While at ReaperCon this past week, I was excited to see Dicey Ventures Studios in the vendor area. One of the cool things that they had at the booth, were $10 mystery boxes with terrain pieces that are worth at least $10 in retail value. I figured $10 is definitely worth it to support these fine folks besides other items that I bought.
After excitedly purchasing this box, I opened it, saw a green 3D printed piece, but at first I had no idea what exactly I was looking at.
I knew that it had to be a house of some kind, but what are all those column looking things? I know that 3D printing is a pretty mainstream thing these days, I will admit that I am not tech savvy when it comes to these things. I know basically nothing about 3D printing (However, I assume that will change in the coming months since we ordered one and it is on the way- Tevo Tarantula), and if you are like me, then you have only seen 3D printed models and terrain in photos or in person without these column looking do-dads.
I thought that maybe I was missing something, so I went back to the booth just to ask and be sure. Ends up that the columns are supports that print along with curved areas and overhangs that are over 45 degrees. I thought to myself "Ah, OK! good to know!" Then I figured I better write a quick blog about this so that people like myself know how to prep 3D pieces like these when they get them. Also so that they are assured that they have not necessarily received or purchased a defective product.
First, there is a pretty good article that I found online about 3D printing supports and what they are in case you want to read more about it: Supports in 3D Printing: A Technology Overview
Second, here's the scoop on taking off these supports. It is pretty easy, but you do still have to be gentle and a little careful.
For the most part, the supports are pretty loose. I used sprue cutters and cut at the supports little by little. You will hear cracking sounds, but as long as you are not dealing with flimsy pieces, don't worry. It is just the supports coming apart from the piece itself. As I went along cutting, I pulled at the supports to take them off of the piece.
As you can see, the 3D printed piece is underneath the supports and there is no damage.
As a reminder, you do have to remember to be a little careful. Cutting away gently and little by little at the supports was how I managed to not damage the terrain piece. There are some parts that will be harder to clip off than others. Do not dig into it with sprue cutters or any other sharp tools. I almost stabbed my hand from doing that. So I pass that little nugget of wisdom on to you as well. There will be some nubs of plastic from where the supports were attached, but I was able to clean that up with files. It took a little while, but I finally unveiled my terrain piece which was exactly what I hoped to get! The Earth Dwelling!
If you are like me, then you are also curious about how one would go about smoothing out the lines in the printing if they wanted. Some people at the con were mentioning about using acetone to smooth the lines, there are other methods also like using different grits of sandpaper, bead blasting, etc. I found a good article about options that can be used to smooth a 3D print: Ultimate Guide to Finishing 3D Printed Parts
I am sure that there are a bunch of other articles about 3D print supports and how to smooth 3D prints that are great, but I hope that the ones I found are helpful and/or maybe even a good solid start in your learning and research.
We do plan to connect the 3D printer to one of our channels so that people can see whatever random craziness we come up with. So we will keep you posted. Be sure to follow us on the Metalhead Minis YouTube Channel and the Metalhead Minis Twitch Channel.
So excited about my Earth Dwelling and I plan to paint it one day. Might even take the time to smooth it with sandpapers and such. Of course I will show you guys when I do.
Until next time,
Stay crispy in milk and keep on painting!