Tag Archives: mtg

Quality Control

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.

Snake QC fail

  • 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.

MTG Zombie Token

MTG Zombie Token

downloadWhen 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.

Snakes on an XY Plane

printrbot calibration fails

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.

downloadMy 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.

MTG Zombie Token Preview

zed_screencap

This pose struck me while I was orbiting my camera. This guy will be ready in a couple of days. #staytuned.

You can watch his development in the Scrying Pool, over to the right. If you catch me working (usually early mornings EST) you can watch the screencaps accumulate in quasi-realtime.

Resin Rats on the mUVe1

Dean Piper over at mUVe 3d is doing some fascinating work with stereolithography printing lately. He’s built (and is selling) an resin printer with the stated goal of bringing open, inexpensive, high-resolution 3D printing to everyone.

Here’s one of his printed rats from my Rat Pack.

rat, printed on the mUVe1

The laser artifacts on this print give the rat a little bit of fuzz, which compliments the model nicely.

download You can read his blog post about it here, and breeze through a gallery of his prints, too.

The Rat Pack

Rat Pack

As promised, I collected all the models from #ratweek and put them into one archive.

download The Rat Pack contains six, count ’em, SIX rat models, suitable for use with Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, or wherever you need a rodent of unusual size.

Left to right in the back are Biggie, Stretch, Hambone, Cody, and Adam. Skritch is up front.

Just go ahead and download the models for free! More miniatures like these lurk in The Forge, so get downloadin’, son. This rat pack ain’t gonna print itself.

+1 Counter Fail: Ditching Etsy for Shapeways

+1/+1 Counter Fail

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.

downloadFinally 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.

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.
content=f.readlines()
f.close

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]:
content[i]=content[i]+gCode

#write the output file
f=open(‘/Users/zheng3/Desktop/out_file.gcode’,’w’)
f.write(“”.join(content))
f.close

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.

fixed

Rat Week, Day 5: Stretch!

#ratweek concludes with Stretch, who’s reaching, reaching! for the weekend.

Just a few more hours, kid! You can make it! Then go join buddies Biggie, Skritch, Hambone, and Cody under the barstools for chestnuts and mead.

MTG Rat Token, Stretch

download

I’ll put all these guys into a pack and make them available for download in The Forge sometime this weekend. So many projects, so little time. #staytuned