3D Printing and Sketch Up 2017

22 March 2017

Made a tentative start today on building the display/battle board using the 3D printed components.

I am using a single MDF sheet cut 2′ x 2′. It’s part of a collection of similarly sized boards that were part of a modular board tile plan that’s sat idle till now.

Because you can go several ways with this system, I’ve taken the slightly different route rather than having it all flat. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong in laying this system on flat open ground because it might well represent the best means for protection for those defending it. If the ground somehow prevents a dug-out protection system, then having it on top seems quite sensible.

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The foam strips roughly cut. Went about it arse-end first but finally realised to add wooden blocks as well. Am slow but I get there in the end. 🙂


But trench systems imply some digging down. Well, I can’t really dig down on an MDF board so the next best thing is to raise the ground on which the system has thus been excavated. As the pic above shows, I’ve cut out strips of Styrofoam (not the good stuff though) and glued them to the board in roughly the position where the system will eventually go.

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The new configuration to suit the 2′ x 2′ base board

Firstly, though, I’ve had to reconfigure the system to fit the MDF board. As the pic above shows, I shortened the front line but lengthened the distance between front and secondary lines. I’ve also included the bastion strongpoint that was the first item printed to represent my outpost in the rock face.

I will next rough cut some very thin MDF using a jigsaw as my base for the 3D walls and flashpoints. I’m looking at screwing them to the cut-out MDF plate.

I next need to add reinforcements in the shape of wooden blocks (also screwed and glued to the board). The foam inserts I’ve already glued can help with the shaping of the sloping ground.

Xsection Proposed layout trenching system 170322

Thus far I’m pleased with the modular style configuration possible. Because of space limitations, I was able to adapt my original design (below) to suit.


Changed the tower design because it would take forever to print out. So I’m going with just a blast door to be placed on the side of a cliff face or hill. Print time for this change is considerably quicker, just 50 minutes as opposed to the projected 6 hours for the tower base alone. Will design one of those familiar covered lookouts chiselled out of the cliff face that you see on those space movies to complement the new doorway.

Bastion Outpost 41, Rylnn System resized
The original configuration: four key points of defence with tower command post. One of the key points is the octagon-shaped open roofed squad post; the others are sentry points as well as squad posts.
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Printed components. All are interchangeable to suit any configuration desired. Overall, am happy with the pieces.
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Tower is now replaced by a blast security type door that will be integrated into a cliff face. I will add a lookout further up the cliff to better represent the command/communications centre.
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The octagon squad post with the optional roof that can be easily removed for in-bunker combat or as an open roofed position.
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Another view of the roof giving it a bunker look.


Insect-class river gunboats

Did a quick Sketch Up of the next project. Going with 1/1200 scale for starters. It is a very crude design, modelled on a rough sketch I’ve obtained online. Seems it’s hard to obtain blueprints of original ship designs without paying for it. And I’m not ready to output money for a scale model that’s around 60mm long. Hopefully, I can find some decent plans soon.

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The print took only 6 minutes! Scale is 1/1200. And it’s done by eye. But it’s just the first draft. There will be lots of alterations and modifications no doubt before settling on a finished model. I’ve used the freely-available generic dimensions available online. What’s been printed thus far requires some modifying as the printer doesn’t like overhangs/cantilever decks, or double stacks close to one another (it just blends them together which needs carefully paring away with a craft knife).

20 March 2017

Starting up this post specifically for any 3D printing activities planned or happening. But it’s also be home to any Sketch Up design work attempted.

Once more, I’m up doing another all-nighter because it’s cheaper to do this during off-peak hours. That’s the only really big issue I have with 3D printing: it takes a very long time to output anything.

I like to work on a print table of 100mm x 100mm even though it can extend to 120mm x 120mm.

The quality of the Verbatim ABS filament is inferior to the original ABS filament that arrived with the printer. Verbatim is much cheaper and at the time I thought I was getting value for my money. But maybe next time I will spend a little more for better quality filament after seeing some of the recent outputs – lots of stratified lines through the layering process. It’s still reasonable quality – using a suitable sandpaper to smooth the rough parts helps – but will closely watch the quality as I go through both these reels.

To recap on what I’m looking at doing next month: Insect-class river gunboats. At the moment, finances are tight so I have to be careful with what I purchase. The basic dimensions are easily obtained online so I may start with a rough design first. Should I need further detail, I will then make a move towards purchasing the blueprints.

Hopefully I can somehow create a working design that will output. If the result passes inspection, I can then look at casting resin replicas and sell them online. And maybe do it also for the Fly-class ships. I’m hoping there’s room for niche products. Just have to keep motivated. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.


Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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