3D Printing and Sketch Up 2017

20 May 2017

To cut down on the printing time, I’m removing the canopy; that way, the highest point will be the top of the front cab. That should save on print time.

My printing table means I will only be able to reproduce two vehicles (complete) at a time.

I’ve resumed work on the Tiger II. I don’t have a full set of plans; what I have will have to do for dimensions. I will make a reasonable assumption with the missing dimensions based on the reference plans and photos I have. I should have a final sketch design within the next few days or maybe next week. But I want to release it in conjunction with the schwimmwagen that will also be done. This may extend the release timing of the designs by another week given my pace. Having the Tigers done and printed will be a major hurdle for me; once past, I feel, the rest of the vehicles should prove easier to handle for some reason.

Also looking to produce some photos of the completed vehicles with their paint jobs well before the August release of the Quarterstaff issue which will detail in full the schwimmwagen build. Cheers.

Opel Maultier – possibly one of the variants I’ll produce



16 May 2017

Quick SketchUp view of the Opel Blitz work-in-progress. Just needing the wheels/tyres. It’s not a finished design because of the curves on the cab, which I haven’t mastered. But I do have very hand sandpaper and files, so it’s no biggie. The thing I’ve found with printing the jeeps is it’s not a problem if you produce a chunky printout. Anyway, I will produce a printout in the next few days once I’m satisfied with the design. Print preview informs me this particular sketch will take over an hour to produce. Ugh!

OBtruck version 170516 windscreen version resized

15 May 2017

Making a start on replicating the Opel truck today. Looking at producing at least 20+, enough to run an independent Rapid Fire II scenario (thinking road convoy attacked by my Hawker Typhoon!) after the refight. I know my friend, who loaned me this Opel resin kit, might be interested in buying a few.

20170515_063751 resized

14 May 2017

It’s taken this long to get over the jeep build. I’ve not touched it since painting those bodies. I was seeing stars for a long while afterward Even the wife commented on my glazed look. I’ve yet to attach the road wheels; my idea for attachment requires wire, but I’m too lazy to go look for some and thus complete that particular project. I have printed out trailers; but the accessories, like crates and tarps and radios and packs and mounted twin MGs can all be done by conventional modelling means. Those ABS reels don’t come cheap, you know.

Design work on the proposed King Tiger has stalled. Seems I’m missing one particular dimension that is frustrating me in my search online. The image below is a finished 3D printout available commercially. Don’t know the scale but I expect it’s much larger than the 1/72 I’m after. Nevertheless, the dimension I’m lacking — which will complete the tracked wheels — is the relationship between the last road wheel and the back drive sprocket.


For several days it kept bugging me, which then led to indecision and frustration, before finally leading to inaction. Perhaps I should have done what any resourceful sensible fool would have done.


BTW: the correct spelling for the past meaning of lead is led. While this seems an insignificant thing to a great many, to a writer unless you’re some brilliant, original, genius Einstein of writing, it’s like a poison pen dipped into your writing heart. Just don’t do it. Take pride in your work for fuck sake! It really shows your quality and care as a writer. Online journalists seem to be the worst offenders of this basic error in spelling though. Don’t get fooled by the sound of the word; that probably explains the confusion most would-be/lazy writers suffer when penning the word in the first instance. That and allowing Spell Checker to facilitate your work. Pheasants! ūüôā

Anyway, I managed to borrow a resin Opel truck from a friend to fill-in as my next “easier” 3D printing project while I wait for that missing dimension to materialise. Don’t ask me about the schwimmwagen: I had a plan but it backfired so I binned it for now. Fear not, it will be done; I’m just waiting for the next convergence of the trine of planets. It shouldn’t be all that long, so I hear.

The Opel model has given me ideas on how to tackle its Sketch Up creation, which will save me time printing-wise. But I love procrastination which, in turn, leads to further frustration, and then inaction. Sound familiar? I know. It’s the only channel playing in the house at the moment.¬† But not for long. I dare not allow another month to go by without producing something; my world-wide audience demands it. Right? Hello?

In all seriousness, I better start making a move on all these so-called projects. I actually have a deadline so there is no further excuse. Or is there?


12 April 2017

Just a painting update. Will start other printing tonight (off-peak and all that) of seats, steering wheel, fenders (version 3), and other accoutrements. Then assemble the wheels now that I found my wire spool (lost it under all my other junk).  Must admit it does start to look like more real for some reason. Cheers.


9 April 2017

Arnhem refight project

Was curious as to why my gaming friend requested 30+ jeeps. He gave a throwaway answer about numbers. I didn’t quite believe him. But yesterday I purchased the Operation Market Garden booklet from the Rapid Fire website. I did a quick count of the jeeps required by the Paras and was surprised to find out that my friend’s estimate was fairly accurate (give or take a couple of extra jeeps).¬†But then I did a proper count of the German forces at the Arnhem landing and was momentarily stunned. Lucky the guys in my gaming group have more than enough to help cover most of the equipment required. But it has given me more incentive to use my 3D printer should there be a need to produce a tank or armoured car or flak gun if need be.

Tonight I’m¬†showing¬†further¬†progress on the Willy Jeep print job. Getting into the swing of things design-wise. Reacquainting myself with Sketch Up takes time, which frustrates me no end because I kind of thought once the basics were mastered, it wouldn’t take long to churn out design after design. Wrong. Anyway, I’m having to revise the fender design again as the pieces are quite fragile and snap off easily whenever removing the raft support. I thought I had it sorted out by repositioning the pieces (as seen on the pic below), but I was wrong. So I’m thinking I may need to make both front and rear fenders as a one-piece. Will jack something up and see how the test run works.


In the meantime, I’ve also resized the tyres/wheel as well as the jerrycan, and then ¬†discovered neither are really needed on the rear as the Paras added other more necessary items essential to their mission such as soldiers packs, crates of ammo, supplies, and so on. Most of the wartime photos I’ve seen of the battle show the tyres placed on the front anyway. By being an alternate position this placement probably also served as light protection for the vulnerable radiator from stray bullets.

I’ve also¬†redesigned the seating as a separate component. Still got the MGs (various types) to design, the burgen-style packs and tarp-covered stores to be attached to the bonnet. Then there is the bulky radio set for the back seat. The steering wheel was drawn up as well, although I suspect it’ll probably fail when printed because of how small it actually is. Finally, there is the trailer which actually turned to be the easiest design work yet.

I’m also endeavouring to print out a representation of the Tiger II simply because I want to see if it can be done. At Arnhem/Oosterbeek there were a total of 3 heavy tank companies, a heavy tank headquarter and a separate heavy tank detachment involved over the six days. Those actual numbers make for eight (8) on an Rapid Fire gaming table. I’ve asked to the two main guys organising this; they’re happy to help and have offered three (3). But I still need five (5) although I haven’t asked all of the group yet. I’m hoping they’ll have a few more. So I may not need my planned print out but at least I’ll still produce one just to see if it can be done and done well enough for tabletop gaming.

Tonight I finished sanding down by hand the thirty jeep bodies. The picture below shows one lot of fifteen (15) with their wheels. Next to that lot are the jerrycans, now superfluous to actual needs. Maybe I can use them as a temporary fuel dump somehow.


I figure to try to keep it simple by drilling holes into the outer part of the wheel and run wire through them (see below). Then I will hopefully¬†attach the wheels to the bodies before covering them over with modelling putty to help cement them in place. I remember that I have¬†two¬†Dremels so sanding won’t be as tedious as what I’ve been doing tonight. It will also come in handy for cleaning up and detailing the external face of the wheels properly.


The second lot of fifteen (15), shown below. I want to show the detail on the front grill as well as the curved bonnet. The design of the bodies took considerable time as it was the first design work I did. It wasn’t properly planned out and it shows in that there are gaps in places, such as where the occupant’s feet are placed. Also the rear wheel housing has gaps where the design was piled on to one another and creating a confusion of intersections (at least that’s what my excuse is) which was revealed in the printing. I am reluctant to redesign the body at the moment and am therefore happy to just use modelling putty to plug these gaps which was hidden anyway.


Tidying up the general messiness of the printing has taken time but necessary. Thankfully I have the necessary tools to achieve the task, but being lazy doesn’t help with the motivation. But then I always check out the modelling diaries on WAU forum and somehow, miraculously, I get motivated and enthused.

40K Trench System and Display board

Definitely on hold as I sometimes need feedback to keep going. No feedback, no reason for being motivated. With the Willy Jeep, it’s part of an ongoing gaming group project. And the guys there are pretty helpful with the feedback which does help to keep me motivated. But in saying that, I will finish the terrain board within the next three months (among numerous others that are sitting idling on my overloaded workbench). Cheers.

7 April 2017

Jeep bodies rolling off the assembly line (3D printer). Happy with the body work although they will be needing a lot of modelling putty in some places. Worked out to print the fenders separately as it was causing headaches when printed (for me). Just need to redo the tyres (too thin). Then I will start on the attachments (medical stretchers, radios, twin Lewis gun mounts, fwd Bren gun mounts, crates (stores basically) to plonk on the bonnet and back, and so on. Should be an interesting few months.

Once I finish these, I’ll start on the German side. Needing Opel Blitzes, Citroen trucks, Opel Maultier prime movers, Horsch staff cars, Steyr Personnel cars, and the like. Hoping the lads will already have these as I don’t need many (apart from the trucks of course).

Should the Germans be sorted out, then I’ll start printing the buildings I started doing in Sketch Up some time ago – the likes of St Elisabeth Hospital, the Museum, several hotels, and so on. These will be the feature buildings of the refight. The rest can be done in plastic card (well, the others can pull finger and chip in¬†I expect).¬† And then there is the bridge.





5 April 2017

Finally completed the test dummy replica. It still needs modifications, both major and minor. But¬†it shouldn’t take long to organise that now that the main body¬†is settled upon. I am hoping¬†to start printing these out over the weekend. Once printed, comes the arduous task of cleaning, sanding, painting and basing. Hoping to do several versions – screen absent, screen up, HMG mounted, maybe even a trailer.


Dvr’s side view.



View of the jerrycan and spare wheel on the back


This is¬†a rough printout¬†but it’s passable for tabletop gaming. I’m blind anyway so it’s good enough for me.¬† Cheers.

4 April 2017

Hit a wall so I decided to just print what I had mangled through Sketch Up today. I’m glad I did cos now I have something tangible to see rather than rely on an image inside my head and a monitor display. That¬†was my wall: reliance on a concept rather than moving on and making it real.

20170404_114515 resized

What’s there is decent enough however which is both pleasing and satisfying. I still have to make some modifications on the bodywork before mass producing. I also need¬†to be¬†extremely careful of my geometry; it’s screwing up the faces because the resulting faces/lines are not locking properly. Dimensions are decent enough in the comparison below with some minor adjustments. I now have to resume and persevere to complete this interesting event.

20170404_132516 resized

20170404_132446 resized

I’ve added the fold-down screen. But as I was removing the supporting frame, the windscreen snapped off. Therefore I will make it an optional attachment, like the jerrycan and the mounted HMG (to be designed later).

I’ve gone with the chunky form because of the size; it’s just not viable to go fully formed, as the previous plan and demo model show. So, things like the front hood can be shaped using sandpaper and a bit of manual labour.

Main priority is to fix up this first-attempt design. Once I’ve tidied up the underside then it’s thirty-plus for the printer. Cheers.

3 April 2017

I hate Sketch Up! It can be really annoying sometimes.

Looks like a .50 cal mounted jeep

Got a new 3D print job – 30+ Willys Jeep in 1/72 scale. Our historical group is putting on a refight of Arnhem some time in the future (planned for 2018 BrisCon this time). The guy organising the refight has a major logistical problem and I said I would help out. Hence, why I am using Sketch Up to free design a tabletop-standard replica of the vehicle.

20170403_011120 resized
All measurements taken from this model

Managed to do the wheels and petrol can separately and printed them out to a reasonable (i.e., tabletop) standard. Currently working on the main body; got as far as the dashboard before I started encountering problems with Sketch Up’s fmous measure tool. If not careful you can find some of your geometry won’t close because you’ve selected everything but the intersection point. Happens if you’ve been drawing all day, as I have, so I shouldn’t be too grumpy about the program. I’ve used 12D and that’s monstrously annoying.

20170402_151209 resized
Doing small print runs of the individual components to see how they pan out. This batch looked rough but it was fairly close to the right size when compared to the template vehicle.

I’ve decided to call it quits for today. My checklist is as follows:

  • Wheels/tyres (5 per vehicle)
  • Gas can (10 litre can)
  • Rear portion of the jeep (top part)
  • Front portion of the jeep (top side)
  • Underside of jeep (axle,¬†springs,¬†and shaft)
  • Attachments (tow bar, bumper)

The tyres went well. But the handle on the jerrycans were too fine for the printing, which leaves me thinking I may be struggling to add the trenching tool and axe attachments (driver’s side).

20170403_011132 resized
5 tyres per vehicle. 30+ vehicles. Lots of tyres.

Once all the components of the list are done, I will then combine the jeep portions and then print that, attach the wheels and petrol can. If I have time and not get sidetracked, I will look at these extras:

  • fold down screen
  • canopy
  • trailer
  • .30 cal MG


20170403_011145 resized
Jerry cans that are probably the smallest size I can go without losing a lot of detail.¬† Not that you’d see it from looking at these trial pieces.

As for the 40K trenching system, I’m just cutting blocks to insert and then jigsaw a section of thin MDF/ply to place the 3D printed sections and then start terrain landscaping. Seen some really inspiring stuff on WAU forum Modelling Diaries as well as Painting and Terrain. Not trying to match their excellent standard but I am dead keen to actually finish this and put it up for sale at the wife’s craft market next month. The club has enough 40K trenching terrain, so I was told. Cheers.

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.

20170322_121511 resized
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. ūüôā


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.

20170322_114155 resized
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.
20170320_223357 resized
Printed components. All are interchangeable to suit any configuration desired. Overall, am happy with the pieces.
20170320_223403 resized
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.
20170320_223411 resized
The octagon squad post with the optional roof that can be easily removed for in-bunker combat or as an open roofed position.
20170320_223344 resized
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.

20170320_213147 resized

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s