A couple of weeks ago, I recieved my first 3D Printer. I had been thinking about a purchase for some time. I am mostly interested in printing terrain and some AFV's. I was particularly unhappy with getting buildings for 20 mm wargaming which were all over the scale map. Italeri and 4-Ground are nice buildings but I find them a little overscale. I think the 20mm Sarissa Precision are a perfect size, and they are priced right but I have found MDF buildings a little brittle for transporting around. I hvae recently been gaming in Montreal with P-Y who has a lot of great looking 28mm 3D printed terrain. This does seem the ideal solution, you can tweak the size and then print out a perfect scaled building.
So what to get; the big boys seem all in for Prusa printers but I have to say the Lair of the Uber Geek's description of taking 2 days to assemble one sort of put me off (sorry Miles). I am just too impatient for screwing around with stuff. One of my colleagues at work got a Creality 10S and he had actually a very easy time of it and it was half the price. I got him to print an ACW building for me and it was just perfect so I went ahead and purchased it on Amazon.
Two days later a big box arrived and there it was. Really beautifully packed. I found an excellent assembly video on line and I would say I had it up and running in 2 hours. It came with a small spool of white PLA and before I knew it I had printed my first building. It really came out perfectly, wow I said this is great!
I had bought a couple of STL file packets from Najewitz Modellbau, one of their Normandy packs annd an ACW pack so I had a lot to go on with. These are really excellent files and the first Normandy building I printed was perfectly in scale with my Sarrisa models without any tweaking so I was quite happy................but I had run out of PLA.
I wanted a grey PLA but when I went to order some on Amazon I saw some nice brown PLA and I thought this would be a great starting colour for wooden buildings so I ordered a roll. The usual Amazon excellent service delivered the package the next day so I loaded it up and started the printer. I have to admit that I did notice it felt a little different than the white PLA but I am a complete novice who as I have just previously described as being impatient.
Well something seemed to be wrong, things would print but I had a lot of problems with adhesion to the build plate and the models appeared to grow hair. I would set up a print and the next morning I would find the printer stopped with the building only half done. WTF!
I had a closer look and discovered that I had acually bought a combo wood particle-PLA product. Pulled it out and ordered another reel of rea PLA. It would print but I was still having a lot of problems. I leveled and releveled, tried different adhesives, figured out how to change bed and nozzle temperatures, found out about temperature towers.......nothing seemed to work. I was now becoming increasingly frustrated. This went on for a couple of days, what to do?
It was now starting to dawn on me that the problem appeared to be that the stuff was just not coming out right. I could improve things by changing temperatures or slowing the build rate but it just did not seem right. Maybe the nozzle was screwed up? I had another search on the internet, found that it was really a piece a cake to change out a nozzle and amazingly enough the printer had come with an extra nozzle.
I pulled out the old nozzle and it was completely bunged up, I could not even clean it, how it was extruding any PLA at all was amazing. I changed out the nozzle, loaded some PLA into the extruder and I have now gone through a 1.5kg of PLA in a week with the printer going 24 hours a day pumping out perfect models.
Well I have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks. I discovered that when using wood/PLA combinations you need to use a larger nozzle than the 0.4mm one that is standard. I learned that a glue stick is the best adhesive and once applied 3-4 times you are all done for several prints.
I think I have printed out maybe 6-8 buildings without any problems, the scale is great for 20mm wargaming and they match well what I have. They are all in various stages of being painted and I will post some photos soon.
So I am quite happy with my Creality 10S, it is an excellent device, it is easy to keep going once you do a bit of research, the Crusa Slicer software is quite intuative. I have printed my first building at a lower resolution as I was anxious to see what it could do. I will now starting printing at better resolutions as I believe I now understand the whole process much better.Maybe time to print some tanks.