A Better Dragon

by illuminarti, published

A Better Dragon by illuminarti Jan 3, 2014

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71148Views 25132Downloads Found in Animals


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

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It still has problem spots and will not print, even at 120%, using Simplify3D. Printing this gives me a "zombie" dragon with ragged wings. It looks cool, for a zombie, but it still simply is not a good model.

This was printed in one of Makerbot's videos! congrats on the awesome print!

Thanks. It's an Ultimaker video, in fact, yes. (Perhaps not surprising, as I own the company that builds and supports their printers in North America :-) )

Oh! Sorry I didn't know that! Your printers are super amazing. My favorite is the ultimaker 3 extended. The water soluble place support material is absolutely genius and amazing!

Good luck with that awesome company,

Sorry I meant PVA not place. Autocorrect =)

Unfortunately it's not able me to print this model. FreeCAD shows a lot of mesh-errors in the file "Dragon-Z-flat-support.stl":
and Simplyfy3D removes these defective parts when slicing:
So especially the supports doesn't work because essential parts are missing.

I love this dragon you made, it is pretty cool. P.S. Dragons are my favorite fantasy monster TOO!!!

This came out really nicely! I printed on a Flashforge Creator Pro with the supports and used the recommended speed and temperature settings from your blog post. I also printed with 3 shells and had no issues with the wings or any other part.

i want to ask something whıc g code you use ın cure maker g code etc.?

This could be the problem with the supports being fragile...
When the supports or other 3D solids are added to and existing model they are a completely encapsulated solid object separate from the original solid. if the solids are not merged or joined in any way there will be a void created where the two solids overlap when you export the STL file.
You could use the latest version of eDrawings (which is free) to view your STL exports and use a cross-section to make sure that your export does not have any unwanted voids that would cause the model to not print correctly.

Would it be possible to scale this down to about 10cm high or would that make the wings too thin?

Damn, replicatorg chokes on trying to slice it.

Everytime I try to print this in PLA, the supports always end up breaking off.. Is there a way you could make a version with better supports?
I really want to print this, but I just cant, and it's starting to irritate me.

ManuelJ said the following in spanish:
You can use a bed of 2 mm under the dragon to give stability to the supports.

Puedes usar una cama de 2 mm bajo el dragón para dar estabilidad a los soportes.

Awesome model. What temperature did you print at?

It's faberdashery glowbug yellow, printed at 230º.

Incredibly difficult to print, supports broke several times during print which created layer sticking problems, used a mixture of glue gun and super glue during pause prints to reattach the support and create new ones. Using Ultimaker 2 and Cura, 30% infill, 60mm ps speed 0.1mm resolution, build time 24Hrs

nice, got it sliced at a 60 micron/30% infill settings decided to use bring since the trees look like they'll need it. applied fresh tape, releveled bed and it's printing now. also used this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26483 as the test piece for all settings, including my own testing with meshmixer (came out nice) so i'll be able to have a few knight fighting a dragon on my desk, and this makes me a very happy man. (...odd that it took me until manhood to play with dolls? :P)

viva la geekdom!

in all seriousness though i can't wait for 2 days from now with it's 43 hour predicted print time, and 8 inch wingspan this will be by and large my largest print since i bought the machine in 2012.

now some statistics for those geeky enough to want them (like myself, hence why i have them)

(both of these are 60 micron 30% infill, using the ultimachine pla natural)
the version with built in supports came out to 4.38$ with a print time of 42:59 the version with cura supports touching everywhere (to get the tail) came out to 6.17$ and a print time of: 48:50. (250mm/s travel, 50mm/s print speed, retraction on) so in short, use meshmixer for supports, cura still beats all for slicing imnsho though.

Northern Warrior with Greatsword

Finished slicing at 21h. started the print and currently it looks like a big array of tiny tree trunks :) ill keep you updated and i will post a photo when i have finished/failed the print.

I'm glad you got it sliced! Good luck with the print!

Just woke up and its completed the top of the head. not all tree trunks successfully were built, so there are some interesting artefacts along the side of the dragon. I'm sure all this could be picked off so that is ok. the print should be done in a couple hours! excited

This looks like an awesome model and i really really want to print it. Its a shame I can't. I have been waiting 15hours and still hasn't finished slicing. has anyone else experienced extremely long slice times?

Nice! You did an EXCELLENT job on cleaning up the dragon! I may have to try reprinting the it with your file to see how it turns out.

Thanks :) It didn't need too much work to clean it up, and having a good printer to print it on certainly helps.

Thanks, dgsharp. And I'm glad you find the blog useful. I can't claim much of the credit for the prints... mostly it's a little bit of experience, and a lot of a really good printer!!

Completely awesome. I just found your blog, very helpful. I am playing with the support structures in Meshmixer right now, excellent find! I had thought about trying to use the autogenerated supports in PreForm (the Form1's software) but it doesn't appear to be able to export those in a usable format. Very nice. I'm still not getting prints as good as yours but I'm learning, and they are very good overall.

Thanks, it was a 23.5 hour print.

Very, very impressive.
How long did this print take?

Yes! Faberdashery Glowbug Yellow. I updated the link to my blog, (and actually published the article), now. That talks a bit more about it, and has a video of it printing.

That is pretty cool, what other glow in the dark colors are there illuminarti? Sounds like you like things to glow by ur username, is that true?

I think I will need to tighten my belts before attempting this. :) Is that glow in the dark?