A Better Dragon
by illuminarti, published
I loved TheRat's original 'Dragon' Thing, but wanted to be able to really print it in high quality, while putting both Meshmixer's new support structures, and my UM2 printer through their respective paces.
Looking at others' successful prints, there were clearly some spots in the wings that were just too thin for Cura to even try to slice, and the back edges of the wings seemed raggedy. So I cleaned up the geometry in Netfabb, then imported it into Z-Brush and thickened the middle span of the wings, where other prints had failed, and also fixed some holes and tangles in the back edges of the wings. Back in Netfabb, I cut a couple of mm off the bottom of the feet to give a solid based to print on. The resulting model is uploaded here as 'Dragon-Z-flat.stl'.
I then went into MeshMixer, and added support columns. The meshmixer file is attached, and the resulting supported STL file also - 'Dragon-Z-flat-support.stl'.
More info about the print, including a timelapse video is available at http://www.extrudable.me/2014/01/02/the-guy-with-the-dragon-part-2/
Its a tricky print, that really shows what a good 3D printer can do.
I printed it 12cm high, and if you use the supported STL file, that assumes that you'll be printing with 0.1mm layers, as I did. At 30mm/s, it was just under a 24 hour print.
The trailing edges of the wings are very thin - less than 0.5mm - but the supports hold them up quite well. The biggest risk is catching the tops of the supports as the print builds higher, and knocking the supports over, so I slowed down my travel moves to 150mm/s to reduce that risk. I also used a 3Doodler in a couple of spots to manually extrude some extra reinforcements in a couple of spots where I was worried the upper parts of the supports might get shaky, but that's not strictly necessary, especially if you slow the travel moves down even more