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3D Printing For Tabletop

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A forum Dedicated to 3D Printing primarily for Tabletop

Printing a (second) Tiger! (21 posts)

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  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I’ve been looking forward to’s upcoming Kickstarter for lots of 3d tank models, both real and sci-fi. The quality they show off on their site is impressive, and I like the “kit” approach they take to the printing – that is, break a model up into smaller parts so that you can reduce printing artefacts as much as possible.

    They already have a few models for sale, so it seemed a good chance to go ahead and try them out when I found this:

    What follows is my warts and all attempt to build one of these models. I’m no expert, so advice and thoughts are welcome!

    A few details first off. My printer is a Wanhao D6 and I use the Cura software that came bundled with it. I’m printing everything at 0.1mm layers. I’ve modified my configuration slightly to make the sides / top / bottom 3 layers thick, rather than the default 2, to try and get a better finish. I use 20% infill, except on a few of the smaller parts where I set it to 100% to be as strong as possible.

    I tend to group several parts into a single print, depending on the time I have available. Each of the model parts is oriented to try and minimise the layer artefacts you get when printing. You can see the benefits of this on the rear of the hull:

    If this was a single model to print, there is no way you could get this nice a result on an angled surface like this. So we’re off to a nice start. And then I try to print the gun:

    @warzan I feel your pain! I’ve tried setting a minimum time per layer, to allow each layer to cool (although maybe 15 seconds isn’t enough?), I’ve used 100% infill and told it to do the outline first, and still I’ve had 3 failed prints. Any help would be appreciated! The height and the thinness here is defeating me, I may resort to scratch building the barrel.

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Printing continues over several days – I wasn’t in a hurry, and no doubt you could get most of this done in 1-2 sessions if you wanted to.

    Any overhangs are handled by printing supports:

    I’ve found a good way to remove these is with a small woodworking chisel (probably about a 1/4″ blade), which is robust enough to use both as a blade and to apply some leverage to separate the supports from the model. Just be careful to keep bits of yourself out of the way of the blade!

    This leaves a rather unsightly surface:

    Note that these images are shown with no clean up work done whatsoever – the prints do need a quick run around with a sharp blade or file to tidy them up. The modeller in me is bothered by these, as there would be a lot of work needed to fix this. The wargamer in me is pragmatic enough to accept that most of these surfaces will not be visible on the table top!

    The tracks have come out nicely:

    Next up, some test fitting of the pieces.

  • Avatar Image tomatovich17p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Tall narrow pieces like the gun barrel are not stable enough for moving print beds. It’s like trying to do a detailed sketch while driving. Personally found this out printing Printable Scenery’s Gothic Chapel. The “wobble” will never let you get a good print. Suggest going with a plasticard tube for the barrel while 3D printing your muzzle brake and mantle.

  • Avatar Image kimstyles29p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    I’m assuming your belts are nice and tight and everything is mechanically good?

    If so I’m thinking the problem you are having with the gun might actually be that your print temp is too high and your cooling fan is either not directed at the print area correctly. You might also look at dropping your print speed too.

    blobbing like that is either caused by over extrusion (probably not an issue here) or extruder temp which is too high. basically due to the small size of the gun barrel you are laying down layers on top of layers which haven’t cooled and hardened yet.

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    @tomatovich I agree the tall gun barrel is a difficult case – I probably will use some plasticard or similar to build it. My printer doesn’t have a moving print bed though, it’s only the head that moves, which should help. I did have similar trouble with the cathedral though!

    @kimstyles thanks for the list of things to check! I’m not sure how tight the belts should be, but in general I get pretty good prints so I don’ think that’s the issue. My print temp is 195, not sure what the minimum for PLA is but I’ll check.

    Thanks for the help guys, I’m definitely keen to learn how to get better prints!

  • Avatar Image kimstyles29p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    @georgesealy I’m printing with Wanhao filament with temps as low as 173 degC so you can drop the temp quite a bit from 195 degC

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months, 2 weeks ago:

    @kimstyles I dropped the print temperature down to 185, and slowed all the movement speed to around 25-30. Success!

    It’s far from perfect, but for the purposes of this project it’s usable. I have some styrene tubes on order, and may yet replace the main length of the barrel. Watching the last layers print, the print head moves the entire piece back and forth a bit, which will no doubt limit what I can achieve.

  • Avatar Image timmoth271p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    Can you take the model into a 3D program and add some supports, etc? or rotate it to lay flat?

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    @timmoth it’s certainly something I could look into. I think if I do this, I’d want to find some software which lets me cut up the STL model (anyone got suggestions? I was planning to try out Fusion 360) into pieces.

    I think the plan would be to print just the gun barrel, rotated to horizontal and split in half lengthways so that I can print it without supports, as they tend to leave a fairly ugly mark behind :)

  • Avatar Image setesch206p said 5 months, 1 week ago:

    I had nearly the same issues with the gun barrel of my 6mm scale Chieftain tank. I solved it by simply changing to a better resolution (0.06) besides lowering the print temperature.

    Maybe it could be done with this gun as well.

  • Avatar Image 3dwargaming said 5 months ago:

    Hi I’m the one who designed the Tiger Tank.

    @georgesealy: You may be happy to know that there will be an improved version of the Tiger after the Kickstarter:

    A lot of those design issues come from the fact that early on the project, I tried to make my tank fit without glue, but the issues with that is that you now need all those support for the connectors. It’s was a foolish decision in retrospect.

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months ago:

    @3dwargaming thanks for posting here, I look forward to trying out the updated design. I’ve loved the model, and any issues I’m having are most likely related to my printer setup.

    Good luck with the Kickstarter, I’m hoping we can get to the Churchill and Stuart stretch goals!

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 5 months ago:

    It’s been a while, but I had some time to get back to the Tiger today. I’ve found a solution for the gun barrel. Using a piece of software called Mesh Mixer, I was able to fairly easily cut the barrel model into two parts lengthwise, which can be printed then stuck back together. I’ll post a picture once I have both parts printed. (Update, here’s how the barrel was split:)

    The next job was a clean up of the parts and dry fitting. One thing that’s clear with these models (or in fact any 3d prints) is that as your printer setup improves, this step get significantly simpler. I found a couple of tools particularly useful:

    The knife is obvious, although the best part is the back of the blade which is incredibly useful for cleaning up the “flash” where the model attached to the brim it is printed on. The small chisel came from a woodworking / sculpting set, the kind you get in a dollar / pound store. It was especially useful for cleaning up the supports from the print.

    After cleaning up most of the pieces, I was able to start dry-fitting. The pieces fit nicely together, covering up most of the places where supports were printed. The dry fitting highlighted a few places that needed a little more clean up to improve the fit, then I was able to start gluing the bits together.

    After about an hour, this is where I got to:

    It’s coming together pretty nicely. I should have a the full model assembled soon, then it’ll be time to see how well the Tiger takes some paint!

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    OK, a bunch of photos this time. First off the wheel assembly:

    The front wheels are added separately, which gives you an option of keeping them off for painting. I’m too impatient though, and stuck them on. However, the entire track assembly comes off, which will make painting the tracks much simpler.

    Final assembly (except the front machine gun, which I had to reprint). Note the pink dots I used to ensure I had the gun up the right way. They will come back to haunt me later…

    The model does a good job of minimising the number of layer artefacts you see, but there are some, which I thought I’d try a bit of filler and sanding on (without going nuts about it).

    Finally a layer of primer. If you look carefully, you can still see the permanent marker pink dots showing through. A lesson learned! I think what’s happening is that the primer reactivates the ink in the permanent marker, making the ink soak through – very hard to get rid of.

    The next step will be some camouflage (in particular a dark brown patch over the pink dots :D ) and markings. Looking forward to it!

  • Avatar Image georgesealy390p said 4 months, 4 weeks ago:

    It’s been a productive day! My first real attempt at a 3 colour camouflage scheme with an airbrush. It’s far from perfect, but it’s not terrible, and it’s done, so I’ll take that :)

    What’s pleasing is that the camouflage is doing what it’s supposed to do – breaking up sharp lines and regular shapes, including the printing artefacts. Next step will be to add decals, detail painting and then some weathering to finish it off.