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need some tips on printing hi res characters

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Hi all ! I am new here. :-P

There is a new awesome 3d printing service in my local library and they have ultimaker. I am very exited and I actually was making one character recently. It is almost finish just requires some minor polishing but I would like to be able to print it. But before I go there and do that I would like to ask your opinion and maybe get some tips in order to get best results.

here some pics >



I am a bit worried about the teared up cloth parts because they look so small to me and also do you think I should cut it in parts or is it possible to print whole model at once ?

PS. It will be posed and will have basic stand

Here you can see the original low poly model and the pose I am going for



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Hi there Helsinki, welcome.

woohw, not much response on your question yet...

I hope you have a pretty good experienced printer operator in the library.

First of all... if you designed it yourself it's a super model!!!

But to complex to print I Guess, a lot of details will get lost in the process.

Might be good to download a slicer yourself, like Cura, and see before hand on the monitor wich details get lost.

And where you have to add some supports (to keep the hands up while printing)

Could save you a few hours of rented printertime.

If you have a 3d model i'd like to give it try for my own use ( won't sell it :) )

Would be a nice challenge to try my new PVA support material.


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Yeah I got Cura but I havent read the manual yet. It is awesome if I can preview the result. Need to try it. I can also give you the file of this model but first I need to finish it. Will take few more days as I am doing it in my free time. Btw, do you know the best optimal polycount ? I am about to decimate it in zbrush but I am not sure how far I should go with poly reduction. Is it ok to have few millions of polys ?


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Overhangs and small details will be your enemy.

The FDM style printer cannot print in thin air, so it needs something to print on top off, you could pose it so that it does not need support.

For example, this model uses swords that touch the base and support the hands/arms: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23365

More examples: http://www.makershop.co/shop/fantasygraph

Small details, I think you'll lose quite a lot of the smaller details. The printer puts down "lines" that are 0.4mm width and between 0.02 and 0.2mm thick (depending on the resolution, 0.1mm is usually the used setting). And I think the feet and hands will be really troublesome. The thorn up cloths, you can forget those I think, most likely Cura will already ignore those as they are too small to be printed.

Finally, the model needs to be manifold and have no self-intersections. (so 1 single big mesh) to get the best results.

Edit: Cura crashes pretty hard around 1.5mil polygons. I would aim for no more then 500k, and that's already quite a lot.

The layer-view of Cura provides feedback about what is actually printed. Try it on some smaller models first so you know what you are seeing.


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Load your model into cura and select a nice thick layer at first to speed things up: maybe .3mm but I would slice at .1mm before actually printing.

On the top right of cura you can change views. Look at XRAY view first. Anything in red is not "manifold" as Daid put it. Daid wrote Cura so he is the expert. Anything in red *might* be a problem. You can often fix these by just checking "fix horrible" in expert settings in cura but sometimes that makes it worse.

Anyway, anything in red, pay careful attention to those spots when you look at the model in "slice" view. Slice view shows blue lines for movement only (non extruding) so you can kind of ignore the blue lines. Look at all the layers. Take your time and particularly look at the red areas and the thin walls (torn up cloth) to see what the printer is going to do.


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Ok. I have optimized the model and I hope it is ready for printing. I have devided the model into two parts. So the hands are separate.

Here is the link for the model and you can try to print it yourself and tell me if there is something I should fix or add.





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Fair warning, I spammed this message out quickly without much thought or reading through it so...yeah.

This is a tricky thing to print, to say the least. It's not really ready for printing IMHO. The first thing is orientation and scale but that's an easy fix so no big deal (it's on its back and needs to be scaled up by about 40 or so).

But then there's the actual model. For example, the plates on his thighs are actual plates on top/detached from his legs. This means that the bottom parts of them are hanging in the air. Sacrifice detail and fuse them to his thighs.

Similarly on his boots. The folded over part creates a ring that is floating in mid air. Consider closing the opening and tapering it down towards his feet.

Speaking of his feet. The claws have a very tiny amount of contact with the baseplate in the very beginning. Consider flattening it out so that the outline is one continuous piece.

Around his chest there are voids between his body and armor/clothes that are pointless as they will not be seen, close them up. Also, the lower part of the armor is hanging in air.

The outer parts of his shoulder plates are again hanging in the air, support will be needed underneath.

You have added support under the mouth-cloth (that's the technical name, right? ;) ) but I don't think it's enough. The structure "expands" quite rapidly so for each new layer a lot of new material needs to be added that will be floating in space.

The supports you have added for the hands don't actually do anything. The support is needed below the hands as that part is floating. The tips of the claws will be tricky to print both because they are tiny but also because heat will become an issue causing them to turn to mush. Printing more than one set at the same time might help.

Right, that was just a few random quick thoughts on first glance to give you an idea.

I would really recommend that you download cura and try to slice your model in there. After it has finished slicing step through the layers one at a time (icon in the top right corner -> layer view) and look how the material will be deposited. And it will be much easier to understand what I'm blabbering about.

Alternatively I'm sure your modeling program has some kind of section view. Use that to look at the model from the bottom to the top, a small section at a time and you'll see most of what I'm talking about. For example here's the trouble area with the shoulder pads:

print issues

All that said. Some of these issues might be "fixed" by letting cura add support material to the model. But it's best to try to avoid that as much as possible by designing your model so that it doesn't need it. For one, it can be a pain to remove. But it will also "scar" your model and waste a lot of time and plastic.


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I see what you mean and I have cura but when I look at the layer mode it looks exactly as the base ultimaker test model and I cant see any issues. However you might be right. I tried to close the empty space in problem areas like shoulderpads but maybe it is not 100% closed. Anyway I ll try to make more fixes tomorrow and post the updated version.

Here are some cura pics





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Thanks for great tips again! I will post new updated version with all the fixes you mentioned today at around 12 pm and you can print it and do what ever you like with it (except form mass selling I suppose :-P )

And I also would like to clarify that the main lowpoly design is done by Blizzard and I did the high poly fan art of that design. Those who played Wow will know this epic armour set for sure !


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Hi again! Took me a lot more time to make fixes than I thought. Anyway, fixed around 90% or maybe 100% of the bugs(fingers crossed :-P ).

Here is the updated version with new fixes


Preview in Cura


I invite all to print this model and tell me your opinion and I hope you wont find any huge bugs there! I am going to print it myself tomorrow at local library. Booked 4 hours for it. I hope it will be enough.


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And here is my first ever 3d print in raw quality! (10 cm long)

1.jpg4.jpghere you can look at all angles .





At first we started to print hands and body at the same time and at some point one of the legs broke. I think it is because the printing nozzle was making long movements between the two models and so it affected somehow on the printing process. This is why the fingers also look unfinished. On the second run we only printed the body and the speed was 175% While printing I noticed that the upper levels were quite soft and they were shaking slightly. This is probably why some parts look like mess a biticon_razz.gif

I am planning to do another attempt but this time I would like to print it 15 or 20 cm. I hope the bigger scale will help to keep more details.

Anyway I would like to hear what do you think about this result ? Maybe there are some options which could reflect on the quality of this type model?


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Sorry you don't have your own printer where you can just run it overnight. A lot of the bumpouts - like on his bum -- those can be reduced by slowing down the print:

See photo of the orange pumpkin here:


Also going to thinner layers (was that .2mm? Try .1mm) will improve the overhangs - for example the chest. With .1mm layer each layer above is touching more of the layer below and you get a cleaner/better look.

But doing these 2 changes will turn your print probably into a 10 hour print. You can speed it up quite a bit without any loss of quality (very likely) by not doing any infill. Just set it to 0. This will save you lots of time.

From the rear view the right leg looks better. Probably it had more fan on it. For this reason some people add a second fan on the other side. And the UM2 comes with a fan on each side. But again, printing slower helps just as good as having more fan.


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You can increase the "shell thickness" in cura to make the outer walls thicker. By default this is set at 0.8mm which ends up being two lines with the standard 0.4mm nozzle. You'd be surprised how strong that tiny little wall actually becomes. For giggles I printed a cylinder a long time ago with 1.6mm walls (IIRC) and I had to put it in a vice to be able to crush it.

But that's when you try to break it in the direction it's strongest. If you print a rod that is say 4mm in diameter and fill it 100% you can still snap it very easily because the layers will delaminate. You can think of it as concrete in a way. You can put a house on top of a pillar and it wont break but ram a buss into pillar and it will snap (ok ok, rebar will save it, but c'mon, I'm reaching for metaphors here! ;) ).

But, as long as you don't plan on dropping it on concrete all day I wouldn't worry.


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