My Workbench

Monday, March 29, 2021

There is a New 3D Printer in the Shipyard

 My new Creality Ender 5 Pro 3D printer arrived s week ago and I have spent every day since playing with it. I haven't painted or rigged a thing. 

It was packed extremely well and went together fast. The wiring was a cinch, made easy by wire labels and color coding.

Once I had it in place I watched a few YouTube videos  to get familiar with it and started playing. The biggest hurdle was all the prints would break away from the bed before they were finished. I kept leveling and releveling. I used copious amounts of glue stick. I used matting tape. I even tried hair spray. Nothing worked. But I finally figured out I wasn't adjusting the nozzle close enough to the bed, and I was set at too high a speed with too much cooling for the first couple of layers, and my lines were too thin for those first couple of layers. Once I fixed all of that, I haven't had a failure since!

This thing produces beautiful quality prints. I downloaded the free Cura 4.8.8 slicer program and using the Super quality setting, the prints are close to resin quality. The downside is that at this setting the prints take much longer to complete, like hours longer! But it's worth it for the result. The Standard setting is darned good too!

The picture above is the Swedish 40 gun Bellona class frigate Venus by Henry Turner. The gray one on top was printed at Standard line setting of 0.2 MM. The black one on the bottom was printed at the Super line setting of 0.12 MM.
There really isn't that much noticeable  difference. There is a bit more pronounced stepping on the quarter deck and the stem and stern details aren't quite as crisp. I would be satisfied with Standard if that was the best it could do, and it IS much faster. But...
Now that I have the method down I can set the print, watch it through the first few layers, raise the speed and cooling back up, then go off and do something else for however many hours and come back to a beautifully printed ship, or two. These two Elizabeth class 74s came off after 5 hours this evening. (Also by Henry Turner).

Then yesterday I stopped at the post office and there was a package waiting for me. It was a ship order I had placed with Simon Mann for six of his resin ships. Keep in mind I placed this order before I decided to order a printer, and with all the excitement, I had completely forgotten about it.  When I opened it up there were nine additional "misprint" ships Simon threw in. He says he figured I could fix them. (I looked and I can)

These are the "misprints"

And then my friend Pete in the UK informs me today that he posted another package of FDM prints to me as well. What have I created?

My 1/700 3D printed ship pile is fast approaching the size of my metal 1/1200 ship lead pile. There is no way I will live long enough to complete the ships I have, and here I am with a new printer, printing more ships. This would kind of be a nightmare, if it wasn't so much fun!

I don't know when I will do anymore rigging!


Lasgunpacker said...

Very exciting! I have an Ender 3, and it is very similar to the 5, so I know all about trying to get the bed level, and prints not sticking and so on... very satisfying when something comes out correctly!

Regarding the different print levels, you may be able to get away with slicing the hull in half horizontally, and printing the lower half at a lower resolution. Might save some time?

Also, general question about the 3d prints, how are you doing the masts and sails? Are they 3d printed as well, or are you doing it in cast metal, or scratch build?

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Hello Lasgunpacker,
Well I am too new to printing and Cura to know how to do that, but I have programmed in the thicker lines for just the first few layers.
As for sails and masts, I prefer scratch building my own. I have tutorials here on this blog that show how I do them. They are for 1/1200 scale but the process is the same. I keep a "Mast Log" with all of my sail and mast measurement information and templates, so I don't have to "reinvent the wheel" each time.

Stew said...

Have fun with your new toy. The pics show some really good looking hulls. But you’re in scary territory being able to mass produce your own ships. Especially since they print all on their own. 😀

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Thanks Stew, but I do have to start them. Today I started the day with the intention to start more ships but I inadvertently selected the file for a control panel cover Instead. I didn't realize the error until the first layer was down and, since I did need the part, I let it continue....for 7 plus hours! So no ships printed today. I did spend the time painting a 1st rate Spaniard though, so not a total waste.

Phil said...

Wow, impressive and obviously worth a try, looks very nice!

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Hello Phil! Yes, for the reasonably low price, it produces amazing quality. I am quite pleased with it.
Many regards to you,

Paul´s Bods said...

I´m still in two minds about getting a 3D printer. The cost of it and the material puts me off, that and the fact I´m pretty cack handed with technology :-)

A Miniatures Hobby Room said...

Exactly what I thought too Paul. I figured it had to be too complicated for this old dog! I held off a long time before taking the plunge. I surprised myself how quick I was up and running. It really is quite easy.

caveadsum1471 said...

Very interesting 3d printing post, I think we will all end up going that way eventually! Nice results and equally nice all the other hulls you're getting, not really sure you need the printer with the amount you've got!
Best Iain