Published on by Chris Abbey
This hobby blog is all about my project to 3D print, build, paint and game with the 28mm scale Type S Scout Ship recently released by 2nd Dynasty.
Traveller has always been special. It must have been 40 years ago that I started gaming with Airfix Napoleonics, AD&D and Traveller 1st edition, A5 black books in a black box. I still have those book, although they are on long term loan to my son Lewis, who is older than I was when I started playing Traveller, and now regularly runs a campaign using 1st edition Traveller with it's 1980's view of what the future might hold. I do find it amusing that he and his mates play as written with sci-fi technology that was dated before they were born... 1 tonne for smallest computer and navigation data brought at the Starport on a magnetic cassete tape!
Recently, our Monday night RPG group has started playing Traveller (5th edition), on-line, socially distanced using Zoom. When I started playing Traveller 40 years ago our party had a Type S Scout ship, and I can remember drawing out the deck plan using technichal drawing tools, and inking it in and know our current party flys the exact same ship. My character 'Flynn' mustered out of the Navy after four terms as an Astronavigator and Linguistics expert with enough ship credits to pick up a Scout Ship outright.
When I heard that 2nd Dynasty had negotiated the rights to design and sell an official licensed traveller Scout Ship I knew that I had to build one! The arguments about how long it would take, how much it would cost or where it would live were irrelevant... it was such an iconic link between my childhood and present day, that it just had to be done!
The 2nd Dynasty Scout is designed as a kit of pieces that clip together with the industry standard open-lock clips. I'm printing mine on an Ender 5 FDM printer using PLA+. I like the PLA+ product from eSun because you can buy it in 3Kg reels, rather than the more normal 1Kg. This saves money as 3Kg reel costs the same as 2 x 1KG and it is less packaging, waste and reel changes. I did have to design and build a special reel holder out of MDF and plastic pipe. It works very well, I am on my 4th 3Kg reel.
It is very important that the pieces print perfectly with zero curling at the corners. For this project I have started using 3DLAC spray adhesive to ensure perfect bed adhesion. I am printing the Scout Ship using a 0.12mm layer height. This is a lot slower than the 0.2mm height that I normally use, but the increase in detail and surface smoothness makes it worthwhile. In my next instalment, I will take some screen shots of the settings that I am using in my slicer for this project.
I am planning to run my Ender 5 pretty much day and night to print the components for this kit. My initial estimate is that it will take around six weeks to print.
I will update this hobby blog each week to share my progress until the model is complete, painted and ready for her first mission.
This is how far we have got at the end of the 2nd week. The printer (Ender 5) has been pretty much working 24 hours a day for 2 weeks to get to this point, and the ship is beginning to take shape. I have recently made models of the 5 crew members & droid who make up the crew of SS Inheritance in Vacc suits. ready for away team missions. I am starting to include them in photographs to give a sense of scale and perspective.
Here we see my character 'Flynn' standing on the rear cargo ramp. The rear section is almost complete, engines output jets still need to be added and one more level of hull to match up with the attic deck.
This shot shows the cargo hold area with full height walkway and half height storage areas. The cargo ramp is hinged. The grooves in the walls are for taking the cabling for the lighting kit. In the next stage the drive room will be built to sit on top of the hold.
Here we see the crew common area with a fully equiped kitchen to the right and recreation area to the left. The tables and chairs are designed to hold flat against the walls when not in use. The joints are a little lose at the moment. I am hoping that a couple of coats of paint and varnish will tighten them up.
This shot shows the crew in their staterooms. Beds and lockers have been added at this stage. As the Inheritance has a crew of five, I'm going to have to convert one of the beds in the larger staterooms to bunk beds as Smith & Weston share a cabin
Between the bridge and the staterooms we have life support on the left and heads and shower to the right. It's a small ship and the design makes good use of a very small space. In many ways it reminds me of a camper van or a yacht.
This is the piece of software that I use to convert the 3D design files into something that can be printed. It's called a slicer because it takes the 3D object and slices it into lots of very thin 2D objects that can be printed by the 3D printer. The slicer that I use is called Simplify 3D. I like it a lot, it's very straightforward and easy to use and delivers good results.
The Scout ship is being printed at 0.12mm layer height. These are fine layers, so it is taking a long time to print, but there is so much detail in the kit that it is worth waiting for!
If you've not done any 3D printing yet, the more layers you have, the better the detail. Here the slicer is slicing the 3D object into individual layers 0.12mm high. The 3D print is a bit like a hot glue gun attached to some motors. The software directs it to follow the outline specified for one layer, extruding hot melted plastic as it goes. When it has completed the first layer, the print bed is dropped 0.12mm and it starts again travelling around the outline extruding hot plastic on top of the last layer. After each layer the bed drops until hundreds of layers latter you have a complete object!
The model shown for scale reference is from the Sally 4th Sci-Fi range. We have a number of Sc-Fi projects 'In the Pipeline, so if you like Sci-Fi why not pop acrodd and see what we are working on?
Click here to visit 'In the Pipeline' our projects in development page.
Madeleine Pursey | 24/08/2021 16:28