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3D printing the starship miniature

By Quaro | art 360 | 27 Feb 2020

In the previous post I modified the starship model used in-game to make it's printable, adding details and making sure it's manifold.

Let's export it in a print-friendly format, like .STL:



Now it's time to give it a pass with a dedicated software to check its integrity.

Since my O.S. is Windows 10, i'm going to use the built-in application 3D Build; it's very simple but works perfectly for checking and repairing 3D models.

There are many alternatives online, like Netfabb by Autodesk (you can download the free trial: for the first 30 days you'll have access to all the functionalities of the software, and after the trial expires you still have the basic features working, and they're enough to preview and fix your 3d models).



Now, with my Geeetech Prusa I3 MK2 3D printer I'm going to use the dedicated software called Repetier; this will use an engine called Slic3r to create a series of horizontal layers (slices) from the STL model, so that the printer can actually print them from bottom to top.

I will also enable the automatic creation of support material: since the model has some hanging parts, i.e. the wings, the printer should start printing them in mid-air, and that's obviously not possible: so the software will automatically create some support columns where needed.

Here's the model after it's been sliced and the support material is created:


I recorded a timelapse video to show you the printing process:

Everything went good except for the final part: while printing the vertical fin, the PLA filament started to "melt", resulting in a distorted fin. I think the cause is that with so few material to print, the extruder started the next layer when the previous one wasn't cooled enough. I'll check out if there's a solution online. For this print, I think I'll cut away the fin completely, reprint it horizontally, and glue it to the rest of the model.


Removing the support material was harder than expected, and the base neck broke during the process:


So I'll have to use some glue here as well. Before declaring it finished, the model also needs some sanding, especially to remove the support material created on the base.

Some final thoughts about this first experiment: I'm happy with the final result, I'm sure that tweaking around with Slic3r parameters I can have some very good results; next time I would surely print the ship and the stand as 2 separated objects and join them later: This will also save me a lot of support material. I found that some details are too small to be visible, so I surely need to scale them up a bit.

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web / gis developer and freelance illustrator

art 360
art 360

I like creating all kind of art - illustrations, 3d models, music, comics... I'll share some of it with you in this blog.

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