As you read in our previous article, we finished the design of our first 3D model which we nicknamed “the hybrid”. At that stage we were quite happy with how things were going. Next step was to print the models in order to understand the 3D printing technology, the acceptable materials, pricing, and turnaround time of different 3D print providers.
We need to highlight here that neither Ozren nor I are 3D design experts. As you can see on our website, and on our YouTube channel, we are scale model enthusiasts who want to solve a problem common to all miniature modelers. For us the prototyping phase is extremely important, as we need to learn both about design and 3D printing.
We ordered both models in different materials which come with different prices, and different sizes to test the output (in 1/35 and 1/24 scale). Our initial thoughts on 3D printing were around SLA technology for 3D printing. However the tricky part with SLA is that it uses fixed supports, something we wanted to avoid on small and delicate models. In comes the savior - Material Jetting - which uses soluble materials for support, making it easier to clean up a small model.
You can see on pictures above how the initial prints turned out after the base coat was applied. The detail is very visible and pronounced. However, there is a - but - as well. The materials used are relatively brittle and should not be dropped on the floor. We have learned this the hard way having the barrel of the gun delivered broken.
On the below pictures you can see some additional prints. Overall, it was an important first experience as we learned about the process, technology and materials and it highlighted the most important things that we have to consider. We have tried to apply the lessons learned to future models, which we will cover in future articles.