Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ants/Pants Part 2

With a few delays I finally managed to 3D print the Arachnid fighters. Apparently the browser software (IE) that accesses the Vflash had updated without my knowledge. Of course, the Vflash software had not updated, so there were some compatibility issues all of the sudden. This had to be solved before I could upload any files to the 3D printer.

Once that was solved it was a quick build, only taking about 1.5 hours. Here they are on the pad:

There were a few small issues. The gun barrels were too long in a few cases and some of them were too fragile to print properly. I was pushing the limits of the printer here. To make them look even I had to trim them to the same size. After cleaning and mounting the fighters on the stems I realized that the two smaller ones didn't have enough material to drill into very well. I managed to mount them well enough but it wasn't as easy as the others. To fix the CAD design, I went back and added more material underneath, and significantly shortened the gun barrels. I didn't reprint them, and painted the ones I had.

I updated the CAD files and fixed the minor problems in a few moments. (The shapeways versions are the updated design.) Many of you will spot the lesson here -- always make a prototype! One of the best features of 3D printers is the ability to create a "rapid prototype" for a comparatively low cost. If you can imagine the heartache of manually sculpting an object for days/weeks and then discovering it has some errors ....

With a quick coat of primer, and then some paint, they came out looking like this:
 The compound-canopy was painted red to look like eyes, and the body is shaded grey with ochre markings. The engines glow green, but you can't see that here. Here are the fighters below:


You'll find close-ups of each type in my shapeways shop.