A New Tool

During the last two years or so, I’ve been following the advances of 3-D printing from afar. I was increasingly impressed by the performance of printers, but I was also turned off by the technical skills and patience required to set up and operate the machines.

However, in December, several factors contributed to me taking a serious look at the technology. First of all, I saw some very impressive small prints coming from resin printers in diverse Facebook groups. Secondly, with Brexit looming, it suddenly dawned on me that it would be nice to be independant of UK sellers for small items such as windows and doors. Though I want to support figure manufacturers and I’ll gladly buy figures, small stuff for scratch building can be quite expensive and adding import fees, it may no longer be feasible to order. Thirdly, AnyCubic, a manufacturer of 3-D printers, had a Christmas sale with considerable discounts. I quickly communicated with Mikko, an expert in the matter, and decided to buy a small resin printer, the Photon. It cost me 150,- Euro, plus another 80,- or so Euros for resin and assorted material such as gloves, masks, filters, alcohol to clean the prints and an UV lamp for curing.

The machine arrived a couple of days ago. Set-up was easy, but then I hit a snag when trying to make my first print. Fortunately, Mikko was kind and patient enough to help me out – thanks mate!

I’ve made two print runs so far. I did some fences, a wayside cross, a rustic toilet, windows and an apiary, which for some reasons didn’t come out correctly. The rest worked perfectly.

I’m very impressed with the details of the pieces, although the fences warped after a couple of days – maybe they were not completely cured. Anyway, they are easily straightened.

I intend to use this machine as a tool. I’m not really interested in the technical side of the thing and don’t intend to tinker more than is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, the technology seems to be at a stage were this is possible. My primary objective is to print pieces for detailing and scratch-building as well as small scatter terrain. Figures might be more complicated, but I’m not that interested in printing them at the moment.

The only annoying thing is that cleaning takes some time and is a bit of a mess. The resin smells quite badly, even though I bought the eco resin which is supposed to be less smelly – I don’t want to know what the normal stuff smells like.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

16 thoughts on “A New Tool

  1. daggerandbrush January 19, 2021 / 2:30 pm

    Exciting indeed. Looking forward to see what you print next. I am seriously considering taking the plunge, too, bit first need a dedicated space to set it up. With a toddler in the house this seems way to dangerous. So maybe a cellar space with proper ventilation.

    • Thomas Brandstetter January 19, 2021 / 3:07 pm

      Yes, I’m also careful. I also don’t want to be in the same room as the printer when it runs, as the smell is unpleasant.

  2. ericritter65 January 19, 2021 / 3:57 pm

    I have two filament printers and am thinking of upgrading to resin. Terrain and boardgames components are where I use the printer the most. Resin printing I could see making dioramas much easier than scratch building (which doesn’t always come out square). Aside from a lack of disposable income, it’s really the noxious fumes. Looking forward to seeing what you print, and where you get your STL files from πŸ˜‰

    • Thomas Brandstetter January 19, 2021 / 4:26 pm

      I went for a resin printer because I love scratch building, but use ready-made parts like windows and doors. And for those, a resin printer seems to be the best solution.
      My stl files so far come from Thingiverse and Cults3d. I taught myself the basics of CAD (Sketchup) some years ago, but I have forgotten everything by now πŸ™‚ I might try to modify some stl files, perhaps it will come back…

  3. Anonymous January 19, 2021 / 4:27 pm

    Nice project you got there. Looking forward for more updates. With resin printing, you deffinitely want to have the possibility of ventilation and do wear nitrile gloves at all times when dealing with uncured resin. Have fun printing. Daniel

    • Thomas Brandstetter January 19, 2021 / 6:12 pm

      Yes, I’ve got the windows open (though it gets a bit cold πŸ™‚ ) and always wear gloves and a mask.

  4. Peter January 19, 2021 / 10:31 pm

    A friend of mine uses water soluable resin. I don’t know if it smells less, but at least you don’t have to mess with alcohol when cleaning the prints.

  5. Pete S/ SP January 20, 2021 / 12:48 am

    Excellent news- glad to see someone else embracing the technology.



  6. cstoesen January 20, 2021 / 5:34 pm

    Congrats on the printer. I bought a pla printer and have been very happy with it. The resin one should be able to do a great job with miniatures and scenic items that the pla can’t. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    • Dakeryus January 21, 2021 / 1:39 pm

      Resin printers work really with figures. I also have a photon and have printed some 15mm AFV. The result are not bad. If you want to design your own simple structures tinkercad is your friend.

  7. Mikko January 20, 2021 / 11:08 pm

    Glad I could be of help! Looking forward to seeing what you print.

    • Thomas Brandstetter January 21, 2021 / 10:06 am

      Thanks again, Mikko! I’ll keep you posted on my progress – and probably also on my set-backs πŸ™‚

  8. Geri Lawhon February 19, 2021 / 11:01 pm

    I too have been wondering how these printers have been progressing. Thanks for the info.

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