The Heartbreak of Filament Run-Out

I went to print a 1:100 scale Soviet T-28 medium tank, and as is my habit these days, I split the hull in half fore and aft and printed it in two pieces.

Then I went off to bed, to sleep the sleep of the innocent.

Alas, I had over-estimated the amount of filament left on the reel.

When I got up this morning, this was the horrible sight that greeted me — an incomplete print, with the model's innards immodestly exposed for all to see.

Oh, woe! Dismay!

My first reaction was to just reprint it, but then I thought that I could use the opportunity to try a retrieval strategy of which I had read, but never actually done myself.

It is possible in Cura, the 3d printing slicing software I use, to move the model partially below the level of the virtual print bed. Then only the portion still exposed is processed for printing.

It can be done quite precisely — I could measure the height of the piece I had already printed, and drop the model in Cura by exactly that amount. However, models like this have a lot of surface features that can be used to do it pretty accurately by eye, which is what I did.

I did have to sand the incomplete faces perfectly flat, as they weren't complete layers, but that was easy enough and presented no problems.

In the end, it turned out pretty well, and the repair seams won't be very noticeable at all once I get some paint on to the model.

As an aside, the new grey PLA is about a bajillion times easier to photograph than the white was.

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