Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Intersection of Modeling and 3D Printing

My introduction to printing tanks, and then bling for tanks, was a natural progression towards further work that intersects modeling with 3D Printing.  As a youngster I assembled the standard plastic models, then as an adult I did a couple more advanced models and spent some time flying R/C aircraft.  Now, with 3D Printers in hand, I am trying my luck again!

My first challenge was to acquire and master the technology that enables the printing of tiny little things.  This meant a printer upgrade that I have discussed elsewhere on this blog.  This upgrade gives me the ability to print some really tiny little things ... obviously important when working at 1:100 scale!

I designed a pretty wide selection of "bling" for Flames of War gamers capitalizing on my printers ability to handle the size and detail.  All of what I have done are on Thingiverse in the public domain (the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license).
The are also available for purchase on eBay with 50% of all proceeds going to the MS Society.

My latest, and largest, design is that of a model of the famous Bailey Bridge of World War II.  I discuss it in several posts starting here.

The next challenge was to gain the skill, and patience, to paint tiny details.  I still have a ways to go given where I am versus where other folks are in this specialty!    My first couple of
attempts were truly pathetic but I did improve to the point where I am not embarrassed by my work!

All of the above now comes together in a small diorama as shown to the right.  This is a mash-up of multiple 3D prints including:

  • The Bailey Bridge that I mentioned above but decorated for war!
  • Terrain started as a print with a rough cutout of the landscape.  I then plastered it with Smooth Finish Wall Filler for texture.
  • The tank is also a 3D Print though certainly not from one of my models. The model is from the work of M_Bergman though I did do the painting!
  • The tank is also sporting some bling printed from my collection of bits and bobs.
  • The retaining walls for the ramps leading onto the bridges are 3D Prints as are the telephone poles.

I am not sure how much impact 3D Printing is having on modeling as of yet.  Printers are coming down in price but they are not cheap and they can be a pain in the ass to operate.  On top of that is the level of proficiency required to create things beyond simple shapes.  I am confident that printer costs will continue to fall and that reliability and ease of use will continue to improve.  I am less confident that "easy" design tools will play a role in bringing 3D Printing to the masses.

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