The 3D Printing thread

We have the design thread, so why not the 3D Printing thread?

I had a Makergear M2 for two years, before I finally got tired of the leveling issues and gave up. I got a creality… and made a few succesfull prints out of it, until I saw the detail that a phrozen resin printer could bring. I sold the creality and bought a mighty 4k. and thinking of getting a mega 8k to go along with it:).

The Image on the left was the same model printed on a creality (With supports on the back) and the image on the right is with the sonic mighty 4k. you can see why I was sold on the resin printing, even if it is messier. the suppots are easier to use, and it’s FASTER to boot.

I mostly focus on TMNT and Ghostbuster printing. but also get into dragonball z as well.
what kind of process does MST3K use, I wonder? and post yours if you got 'em!


I accidentally annihilated the frames of my glasses earlier this week. Rather than get a long-overdue eye exam and a new pair of glasses, I decided to scan the remains of my old pair and model and print new frames. It went pretty stupid, but after three revisions, I at least have a hideous object that will stay on my face and hold lenses in place.

I’m going to print the (hopefully) finally version this weekend in black filament because white frames make me look insane… and because I had some scale issues related to the scan and had to cut chunks out of the frames to get the lenses in place. Also the arms are too short. Also, I forgot to angle the arms. Also, they have pointy bits that hurt my nose and ears.

What a great hobby.


This is one of the most practical uses for 3D printing I’ve seen yet, way to go! Now if we can just hurry up and get printers that will let us print the lenses too …


FormLabs user here.

Although I’m not sure for how much longer. The printer’s awesome – don’t get me wrong – but it seems like the resin printing space has some great, new options out there and the FormLabs was an early entry. Feels like an early entry. And don’t get me started on their pricing for stuff.

Most of the stuff I print gets painted up and given to folks who want them. Don’t ask how many Groots the printer’s pumped out; I lost count. The fidelity of resin printing can’t be beat and there’s very little need for cleanup work before putting down primers and acrylics (except, well, where the support struts were but that’s become easier over time and sorta commands how I approach printing certain things).

The Groot example also shows that, yeah, I moved to third party resins because, again, FormLabs pricing. Sheez.

It’s a fun hobby! @Shredder565 mentioned the messiness of resin printing and it’s true but it doesn’t bother me too much. There are some extra steps required post-print but those aren’t a bother, either.


This ratchet was the very first thing I ever printed and it is significant in two ways. First, this is the same ratchet from the ISS’s first full test of their 3D printer and exploring the ability to send repair models and tools to the crew. Second, this was a great little introduction to a critical quirk between filament and resin printing – long story short, this ratchet has a portion inside that is meant to break and makes the whole thing work; this succeeds with a filament print but creates a section in the resin print that is both impossible to cure and isn’t regarded as “water tight” and that breakable portion doesn’t come out right. It’ll never live up to its full ratchet potential. Lessons learned.


I’m curious what other options you think are worth exploring? anything with the printing size for bigger models like the mega 8k? it’s not badly priced, but the $500 extra for shipping is killer heh.

I’m getting used to the cleanup. If I use non toxic resin, I can make it work a little easier and quicker. although I think an industrial sink install might not be a bad idea.

Now I’m over here googling “cheap SLS printer” instead of working. And then crying.

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Funny how things changing fast makes you think more time has passed. I was recently trying to remember when I got my first 3D printer, a laser cut wooden Printrbot. Figured it had to be over `10 years by now but nope, it was summer of 2014. I’m now on my 4th printer, that first one doesn’t exist anymore but some of the parts from it are in my 3rd home build printer. Last year I got a Prusa MK3S and it’s the only one I used these days. I keep thinking I should use the Prusa to make nicer parts for my home built design but since I haven’t used it in about 2 years there’s just no incentive, only advantage it has over the Prusa is extra Z, I’m sure I could get it printing as nice as the Prusa with a few design and electronics changes, maybe someday I’ll get around to it.

If you’re needing a build volume like the Phrozen’s 400mm Z-axis, I’m arguably the worst person to talk that particular shop. The resolution and layer thickness are more important to my needs and I don’t work at, say, cosplay scales (not my thang).

But, man… its 8K prints? Nom nom nom.

Elegoo has my attention, particularly its Mars and Saturn series. It appears that maybe the Mars line is being sunsetted (if the current sale prices on all of the models are an indication). The Saturn is about half of the Mega 8K’s volume, at ~200mm Z-axis, but also priced where a wallet won’t go into hunger pangs.

I had a pursia (I beleive) that was all wood and had to build myself. did something wrong with e wiring and it started to smoke first time up heh.

about all I was able to print with that was a melted half cube and no amount of tech support helped. gave it a rest for a few years until I Saw makergear :).

I run the website, which as it says on the tin is all about 3D designing and printing custom Doctor Who stuff. Between myself and a few other artists, we’ve got about 100 different action figures, props, and customizing parts available. All 100% free. (The only rule is that nobody’s allowed to print any of the stuff for financial gain without the approval of the artist)

I started out about 4 or 5 years ago using a Monoprice Maker Select Plus (basically a clone of the Wanhao Duplicator III) and then upgraded to a Monoprice Maker Ultimate, which was an extremely odd “premium” filament printer designed to print at 0.02mm layer height, the same layer height as most resin printers.

I’m still kicking myself for that decision. Not because it was an especially bad printer,
the print quality was noticeably better than almost ever other FDM printer on the market at the time, and there were certain figures I was only able to print with that extra level of surface detail, but at the time I bought it, home resin printers were just starting out, and I easily could have made the jump into resin a year or two earlier if I’d thought ahead.

I also wasted so much time nursing that [multiple expletives deleted] machine along, that it spent more time offline and in pieces than it did functional. The big problem with filament printers is that when a print fails… and keeps failing, it could be one of about 6 different things, but the end result looks almost identical, so the only way you can test it is by replacing a part and resetting, which is another 2 or 3 days of print time wasted. This is why it took me OVER A YEAR to build and print this:

Obviously, the print quality of filament couldn’t hold a candle to resin, and the moment I bought my first Anycubic Photon, I basically never switched on the Monoprice again.

I am currently using a top of the line (as of 2019) Phrozen Transform, which is still the world’s largest home use resin printer… for a little while longer at any rate. I backed the original kickstarter, so I got a bit of a price break, but it still cost about $2000. Probably the single most expensive piece of equipment I’ve ever purchased that wasn’t a car.

I don’t regret the purchase for one second though. This thing is a printing beast! and it runs like a dream. I went 12 months without having to change the FEP liner once! After a year and a half of pretty heavy use the screen is only now getting to the point where it’s starting to get a tiny bit fuzzy and not quite as crisp as it used to. But I’ve got a replacement lined up, and as with the Photon, it’s a quick and easy 10 minute swap. After dealing with the nightmare of FDM printing, I love having a machine with only two parts that occasionally need replacing maybe once or twice a year.

As for the specs… The Transform is the size of a mini-fridge and you could stack 4 Photons inside and still have plenty of room left over. The maximum print volume is 11.4" x 6.3" x 15.7" meaning that I could theoretically print entire full-sized face masks in the thing. The larger print area means that I can usually prototype print an entire 5.5" scale action figure, even something as massive as the Emperor Dalek, all in one go. Print jobs that once took weeks on a FDM printer are now done in about 24-48 hours. It’s theoretically capable of going down to 0.01mm layer height, but I’ve never seen the need, since anything printed at 0.02mm still looks gorgeous. (And once you paint it, any surface detail beyond that threshold is going to be lost anyways)

I did run into some issues with it about 6 months in where it turns out these early Kickstarter models had a sub-par wiring harness that could burn out… which mine did. It was a pain in the ass getting the thing disassembled (which also meant I had to completely trash my home-built exhaust system) but despite the language barrier, the company was great about it. As soon as I sent them the photo, they sent me not only a new wire harness but a new motherboard as well.

Literally, the only complaint I have about the design is that they stuck the USB port on the back (which is easily fixed with a short USB extension cable) and that the exhaust fan on the front left side about a centimeter away from the door which opens outward, so building my exhaust system required me to (somewhat ironically) 3D print a giant question mark shape with an inline duct fan in the middle to blow the resin fumes out through the window of my office.

Also, somewhat weirdly, the layer height and exposure settings are controlled from resin profiles loaded onto a SD card within the machine itself, but these are only accessible through a wi-fi connection using the machine’s IP address… which can change every time you shut it off.

If you attempt to change any of these settings through Chitubox or another slicer software, it won’t give you any problems, but it’ll ignore those settings in favor of whatever resin profile is currently set. Theoretically this makes it “easier” to switch between profiles on the fly, if you want to use the same STL file to print something in clear resin and then switch to black or opaque, but mostly it’s an unnecessary step.

Luckily, since I’m mainly doing action figures, there’s no reason for me to print at anything other than maximum resolution 100% of the time, but in the rare instance that I wanted to print something fast but simple… like a box, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass to go in and change the resin profile and then remember to change it back again once it’s done.

I mainly just always use the Transform to always print at 0.02mm using regular old Elegoo ABS-like White (meaning I never have to empty the resin vat unless there’s a misprint) with a little bit of SirayaTech Tenacious mixed in for flexibility, and switch over to the smaller Anycubic Photon if I need to print something transparent or out of a specific color or higher than normal layer height.


sounds like my experience with the Creality. Spent a bout a month off line trying to get upgrades and mods to work properly. eventually, I gave up and decided to try the resin, and wish I did sooner.

I saw the price of the transform, and the kickstarter IS still available at $1300 it seems . it’s VERY tempting. but not sure if the mega 8k might be better. not sure which one to go with.

They have subsequently come out with a newer model that uses a monochrome screen which is supposed to last longer and have sharper edges. Technically, you can retrofit the older models, but I really don’t feel like going through the hassle of ripping out it’s innards again.

The Phrozen was kind of the ground-breaker in the big-ass resin printer market, but there are a lot of other new models coming up in the ranks that maybe aren’t quite as massive, but are probably more affordable, and have some nice features. A lot of the newer printers use monochrome screens which A) last longer, and B) supposedly have crisper edge resolution.

I very nearly bought a TIANFOUR Super King Kong, if for no other reason than the name. I think it may technically have a bigger total build volume than the Transform, but most of that is vertical space, which is the least useful of the three.

I did forget to mention that the Transform’s resin vat can hold an entire 1000ml bottle of resin if you want to live dangerously and fill it completely, though usually about 800ml or 1½ smaller 500ml bottles is adequate to fill to the recommended height. Because it’s so friggin’ massive, you need a lot more resin in the vat just to be able to maintain the minimum level for printing, which is one of the reasons why I pretty much only stick with one color and top up as I go, unless something goes wrong and I have to strain out floaty bits from a failed print job… Which thankfully doesn’t happen often (the build plate is surprisingly good at avoiding Z wobble, as long as you lock it down tightly and are careful with your rotation) but it is always terrifying trying to lift that resin vat directly upwards perfectly level (it’s held in place by two vertical bolts that can easily puncture the liner if you are careless) and then get the resin out without covering yourself like a contestant on Double Dare.

The Tianfour does have a removable top, similar to an Elegoo Mars, which is probably a better design, in terms of accessibility. They also solved the “how do you lock down a vat that big securely in place” problem simply by making it slot-in and the full width of the printer, so there’s nowhere else it could go.

For people that are considering getting a resin printer and thinking of going large scale, I’d say that while bigger is usually better, it’s really handy to have both a large scale and a regular size printer like the Anycubic Photon or Elegoo Mars. The print speed is exactly the same, but the smaller printers are easier to manhandle and change resin in. If you just need a single part that will fit on the Photon or Mars build plate, especially if it requires changing or mixing colors, there’s no reason not to use the smaller machine. Also, if you rip the FEP liner on a Photon it costs about $5 to replace versus $20 on the Transform, which is why I always use the Photon when I’m printing something like this:


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My favorite 3D printing thread is hamburger.

Talking of mixing colors and other fun stuff you can play around with in resin, if nobody’s tried it yet, I’m a big fan of SirayaTech Tenacious flexible resin and Monocure 3D CMYK Pigment.


Tenacious Resin is expensive as hell at $65 a bottle, but it is a friggin’ godsend as a strengthening agent, or if you want to try to make parts that can actually pop together or move.
“Flexible Resin” here is something of a misnomer, “bendable” would be more accurate, since while it will allow you to make parts that can be bent, it still has zero compression or stretch and the bend is more like the bending you get from a rubber eraser. Depending on what percentage of resin you use, thin parts between about 2 and 5mm will bend, but beyond that, you need to have the upper body strength of Hercules or one of those guys who rips phone books in half to be able to bend a piece more than a few mm.

Still it’s incredibly useful stuff. Adding just 15-20% by volume into the vat with the rest of your resin will give you an incredibly powerful strengthening agent, with just enough flex and durability that it can survive a drop onto linoleum or concrete without immediately destroying itself.

At about 25 to 30% you’ll start to see noticeable flex on small parts. If you’re printing something like miniatures or about the same thickness as green army men, their swords and guns can be bent… a little bit. Bend them too far, and they will break, but in terms or durability and being able to just toss them into a backpack or gaming bag without being completely destroyed, it’s a massive difference.

At about 35 to 40% cool stuff starts to happen. The resin starts behaving a bit more like the vinyl used in modern action figures. Parts about 2-3mm thick like fingers on hands, capes, or accessories will have just enough flex that you can force them into hands or to clip over bodies. Note that the flex here is extremely elastic, like a rubber novelty eraser. If you bend a part, it will slowly creep back to it’s original shape over a couple of seconds. This DOES mean that you can create snap together “pop and lock” parts if you know what you’re doing.


If you make V-shaped parts about 2mm thick and 6mm long, with little notches on the end and a T-shaped hole, you can pinch the end and get it to fit into the T-shaped plug, where it will expand back to it’s original shape and lock in place. This is one of the ways I make rotational shoulder or neck joints on my figures.

Note that even at 35-40% Tenacious it’s a good idea to start upping the thickness and cross-structures of your supports. Because these are typically not more than about 2mm wide, they will start flexing too.

Beyond 50% flexible resin, small parts do become even more flexible and less likely to snap if pushed too far, but the trade-off is A) your print will start becoming noticeably transparent, and B) the print starts becoming so flexible, you start losing some surface detail because the entire model will start flexing and bending just from the suction force of being repeatedly pulled up and down off the print screen. You will also, of course, have to increase your support width in check which can be tricky if you’re printing something large but thin, but with massive 4mm thick supports hanging off it that will tend to merge with the side of your print.


Another fun product is Monocure CMKY pigment, which is the only resin pigment I’ve found that’s specifically formulated to work in 3D printers, and can be used to create just about any color in the rainbow when mixed with standard white or clear resin.

It’s incredibly useful stuff to have around if you suddenly find yourself needing to print something blue and you don’t want to waste your time buying an entire $20-$30 bottle of blue resin that you’re never going to use again. You just add drops of this stuff in like food coloring and the bottles themselves are pretty massive, so you get a ton of pigment for the price. If you use it even once, it’ll pay for itself just in terms of reduced resin cost. The only downside is that it’s really hard to judge the exact color of pigment you’ll be getting when it’s in the vat, especially if you’re doing transparent parts because the thinner the part, the less total pigment will make it into the mix, so you need a lot more than you think you do to have it show up. (I was trying to print some thin parts that needed to be neon pink and the mixture needed to be almost too dark to see through before they came out noticeably pink.)


And because you’ll be mixing the colors yourself, it’ll never be exactly the same between print jobs, especially if you’re trying to print a combo color like green or orange. Also, the pigment does tend to linger in the vat, especially down around the crevices near the edges of the FEP liner, so even if you’ve emptied the vat and given it a good wipe down with an alcohol wipe or paper towel, don’t immediately go trying to print something in white or clear and be surprised when the color starts seeping in from the edges and turning it slightly pink. (One print job with grey is usually enough to tease out any resin tint that might be lurking.)

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I don’t do a whole lot with mine (Monoprice MP Mini) but what little I have done, I love. The detail on a resin printer is just fantastic. And next time I’m up in town, my brother has a filament printer waiting for me.

Sadly, the ability to really make a CAD program sing eludes me so far, but there are a lot of neat things out there pre-made to print (eyes @DeepHurting’s website, which is going to run me through gallons of resin and miles of filament…)

You’re not alone there. I have tried just about every piece of CAD software under the sun, and the only two I’ve ever come close to making “sing” are TinkerCAD and Meshmixer, both free software from AutoDesk without a lot of bells and whistles, but that are surprisingly versatile and easy(ish) to learn.

The main problem is, CAD software always seems to be divided into arty sculpting software for free-form manipulation of surfaces organically like clay, or very precise engineering software with extremely uniform coordinate-based shape creation and positioning. Nobody seems to have designed a piece of software yet that fully incorporates all the features of both, at least not ALL the features I need to be able to accomplish my particular style of design work.

TinkerCAD is by far the most user friendly and intuitive CAD software on the planet, even after their most recent update which buries some of the more useful tools. Despite that, it still can’t be beat when it comes to creating precisely measured shapes, and even more importantly… holes.
I don’t know why more CAD software doesn’t have an additive/subtractive feature. TinkerCAD mainly works by merging geometric shapes together but it’s most useful feature is to be able to turn any shape into a hole of the same size. So, if my figure requires a T-shaped plug for the waist to connect to the torso, and the T-shaped plug is formed from a 9mm diameter cylinder stacked on top of a 5mm diameter cylinder, I can then create a 10mm diameter cylinder shaped hole on top of a 6mm diameter hole to go around it, forming a snug clamshell cavity, with just enough of a 0.5mm gap on each side to allow smooth movement.

Another important feature is that while TinkerCAD doesn’t have a sculpt option and only deals with geometric shapes, you can import pretty much anything, as long as it’s under the maximum polygon count. If it’s a complex shape, it will auto-reduce it to a lower quality. Probably not anything noticeable for filament printing, but definitely an issue for resin.

This is a major annoyance, but there are ways around it. This does mean that I can sculpt a figure in Meshmixer, import it into TinkerCAD, add articulation or other precisely distanced geometric shape elements that are hard to do in a free-form sculpting tool, export the file out of TinkerCAD, re-open it in Meshmixer, and do my final cleanup to improve the quality of the mesh.

For anyone just getting started in TinkerCAD, here are some tips I wish I’d know about when I was first starting out:

I built my first 20 figures without even touching Meshmixer, so it can be done… It just takes a lot of creative use of the import/export figure and “kitbashing” existing STL files to Frankenstein together the pieces you need.

For example, my Yeti figure was made entirely from added, subtracted, and resized chunks of this free rat sculpture you can find on Turbosquid.

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It does seem strange that no one seems to be able to write a program that does the basics for both mechanical and organic shapes. Something for the casual modeler, there would be a lot of people that would pay for a program like that. I’ve gotten pretty good at using FreeCAD, when someone at work wanted some 3D printed flowers to test out different scents I figured I should be able to learn Blender. Two weeks later and I could barely do the basics in that program. I ended up making the basic shape in FreeCAD, then modifying that in Blender to look more organic.

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in regards to colors, i’m surprised no one has come up with a ‘programable resin’ that can change colors. if your model has colors in it, the program can scan that model, input color data, and the laser would change spectrum to make that color.

sure, it might increase the time needed to make a print, but it would be amazing if it could be worked out.

That would require a material that can mimic color while not altering the intrinsic quality of the resin to harden when hit with laser or DLP light.

“Color on command” materials exist but work on exposures to things like acidity and current. Holding a color usually means persistent exposure. So these are out of the running.

In the resin space, multicolor might require a different way of approaching the printing. Liquid metal printing works like an inkjet printer (loosely) and that might be an avenue to try.

Multicolor printing does exist in the FDM realm, in varying degrees of output quality. The hobbyist printers have to turn to add-on devices, like the Palette, that make custom filaments with colors ready in the right spots… because the industry printers that can do it natively are huge and come with a price tag.

I’ve seen sintering printers that can do color. No idea what the total cost ends up being but the resulting prints are sorta disappointing (in their color representation, not the physical output).