Modeling and Printing Related

derringer 15mm scifi

Building The Derringer Battle Suit

I recently put together a new mech I call The D-RNGR-045 "Derringer" Battle Suit by printalotapotamus.

I broke my teeth on 3D using 3D studio MAX (version 1) long ago but stopped working in 3D for several years afterward. Then I discovered Blender. Powerful, feature rich, built for speed, and free. It was the ideal 3D modeling and animating software for me. derringer 15mm scifi It's an amazing tool. I've been using that for some time now to model in. However it's power can also be it's weakness. Having so many features is a double edged sword. It's a very complicated program that can be difficult to learn, and it's not made with 3D printing in mind.

Fast forward a few years and here I am. I have been trying a lot of new things lately. I've got this blog going, I checked out the new buffet down the street (it's a very exciting life I lead), and after a conversation with the incredible dutchmogul I have decided to try out a different 3D modeling program called TinkerCAD.

Whats a TinkerCAD?

TinkerCAD is a web based service that allows you to create 3D models in your web browser. It's incredibly simple to use when compared to the other animating and character modeling software packages. It's so accessible that I was up and running that same day and created the Derringer by bedtime. The list of keyboard shortcuts helped immensely. This simplicity is where it really shines for people who are new to 3D modeling or who have trouble finding good 3D modeling tutorials especially as it relates to wargaming. The tools TinkerCAD provides lend it to excellent use when creating armor plating and panel lines for mechs or tanks. It does a pretty nice job with smooth swooped styles as well for you smooth and swoopy vehicle guys out there.

How does it work?

First off you need to create an account at TinkerCAD before you can begin making your own designs. Once you're signed up be sure to watch a quick tutorial before creating a new project. Complex objects are created by pushing simpler ones together. A few boxes can quickly be pushed and pulled into a tank or mecha shape. Add some wedges to create angles when you need them. There are spheres and other shapes for whatever detail you might need to add.

Steps to make the Derringer

Thigh Model I started by finding an image of a mech that I thought looked interesting but simple to build. A quick image search turned up this interesting piece by pizzacat. Then it was time to go into TinkerCAD and begin modeling.

The entire time I'm building the pieces I'm trying to keep 3D printing limitations in mind so that the finished product is easier to print. Which side is the bottom? How can I minimize overhangs? How fine can a typical FDM printer produce while still maintaining the tensile strength to be handled regularly? Do I want to be able to pose the finished model? These questions need to be answered early in the design process before you get too far.

The legs were my starting point. I created a few wedge shapes and overlapped them to create armored feet. Then a box and hexagon were created and moved to serve as the rest of the leg. The thighs were a little more complex and required a combination of shapes and holes to create the shape. The arms were kept very basic similar to the legs. I added a bit of armor plating near the joints but otherwise the arms are simply basic squares placed inside of a hexagon elbow. I added a sphere to the inside of the shoulder to act as a joint. Twin double barreled guns are what the "Derringer" is all about. So I kept it simple and based the design on the artwork. I plan on reworking them to be similar to an actual derringer gun barrel style for a better themed mecha style.

I would like to be able to pose this model. I feel this is important for models that you might be fielding more than one of during your scifi wargaming sessions. A platoon of light mechanized units looks a lot nicer if they aren't all in the same static pose, guns rigidly held at their side, feet parallel and forward facing. You gotta keep it lose, keep it smooth. You want a bunch of robots/tanks/etc that you can pose and kitbash with. To this end I added a lot of cutouts where the joints met so that they could be pivoted before being glued into place.

I am thinking that I may revisit the arms and legs to add further detailing at a later date. I've downloaded the whole model in STL format so I can go back to it whenever I want in any of my other editing software.

Check back for the update after I print and paint the D-RNGR-045 Derringer Battle Suit.