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Da Clumsy Noob details how he produced the Skull piece

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Posted (edited) · Da Clumsy Noob details how he produced the Skull piece

When I started this project, it was originally going to be a skull I pulled from my own CT scans. However, due to the regions they were focusing on, I did not get the full face. Drat!

But, I hate waste. So, I conceived of a sculpt that I could use it for and have a bit of fun. This led to two prints (One being Batty hanging from a tree limb in a swamp) from one set of models. This is the model in completed form here:

This is how I got there in broad strokes.


This is the base print as it came out. I had sectioned the skull to create a cutaway that would reveal the joke inside. The reason for the multitone print is that I was printing in tandem on my 2 UM3E machines to get things moving along. I just used the filament loaded as they were both PLA. This is the first test fitting.



Here are the interior 'set pieces' that I had to make. I did print it originally as a one piece, but would not go inside the skull cavity. So, I sectioned it off and printed in pieces. For this, cleanliness of print was not imperative as I knew I would be doing a lot of post processing once the parts were mounted inside. And, sometimes, things lend themselves to the artistic merit of the piece. In this case, a dank swamp cave could be a bit ratty, so when a part did not print perfectly, I did not sweat it. I treat these things as I would an errant brush stroke or even an accidental smudge on a painting. i call them happy accidents. ?



Here I have placed the pieces inside and did not need to glue them for a couple of reasons. First, the tension held it in place very well. The second was I would take the heat gun and really work on the inside as well as use the heat and a clay modeling tool to blend the interior set into the skull cavity. This created a weld and replaced the need for any gluing.



These next few pictures show the details of the parts before welding and manual sculpting of the print. You can see the dividing lines between the set pieces and between the interior set and the skull interior.



I did decide to use the stringiness of this to my own advantage. You will see how in a bit. You can also see the gaps I had to fill. I did make it loose on purpose to make inserting the parts easier. It was tough enough as it was.




Here you can see the beginning of the plastic welding to blend in the parts as well as blend the set parts into the base skull print. You can also see Batty's footyprints molded into the actual skull for mounting him later.



Here is a closer view of the bottom of the set, but had not mounted the stalagmite tips yet.



This has the stalagmite tips mounted and blended into the base of the interior. Again, printing things in tandem and with painting, differences between the PLA would not matter. Just the actual contour and strength of the b;ended parts.



I took me trusty ol' 3D pen and made the stringy parts into a spider web and drew a spider right in place. Kinda looks more like a tick though. But it was an after thought and by this time, the printers were on to other projects. So, I let it go. But, you can see that there are no more seams between the interior set and the skull itself. And plastic has been pulled to hide the gaps that I left in place during printing to help with insertion.



All that heat plus the pushing and pulling of plastic did cause a misfit of parts. This was something that was easily cured by careful application of heat and pushing and pulling the whole masses of plastic back into place.



Now, one thing to keep in mind is that I had applied a basic primer that would work with the heat and such while allowing me to see the surfaces in a more homogeneous way. The lines that you see above were just the way the CT scan lines lined up, I guess. Other prints that came off the machines did not have this, so I am prone to thinking this was not a layer shift. The sort of odd, squiggly, circular pattern was actually the level of detail within the CT scan itself. But, by the time I got around to filling the major side lines (horizontals only) and sanding a bit, not much, and then painting, they are not really noticeable. BUT, I also did not want to obliterate them as it is the CT itself and I wanted to hold onto that a bit. Just worked to get rid of the really egregious horizontal lines. I also did not to get rid of the bumps and cracks that the CT captured and held. It is easy to wipe those out when trying to get rid of something else.





After doing the clean up and adding all the after parts into the interior scene (Batty, gators, lily pads, turtle, water) the skull was back heavy and would no longer stand upright. So, I cobbled a quick stand that was sorta reminiscent of vertebrae.


Then came the paint jobs, both inside and out. This was done with a brush over the primers used. I used a mixture of white, cream, Pthalo blue, Burnt Sienna and Burnt umber with just a touch of red and black to create variations in tone and push the ares of highlight into brighter areas, but also make depressions and such recede, like the eye cavities and such. All paints were acrylics.




Here you can see the fixing of the mismatched contours of the main skull and cutaway. Some of the lines are still visible, but I left it as this as it lent itself to the CT scanned look without being massively distracting.



And, the final interior as well. Same colours used on the interior as exterior, just different levels of each paint and, a few dabs of yellow to accent batty's bloodshot eye from being disturbed.



I am doing all sorts of crazy post process stuff to learn ways to compliment a design's aesthetic idea.


Coming soon, My prints of a Venom piece I designed and the differences between a straight printed and painted piece and a two color PETG and Taulman T-Glas print with huge amounts of plastic welding and such.



Edited by kmanstudios
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