Hello fellow makers! My name is Andy and I primarly design stuff and on ocassion I get things printed. In this particular project I was asked to model a certain statue that is a sort of icon in the city of Harlingen, Netherlands. The statue is called “De Stenen Man” (Stone Man) and the customer asked if I could redesign it so it can be used as a burial urn and so it will contain some ashes. This deceased person was a very much proud citizen of Harlingen and therefore it would be a worthy memorial kind of thing to have this made. So here’s a small bit of my design-process (not in depth) and the customer asked Elwin to have this printed. It’s a 2-part story to show you the process involved from question to final product. Feel free to ask any questions. Hope you will find it useful!
Designing the statue
I primarly use Modo and Zbrush for 3D Modelling. Since this is a statue with lots of details on it, Zbrush is the way to go. Ofcourse it can be done in other software but I found that Zbrush is VERY time-saving these days! It’s very much like sculpting instead of traditional 3D modelling. Anyway, I asked for a lot of reference pictures of the statue, they really help in the process, also with tracing some details. The customer specified the size she wanted for the final model (approx. 20cm in height) and it had be possible to put something in it. I therefore decided to split the model so it can function as a box and also have the means to print things bigger. If it’s one object I would need a printer that could print at least 20cm in height. Besides that, there’s the chance of warping with big objects, so it’s necessary to put some thought in these things.
In Modo I made a mockup of 20cm in height, just a box actually. I then (almost like tracing) divide it up in the sections you can see on the statue, and I make sure it’s all symmetrical. So no I have fairly good base to work from. I export this to Zbrush to continue the design process. Zbrush handles millions of polygons with ease and that’s in a nutshell how you get detail in a model. In Photoshop I trace certain elements of the statue (icons, drawings) and make those in black and white pictures called “Alpha’s”. It’s actually to be used as a sort of stencil, white is high, black is low. This is how you can get fast results, also in combination with masking things of in Zbrush. I also use the sculpting-brushes in Zbrush to create detail and especially the 2 heads on top. A Wacom-tablet is really a must-have for these kind of things.
Using Alpha’s voor stencils:
Finally, when I’m happy with the overall look of the statue I need to make it all hollow so it will save on printing costs and also on the weight. It’s a fairly easy process in Zbrush, you sometimes need to experiment with a certain thickness of the walls and support. It’s actually a one-click process, Zbrush does all the calculations. After that, I export the .STL to Netfabb and do quick check to see what thickness the walls have. Too thin, it will probably come out warped or messed up and to thick, it will have more printing time and more costs. So you have to find a bit of balance in that. When all this is done it can be printed! Yes!
Printing the statue
My name is Elwin (Elwins Hub). After Andy made the design I was asked by the custom to have it printed.
- 3D Printer: Wanhao Duplicator 4x (with Sailfish firmware and custom enclosure)
- Slicing software: Simplify 3D
- Resolution: 0,15mm
- Temperature: 110c
- Surface adhesion: thin layer of hairspray
- Brim: yes, to prevent warping and improve the print.
- Material: ABS White
The customer asked for black ABS plastic and pointed out that he Urn would be painted. This was the main reason for me to go with White ABS instead of Black (white has a better base to paint on). I also had some bad experience with the Black ABS I own, it doesn’t flow or extrude as well as white ABS does. I also considered using PLA because I think it’s easier to print but it is biodegradable (under the right circumstances). This project needs to last long and will contain a small amount of ashes, I didn’t want to take any risks.
As everyone knows ABS has the tendency to warp, so the first challenge was to begin with the top piece of the object. It is a hollow object and the small edges make adherence to the build plate difficult. I tackled this by adding a brim consisting of 20 outlines. It was printed directly onto a glass plate covered with a thin layer of hairspray and heated to 110 degrees celsius, also to prevent warping.
The second challenge was the overhang in certain areas of the model. I decided not to be cheap and added as much as support as possible, this added a lot of extra printing time but it was worth it.
The base was printed with the same settings only without a brim, because the surface was large enough to get good adherence to the build plate. All of the settings can be found in the print screens below: