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Print quality questions for miniatures


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Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

Hi folks

I'm considering buying an Ultimaker 2 Go (or maybe a regular 2) to print 28mm scale miniatures (figures around 1.5" tall). Currently, my sculptor makes a STL file in zBrush and then I send the file to a company that uses an "Envision Tec Perfactory Mini Multi Lens with ERM" that has a 15 micron resolution.

So, I got interested in the Ultimaker since it says it can do 20 micron. So first question, would there be a big difference in detail beween 15 and 20 microns? My sculpts have a lot of fine detail from eyelids & teeth to shoe laces and they all come out great with the Envisiontec, but I would like to be able to do everything in house.

I'm mostly interested in the 2 Go version since it's cheaper and also since I do small figures I won't need anything bigger. It looks like I can do a 4" square with that, and that's more than enough. Do I need any extra attachments to get it to print at 20 micron or can it do that out of the box? Also, is it easy to use out of the box, or do I have to be a techie with lots of patience to figure it out? I would like to be able to take a 3D file, it ctrl-p and watch it appear before my eyes. :) guessing there's gonna be more to it than that?

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    Posted (edited) · Print quality questions for miniatures

    Ug.  Where do I start.  Well - I don't recommend Ultimaker for this.  The Envision Tec uses a different technology (resin printer that uses light to harden the resin) that is about 10X higher resolution than Ultimaker technology (melting plastic and squirting through nozzle).  The Ultimaker has 20 micron resolution ONLY IN THE Z Axis.  The X and Y axis are limited to the nozzle radius which by default is 200 microns.  You can get a little better - possibly down to 125 microns but that's about it for this technology.

    Look at the b9creator or the Form1.  Google those printers.  Particularly the b9creator.

    Edited by Guest
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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    One micron is .001 mm so if you feel like you will loose any detail with .005 mm the you may be out of luck.

    As for the ultimakers Quality: If you order one you can expect to pull it out of the box plug it in, run through the setup (very non-techie friendly), and be printing in 20 minutes.

    To get a really, really good print does take some learning but there is a great community surrounding the ultimaker so you can get help with technical questions pretty easy.

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    • 1 year later...
    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    Resurrecting this old post with the same question.. now that the Ultimaker 3 is out, would this have a good print quality for miniatures? Or will they still come out more or less the same as the Ultimaker 2?

    I've been looking at some others that print with liquid resin, and there have been a few that seem like a good candidate, but I feel like that's going to be real messy and have a steep learning curve. I kinda like the idea of having supports that dissolve in water.

    Anyway, just curious if the Ultimaker 3 print quality will be able to do the fine details I'll need for miniatures?

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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    It's more about the nozzle - .25mm nozzles will do better on UM3 than .4mm nozzles on UM2. Smaller the nozzle, better the resolution but this drastically increases print time (by roughly the cube of the diameter - so half the diameter takes 8X as long).

    But if you have the same nozzle size on all machines I would say the um2go has the best detail followed by um2, then um2ext, then um3 then um3ext. Basically the bigger the machine or the heavier the head the worse the quality. But these are small differences. The UM3 has fantastic quality and nozzle size is more important.

    The UM3 also allows you to print support material which is great and gives you better quality bottom surfaces if you have a part with severe overhangs.

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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    It's more about the nozzle - .25mm nozzles will do better on UM3 than .4mm nozzles on UM2.  Smaller the nozzle, better the resolution but this drastically increases print time (by roughly the cube of the diameter - so half the diameter takes 8X as long).

    But if you have the same nozzle size on all machines I would say the um2go has the best detail followed by um2, then um2ext, then um3 then um3ext.  Basically the bigger the machine or the heavier the head the worse the quality.  But these are small differences.  The UM3 has fantastic quality and nozzle size is more important.

    The UM3 also allows you to print support material which is great and gives you better quality bottom surfaces if you have a part with severe overhangs.

     

    hmm .. well I don't care about the print time so much.. this would be used for creating master prints for small miniatures.. then I would use the printed parts to make rubber molds for traditional liquid resin. The most important thing is being able to have really fine details. Most of the companies I've used to make prints for me in the past have used Envisiontec printers, but those are way out of my price range. The other printer I'm looking at is the formlabs form 2, but I like the idea of using the spools of plastic more than tubs of liquid.

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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    For what you are doing: go for a resin printer. More detail and capable of small items.

    It would take a lot of trial and error (and frustration) to get it right on any fdm printer.

    Nozzle diametre and plastic strings and blobs will always mess up, even the UM3 is not good at thin vertical structures...

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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    I agree with peggyb. Also she designs jewelry and has experience with both resin and fdm printers. If you want to save money there is also the b9creator which has I believe much finer resolution than form2. You can zoom the projector and get smaller prints with finer detail on the b9creator.

    The resin technology keeps getting better with newer materials with better properties and new tricks like UV curing.

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    Posted · Print quality questions for miniatures

    I have done quite a bit of work at the 1:100 and 1:160 scale but the stuff that I do are structural originals...like an articulated drawbridge or a windmill. The Ultimaker, with a 250 micron nozzle, is perfect for that kind of thing. What you want to do needs an SLA printer! Maybe you need both...but for what you are describing you need the resin.

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