I recently released a Magic: The Gathering Snake Token into the wild, but many iterations of the model got left on the scrap heap before the final slithered off the build platform.
Here’s one that made it all the way to the light tent before I realized the many problems it had. Sometimes you don’t see all the problems until you really dig into a macro photograph.
overhang: violations of the 45° rule. Not terrible on this one.
scrubbing: the model’s too thin here. ABS or a cooling fan might help.
nickeling: not enough geometry to make a smooth curve in the body
schmutz: really should have filed this off before painting.
I can forgive a little bit of overhang on a model. Sooner or later some 3d printer manufacturer’s going to lick that problem for us. Scrubbing is a technical issue too, and schmutz removal is a time-honored pre-photography process that I was just too lazy or preoccupied to do on this model.
It is the nickeling that I shan’t abide.
I come to 3D modelling from a video games background, where realtime constraints force model efficiency. When I was a lad with an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time, we designed characters with 150 triangles and we liked it that way.
So every now and then I forget that I’m not living in 1997 anymore and I can be a little more luxurious with the poly count. It still feels dirty though.
So Ms. Cobra went back into the Forge, got subdivided again, re-posed, edited, tweaked, and was reborn as the final product you saw a day or two ago.
When looms a medieval zombie apocalypse (which, frankly, happens every time the local necromancer goes for a stroll) it’s not the lords and ladies, safely ensconced behind thick citadel walls and rows of nervous archers who get chomped; if serf’s up for Jack and Jill mudgrubber they’re crudités for Zed anon.
With a model this small, it’s all about pose. How do you communicate shambling corpse with the broadest strokes, while keeping overhangs to a minimum?
Some details unfortunately get lost in the printing, like this lovely compound tibial fracture.
I’m a little disappointed in the resolution of the print. Even at .1mm layer height the finer details of Zed’s leg get lost, as does his partially-revealed skull. My understanding is that several key powder printing patents expire in 2014, so perhaps by then we’ll be able to print this zombie with all his putrid details intact.
At that point I’ll have to go back and add some facial features, because for now Zed doesn’t have a nose or clearly defined mouth.
Snake tokens in Magic: The Gathering are generated by many cards, including but not limited to ye olde Snake Pit, Endless Swarm, and of course many of the Orochi cards. Much MTG Snake card art eschews long and slithery reptiles in favor of four-armed humanoid ophidians, but for this 3d token I decided to go all Rikki Tikki Tavi and model a cobra instead.
My original plan was to save myself some time by unrwapping the Ouroboros and giving her a cobra cowl, but the more I studied the anatomy connecting the hood to the head the more I realized that wasn’t going to work. After a few false starts I just ditched the original head and started fresh.
There are two versions of this snake in the archive. snake_resin was designed specifically for the mUVe1 resin-based printer and has an inconspicuous resin drain inside the 正 that lurks in the model’s base. It’ll still print on a filament printer though. snake_fdm patches the hole for use on filament deposition printers like the Replicator or Printrbot series.
The model in this photo is printed on a Replicator1 at .1mm layer height with black PLA (205°) and then spray-painted green. Usually I’m printing at .18mm, but I recently got my HBP bed leveled so nicely I thought I’d try printing at highter resolution. If you’ve got yourself a HBP, set it to 60°, folks. For great justice.
As always, you can grab this model for free from the Miniatures section of The Forge. Like the MTG rat pack, I could in theory pose this cobra a half-dozen ways, so #staytuned: there may be another MTG snake token or two slithering your way in the near future.
For some reason– bed leveling, quantum kapton fluctuations, ambient temperature, butterfly effect, I dunno, I was getting something like a 70% failure rate on printing these Magic: The Gathering +1/+1 Counters.
Finally I ABSynthed the build platform and started producing reliable prints again. Still, the trouble these guys caused prompted me to stop selling these on Etsy and move them exclusively on Shapeways instead. Life’s too short to be frustrated by DIY production problems when the big guys seem to have it figured out.
Give it a go yourself by downloading the models from The Forge.
I had an Etsy store order come in and I just couldn’t get one of my slime counters to print properly. Tried everything; adjusting layer height, slower print speed, re-leveled the print bed.
Turns out one of my Z-axis shafts had worked its way loose, which made the platform wobble during the print. A little bolt tightening and I was good to go, but not until I’d already made a dozen or so failed slime counters.
The original slime counter is here, free to download.