Friday, September 13, 2019

Adventures in Cloning Krogans

After getting my first 3d printer last week and doing an initial pair of test prints last weekend, I've been trying to test out some additional models at a higher level of detail (20 micron layer height instead of 50) in the days since.  I decided to go with three models that I tweaked myself from existing models for my first build plate.  Included was the Star Trek NX refit that I previewed a few weeks earlier, a purpose built for 3d printing 40k model of a Sister of Battle that I converted a chainsword onto, and another custom posed Krogan that I built as a possible RPG character model for a Starfinder campaign I just joined.  I used the automated standard supports to build a scaffolding around the models and added some manual supports for small islands that were missed.  I did a fairly thorough job since I've been watching youtube channels for months detailing failed models and they did indeed print entirely and were well bonded to the build plate.  Mission accomplished!... or so I thought.

The front/top of each model was quite nice and I was incredibly impressed with the level of detail.  Individual teeth on the chainsword printed perfectly and even portholes on the starship are visible.  The only misprint I found was the sagging barrel on the Krogan's gatling laser club and the deflector on the NXR bonded with the secondary hull. Unfortunately, the undersides of the models were much worse as I saw when I removed the supports.

Each model is a example of a different kind of error with supports.  The supports on the back of the Sister of Battle were on occasion too close to her and tiny bits of resin trapped between them bonded the two together leaving large, ugly messes resembling superglue blobs.  The amount of surface area needed to print the starship at a 45 degree angle (so as not to be taller than the other models and increase the 7 1/2 hour build time by another hour or two) meant a large amount of supports and the standard auto setting left many pips that have to be individually removed after the support itself is clipped.  The krogan was lacking any supports on the top of the gun barrel as it was printing vertically on the build plate and supposedly didn't need any but sagged for some reason around the hand.

Obviously it was time to go back to basics and rewatch any videos dealing with placement of supports.  In the next post, I'll detail what I learned, what I changed, and show some of the results.


  1. Wow! exciting stuff.

    The placement of supports is obviously important, and it may make sense to make certain figures multi part. What scale is the NX?

  2. Thanks! It's 1/3800 scale and 59mm long. I tried to keep custom NX refit roughly to scale with potential FASA (by scale) and Attack Wing (by size) ships.

    1. Ah great. I happen to have quite a number of 1/3788 scale designs if you want to test out some other shapes.

    2. Thanks and I might take you up on the offer (especially if you have a Bill Krause Sentinel class model!). I have a bunch of ships downloaded from various sites already but obviously I won't have everything. I actually reprinted my NXR remix tonight but it needs to cure tomorrow as I clipped it off the supports tonight. It's not ready for pics yet but just a prelim peek looks like a big improvement over the first time. Still not optimal but much improved.

    3. Relevant to your post Enterpriseera are the D6 and variants, Baton Rouge class, Daedalus Class, and the Uss Bonaventure Class Fed Cruisers. And of course a DY105. drop me a line at bloggerusername@, and I will send you some stuff to test out.

      After all, if you can optimize the files for printing, then I can use them sometime in the future myself... :)

  3. Definitely! If you need help optimizing then I can definitely help. I have some of those models already (like the Axanar D6 iirc as well as the Bonaventure) and they're definitely on my to do list for printing. This weekend I'll be updating the blog with some more pics including of a redone NXR that turned out much better. It's not perfect and there are a few spots that I could have placed the supports better but it's a big improvement. I'm just trying to finish painting a fig (one of the krogans) for a comparison with some other lines of figures.