Trouble with D&D Miniatures  

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laura.johnston
(@laura-johnston)
New Member

I am a high school librarian, and I run the D&D club - my students want to print miniatures, and we haven't had a lot of success. Details aren't coming out great, breaking off supports ends up breaking off limbs/swords. I'm not a 3D hobbyist - managing the 3D printer is one of a hundred things I have to do in a day - so I'm having a hard time navigating some of the lingo and forums and conflicting advice. I'm hoping someone can give me some straightforward advice. 🙂

We have an i3 MK3, we have PLA filament, and we use the newest version of Slicr from the PRUSA website.

I appreciate any advice - I don't want my lack of expertise to slow down my students. Thanks!

Posted : 28/02/2020 6:35 pm
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(@-2)
Illustrious Member

Post up a few more details about the hardware and settings: like what size nozzle are you using, temps and profiles being used, etc.  Personally, I'm not a miniature expert, but there are many here that print them with rather high quality.  Most start by changing the nozzle from 0.4-mm to 0.25-mm - or smaller.  The it comes down to adjusting profiles to optimize for smaller prints.

And, photos of your less than satisfactory prints will be very helpful.

It is always wise to get more than one opinion... as for trusting Prusa? No way man....
Posted : 29/02/2020 1:23 am
Mike Daneman
(@mike-daneman)
Estimable Member

Generally printing miniatures is one of the trickier things to do on an FDM 3D printer.  It took me a quite a few tries to get them to come out right. I have some advice:

1. Use Cura rather than Prusa Slicer.  I had all kinds of trouble with PS supports failing on miniatures, but Cura supports are always rock solid.

2. Turn on support interface - it'll give better surface and make it easier to remove supports.

3. Use 100% infill.

4. Use 0.070mm layer height.  it's a bit less prone to clogs and other problems than 0.050mm and give more than enough resolution.

5. Use 0.25mm nozzle if you're able to change nozzles.  Otherwise, just stick with 0.4mm.  The miniature won't be quite as detailed, but will still look fine.

6. Try rotating the miniature in the slicer to minimize support.

7. Removing supports is a pain no matter how you slice it.  You just have to patient and use a combination of clippers, needle-noze pliers, and an Xacto knife to carefully remove them.  Be extra careful around long thin features like weapons and arms.  Crush the suports with pliers to make them easier to remove.

Here are a number of good YouTube videos on this by user "Tomb of 3D Printed Horrors" you may want to look at that give good advice and provide some settings.  Here's a couple of them:

Posted : 02/03/2020 6:53 pm
Mike Daneman
(@mike-daneman)
Estimable Member

Oh, forgot to mention one more thing.  If it's not a problem to have larger miniatures, you can try scaling up the miniatures (maybe by 30-50%) - it will make them stronger and make it easier to remove supports.

Posted : 03/03/2020 3:13 am
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

I'm able to get reasonable quality on my Mk3 using PrusaSlicer. It's mostly a question of expectations. You're not going to get quality to rival a resin printer, but it's not hard to get quality on par with the best of the metal figures we gamed with not too long ago:

From memory, I tilt the figure back for best support (varies by model, but typically 45 degrees rearward), 3mm support spacing, 3-4 dense support layers, 0.25mm clearance, 75% XY clearance, 0.25mm nozzle and 0.15mm layer height. If you're OK with "table top quality", 0.15mm layer height will print much more quickly and looks pretty good. Perfectionists will want to post-process and paint, which is what makes the mini look good in the end.

One hint: Look at the STL when removing supports. Cut carefully and be aware where that detail is before you cut through it. Just weaken the supports around delicate parts. There will be casualties. Try not to get carried away:

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by bobstro
My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/03/2020 3:39 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

Missed the update window. That's 0.25mm Z clearance.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/03/2020 3:45 pm
Sembazuru
(@sembazuru)
Prominent Member

Tilting the figure back is brilliant. That puts most of the support scarring on the back, which IMHO is the least important side of most models. And if there is any floor detail on the base (like in your first picture), the detail isn't lost in the layer height.

Do you use a good sized brim to increase the bed contact point from the disk point contact? Or is there usually enough other supports to help keep adhesion? (I expect the answer really depends on the model, but it would be interesting to know if you bevel the contact point edge.)

See my (limited) designs on:
PrusaPrinters - https://www.prusaprinters.org/social/1448-sembazuru/prints
Thingiverse - https://www.thingiverse.com/Sembazuru/designs...
Posted : 03/03/2020 5:47 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: @sembazuru

Tilting the figure back is brilliant. That puts most of the support scarring on the back, which IMHO is the least important side of most models. And if there is any floor detail on the base (like in your first picture), the detail isn't lost in the layer height.

I watch some of the mini printing videos, then just adapt the techniques to PrusaSlicer. I'm OK with Cura -- used it as my primary slicer for months -- but now like the challenge of getting PrusaSlicer to do the same things. Tilting the mini back makes a big difference. I think it might make fragile blades and poles a tad stronger due to the angle.

The main problem for any mini print is a cape. Capes are the curse of FFF printing.

Do you use a good sized brim to increase the bed contact point from the disk point contact? Or is there usually enough other supports to help keep adhesion? (I expect the answer really depends on the model, but it would be interesting to know if you bevel the contact point edge.)

No brims for the most part. If I get good support 1st layers, that's usually plenty. No mods to the STLs at least on those examples. With my settings, the supports essentially pull away except for where they wind between legs and arms.

One other important detail: Calibrate that extruder filament for each filament. Any over-extrusion shows up as blobs that weld parts together. You'll notice me hammering on this point consistently, but it's particularly important with fine parts using supports.

 

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/03/2020 11:42 pm
Mike Daneman
(@mike-daneman)
Estimable Member

@bobstro

I'll give your settings a try.  I've had lots of trouble with supports failing using PrusaSlicer when using 0.25mm nozzle, whereas whevever I use Cura it just works.   However, I'd like to be able to use PS for minis since I generally like its interface and useability better. I use 0.07mm layer height, maybe that makes supports more fragile. I also typically don't rotate the models (although sometimes I will by a small angle like 25deg) as this typically makes the critical features like faces have lower resolution than if the model is standing up.

Posted : 05/03/2020 9:07 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

You're welcome to give my profiles a try. I am getting good supports with a 0.25mm nozzle with 0.15mm layers. I can use thinner layers, but find little gain in appearance quality below 0.1mm for my purposes.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 06/03/2020 5:33 am
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