I had an inquiry a couple of weeks ago about the British Naval guns I designed for 15mm games a while back. This person scratch builds models in 1:60 (close enough to 28mm for government work) and was looking for some deck guns. I have no intention of producing these designs for anything larger than 15mm gaming, but rescaling them and making them available on Shapeways was an easy fix.
OK. Not quite that easy. I set aside the project after the first batch of prints arrived. The 3D prints were great, but they were too accurate in scale. This made them impossible to put through a mold and cast reliably. Some parts needed to be beefed up to work right. Disheartened, I moved on to other projects and tucked these files safely away... somewhere... on one of three computers. Yesterday I revised a months old file for a client that needed to be tweaked. Lo and behold... there were the deck gun files in a nearby directory.
Scaling the guns from 1:100 to 1:60 is a matter of Math. 100 divided by 60 is 1.67. Easy right? These models were checked with the .stl viewer and any problems were corrected. They were then uploaded to Shapeways where the files are run through their preliminary printing checks. This tells you if the file will print at all and if there are walls that are too thin and may cause problems. Some of my walls were still too thin even at the larger scale.
When I encounter these problems, my first response is to go back to the modeling software and see if I can thicken the problem areas. So I'm doing this and that proverbial light bulb comes on in my brain.
In my research of 3D printers I learned that the x-y resolution is not the same as the z resolution. Often the z (up/down) axis is a lot more fine tuned. Instead of struggling through the rebuilding of some parts, what if I just switched the print axis?
Evidently my assumption that a company's printing software would look for the best possible print direction was incorrect. Sometimes there are glitches and sometimes it just prints what you feed into it. So I switched the up axis of the models and they passed the preliminary checks. Granted this is only for Shapeways frosted ultra detail material and not most of the others. But that's the stuff that gives the best surface and finest resolution, so I'm fine with that.
End of the story is that now there are three British deck guns available on Shapeways for use in 28mm gaming.
Clicking the title will send you directly to the item at Shapeways.