With the Rituals of Support completed once again the appropriate platitudes of activation were transmitted to Servitor Solus and the diligent device was set once more to work. The bright red polymer resin was running low so some final prints including a mix of practical and personal (for now) projects seemed like a fitting end to the first litre that has brought my ideas to this point so far.
∙ When it comes to the Onager components, I guess two out of three isnít bad. While the results are mostly good, some flaws and mistakes are larger than others.
I completely spaced out somehow, managing to model the reactor upside-down. Um yeah, oops. Itís not hard to move the locking key and fix this blatant mistake, but I canít believe I even did it in the first place. So silly. It paints a picture in my mind of a servitor performing maintenance, only to be asked by an overseer why they are installing the unit inverted, followed by a loud screech of binaric obscenities as they begin to unscrew restraining bolts to correct it. Even a diligent servant of the Omnissiah can have a bad day.
Other than that overt issue there are a few distorted spots which I didnít support correctly and, as expected, the fit on the armour panels isnít quite accurate yet since theyíre only an educated guess for this print. Par for the course, these will be simple enough to sort out. I also want to make the gizmo I devised for the weapon system just a tiny bit larger radius so I can have an excuse to make the cog in the center just a bit larger. In the fiction, Lucius forge world is said to have unique Onagers and Ironstriders so I think these bits help take the models in that direction.
∙ I took the opportunity to do my first test prints of the new Combi-weapons Iím working on and the results are mostly positive.
If you look closely you can see a bit of distortion on the magazine and ammo drum. On a bit like these, the 90-degree orientation of these details makes them huge overhangs when I print them in the preferred orientation, pointing straight up. Supports are the usual method of dealing with overhands but these are large ones right in the middle of the part and anything that can be done to avoid and/or minimize supports is preferable since they always
leave a defect that needs to be cleaned from the print. Supports are a necessary evil that I need to deal with but always try to avoid. In this case, I tried to tilt the print but it wasnít enough to avoid pictured distortion.
Other than that, that prints are very hopeful but also illustrate another thing Iím still trying to get the right sense of and thatís the scale of some of the detailing. When Iím 3D modelling the component is so large itís very easy to create details that are just a bit too small, subtle, or delicate, to really work well when itís created at real-world scale. Thereís a reason why some of the detailing on good models is a bit exaggerated and emphasized when youíre in really close because at the small scale theyíre finally created at itís very easy for the properly scaled details to be completely Ďwashed outí. In particular, I like to add bevels and subtle curves in some places and they look great on the screen, but then the bit is printed and the carefully added details are simply lost at the final scale. The hand is also something I suspected would need more work and the thumb in particular needs to be adjusted so itís a bit more pronounced.
So thereís lost to like with these first prints, but I think another round of tweaking the 3D models will do the designs proper justice. Good design really is often about iteration. Rarely does an idea or concept come into reality perfectly formed and a few iterations is usually to be expected.
∙ While the fit isnít quite right this component looks great from the top; unfortunately, the bottom shows that Solus is struggling to avoid surface flaws on that side.
At some point in the future I might 3D model more complete weapons, but right now the recent Chaos release offers a few niches that are just begging to be filled with straightforward solutions like this one. Modelling a full Chaincannon, doing it justice, making it blend in aesthetically, making it original, and ensuring it would fit at least reasonably well with current kits, well thatís a whole lot of work that Iím not up to right now. Iím also itching to get working on many other larger projects so getting too distracted with smaller bits and kits isnít what I want to be doing right now. A little distraction is to be expected and entertained, but I canít let it get too carried awayÖ for nowÖ
Again, in order to avoid adding support to all sides of the object, I tilted it when I printed it and only added supports to the bottom. It mostly
worked, but while some cleanup of support touchpoints is unavoidable the angle ended up causing unexpected surface issues; some shapes at peculiar angles are simply prone to this issue, at least, with is resin. More on that in a moment. So, while I can accept some cleanup, thereís just too much going on here to justify the effort and Iíll need to find a way to further improve the outcome.
∙ As one final act of bulk productivity the last of this resin was used to create a complete set of casting masters for the Ďcleaní Mk.2 version of the Ferratis Rhino/Predator Armour.
With all the kinks for this armour kit work out I wanted to get the more Loyalist-centric Mk.2 version completed. I will return to the Rhino/Predator chassis at some point in the future but for right now Iím happy to have a replacement for the current out-of-production Chaos Predator armour as well as a Loyalist counterpart as a first expansion of the selection. Iím also keen on doing the Ďelegantí version I showed a while back and I have some interesting ideas on how to tackle mutated and warped details, but those are really elements that can be applied to a wide range of future plans so itís nothing really exclusive to this kit in particular.
∙ It served the studio well, helping me to being to understand the quirks of Servitor Solusí machine spirit, but the red Proto resin is dead! Long live the new grey Art resin!
Itís a different colour, it smells distinctly different (not a better
smell, but uniquely different and at least less strong/pungent), it has a different thicker viscosity, requires different printer settings, and produces parts with different physical characteristics. Oh, and from everything Iíve seen so far with my limited testingÖ itís just better. After a single test print, I seemed to get the settings rather close and got good results that were just a bit too delicate and fragile. So I made some adjustments and gave Solus a proper task to test this new resinÖ
∙ Ö and oh myÖ those are some amazingly good results that, dare I say it, appear to be even better than what was being produced with the red Proto resin.
Now, I suspect part of it is just the fact that the new resin is a nice neutral grey and itís easier to see good contrast on the parts and theyíre much
more photogenic, but honestly, something about the surface quality and/or fidelity of the parts just seems to be improved. Even if it is
a trick of the colour when it comes to the appearance there seems to be an improvement in the print quality and itís less prone to the surface flaws like those that were a problem on the bottle of the Chaincannon barrels pictured above. Iíll need to do more prints to know for sure but Iím hoping Iím correct since it could be more reliabel prints in lots of circumstances. The parts are also even stronger and less brittle than the red resin which helps during cleanup and ensure the casting masters will have a good long lifespan. Nothing wrong with that at all.
Unfortunately, it does require a somewhat different setup for the supports for correct printing so any of my older print files that I set up for use with the original red resin wonít be compatible with this new grey resin. Not a huge issue since I donít have plans to reprint many/most of them for any reason, and not a big enough reason for me to look back because the new Art resin really seems to be worth the effort of adjusting to its unique properties.
∙ Case-and-point, while the red Proto resin did an admirable job creating these Kastelan components the parts made with the new grey Art resin just seems to be that little bit improved.
Again, maybe itís just the clean grey colour and added contrast, but I donít know, time will tell. In fact, the colour of the new resin is so
close to the grey that I tint my casting polyurethane Iím going to need to be careful not to mix the masters up with casts. In the previous image you can make out a few telltale stubborn spots where the layering of the 3D printing process is unavoidable but the 20-micron layer height makes them very easy to sand away and the rest of the surfaces are freakishly smooth and refined.
Iím not complaining by any stretch, but Iím again
impressed by Solus even after being impressed several times in the past. Iím still perfecting the best practices I need to learn in order to avoid printing problems without too much trial-and-error which wastes expensive materials, but Iím only running into small problems that require a bit of tweaking to resolve before I get exactly what I was hoping for. Each project completed opens the door wider to bigger and more ambitious projects as I continue to learn and gain confidence. This bodes very well for future projects, to be sure.
Now, if only, running the business side of the studio with books, numbers, equipment, materials, and stock, was so compelling and didnít daunt me so much. Ok momentum, time to continue building so I can deal with that next. This is too good a start not to get somewhere. Letís see what I can make of all this growing potential, shall we?