|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|06-21-19 07:44 AM|
∙ Something(s) wicked this way comesÖ soonĎishÖ I hopeÖ *Sigh* Never enough time. Update brain-dump incoming.
|06-11-19 09:45 AM|
∙ Juggle model man! Juggle! You got that done? Well hereís three more things you gottaí do! Hahahah! Juggle model man! Juggle!
Required to constantly keep swapping hats, Iím working on a new banner that I can use on the shop that can give a really focused condensed idea of the studio philosophy with a layout that can accommodate a range of photos. Iím hoping that if I can standardize some of the stuff like this I can make it a bit easier to add updated images to give more feedback on what the studio is working on. Being a simple setup I donít get a lot of control over the shop site so for now Iím trying to do my best with the template as-is.
Ah well, more updates coming soon. I have a distinct urge to start painting the Kastelan Ďbots despite all the things I need to do. Iíve been sacrificing my weekends that I was forcing myself to take in an effort to keep my head screwed on straight and the lack of progress on personal projects has me getting quite itchy. The Mechanicus are so close to being done, I canít help but get back finishing them, before getting lured and lost in Darker placesÖ
|05-30-19 09:00 PM|
+++ Compiling Data +++ Kastelan STC Alteration ∙ OngoingÖ +++ Displaying Iteration ∙ 3.3 +++ Reviewing Hard DataÖ +++
Revised Assessment ∙ DisplayingÖ
Optical Input Array ∙ Improved ∙ Visum Pattern Wide-Angle Broad-Spectrum Optical Unit ∙ Integrated
Onboard Ammunition Supply ∙ Enlarged ∙ Increased Ammunition Capacity ∙ 800%
Rate of Fire ∙ Enhanced ∙ TriaíTelum Pattern Rotary Blaster Installed ∙ Fire Rate Increase ∙ 200%
Close Combat Weapons ∙ Iteration Subroutines ∙ OngoingÖ
Correlating Data Points ∙ OngoingÖ
Generating Authority Request ∙ Active Combat Testing
∙ As hoped, casting the ammo feeds in polyurethane and creating three with different radii/radiuses solved the fit issues.
They are a bit fiddly to bend into the exact final position (I still want to tweak one of them a bit more) but polyurethane is a very forgiving thermodynamic plastic; not only can it twist and bend significantly if you warm it in boiling hot water, it also returns to its original shape very easily if you want to reset an effort.
My son was fascinated by the long piece of polyurethane sprew I was using as a test strip, repeatedly bending and twisting it into the most extreme shapes he could manage and then dunking it to watch it relax back to the original shape. He did it so much more than I would have it really illustrated to me just how much you can torture poly resin and it really holds up well. Iíve learned to take my hard data where I can get it.
∙ I was forced to partially complete the build to make the model stable enough to facilitate the fitting of the ammo feeds.
I had planned on doing a set of the close combat arms to see how theyíd turn out but my current AdMech list doesnít have them and this assembly was just being too frustrating without locking some parts in place. I guess I have no choice now but to get some more Kastelan Ďbots to make this squad a bit bigger and to add another for a bit of punch. Pun intended.
For anyone who might be wondering if/when these kits will be making their way to the shop, yes I do plan on putting the Mechanicus components Iíve created in the shop at some point in the future. However, I want to put some other projects to bed first and I also want to complete one-or-two more Mechanicus builds, with the Onager being the obvious target, but there might be more some inspiration to add to that. The upcoming AdMech transport/tank kit has me itching to get my grubby hands on it to see what potential might lay in the kit.
Oh, and donít you worry Chaos, I could never forget about you. First the Marines, then the Mechanicus. Yes, you will have your fill, I promise.
But those are Darker ideas, forming other stories, for future updatesÖ
|05-26-19 03:47 AM|
∙ Iím still having a few issues printing these bits but hereís the Linked Bolter and Melta looking really solid.
Unfortunately, the Flamer simply didnít print. When it does work (and the success ratio is high) the results are so good that Iím certain that I just need to tweak the print setting and/or be selective where in the build area I place small objects like this. Itís hard to tell if itís the new resin or the fact that these parts are quite small so they only have a small profile for each layer when theyíre printing. Or maybe itís a bit of both.
∙ Not exactly the best angle to showcase the model as a whole (he looks a little stiff here) hereís a shot of the Plasma in-situ.
There are a few minor issues I want to give one final tweak to and I want to experiment a bit more with placement and orientation when Iím printing; not all spots on the printing bed are equal and the angle/orientation that an object is printed at can have a surprisingly large impact on the final outcome. I think the results speak to the fact that Iíve got the hang of it, but now I want to make sure Iím getting the best possible results. Theyíre small bits with some fiddly details, so theyíre a good candidate for me to really understand how to work with this new resin.
*Subtle squeals like a schoolgirl*
Holy crap, I made that! I can hold it in my grubby little fingers and actually see and touch an idea made solid. UV light and freaking goo combined with computers and a dash of hobby-OCD. Science is amazing!!
Sorry, Iím having one of myÖ moments.
|05-25-19 10:24 PM|
Originally Posted by Old Man78 View Post
|05-25-19 10:11 PM|
∙ Redesigned and fresh from Servitor Solus the new Chaincannon components are almost readyÖ as long as I donít make silly mistakes. But damn, do I love this new resin!
In the top-right corner, you can see where I overlooked adding supports to some of the points on the four-barrel design. Simple enough to fix, but also an obvious mistake I should do better to avoid. Beyond that little oversight, theyíre looking wonderful. No, I need to figure out where Iím going to attach the vent and how Iíll make the mould. Itís one thing to get a good test print, but then I need a proper production copy so I can make moulds. Soon, very soon.
Theyíre rather straightforward bits but they actually taught me a new 3D modelling trick I can use to make parts that Servitor Solus will have an easier time reproducing. In certain spots where there might be an edge with a 90į overhang that would require a support to print properly (and supports are a necessary evil that Iím always trying to minimize) if I can draft the surface (draft = add a slight tilt/slope/angle) from 10į to 15į degrees Solus can produce it without any need of a support. In many cases, the added draft is so subtle and/or just looks like an intended part of the design that thereís no reason not to do it beyond the fact that it does take a bit more work to add it in some spots.
I also tried to print the updated Combi-weapons along with these, but of the 8 parts I tried to print only 2 turned out, and theyíre both the base Bolters so none of the actual Combi-weapons turned out. So I removed the Chaincannon barrels from the layout and tried againÖ and after 2+ hours of printing, I discovered that all of the parts failed to print. So, Iím discovering that while the new grey Art resin produces excellent results itís just a bit more temperamental to get it to cooperate. If the print takes proper hold it works wonderfully but those first few critical layers seem to have a bit of a technique to ensure they take properly and Iím still zeroing in on it.
|05-22-19 12:33 PM|
|Old Man78||Love your work, personally I think the guns on the robots are a little too big but the sculpts themselves are great|
|05-21-19 09:52 AM|
∙ Iím sorry that I keep posting similar images of the Kastelan Ďbots, but the new 3D printing resin combined with this design really have me smitten over the last few days.
I took a bit of the time to make a ball-joint for the shoulder mounted Phosphor Blaster. The clunky rectangular one was a strange aspect of the kit that seemed really lazy and it was really easy to replace. After a bit more testing and the feedback Iíve also modeled three lengths/radius ammo feeds for the arm Blasters to help facilitate the fit. I tried once again to heat-bend one of the 3D prints and it simply wonít have anything to do with it, bending at first, but inevitably snapping. Once Iíve got the moulds made Iím sure itíll get sorted out with polyurethane casts. This kit was more involved but Iím so pleased with the results and the further proof-of-concept for a few things I was testing here (like the ammo feeds) that Iím glad I took the time to work the kinks out and take the design all the way to replacing the whole arm.
Ok, bed ways is right ways. Stay tuned for further updates in the somewhat near future.
|05-18-19 08:56 AM|
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?
|05-10-19 08:45 AM|
Ok, since Iíve procrastinated on writing a proper update now Iíve got comments and feedback from several perspectives and different corners of the interwebs I think itís better to just ramble a bit about these kits and how they related to my design philosophy. Making quality bits is a balancing act between a few factors and sometimes they force a designer into certain corners.
As a first tangent, itís been mentioned/questioned a few times over the years if Iíve considered using Shapeways to produce some of my designs. While it can be tempting I wonít being going that route for several reasons. The simple primary factor is control; Iíve spent several years working out the kinks in the entire process and part of what I want to bring to my product offering is that itís all done in-studio to a very discerning standard. That is the business I want to grow into something larger and I want to keep complete control of the creative, production, and ultimately profit flow.
As an extension of that idea I really donít like the Polyjet 3D printing process that is used by Shapeways for their high resolution prints. Iíve commented on it in the past since Iíve worked with it a few times (once with Shapeways and several other times as well), and it really is an amazing 3D printing technology but not for the one-off quality I want at this scale. Some people donít mind it, and if youíre a hobbyist then thatís a fine call to make, but Iím someone who wants to produce at small-to-medium scale and I want the product to be the best quality I can achieve. It really is the extra small scale that just pushes Polyjet to its limits if you demand results like Iím after. The results I was getting from professionally printed components using Polyjet was specifically why I took the time and effort to research and requisition Servitor Solus and even now that Iíve got the high resolution 3D printing I needed to achieve the results Iím aiming for I still spend quite a bit of time tweaking and adjusting my designs to assemble cleanly and fit correctly. Even with the tools and equipment in-house it can take several tries to get parts to fit the model or even each other correctly, so no, I donít think Shapeways is a good solution for producing most of the kits Iíll be creating. Whatever could be saved in lead times would require too much loss in quality and control to make it worth the trade.
∙ A perfect example how a rather simple component can require a few test prints to ensure the fit is correct. These barrels can be used on different models but theyíre specifically designed to fit the new Havoc models.
Iíve used digital calipers to measure the Heavy Bolter in the Havoc kit and tried to model it as precisely as I can manage, and while Iím sure itís very close I wonít know if Iím completely correct until Iíve got the bits in hand. (Very soon) I model parts with tolerances of 0.1mm to 0.05mm so it doesnít take much for something to be off and make a fit too tight, loose, misaligned, etc.. Naturally, trying to match straight lines is reasonably easy but as soon as curves are involved it becomes harder; thereís little choice but to model it as close as possible and then make adjustments after the first test prints. In this case, even the little peep-sight-like detail on the front of the Heavy Bolter isnít complex but I can only make an educated guess at the radius of the curve; same goes for the depth of the notches on the sides at the base which are close but Iím not sure if theyíre perfect. Theyíre just too tricky to measure precisely on the model.
∙ The new combi-weapon bits had to be a balance of several things and theyíre a good example to showcase the design thinking I try to employ.
It basically comes down to balancing the practical needs of the design, personal creativity, and the fictional niche Iím trying to fill. Practical issues can be things the end builder will deal with like magnetization and/or how a kit assembles, but it can also be something to accommodate the manufacturing or 3D printing process and that says mostly on the studio side, where, if I design it correctly you donít know that I made a clever part that casts really well, but you should appreciate the lack of mould lines and bubbles. My personal creativity is just having the idea as a starting point, but itís also a key consideration in that I need to create a unique and interesting enough design that suits the Warhammer universe but is something new that Iíve created from my mind; I donít want to directly copy or mimic things made by GW, I want to make original versions of my own ideas that blend right in with the official kits. And that leads neatly into the idea of the niche that Iím aiming to fill and the design language that GW uses for similar objects/wargear or just in the Warhammer universe in general; my professors in college would have referred to it as finding the Ďsympathetic detailsí that you aim to draw into a new design, creating something new but with a notable linage.
∙ GW has the side-by-side Combi all buttoned up so I figured Iíd go with an over-under configuration; not only do I like the look I came up with but the slimmer profile is also very nice.
I always try to incorporate what I call pseudo-plausibilityô into my designs, which is an intentionally silly verbose way of saying that I try to design details on my models with consideration of how the object would operate and work as a blend of the 40k universe and real world considerations. Yes, these are completely fictional objects that many times are based on science-fantasy but that doesnít mean vents, grills, hoses, pipes, hydraulics, buttons, switches, fasteners, seamlines, and a million other minor details canít be given a bit of common sense consideration. That said, I have to be careful not to take it too far or I can start to obsess over trivial details (something Iím far too apt to do, but Iím getting much better) and waste time on them, and/or I can overdetail something in an effort to get it just right and really authentic. When youíre modeling something thatís 50x larger on your computer screen then it will be in real life and itís meant to be a model and not 100% authentic, itís very easy to create details that either struggle to be created during the 3D print process or are so small and delicate that theyíre lost at the tiny scale theyíre produced at. I want them sci-fi, but not too sci-fi, and I want them realistic, but not too realistic. When it doubt, I lean toward making it blend with the Warhammer aesthetic and chuck realism in the corner for later.
∙ Oh, you knew it was going to be magnetized, right? From a practical perspective it was simply easier to incorporate the magnet in the vertical orientation.
Iím still not sure if one pair of the 1.65x1.65mm magnets used here will be enough attraction for my liking, but itís not hard to add a second set of magnet holes if I want to make it stronger. The hand also might get one more round of tweaking; itís almost there but even after altering the thumb a bit, I think it needs a little more work to get a better match how the thumb is on an official model. Nothing major and likely not even a big deal considering how small it is and where itís located. For the test prints, the backs of the hands will also sty flat since thatís what best suits most of the models that are in the GW line, but it wouldnít be too hard to add a ball-joint or pin feature that could easily be removed if unwanted, so that doesnít seem out there. If/when I start making more elaborate assemblies I will always try to use ball joints and articulated hinges wherever it makes sense to provide more posing options.
Iím also leaving the left hand off for the first test prints; I know that one-handed versions will likely be very popular but Iím sure some people will want a proper two-handed version. I suspect itís the one-handed setup and the tall profile that makes these models seem a bit more like pistols, but I can assure you that the lower Bolter is 18mm long which is a tiny bit longer than a Bolter in the new Chaos Marine kit. The larger ammo drums and wider zig-zag feed magazines that hold more shells might also add to the bulk a bit making them seem a bit more pistol like. Whatever is going on, itís just an optical illusion that Iím sure will vanish once theyíre in context and not floating in a white void.
∙ ďMissed itÖ by that much.Ē ~ Maxwell Smart Ė Yeah, I was close but the fit is just a bit too tight and it doesnít quite want to close. Close, only counts, horseshoes, hand grenades, yadda yaddaÖ
So the fit isnít quite correct here, but it would even be worse in a cast since itíll shrink more ever-so-slightly. Iíll need to loosen this up considerably to make sure itís not a problem after all the effort is made to mould and cast it. Itís all good, thatís what test prints are for. Right now Iím still testing the limits of Servitor Solusí so Iím mostly happy with how well the subtle curves of these parts turned out. A few spots benefited from a light sanding with 600 grit soft sanding stick but thatís hardly a problem when the results are so good. Despite it not quite closing around the arm I couldnít ask for a better fit and finish.
∙ Solving the minor fit issue will be easy enough but the ammo feed is going to be the final hurdle to get past to complete this kit.
The final tweaks to the head have it looking very nice and printing without any issues, and despite the fit on the arm it still looks pretty good in these photos. The ammo feed is the final piece to this little puzzle thatís going to need to wait until I can make a mould and cast the part in polyurethane. As Iíve discovered, the 3D printed resin can be bent after heating but it still remains rather brittle and prone to breaking very easily as its being shaped.
I do wish I could make the arm just a bit slimmer but the three barrels made to mimic the gauge of the shoulder mounted cannon just doesnít make that possible. However, in turn the three barrels do give a proper reason why the arms are as thick as they end up being. Theyíre no larger in width than the original arms so I guess itís a more effective use of the space. I suspect theyíll grow on me more when theyíre not bright red-orange and painted to blend with the model. Even some primer would go a long way.
∙ Long overdue because of various delays and some changes to the design, the armour plates for the Predator are being prepped for mould making.
I simplified the design a bit from the original Predator armour I created so now the armour plates on the weapon systems are interchangeable between each weapon or the stowage/ammo/battery on the turret. It makes them a bit less customized to each mounting location but it really helps to trim down on the number of parts for the kit so itíll be more straightforward to produce and it suites the lighter nature of this design, I feel.
Once these are casting Iíll be making the clean Mk.2 version for Imperial builders. Now that all the kinks are worked out with regard to fit it will be much more straightforward to get future variations complete and into production. I may also take the time to do the more elegant Mk.4 version because Iíd like to see something with some more flowing lines and subtle details, but Iíve been getting a lot of request to get the Land Raider kits back in stock. I will be restocking the current ĎRaider kits one more time but Iím eager to get working on new kits using the new equipment in the studio. Iím already starting the 3Dmodeling of the Land Raider and Iíll also be doing the Sicaran along with it, so expect to see some updates for those in the somewhat near future.
Servitor Solus will be quite busy for the foreseeable future, so expect to see some prints of these combi-weapons in the next few days along with further updates on the Mechanicus components since I still have the other Kastelan arms to do and the Onager bits as well. Stay tuned. Spring is here, and the longer days are bring an upswing in the energy and while I might be too busy to write as often as Iíd like, thereís lots in The Works.
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