3D Printing & Modelling
I have always been a bit of a gadget man and so when 3D printers first appeared on the scene some years ago it was like a moth to a flame. However, at that time I was unable to find a suitable CAD package that was capable of 3D modelling, simple to use and affordable. So, owning such a device remained a pipedream.
That is until March of this year. Once again, I saw an advert on a craft shopping channel for a 3D printer. The price had dropped considerably but as usual no suitable 3D CAD software was included. Had things changed in the intervening years? Worth a look I thought. My investigations led me to a software package called Autodesk Fusion 360, a product that could be registered for free as a hobbyist. This is very sophisticated software but easy to use at the simplest level. Here was something I could use to design and print modelling subjects.
To some, owning a 3D printer in its self is the hobby. That is not what I wanted, to me it would be a tool. After some research I opted for a printer that was ready assembled rather than a kit, just some final assembly and a bit of setting up. The setting up, mainly levelling the print bed in relation to the printer head, proved a little trickier than anticipated and took me a while to get my head round. But after a few hours we were cooking on gas.
So, what to do with it? I like to build some of the larger aircraft kits in 1/32 and 1/24. I wanted to display these models with a little ground equipment which, for WW2 allied aircraft, is rare in 1/32 and practically non-existent in 1/24. I had an Airfix 1/48 ground support set that included a simple hand cart and an oiler cart. I decided to have a go at both.
As you can see from the pictures I managed to complete both. This initial project highlighted some of the limitations of my 3D printer. Firstly, as it prints in layers, the finished surface is always ribbed to some extent. Secondly, smaller items don’t print well; anything under 5mm is liable to be a mess or ignored. This limitation is related to the nozzle size of 4mm. Some scratch building is therefore required.
The first 4 pictures show rendered images of the cart and oiler from the Fusion 360 software and pictures 5 to 10 the cart and oiler at various stages of construction. The results were to me quite satisfying and I felt I wanted to try something altogether more challenging.
I decided to upscale the Accurate Armour 1/48 Twin Boon Refueller to 1/35 scale. To aid me in this I purchased the 1/48th kit and the IBG 1/35 QLD truck. I used the Cab, chassis and running gear from the IBG truck and designed and printed the larger parts for the Refueller.
Whist it took a little longer to draw and realising that I needed to design it to fit the chassis it all went quite well. Pictures 11 & 12 are again renders of the design from Fussion 360 and 13 to 15 sfow the 3D printed parts combined with some of the scratch built parts (the styrene is white, and 3D prints off white). 16 shows the 3D new Twin Boon Refueller mounted on the chassis and the last 3 the completed model!
Let me know what you think. I’ll try and answer any questions if you have any.
18 additional images. Click to enlarge.