Wednesday, August 5, 2020

3D Printing: Detolf Brackets

To display my completed models I have a Detolf display cabinet from Ikea. The shelf is great and beloved by the modeling and collecting communities but it has one flaw, a like of adjustable and additional shelves.

A search of Google, Etsy, and Thingiverse will yield several third party solutions to this problem. No that I have a 3D printer I set about making myself some mounting brackets to suspend some additional shelves. Those available on Thingiverse were designed with filament printers in mind and the models are single piece designs which work with pressure tension which is too much for a typical resin print to handle without failing. Additionally, the prints and products I found online required custom cut glass to match that of the existing shelves. I wanted to work with something readily available and off the shelf. Home Depot carries 11x14 inch glass panes which would fit nicely inside the cabinet.

So I went about designing my custom mounts as two piece resin prints. They are meant to be printed directly on the print bed without any added supports. They are held in place using two M3 hex nuts and  two M3-14 machine screws. A felt pad provides cushion for the glass which can be anywhere in size from that of the original shelves to a minimum of 11x14 inches.


It took me three iterations before I settled on this design. I'm quite happy with it. It prints and functions exactly as I intended and now I have all the space I need in my cabinet. You can download the file at Thingiverse. If you use it please post a make. I'd love to see it in action in your cabinet.

You can see some of v2.0 in the below photo. As time permits I will be replacing these with v3.0 which, in comparison, has better clearance for the hardware, prints without cleanup, has vertical support, and captures the nuts for easy assembly. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

3D Printer

I've finally done it. I've joined the world of home 3D printing. I had held off on purchasing a 3D printer for two reasons. 1, the cost, and 2, the resolution. Over time both of those factors have diminished and with the release of the Elegoo Mars, and Elegoo Mars Pro I could no longer help myself.

Prior to making my purchase I watched what seemed like and endless series of YouTube videos trying to learn about the technology and which printer would work best for my needs. Ultimately I wanted something easy to use, with high resolution, and a low price point to print model parts and miniatures with. With resolution as low as 1/100th of a millimetre and a sub $300 price tag I was sold on the Elegoo Mars. I went with the Pro versions. I can honestly say I'm not sure what I got for the extra money aside from having the USB port in the front (I just wish the power switch was as accessible).

When my printer arrived I was shocked at how small yet sturdy it was. This thing feels solid. It was packed extremely well and worked right out of the box. The directions guide you through a quick calibration followed by a print of the standard Rook model. The model was pre-sliced on a thumb drive which comes pre-loaded with several models. The first print was perfect and I was ready to start printing my own files.

.STL files must first be sliced into layers using a slicing software. The thumb drive packaged with the Elegoo Mars comes loaded with Chitubox. This is an easy to use piece of software. It has default setting you can use to support your model or you can design custom supports. It also allows you to hollow out the model and place drain holes to reduce the amount of resin used. My favorite feature is that, based upon the information you input, Chitubox will calculate the cost of the model (in resin). This would be very helpful in calculating materials cost if one were interested in selling 3D prints.

My first print of an original model was a total failure. Not because of the printer but because of my lack of understanding of my modeling software. I've been using Google Sketchup to design 3D models for sometime but I've only ever printed them with Shapeways. I was able to narrow my issue down to faces. In Google Sketchup a face has one side designated as interior and on side as exterior. I had multiple interior faces facing the exterior causing the model to fall apart when exported into the .stl format. So if you have issues with Sketchup models printing make sure to check your faces.

One of my first large and successful prints was a Robotech RDF ARMD Missile Destroyer from Thingiverse. I printed this for one of my local model club members. I wasn't entirely happy with the first print so I tried again. Ultimately I gave him both and he was very pleased. By the end of that same day he had them painted and sent me pictures of them incorporated into his project.

After all of his work I think it came out quite well. A bit of prep and paint made a world of difference.

For my next project I made some plaques for my display bases. I gave my Nordhoff Rangers a much needed upgrade! I love how the plaque came out although if I had to do it over again I would make the base thicker. Resin can be brittle and this snapped after I took it off the build plate. It cleaned up well though and I can't notice the crack now.

The cleaning process of rinsing the parts in isopropyl alcohol and then curing them under a UV lamp or outdoors was getting tedious and had mixed results. When I saw reviews for the Anycubic wash and cure station I decided to take the plunge. I've been using it with Simple Green to clean my prints. I follow that with a wash in warm soapy water and a cure in the Anycubic. I plan on trying it with denatured alcohol or iso in the future when those are more easily available.

Going forward I have several projects planed and will be posting them here in the near future. I'm really excited about what this new tool will bring to my modeling.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Stuffed Fables

Stuffed Fables is a table top board game from Plaid Hat Games. The game was gift for my wife. As it came with several miniatures, painting those was another part of my gift to her.

Flops, Lionel, Lumpy, Stitch, Theadora, and Piggle

I began by priming all the models black, followed by a downward airbrushing of grey at 45 degrees, and finished with a top down highlight of white. Each model was then painted in Vallejo acrylics with a glaze medium. Shadows were added using various washes from Vallejo, Army Painter, and Citadel. Finally highlights were added using one or two lighter shades of the base colors.

I wanted these to be very vivid so I only applied an overall wash to a couple of the baddies and the metal monsters. The more vibrant characters only received washes in the creases.

After each figure was painted it received a final coat of clear matte varnish to help bring the paint together and to provide some protection from handling during game play.


Dark Hearts


The Snatcher



These were fun to paint and I think the finished product will provide a much more vibrant gaming experience than the plain grey game pieces.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Skaven Army

While I've never played Warhammer or AOS I did purchase and complete a Skaven Army. It consists of:

All the models were painted with Vallejo Acrylics and Army Painter washes. I used various weathering solutions to add the patina and rust.

I used extra parts from the Start Collecting! Skaven Pestilens box set to make my Grey Seer. It was really quite simple as all I did was take the Grey Seer and bell from the Screaming Bell option and cut the bell flush with a base.

All the writing on the scrolls and banners was completed using a .2mm Pigma Micron pen from Sakura in the Archival Ink color which is a kind of dark brown.

The movement trays are castings of 3D prints I purchased from Mack the Maker at Etsy. Check out his shop at for these and many other movement trays.

I added a gloss varnish to the pile of slime on the Plagueclaw to add to the funk.

Overall I really had a fun time building this army. It even picked up an award at the local hobby show and the Plague furnace picked up an award at the model show in Las Vegas. One of these days I may even play a game of Warhammer!