Chapter 3 - From a difital file to a high-quality resin figure
Welcome to the final Chapter, where I will be detailing the process which takes a miniature from a digital file to a high quality resin figure!
In the last article we covered the completion of the sculpt up to prepping for 3D printing.
3D Printing is a complex subject, there are lots of different methods and types of machine. We print our masters in house, using a B9Creator, which produces extremely high quality parts by using a projector to cure layers of photosensitive resin one at a time.
For this print, each layer was 25 microns thick. For comparison, a single human hair is typically 30-100 microns thick in diameter.
In this video you can see the Werewolf print part way through, each cycle back and forth and glow of light is one layer, and the entire model is built with almost 1500 layers!
31. After over five hours of printing, the finished part emerges from the pool of liquid!
On the right, the print has been soaked in IPA and dried off a bit for a photo.
32. The Print is broken up and post cured for several hours under a UV light, to harden it up further. On the right, you can see the parts with some large support elements attached.
The support elements are removed manually with the tools shown, and the parts are then cleaned up with extreme care to get the best possible surface finish, removing any visible print lines where possible. I spent over an hour just on this stage of cleaning up the model.
33. The finished parts are cleaned up and ready for resin!
34. The parts are glued onto a sprue bar manually, this is time consuming and complicated - each component must be positioned at an angle which ensures it will come out of the mould, the mould line will not cover any important detail, the part will cast correctly, and will not interfere with other parts. At the same time, we want to keep the sprue compact, to keep costs down and make casting easier.
A huge amount of experience goes into preparing a sprue for resin casting, and we are still learning even after 5 years!
There are sometimes problems with certain parts of a print, and in the case of the Werewolf, I had to reprint a head, so I also took the opportunity to add some new bits - some scenic basing bits with rocks/skulls, and a new "cyber" tail component.
3D printed parts do not always come out perfect, ready to sprue up. Prior to making a sprue the fit of all the parts is checked and any adjustments are made with putty - in the cut out circle you can see I've added material to the lower jaw/head to get the best possible fit with the upper head components.
35. Mould making! We put the sprue on a lump of plasticine and build a box with highly advanced modular engineering blocks (also know as LEGO). Liquid silicone is then carefully poured over the master sprue, and vacuumed to get out any trapped air bubbles.
Once the mould has cured over night to a solid but flexible rubber, its cut open using surgical tools. A single mistake with the cut can ruin a mould, so we take our time with the master mould!
36. Here you can see the completing of the cut for the parts sprue, and on the right, resin is poured in to the empty void after the masters have been removed!
Our resin starts as black two-part liquid. After filling, the mould is put under total vacuum twice, and then placed in a pressure pot at 40PSI for 20 minutes while the resin cures. Our casting procedure is more complex than some, but its necessary to get the best possible quality.
37. After many days of work, I finally have a resin copy of the Werewolf, and set about building it like an excited child!
38. Two finished Werewolves! Built up with the option parts to make a fantasy wolf, suitable for any historical, fantasy, horror style game, and a Cybernetic/Bionic wolf ideal for Sci-Fi or Steam Punk settings.
Finally we have a Scale comparison photo showing just how big the model is! At 38mm he towers over our Regiments and Exo-Lord figures!
That's the final Chapter in the saga of the Werewolf!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the design and production process. If you want to get your hands on your very own Werewolf, you can buy one below!
Thanks for your support!