Tag Archives: athena makeover kit

All That Glitters: A Tale of Shock and Au

In second grade I was exposed to the concept of Raw Umber when I laid covetous eyes on the well-to-do kids’ crayons, with the sharpener in the back and the 64 colors and the full-priced hot lunch with no unintended seasoning of classism sprinkled on top.

I made do with reliable BROWN, but was at least primed for fifth grade when I had some mental connection to the Umber Hulk in the 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.

Everyone sees color differently; every printing press and every monitor is a little different from its siblings, and so other industries have put tremendous time into standardization of color. PANTONE is the gold standard for print, and even the crummy, now-archaic NTSC made at least some effort to keep colors consistent across platforms.

The world needs PANTONE for 3D printing filament.

gold variants

OK, so check this out. My Faire Play Kickstarter was a success, and now I’m into printing rewards for backers. I used up my first two rolls of this gold PLA printing Athena Makeover Kits. It’s the gold you see all of the Faire Play photos to date. Unfortunately the distributor I was using seems to have run out of this particular gold and I can’t find another roll anywhere.

So I picked up a new spool off Amazon. The vendor used the same stock image of “GOLD PLA FILAMENT 1.75” as the earlier filament, so I says to myself, “Self, just how different can these be?”

I’m used to some variation between batches of filament, but these colors are wildly different. The leftmost spear is the new gold, which looks more like Butterscotch to me.

Butterscotch is kinda gold, I guess? But definitely doesn’t match the original gold used in the aegis and center spear.

These weapons are going to be used to arm Barbie dolls. Can you imagine the Queen of Fashion wearing an outfit that doesn’t match? Horrors.

This will not stand. So Butterscotch gets relegated to the noble, but inglorious role of prototyping feedstock. The world needs ditch diggers too, Danny.

I try again, with a new gold filament. This is the rightmost spear. Still not a match. It’s a more lustrous, metallic gold, but still wildly different than the gold I’ve been using.

So it’s back to Amazon to twiddle my supply chain again. This time I print some winged boots:

gold boots

Nope. Completely different, once again. This time: same distributor as my first two rolls, different tone. Original gold on the left, newest gold on the right.

I like the antique look of this one, so I’m going to call it Burnished Gold.

I’m making excellent progress on printing the fifty or so Athena Makeover Kits that I need to ship to backers. Everyone’s kit will be an internally-consistent match in one of three gold tones.

No Butterscotch, though. It be fugly.

Shucks. Now that I’ve been chewing the cud of this blog post, I’m convinced that somebody’s gotta dig this ditch and create a standard.

I can’t think of anyone else dumb enough to try it, so 毛遂自荐。 I’ll volunteer. Filament manufacturers. Start sending me samples and I’ll develop and curate a color standard. I’ve always wanted to learn SQL anyway.

Squelching Squigs

Squigs. Sometimes we get them when 3D printing with extruded filament. Usually they’re the result of too steep an overhang in a model; there’s not enough shelf on layer X for the printer to lay down another layer of plastic on layer X+1, and gravity pulls the newly extruded filament downwards.

A squig is born. Small squigs are usually just an aesthetic issue, but larger ones will cause your print to be touched by His Noodly Appendage and then you’ve got a build plate full of plastic ramen. Not good.

I’ve entered into mass production of the Athena Makeover Kit as Faire Play rewards, and I’ve discovered a small problem. Every few prints something on the printer goes to Wally World and the spear’s clip gets all squiggy.

The clip’s strength is compromised and besides, it just looks fugly.

clip squig

Some of these Athena Makeover Kits are destined for the hands of folks who have never seen a 3D print in their lives. We can’t be giving them a bad impression of the technology’s capabilities.

Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. I’ve updated the clip to be just a little thicker at its junction with the shaft, which both makes it sturdier and eliminates the squig spawning grounds.

clip after

I also added a little bullnose between the shaft and clip, because I find 90° angles at transitional edges between volumes to be unlovely.

bullnose