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40mm wall parts (materialise-onsite.com)
7th Apr, 2015

I tried a new company for the wall prints called materialise-onsite.com. I chose the PolyJet VeroWhitePlus @ 16µm as I wanted the maximum detail possible so the 45 degree slopped side would be super smooth. In had spoken to the manufacturer of the Polyjet (stratasysdirect.com who also to a print service but a little more expensive), and I was impressed by the sample images they sent me;

raptor001

This print is 35mm from end to end. The PolyJet can handle details as small as 0.025mm!

So I ordered from materialise-onsite.com with confidence as I knew the quality I would receive. However what turned up was not what I expected, for £91.15, plus another £10 is custom duty, I received these;

3d-print-polyjet

As you can see this is sub-standard and nothing like the picture I was sent. This is as rough as a bag of spanners. I contacted both stratasysdirect.com to ask if this looked like something their printer should put out, and materialise-onsite.com to complain.

Perry, A Senior Project Engineer from stratasysdirect.com got back to me and said this is not printed at 16µm or 32µm. Cheryl, my account manager from materialise-onsite.com asked her CAD/ printer team and they said it was printed at 32µm, and they do not do 16µm! She kindly offered to redo the prints in an alternative method.

We shall see how they turn out.

Looking at the picture, I know that Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail (the material the floor parts are printed with) are 29µm, and the wall parts look far worse. I would not recommend getting PolyJet VeroWhitePlus prints for miniature masters from materialise-onsite.com as they cannot handle the detail and do not do 16µm regardless of what their website says. Very disappointing and I hope it is not going to be an expensive (£100) mistake.

I’ll wait to see what Cheryl comes up with, before I think about trying another manufacturer. I want to give them a chance to put this right. If they can’t I may try stratasysdirect.com next, as they make the PolyJet and have confirmed they can do 16µm prints.

40mm floor part – 3D prints
22nd Mar, 2015

There are the new 40mm floor parts fresh from Shapeways. Same Frosted Ultra Detail. First impression were good, the grill is a lot more distinct, and the locks are much tighter. There is a slight drop towards some of the corners that I am not happy about. I am looking for a new 3D printer service and I’ve found a couple that offer the prints via a Polyjet (600x600dpi in x y axis, and 30µm or 16µm layers) which is about 4 to 8 times more detailed than Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail. Once I’ve test them out I’ll report back.

Once I had these new prints I realised that there is what looks like a ‘swastika’ on the bottom made up of the locks and supports. This is an unintended consequence of reducing the size of the base down to 40mm. I made a note on the image (in case the image was taken out of context and it’s got my name on it!) that this may be okay for a game where players are killing Nazi’s (like Castle Wolfenstein). A Psidemic could produce this, or even better would be ‘Zombie Nazis’! I have a feeling that regardless of post hoc explanation it may be offensive and therefore a problem. Also Germany has strict laws against the swastika so selling there may be an issue. To make it very clear, the swastika was not intended, the design is based on the larger 50mm which does not look like a swastika. It is merely an unfortunate, and unintended, side effect of reducing the floor part.

I may have to mess around with the design a little to get rid of the ‘swastika’.

50mm to 40mm rescale
8th Mar, 2015

Now that I’ve had the 50mm 3D print of the 50mm floor part for a few days in my hand, and seeing how miniatures look on them, I’m now wondering if 40mm really might be a better size for the floor tile after all? 40mm will still take 25-40mm bases, and look less bare with the smaller based models than 50mm. It’s true 2 x 25mm based models can stand side by side on the 50mm tile, but many miniature manufactures now use 32mm bases and they do not fit neatly side by side onto a 50mm base so that justification is gone. Considering the future trend of base sizes are probably going to increase (they started out at 20mm!), the part has to look good with 40mm and 32mm bases.

In regards to ‘Space Hulk’ I think the 40mm tile with sloped walls could accommodate the awkward genestealers with their wide arms (around 50mm across) despite their small 25mm base. I think I can thin out the wall top to around 20mm to get 40mm (floor) + 10mm (slope indent) + 10mm (slope indent) to get a total of 60mm from inside wall top to opposite inside wall top. Maybe even thin the top wall down a bit more, to around 15mm to improve that distance to around 65mm.

40mm-TMFT

While rescaling I made a couple of refinements to the part: the grill is a little more chunky on the 40mm, to test it out and see what it feels like once printed. Also tweaked the connectors to see if I can tighten them up a bit.

50mm floor part – 3D prints
25th Feb, 2015

The 3D prints arrived from Shapeways. Frosted Ultra Detail, with a light spray of Grey Plasti-kote. At 50mm there is plenty of clearance for a Grey Knight mounted on a 40mm base.

50mm_top-indent-003g-001-printed-grey-001

The grill mesh is perhaps a little too fine for Shapeways to handle 100% but the overall effect is not too bad. There are striations on the upper flat surface (the border around the grills) but nothing a light sanding couldn’t take of. The prongs on the locking mechanism feel pretty strong with a light squeeze, and they seem to be a close fit and grip well when being pushed in, but once fully together the locking lugs are a bit loose (about a 1mm of play). In a future print I’ll tighten that up a bit in the design.

50mm floor part – render
15th Feb, 2015

These are the new 50mm floor part for the sloped wall tile set. The playing surface is made up of 4 x 25mm grills, to allow two 25mm based miniatures to stand side by side. The locking tabs are like those plastic side release buckles. Once connected the floor parts should be pretty stable during gaming.

The concern is the prongs on the locking mechanism. I’m going to print these up via Shapeways to see if they are flexible and strong enough. I know Trollcast is very different from the Acrylic of Frosted Ultra Detail but it should give me and idea.

Sloped wall tiles
6th Jun, 2014

This is a new design of wall tiles with sloped sides. The idea is to keep the floor part a reasonable size (take bases of size 50-30mm) yet allow miniatures will limbs and weapons that extend beyond their base to be used. As mentioned in one of my previous posts the Genestealers from Space Hulk are mounted on a 25mm base (original 1E set) yet their arms are about 50mm across. A Grey Knight has a 40mm base (as do all the new Terminators) and the sword and storm bolter arms extend beyond the bound of the base. I could do a 60mm floor part which would give enough clearance but I think that is getting too large, so I came up with this design;

This design with a 50mm floor part would give a total distance between the top parts of the wall of around 50mm (floor) + 12.5mm (slope) +12.5mm (slope) = 75mm which is more than enough clearance for a Genestealer or Grey Knight. Interestingly at 40mm we get 60mm from wall top to wall top, which is also plenty. I think I’ll start with the 50mm and take it from there.

HR Giger dies at 74
15th May, 2014

He was one of my inspirations growing up. I remember watching Aliens (1986) and walking away in a day dream. I then watched the original Alien on video (remember those?). His book the Necronomicon was amazing if a little sexually twisted 🙂 His art spoke to me, it showed me what a person can do if they put their all into something and the strange worlds they can create, worlds which have an impact. It’s hard not to be moved, in some way, when looking at his work: a mix of attraction and disgust, that the horrors are more than merely grotesque they have an aesthetic beauty to them. It makes it more difficult to dismiss if deep down some part of you likes it, some base Id within.

I can’t think of another alien design that comes close to classic xenomorph. I say ‘classic’ as most alien/ monster designs age, after a while they look silly, but the xenomorph still looks sick (in both sense of the word)!

I will miss his influence in the world. There really is (was) no one like him. Unique.

RIP

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