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 Question About 3D Printing Armor

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Staroll


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Question About 3D Printing Armor
« on: Jan 25, 2022, 01:07 PM »
I'm looking into getting a 3D printer for other hobbies I have and was wondering what a good material to print armor from (this would be spool type material like PLA and ABS). Any other tips such as what printers to look into and things I need to learn to properly do that would appreciated as well.

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Celtkhan


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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #1 on: Jan 25, 2022, 11:18 PM »
That’s a really involved question. For materials, PLA and PETG are your best bet starting out; they’re very forgiving and easy to work with. ABS stinks, requires a higher printing temperature, and generally requires a printer enclosure to maintain the correct temp and avoid print fails.

As for which printer, everyone has an opinion. I’d recommend the 3dprinting subreddit on reddit.com. Every brand and model has its pros and cons. I went with the Ender 5 Plus for its combination of print volume and price point, but Creality printers have a reputation of requiring a certain amount of tinkering, maintenance, and aftermarket upgrades for maximum performance. The Prusa printers have a reputation of being reliable out of the box, but you pay significantly more for it. And that’s ignoring the other dozen manufacturers, all of which have their fans and detractors.

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Tramp Graphics


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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #2 on: Jan 26, 2022, 02:21 AM »
I don’t 3D print, but I do work with plastic when kitbashing or scratch building custom models and the like. One of the benefits of ABS  is also what Celtkhan considered one of its “shortcomings”. It has a higher melting point than PLA or PETG. This means that a helmet or armor made from ABS is far less likely to warp or melt in the sun.

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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #3 on: Jan 26, 2022, 08:32 AM »
I spent years using PLA and PLA+ and recently switched to PETG and wont ever go back.  Specifically for costuming PETG is very sandable and will even take some pretty heavy dremmeling.  It doesnt create fumes when you print and you dont need an enclosure like ABS.

Also when it comes to printers themselves get the biggest one you can afford/have space for, especially if you are planning on using it for costuming.

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Celtkhan


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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #4 on: Jan 26, 2022, 03:44 PM »
I don’t 3D print, but I do work with plastic when kitbashing or scratch building custom models and the like. One of the benefits of ABS  is also what Celtkhan considered one of its “shortcomings”. It has a higher melting point than PLA or PETG. This means that a helmet or armor made from ABS is far less likely to warp or melt in the sun.

True. My point was solely on the difficulty of printing with it as someone new to 3d printing. From what I have read, ABS requires such high temperatures that it can deform brass nozzles and that many stock hotends can’t maintain the temperatures required to melt the filament, so you’re talking about a complete hotend replacement, including using a steel nozzle. That’s on top of the cost/time spent buying or building an enclosure, which ideally would have an exhaust fan and duct to vent the smell outside.

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Tramp Graphics


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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #5 on: Jan 27, 2022, 02:29 AM »
True. My point was solely on the difficulty of printing with it as someone new to 3d printing. From what I have read, ABS requires such high temperatures that it can deform brass nozzles and that many stock hotends can’t maintain the temperatures required to melt the filament, so you’re talking about a complete hotend replacement, including using a steel nozzle. That’s on top of the cost/time spent buying or building an enclosure, which ideally would have an exhaust fan and duct to vent the smell outside.

I agree. It’s definitely a trade off. One material is easier to print with, but could more easily warp, or even melt in the summer sun whereas the other material is far less prone to melting in the sun, but requires much more specialized printing setups and parts for your printer.

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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #6 on: Jan 27, 2022, 09:35 AM »
PETG prints at same temperature as ABS.  I would consider it a rigid plastic and not prone to warping or sagging.  It probably would be good to get a hardened steel tip.

That being said, anything big and flat or simple curves I'd still make from sintra.  Chest, thigh, gauntlet shells, shins.

« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2022, 09:41 AM by polishvendetta » Logged
Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #7 on: Jan 27, 2022, 04:34 PM »
I've been printing out a whole bunch of mando armor pieces recently.

https://imgur.com/gallery/lRJFkd0

Using a Creality CR-10 v3.  Its big enough to print a whole helmet as a single piece using PLA+. 
Printing out with a 0.6mm Brass Nozzle with 0.15-0.45 adaptive layers, 15% gyroid infill.

After printing, I did some sanding.  Be mindful that if you are using a machine sander, through friction you can get enough heat to soften the PLA.

After first sanding I spray painted with the Automotive Wet Sandable Primer to begin to fill remaining print lines.

Sand the primer and if its near smooth already, more primer and sanding otherwise Glazing Bondo, then sanding.

Once it is all smooth and dry, wipe with damp cloth to remove any dust, let is dry again then I painted with High Gloss Black Lacquer.  I will recommend you use Lacquer paint and not Enamel since enamel takes forever to cure and if you 2nd coat too soon, it will cause the previous enamel coat to ripple.  Lacquer paint doesn't have this issue and you can 2nd coat, 3nd coat even while the previous coat is still tacky.  Once I got a good gloss black down I used a car polisher on a screw gun to polish in graphite dust to get that metallic look, then seal with clear lacquer gloss, then a 2nd graphite buffing.

If you intend to paint over the metalized look, do 1 more layer of gloss clear lacquer as acrylic paint will stick to it where as the graphite is a little hydrophobic and can cause the acrylic paints not to bond.

The PLA+ is very hard and durable given enough infill and walls.  You should not have an issue with any armor pieces with it.  The 3 wall prints I've been doing with the 0.6mm are strong.  I've printed buckles, chucks for my screw gun and some parts to fix the vacuum, some modular cubby drawers, and bag clips and they are enduring just fine.  For Cosplay, the PLA+ will be fine.

« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2022, 04:42 PM by d4m1ty » Logged
Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #8 on: Jan 28, 2022, 11:46 AM »
You have a similar setup as mine!  I use a CR-10 v2 with a 0.8 hardened steel nozzle.  I do 0.4 mm layers but have thought about trying out adaptive.  I also have a little Elegoo Mars Pro resin printer I use for detailed stuff.

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Yorwoin


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Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 2022, 12:40 PM »
I have printed a majority of my suit with PLA on an Ender 3 Pro, 0.4 nozzle and a glass bed. I like PLA, but it *can* warp under severe heat (140 F~, 60 C~). I would avoid ABS like the plague since it requires more work to effectively print without delamination (e.g., heat enclosure, more efficient cooling systems for the hot end, and ventilation since it is semi-toxic). I made two gauntlets from ABS and then my machine started giving me thermistor problems and jams. Even with an enclosure, I have some obvious heat delaminations between layers.

3D printing is great for getting things made, but sizing becomes problematic when you custom make items to fit. It is by no means impossible, but just measure as many ways as you can before hitting print. The last thing you want is a 3 day print that is too small or non-fitted. You can make large things in multiple pieces, but just be sure to hide the separation lines with glazing putty. I created my helmet in 7 pieces, gluing and JB welding the joints together.

The helmet if you wanted to see references
https://ibb.co/RC2CYby

The main thing I would recommend is to persevere. These things are finicky and require tuning. The material will behave differently based on temperature of the room, the machine, the humidity, and the bed heat. These are all things that can be worked out with trial and error and there are many resources for 3D printing. When I finally found my grove, the printer was so smooth.


Re: Question About 3D Printing Armor
« Reply #10 on: Jun 23, 2022, 11:40 AM »
I'm printing my kit, begun with PLA but changed to PETG, is more heat resistant than PLA

If you want to print your kit without spending too much in pieces for the printer, you can print in PLA or PETG. For PETG you only need to change to use some Capricorn tube, it resists more than 240ºC without degradation. Another option, but spending in some upgrades, is ASA. Is like ABS without the fumes, don't need an enclosure but is recomendable, can warp with sudden temperature changes


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