My son has just discovered Warhammer and really enjoys it, unfortunately he has also discovered how costly little pieces of plastic can be. So having a 3D printer I suggested that I design and print him some scenery. This instructable is part of my first attempt.
Please note that these models are my own design and have no link to actual models currently in production.
Thanks for reading - If you like this guide please consider voting for it in the plastics competition.
Step 1: Initial Searches
There are a couple of sites you can use to search for free STL files for printing, examples are:
To find a list of more just google STL download sites your first result should be a list of 35 of the best sites.
This is great for most print jobs, however there seems a shortage of files for the type of game my son is interested in.
Step 2: Enter Sketchup
Sketchup is a great 3d design program and has now gotten better with the introduction of the online version also free to use My Sketcup online
This is what I used to create the prints for this guide. - being an online version it does have a few limitations that the downloadable sketchup make doesn't, but still has more than enough tools to make it a very useful tool.
Step 3: Design
Once logged into the application you can start building straight away as the initial screen is the design window.
My building was going to be made in three stages all of which would be separate stl files. this was for a couple of reasons not least the capacity of my print bed (its only small), however a benefit of the separate parts is that the model would be configurable.
It was to be a ruined building so I decided to make each level small in size making it look as though more of the building had been blown away as you move upwards. I also concentrated on the corner, this resulted in three floor sections all designed around the corner, and meant that my son could either have them stacked as the whole structure or arrange them so that the three stayed at ground level forming three corners of a ruin giving plenty of cover for his forces in a Warhammer battle.
Who am I kidding - it also meant I got to play around with sketch up and the 3d printer a lot more (fun for all)
Rather than upload just the STL files here I have also uploaded the Sketchup files to the 3d warehouse so you can download them and have a play yourselves.
Step 4: Printing and Issues
I started printing the STL files as soon as I had finished the first one (the smaller - top level) this printed great and gave me confidence to print the remaining levels - this did not go to plan.
Sketch up while a great program for design can (as can any program) introduce flaws when you come to exporting the file to STL format for printing. These flaws come from your design play and can include missing lines and faces, or additional faces that are not supported, and because Sketch up models are hollow some of these extra features can form in the hidden space.
This is one of the draw backs of the online version - no x-ray view, so I had to export the Sketch up file and use the PC make version to correct the errors. I did this by using the stl correction tools available on the sketch up extension warehouse to identify the areas where the flaws where and then used x-ray view to remove and or add new lines, sometimes having to remove a small section then clean the lines and re-add the section. The occasionally exporting the file to STL to see if the flaws had really been fixed when the file was sliced ready for printing. The result is a model that required a small amount of cleanup when printed, but works well for what my son will put it through.
If you take a look at the images above - on the red image - ive circled the errors visible a slightly bluish dots and lines. these have to be corrected before slicing the file for printing or you end up with the grey images and a model with missing details, as you can probably tell those files would not have printed correctly.
Step 5: Finishing the Scene
Painting your model is down to your own taste, but as the plastic I used is kind of bright I decided to spray them with a grey undercoat first and then mixed up modelers paint (Humbrol) to get colours that I liked.
A good point here is that you dont have to wait until one coat is dry before adding the next, its sometimes better to do most of your painting wet - that way the colours can blend in a little - this makes for a much better effect and finished look.