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We use Solidworks... but that's an expensive program. My son gets a free Student license because he's studying engineering, so no help there. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Here is the file I'm ultimately going to use. I need to scale it up a little, especially the width.


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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I also tried scaling a few others I found, mosasaurus, plesiosaurus and a "east dock" sign fun the first movie. A lot wouldn't print because scaling made the print too thin. That week be the Achilles heel of this. N scale means things are small! 3d printing technology doesn't do well with really thin items. At least in PLA or resin.

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
For this with printers or knowledge of them; is an ender 3 capable of the kind of detail I would need for this? I realize it may not be as detailed as the commercial resin printers, a little filing and sanding is ok.

I think I've spent enough on shapeways and craftcloud that I could have bought and ender3 by now. Curious if the 3 or 5 series are worth looking at for this purpose? I know they are entry level. But if a $2-300 printer is capable of decent print for modeling it might be worth it.

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If you're spending a bunch of money on 3 D prints, then getting g your own printer is far and away the most cost effective route.

I would check out some unbiased reviews from technical sources: Tom's Tech, Computing magazines, CNET, etc. Not you tube or seller websites. PC Magazine does not mention the Ender series in it's top 9 listing. The Best Cheap 3D Printers for 2021

My Photon is capable of resolutions down to 0.1mm -- that's one reason I got it. I believe, for an FDM printer, the resolution is limited to the size of the filament, in the case of the Ender, 1.75mm.

Just remember one thing: these are NOT plug and play devices. They're precision machines that will take a fair bit of knowledge and tweaking before you get good prints from it. Be prepared for that, and persevere until you get it right.
 

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I was an early adopter: I only have the base Photon (the model before the S). I'm not even sure it's sold anymore. FWIW, I paid almost $500 when I bought it about 3 years ago. So yeah, I'd definitely snap up a Photon S for $170.
 
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I need to see if I can get the file for this. I'm really pleased with how this is turning out. It tracks great around my little test loop. Just need to decide on a paint them for it. Tan and red are the parks colors but I don't want to overdo it.


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Some folks will happily share their files with you, often for free or a small fee. Some people want a lot for the files. I had a guy ask me for $250 for an STL file... which would have have been the cost of 5 printed models from Shapeways.
 

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I know of Shapeways but have not yet bought anything from anyone there. Telephone pole transformers, those bbq style propane tanks, and gas station type ice machines would appeal to me. Maybe little things like a birdbath, but I can scratch build most of those. I was debating an NW5 shell that someone offers, but in the lowest quality the shell was about $100…. Minus all details and of course the frame. Decided to pass. A variety of pickup truck bed caps would be nice though. And if someone made a 1970s van or two with separate doors included (to model them open) I’d certainly buy half a dozen of those.
 

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I know of Shapeways but have not yet bought anything from anyone there. Telephone pole transformers, those bbq style propane tanks, and gas station type ice machines would appeal to me. Maybe little things like a birdbath, but I can scratch build most of those. I was debating an NW5 shell that someone offers, but in the lowest quality the shell was about $100…. Minus all details and of course the frame. Decided to pass. A variety of pickup truck bed caps would be nice though. And if someone made a 1970s van or two with separate doors included (to model them open) I’d certainly buy half a dozen of those.
That's why it's often beneficial to invest in your own printer. Once you get the STL file (or create your own -- most of the items you're talking about wouldn't be hard), you can print unlimited copies for the price of a little filament or resin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I know of Shapeways but have not yet bought anything from anyone there. Telephone pole transformers, those bbq style propane tanks, and gas station type ice machines would appeal to me. Maybe little things like a birdbath, but I can scratch build most of those. I was debating an NW5 shell that someone offers, but in the lowest quality the shell was about $100…. Minus all details and of course the frame. Decided to pass. A variety of pickup truck bed caps would be nice though. And if someone made a 1970s van or two with separate doors included (to model them open) I’d certainly buy half a dozen of those.
It depends on how the designer created it. Sometimes a designer sets a high infill that results in higher costs, sometimes significantly. You definitely have to be careful on there. Some are outrageously expensive, some are reasonable and occasionally outright cheap.

I just got a printer on loan to pay with, so I'll see how it works out for me. I do think it's worth the cost of one, so long as I'm able to create a decent print. But a resin printer may be better suited to modeling than PLA because of the finer resolution.

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I'm definitely sold on the resin printers... the small additional post processing effort is worth it for the finer detail.

While infill may be an issue on something like a locomotive shell, it's not on those small detail parts. My experience with miniature figures suggests that solid objects are worth the extra resin, because of the better strength of the finished product. Support placement also becomes an issue with hollow objects..
 

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Just catching up on this thread (not sure how I missed it before). I converted your original file to an STL so I could take a look at it. I'm not sure if it's the conversion process or the details in the original file, but this model is sized at only 6.6mm wide. What size is it supposed to be? Realistically this should be split up into three different pieces so they can be laid flat on the bed. As it stands, this model would be a real bear to print because it would need a ton of supports. I've split things up in tinkercad though, it's not very difficult.

As already mentioned, the slicer software will create an internal honeycomb to provide support, but no software should print a model 100% solid unless you specifically set it up to do that. There's generally no benefit to the strength of larger models and it would just be a waste of filament. However for delicate figures like CTValley mentioned, I could definitely see the benefit there.

You had previously asked about the Ender 3 printer. I have the version 1 model and it could easily print something like these entry gates. There's not a lot of detail to them. You might want to use a sanding block to smooth out the final print, and it pays to take the time to use smaller layers. On the other hand, the caged dinosaur has a lot more detail to it but if you used a small layer height and slowed down the print speed a bit you could get something pretty decent. If you switched over to a 0.2mm nozzle it would also greatly improve the detail. I have printed some flatcars in HO and HOn3, which give me enough detail for the frame and coupler pockets but I haven't had any luck printing the stake pockets yet. If you do go with a filament printer like the Ender 3, do some searching for profiles used to print miniatures -- those guys really have it nailed and are getting some absolutely incredible detail from these printers (and this is probably what I need in order to get better detail in my flatcars).
 

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Which slicer software do you use? The proprietary Anycubic one doesn’t hollow out shapes and fillmore with with honeycomb lattice.. My understanding is that you have to design the model that way?
 

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Which slicer software do you use? The proprietary Anycubic one doesn’t hollow out shapes and fillmore with with honeycomb lattice.. My understanding is that you have to design the model that way?
This is the one I use. It does have the "Vase mode" and it is free. I have a ender 3pro,ender 5 and it works great with a anycubic. I had one of those too.
https://www.prusa3d.com/prusaslicer/
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
That's what I'm using, but I just started and don't know much about it yet. Had to replace the extruder, so I hadn't even gotten a print done yet.

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Just catching up on this thread (not sure how I missed it before). I converted your original file to an STL so I could take a look at it. I'm not sure if it's the conversion process or the details in the original file, but this model is sized at only 6.6mm wide. What size is it supposed to be? Realistically this should be split up into three different pieces so they can be laid flat on the bed. As it stands, this model would be a real bear to print because it would need a ton of supports. I've split things up in tinkercad though, it's not very difficult.

As already mentioned, the slicer software will create an internal honeycomb to provide support, but no software should print a model 100% solid unless you specifically set it up to do that. There's generally no benefit to the strength of larger models and it would just be a waste of filament. However for delicate figures like CTValley mentioned, I could definitely see the benefit there.

You had previously asked about the Ender 3 printer. I have the version 1 model and it could easily print something like these entry gates. There's not a lot of detail to them. You might want to use a sanding block to smooth out the final print, and it pays to take the time to use smaller layers. On the other hand, the caged dinosaur has a lot more detail to it but if you used a small layer height and slowed down the print speed a bit you could get something pretty decent. If you switched over to a 0.2mm nozzle it would also greatly improve the detail. I have printed some flatcars in HO and HOn3, which give me enough detail for the frame and coupler pockets but I haven't had any luck printing the stake pockets yet. If you do go with a filament printer like the Ender 3, do some searching for profiles used to print miniatures -- those guys really have it nailed and are getting some absolutely incredible detail from these printers (and this is probably what I need in order to get better detail in my flatcars).
Also, looking at this reply again, I think we need to make a distinction between filament printers and resin ones. Because the extruder head has to trace the entire area of the print and fill in solid structures, I can see how this would be wasteful, of time, more so than filament (although there is that too). A resin printer can (and does) print an entire layer 0.1mm thick and up to the cross section of the print bed, in one shot. Print time is measured not by the complexity of the print, but by the number of layers that must be deposited. An extremely large figure (for 25mm gaming scale) measuring 1.5" wide x 3" long x 5-1/2" high only weighs a couple of ounces, and still requires a fairly wide base to be stable. I think a hollow figure, even at this scale, would be too light to be practical, unless you were going to weight the base somehow.

Since we get dozens of prints from a single $25 bottle of resin, I don't see the material cost savings to be much of an issue anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Interesting, by your description I assume that a resin print takes significantly less time than the same print in a filament printer?

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Interesting, by your description I assume that a resin print takes significantly less time than the same print in a filament printer?

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Not sure, really. I have no basis for comparison. Resin printers are not speedy though. Build plate dips into the resin vat, UV light is on for about 10 seconds to cure the layer, build plate retracts, letting more resin fill in under it, then dips again. This cycle takes about 45 seconds to complete, and it has made a layer 0.1 mm thick. 10 of those (or about 7-1/2 minutes to print 1 mm; 25mm for a man-sized figure means over 3-1/2 hours... and the first few layers have much longer cure times. I figure about 4 hours for a human sized figure approximately 1" tall. But it takes no longer to print 8 figures of that size side by side on the build plate. Twice that height would take twice as long, roughly. I think the print head in a filament printer is moving much more rapidly, though.
 
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