across an awesome technique for making repeating patterns on a mesh in Blender.  Given that I'm currently working on an armored headless horseman model, this struck me as the perfect way to make some chainmail.  Check it out:

This is cool because that chainmail is a repeating pattern of intersecting rings.  Well, it's specifically a repeating pattern of the intersections between a bunch of rings, but you get the point ;)

So, how'd I turn that little chain intersection bit into a bunch of chainmail for my model?  I used the Tissue Addon, that's how!  I watched a great video by Default Cube on turning objects into woven baskets, and I thought to myself, 'this would work fantastically for chainmail!"

So, first, what's the Tissue addon do?  Basically, you give it two meshes, call them a host mesh and an object mesh.  It then puts a copy of the object mesh onto every face of the host mesh.  So, in my case, I created a mesh of my g…

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…