Marvin the Martian Ray Gun – COMPLETE

20150717 Marvin Ray Gun

Finally, here it is! This is my version of Marvin the Martian’s Ray Gun from Looney Tunes, 3D printed as a prop for a costume. You can look back at the process of 3D printing and CAD modeling the design in my previous posts by clicking on the links. You can also download the files needed to 3D print your own for free from both Pinshape or Thingiverse depending on your platform of choice. I’m just that generous ๐Ÿ˜‰

This definitely turned into a bigger job than expected with the size and quantity of parts required taking approximately 20 hours to print on my Up! Plus 2 printer. However by far the most challenging aspect was getting the glue and paint to dry in the hours before it was needed for the costume party! With it being the middle of winter, things just didn’t happen the way I expected, and I ended up using tape and clamps to hold things in place in front of a small heater right up until walking out of the door to the party. Note to self: don’t use super glue on paint that is still tacky, it just doesn’t work!

2015-07-07 16.15.15As you can see in this image, the surface flaws and layers really became obvious as soon as the undercoat went on. I instead bought a spray putty, applying about 3 coats to most of the parts before sanding them back to get a relatively smooth finish. A couple of the pieces even needed some filler just to hide some holes left from peeling away support or lifting slightly off the print plate, causing gaps when the pieces came together. Thankfully I had a helper on this one while I was busy performing the same process to my X-Men Cyclops goggles (which may be my next blog post – but you can see what they looked like just after printing in a previous post).

All-in-all a bit of fun, and great to add some novelty by having the moving trigger and dial on the back that determines the size of the KABOOM! Make sure you wedge these pieces into the body before gluing to achieve this movement – the exploded view of the parts in on both Pinshape and Thingiverse to see how it all comes together. Enjoy and remember, this is just a prop (we all know ‘3D printed guns‘ can cause a bit of a stir)!

– Posted by James Novak

Marvin the Martian Ray Gun – Part 2

2015-07-07 Ray Gun

Before anyone freaks out, NO THIS IS NOT A 3D PRINTED GUN!!

Well it sort of is, but only a toy modeled off Marvin the Martian’s Ray Gun for a costume. You can read about the design of it in my previous post. It’s taken a while to print all the pieces, approximately 20 hours on my Up! Plus 2, but I’ve finally started gluing some of the pieces together ready to paint (a few pieces already glued in the images above). I experimented a bit with different print orientations, trying to minimise any support material in contact with outside visual surfaces, and some worked better than others. Unfortunately some pieces will require a bit of manual finishing with filler and sanding to make presentable, but overall it’s turned out pretty cool. For the shells of the main body it turned out that the orientation shown in the image above worked best, both in terms of print time and minimal surface issues. Also the moving parts (trigger and dial) fit well so it should be a good result.

I’m simultaneously going to be painting my own X-Men Cyclops goggles, so a lot of work ahead sanding and painting!

– Posted by James Novak

Marvin the Martian Ray Gun – Part 1

150625 Ray GunFunnily enough this is my second post in a row for a part of a costume! Although this time not for me (I’ve now started 3D printing my Cyclops goggles from X-Men which you can read about the design of here), this is Marvin the Martian’s ray gun which I’ve designed ready to 3D print. Again like the Cyclops goggles, I wasn’t able to find a nice 3D model ready to download and print, so have spent the afternoon in Solidworks creating my own, and cutting it into sections suitable for the small print plate of my Up! Plus 2 printer.

marvin002In total I’ve ended up with 9 pieces, including a moving trigger and dial feature to add an extra bit of realism to the model. These will be held in place simply by pinning them within the 2 main body pieces when glued together. I’ve also made sure to add some simple locating holes and notches to help align everything together for the gluing process. The aim is to post this design to Thingiverse as well once completed and tested, and hopefully some of you will make use of it, either as is, or remixed into something else. Stay tuned for upcoming posts showing the printing, gluing and painting of both this ray gun and of course the Cyclops goggles.

– Posted by James Novak

Convert Your Solidoodle Into an Up! in 3 Steps

2015-02-11 Time LapseAfter a previous post where I listed my steps to printing success with the new Solidoodle Press, I am now on a roll with completing prints. My secret? Convert the Press to be more like one of the Up! series of 3D printers!

There are really only 3 key things you need to do this, 2 of which are obvious in the time-lapse photos above of my latest complete print of the Beer Bottle Lock:

  1. Avoid the mess of glues and sprays – much of the success of the Up! 3D printers is that they use a perforated PCB as the printing plate. I bought 2 perforated boards from Jaycar and cut them to fit on top of the existing glass plate. A bit of masking tape is all that’s needed to secure them in place. Just make sure they’re completely flat, shiny side up.
  2. After watching all my early prints fail on the Press, I realised the other element the Up! printers combine with the perforated board is a good ‘raft’ base (automatically generated for the Up!), creating a solid lock into the perforations and evening out any issues in bed level before you get to your product. This is not a feature available in SoliPrint, so for the print pictured above I actually modeled my own 0.5mm thick raft in CAD. While this is a bit more complicated if you’re printing downloaded models, it’s relatively quick to add using the freely available MeshLab or similar STL editing software. However if it’s your own design, it should only take 30 seconds to add this detail before exporting to an STL. Pictured below is the raft after peeling away from the Beer Bottle Lock, along with photos of how the Up! Plus 2 prints a raft before putting your STL on top for reference.2015-02-12 Build Raft
  3. Change the nozzle temperature and printing speeds. The Up! Plus 2 prints ABS plastic at 260 degrees, while the default for the Press is only 215 degrees. This is too low to properly melt ABS and let it flow. At the moment I’m using 240 degrees with good results, and also slow the printing speeds so that there is less shaking and opportunity for error. My settings from this successful print are below.150211 Second Success Edit

I realise many people are having success using a variety of other hacks/fixes/additions which you can find on the useful SoliForum website, but this is my own twist on improving the Solidoodle Press. Also a big thanks to Solidoodle for releasing the new SoliPrint software version 1.1.1 which has corrected some of the bugs I initially wrote about.

Finally, below are some detailed photos showing a comparison of the print from the Solidoodle Press (pink), to the same file printed on the Up! Plus 2 (green). The main thing I’m noticing is that the Press does an average job of flat surfaces parallel to the print plate, failing to fill them in completely like the Up! Plus 2. But the other surfaces are quite good! Of course it’s important to keep in mind the Press is about a third of the price of the Up! Plus 2, so expecting the same quality is asking a bit much. Yet I believe if Solidoodle continue to improve their SoliPrint software, the quality could really come close to that of the Up! Plus 2. Time will tell.

2015-02-12 ComparisonIf you have any questions about getting you Press to work, or want to share your own modifications, please post them in the comments section.

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printed Guns Here in Queensland

This morning I was called by Nicole Dyer from ABC Radio’s Mornings program to comment on a story about the arrest of a man on the Gold Coast for allegedly owning 3D printed plastic parts to guns and knuckle dusters. You can read the full ABC story by clicking here, along with photos of the weapons. The sound-clip above is from the discussion on air, including some of my thoughts (at about the 2 minute mark). Update: this story has since gone on to make international news through the 3D Printing Industry website.

I guess it was only a matter of time before an arrest like this close to home, and certainly raises some valid issues around access to 3D printing and whether there should be any restrictions on what gets printed. In my mind it’s a little like the music industry when it first went digital and everyone was using Napster and similar sites to illegally download music. It took a while for the laws around downloading music to catch up, and then big players like iTunes to then make legally owning digital files affordable and ‘cool.’ We’re just in that same early stage of rapid growth, and unfortunately the dominating media hype around 3D printing weapons is taking much of the focus away from all the amazing positives coming out of 3D printing every day: affordable custom prosthetics to improve amputee quality of life, advancements to space travel and the potential to land humans on Mars, lighter weight parts for aircraft that significantly reduce carbon emissions, the potential to print human organs using a patients own cells… The list is endless, and it’s important to remember that there are always those few who will find a darker side to any technology that we develop.

There is much more that could be said around this issue, but if you’re interested a quick search online will present thousands of articles examining both sides of the story. In short – you couldn’t pay me enough to fire a 3D printed plastic gun!

– Posted by James Novak