Tag Archives: miniatures

Slime Counter Fail

Slime Counter Fail

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.

A Little Counter Intelligence

So I’m printing out a couple sets of Magic: The Gathering +1/-1 counters for an Etsy customer and I run into a problem. The red ABS +1/+1 counters are printing fine, but the -1/-1 black PLA counters are getting all feshnicket about midway up the print.

feshnicket couner

Good enough for a pickup game at Casa de Zheng, but one of these might show up at a tournament somewhere and we can’t have our customers looking anything less than their best.

If you don’t have your own 3D printer, you can get these counters on Shapeways, and if you do have your own printer head over to The Forge and print them at home. They’re in the Miniatures section.

These fellas are pretty small, so the newly-extruded PLA isn’t cooling off before the extruder head comes around to the same X-Y position on the next layer. Gooey plastic gets smudged a little bit and the edge of the counter becomes irregular. Fugly.

The solution is a little bit of custom gCode. A brief pause between layers gives the PLA time to stiffen before the extruder drags itself over the same spot.

The gCode needed for this is G4, or “dwell,” with a parameter measured in milliseconds. You’ll also want to move the extruder head out of the way while it dwells so that it doesn’t continue pumping heat into the print.

Here’s the gCode that needs to be added after each layer. Everything in parentheses is a comment and might make your interpreter go to la-la land.

G91 (set to RELATIVE positioning)
G1 Y10 F3900.0 (move 10mm in Y)
G4 P5000 (wait for 5 seconds)
G1 Y-10 F3900.0 (move -10mm in Y)
G90 (reset ABSOLUTE positioning)

You could add this with a Find/Replace in a text editor; just search for (</layer>) and append the gCode above to the end.

OSX’s TextEdit will actually let you add carriage returns to your find/replace fields if you hit CTRL-Q and then hit the return key. But saving that output gave me some weird text encoding errors, demanding that I switch from UTF-8 and it’s not 1994 anymore so WTF Apple.

It’d take me longer to figure out that text-encoding problem than it would to write a short Python script to do the job. Assuming you’re on a Mac and have in_file.gcode on your Desktop:

import os

# read the input file
f=open(‘/Users/zheng3/Desktop/in_file.gcode’, ‘r’)
#Windows and Linux paths are left as an exercise for the reader.

gCode=’G91\nG1 Y10 F3900.0\nG4 P5000\nG1 Y-10 F3900.0\nG90\n’
# the \n puts a carriage return after each line.

for i in range(len(content)):

if ‘()’ in content[i]:

#write the output file

Then fire up out_file.gcode in ReplicatorG and a few minutes later, you’ve got yourself a decent print. Nice print on the left, yeechy print on the right.


Planting a Flag, Redux

Seej Battle Flag, Basic

About a year ago I designed the Seej Battle Flag, Basic to be printed on my Replicator1. A user on the Printrbot forums was having trouble getting it to print, so I decided to see if I could get it to work myself. Good news! It can be printed on a Simple without any voodoo involved.

It helps if one doesn’t try to print the model all at once, so I’ve broken it into three parts and updated the entries in The Forge and on Thingiverse accordingly.

I find leveling the Simple’s bed along the Y-axis to be a little difficult, especially as the weight of the extruder arm at maximum extension pulls it down in Z. I understand there’s a fix for this, I just haven’t had the chance to apply it yet.

I’ve aligned the parts of the battle flag along the X-axis, which should make them a little bit easier to print individually.

If you’ve never heard of Seej before, check out the rules and give it a go. It’s an Open-Source tabletop wargame based around 3d printing. Have at thee!

Rat Week, Day 3: Biggie!

The latest installment of #ratweek introduces Biggie! Biggie is what happens when Hambone (Day 2) finishes eating.

MTG Rat Token, Biggie

downloadBiggie’s belly is a direct result of the limitations of FDM printing. I needed some kind of support to keep his abdomen from turning into a big pile of ABS ramen, so I just extended his belly further down until it touched the base.

#staytuned! Two more rats will finish out the pack by Friday.

Rat Week, Day 2: Enter Hambone

#ratweek continues here at zheng3.com! I’ll be posting one Magic: The Gathering Rat Token model every day through Friday.

MTG Rat Token, Hambone

downloadCreative Commons Attribution notice: Hambone is gnawing on a human metatarsal from DrGlassDPM’s Anatomic Human Foot and Lower Extremity 2.0, available on Thingiverse.

Three more rats to go this week! #staytuned

Rat Week, Day 1: Meet Skritch

It’s #ratweek here at zheng3.com!

MTG Rat Token, Skritch

Last week I took a break from the Drake and cranked out my first Magic: The Gathering rat token.

It worked out so well that I posed him five different ways and printed myself a pack of rats. I’ll be releasing one a day for the rest of the week.

downloadHere’s Skritch with a d20 for scale. There’s not a lot special about him, but if you’re going to print a pack of twenty rats you might like to drop some Skritches among them for variability.

So. #staytuned for four more rats this week. One a day, every day.

MTG Drake Token, Day 2

I started roughing out the drake’s body this morning. This is a 3D sketch; the idea here is not to get caught up in the geometry, just figure out the defining masses of the object.

The Drake’s going to be something of a cross between a pterodactyl and a snake. I’ve already got a decent snake head built for the Seej Ouroboros Guardian, so that’s a good place to start.

For all its complexity, Maya’s hotbox does not yet have an item under Create->Polygon Primitives->Token->Drake, so I’ve got to extrude some edges, pull some points, and flip some faces until I get this rough model.

Ooo. That wing’s going to be tough to print. I’ll be reaching deep into the Well of Cantrips to pull that one off.

It’s a good idea to proceed very slowly at this point in the model, just so you can get a fine appreciation for all the problems you’re going to encounter later.

But my mon Zheng don’t shiv. We’ll get this figured out.