For 3d Printing, Levelling the Bed is Finicky

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So a week or so ago I tweaked some­thing on my print­er. Maybe it was ini­tial lay­er height. Maybe I adjus­ted a bed screw. Not sure, but all of a sud­den my prints wouldn’t stick to the bed prop­erly.

Using the ‘paper drag’ meth­od of bed lev­el­ling ‘sort of’ worked. But it really was tri­al and error and very small changes in adjust­ment that seem to be work­ing.

Prints are, once again, print­ing. Yay. #frus­trat­ing

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3d printing small board game accessories

Boardgame bits funnel tray - holding Fate and Honour tokens from Legend of the Five Rings (2017).
Boardgame bits fun­nel trays — hold­ing Fate and Hon­our tokens from Legend of the Five Rings (2017).

I’m really happy when I can com­bine two of my hob­bies. This time it’s Boardgam­ing and 3d Print­ing.

Often, many games have tokens or chits that are pooled for play­ers to take at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing play.  Usu­ally, these sit in piles around the main game area.

On Thingi­verse, swholmstead shared this neat design — which I promptly down­loaded and prin­ted.

From: Stack­able Game Bits Fun­nel Tray by swholmstead, pub­lished Oct 3, 2017

Super Effect­ive! Keep­ing the game table neat and tidy.

3d Printing Terrain for Dungeons & Dragons

Gateway.

Pretty cool what a little time, 3d Print­ing tech­no­logy, some cre­at­ive design work, and a spool of PLA will get you.

I’ve been test­ing vari­ous dun­geon com­pon­ents to see how well they’ll work with our play style. And how good they’ll look once painted and fin­ished.

Unfinished Crates

The crates above have yet to be fin­ished. Usu­ally, I prime them with Flat Grey, then col­our, light­en or darken as neces­sary. This example also uses short walls, allow­ing us to see the con­tents of the room from any­where on the table.

Surprise!

If you’re inter­ested, I’ve been keep­ing all the land­scape and ter­rain designs I find on Thingi­verse in this col­lec­tion.

3d Printing some feet to display photos on my desktop

We had these ugly plate-stand style photo stands for some alu­min­um photo prints. Had that ‘wrought-iron’ look. Totally not suit­able for a very white shot of our dogs. 3d Print­ing to the res­cue.

Then I found these simple ‘feet’ on Thingi­verse — a per­fect solu­tion.

I prin­ted off one batch, but had a bit of a flash­ing issue inside the front of one clip caus­ing the clip to break along a print seam.

Simple solu­tion, rotate the clip 90 degrees, caus­ing the print seams to be ver­tic­al rather than hori­zont­al.

Photo stand 1

Installed photo standClean look

Photo by bgri­er

More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_2Wow, when you take pho­tos of painted mini­atures, the pho­tos always catch all the rough paint-work and oth­er issues, mak­ing the minis look like crap 😀

Ah well, since these Ali­en Fron­ti­ers field gen­er­at­ors are meant to be played with and not put on a shelf and admired, I’m not too con­cerned.

One done, one in pro­gress and one primed and ready to go.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_1The orange one’s inter­est­ing. I bought the Ali­en Fron­ti­ers Upgrade Pack. It included a lot of the new colony com­pon­ents, and these field gen­er­at­or com­pon­ents. It’s meant to upgrade the more gen­er­ic ones from earli­er Ali­en Fron­ti­ers gen­er­at­ors.

AlienFrontiersFieldGenerator_WIP_3So this one came without one of the gen­er­at­or arms attached. After filling out a form and upload­ing a photo of the flawed com­pon­ent, Game Salute, the dis­trib­ut­or sent along a replace­ment (it’s the unpainted one in the back­ground).

In the mean­time, I’d decided to paint this one any­way, and am going to turn that gap where the arm mounts into a dock­ing port. I think I’ll be adding yel­low and black ‘alert’ lines around it. We’ll see how that goes.

Then, finally, I think I’ll likely give them a final spray of Test­ors Dul­coat, just to elim­in­ate the shine. I like the way it helps bring out subtle detail and gives them a more ‘real­ist­ic’ look. Must be a per­son­al taste thing developed back in the day when I painted plastic mod­els.

Alien Frontiers — Colony paint complete

Well, I fin­ished paint­ing the colony com­pon­ents. Look­ing at the pho­tos, they kinda look messy. Note to self, don’t rush, even if you have 40 of the little bug­gers to paint.

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Ah well, on the game board at nor­mal view­ing dis­tances they look ok.

Alien Frontiers colony repaint

I didn’t want to paint the ori­gin­als that came with the game so I had 3 options:

I went for the Upgrade pack, even though my first choice was the Fac­tions Expan­sion. It looks like a neat addi­tion to the game but it’s damn hard to find, either online or loc­ally. Both the Fac­tions Expan­sion and the Upgrade pack include the extra com­pon­ents to allow a five-play­er Ali­en Fron­ti­ers game, using the publisher’s expan­ded rules. So on to the paint­ing.

Before I star­ted paint­ing, I looked at a lot of space colony images like these for inspir­a­tion.

Then I primed the com­pon­ents — 2 coats, first a dark to fill in the shad­ows, then a white, from above only, to provide high­lights.

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I wanted to test some col­our schemes first, so I mocked them up using some image edit­ing tools on the iPad. I took pho­tos against a white back­ground, con­ver­ted the images to black and white, then kicked up the con­trast.

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Then just over­painted the image on the iPad until I found an appeal­ing col­our scheme.

Alien Frontiers - Colony mockup

I like this tech­nique. It lets me work any­where, gives reas­on­able res­ults, and doesn’t cost me any paint to tri­al it.

Alien Frontiers Colonies

Alien Frontiers colony repaint

Next up, the Field Gen­er­at­ors. And I’ve got some ideas for the Rock­et Ships too.

Painting the components of Alien Frontiers

Recently I’ve become aware of a trend to paint the often gar­ishly-col­oured mini­atures and game com­pon­ents you find in mod­ern board games.

My first attempt was with Mice and Mys­tics, and now I’m work­ing on Ali­en Fron­ti­ers.

This time, I decided to pro­to­type my  col­our schemes digit­ally. To do this, pho­to­graphed the com­pon­ents just after prim­ing, so the base col­our has been neut­ral­ized.

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Then I pro­cessed the images, crop­ping them, mak­ing them black and white, and enhan­cing the con­trast and bright­ness to bring out the detail.

And finally, I load them into Pixel­mat­or on my iPad, and Exper­i­ment with lay­ers.

Testing Overlays in Pixelmator iPad

Alien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers MiniAlien Frontiers Mini

Hope­fully I can come up with some­thing inter­est­ing 🙂

Oh, and one thing I just noticed while look­ing at oth­er people’s designs, the above Field Gen­er­at­or is miss­ing one of it’s towers. I just assumed that gap was a dock­ing bay or port or some­thing. I’ve con­tac­ted the game pub­lish­er about this to see about a replace­ment.

*** Update *** A replace­ment Field Gen­er­at­or is en-route. More to paint!