Going Lower and Lower

I've added a mirror to the print bed for absolute flatness, with some hair-spray to aid in adhesion
My next experimental print is being run at 0.3mm layer height, just to see what that's like. There's a very perceptible difference in quality between 0.2 and 0.3; the layers (from a 0.4mm nozzle) aren't squished together as much, so the layering is much more obvious, like a stack of wires. Which is, after all, pretty much what it is. I suspect that part of the issue is the colour of the PLA filament; the pure white tends to blend in with itself visually, while this medium blue shows much more tonal contrast.

A lot of what we see here are actually support structures; Cura (the free open-source slicer I use) is VERY VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about where and how many supports it adds, and as far as I know, they're not editable. There are other slicers available (e.g. Solidify 3d), but they tend to be the complete opposite of free, and therefore beyond my reach.

I don't think I'd go any lower than this with the current nozzle; I expect I'd likely start getting gaps and layer separation.

At this very low resolution, printing proceeds (relatively) quickly, and it would be quite useful for rapid(ish) prototyping before committing to a long, high-resolution print. Also, it would be perfectly good for creating armatures for later finishing with epoxy putty and the like.

It's odd to think that this was pretty much the expected quality for any FDM prints, even from quite expensive printers, just a few years ago.



Here's the finished print, an AD&D PHB Demon Idol, about 70mm tall.

The top two show front and back views with supports still in place, the bottom two having removed them.

For the most part the supports come away quite easily, but there are a few tricky places — the mouth was especially tough, and at one point on a leg, the support stripped away a length of wall as it came away. I assume this is because of the relatively low adhesion between layers due to the 0.3mm layer height.

The idol came away from its base, again due to low layer adhesion, and the PLA it's printed in proved to be immune to all the plastic cements I tried. Eventually I just hot-glued it back together.

Redesigning Models for FDM Printing

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