I'm completely new; where do I start when making armor?

OogaBooga

New Member
To start, I'm completely new when it comes to making armor. In the past, I have printed and painted a prop Halo 5 Gunfighter Magnum, but I have no experience in anything else. I want to completely 3D print my armor set rather than using foam, but I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to print everything to maximize strength and minimize print times and filament usage. I have an Anycubic Chiron, so individual print size won't be a big issue, but I can't really come up with an ideal way to slice and print everything. If there are any relevant guides as to how to start from the ground up, please direct me to them.

Thank you for putting up with my newbie questions,
OogaBooga
 

marinesniper

Sr Member
To start, I'm completely new when it comes to making armor. In the past, I have printed and painted a prop Halo 5 Gunfighter Magnum, but I have no experience in anything else. I want to completely 3D print my armor set rather than using foam, but I'm having trouble figuring out the best way to print everything to maximize strength and minimize print times and filament usage. I have an Anycubic Chiron, so individual print size won't be a big issue, but I can't really come up with an ideal way to slice and print everything. If there are any relevant guides as to how to start from the ground up, please direct me to them.

Thank you for putting up with my newbie questions,
OogaBooga
Hello first off welcome to the 405th, now as far as 3d printing and use age of filiment. you are asking how to print the parts with minimal scrap(supports) right? Second some times the parts will have to have supports i have mine set at 70 on my overhang and i have not had any issues. i my self just play around in my slicer program set the model and hit slice if it seems to long i move the model and try again. it can be a pain in the butt but if you skimp on the supports you could lose your model and Filiment if it falls over, my chiron does pretty well with printing forearms with little or no support and stays on the build plate. there is no magic way to make parts with out supports but there are some part you will print that will use very little support if you play in slicer.
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Like Marinesniper said, it's a bit of a game playing around with print orientation and settings. What I can add is that wall thickness does much more for strength than infill. You can get away with 10-20% infill, but having at least three walls is a good idea (four would be better).

Material comes into effect as well - PLA+ is better than PLA, and PETG, although harder to print, is stronger yet again.

To try and minimise filament used for supports, I like to use tree supports at 1% density (they get more dense as they get taller anyway), but there are times where the standard supports can be more efficient.
If you want to minimise print times, I'd suggest printing a series of Benchys at different speeds (with other settings being the same) to compare values.

Good luck printing! What armour are you thinking of making?
 

Lukavago

BMO
405th Regiment Officer
Just to weigh in, don't feel discouraged if you have to use more plastic in order to get a good print. Yeah, the environmentalist in me cringes at the amount of waste I can produce, but it's a lot more if I lose a print because I shaved the settings to much. Planet makes a good suggestion, but I'll add on to it, print a bunch of smaller projects first, things with complex geometry and what not. If they're smaller, but as complex as the armor you're planning on printing, then they'll make really good bench mark testing for you. Last thing I'll say is that speed != better. Faster prints are typically weaker, and since I rushed several parts of my ODST that simply didn't survive all that long, I'll be taking the slower route myself.
 

Brazen

Member
for your first pieces id recommend pieces you can print all at once. like forearms, hand plates, toe caps. if your printer is large enough maybe your shins.
play around in your slicer until you feel comfortable moving onto solidifying your slices into the real world.
Im new to printing as well and have had my share of failures in the first 2 weeks. first couple of days of fails was from unlevel bed or not setting my esteps first and ended up under-extruding. next was the cold weather and my room being about 60 degrees causing premature cooling of the pla and resulting in warping and curling of the print


just keep an eye on it every so often to be watchful for early failure signs and be prepared to give it more than one shot...
 

DRKE115

New Member
Just to weigh in, don't feel discouraged if you have to use more plastic in order to get a good print. Yeah, the environmentalist in me cringes at the amount of waste I can produce, but it's a lot more if I lose a print because I shaved the settings to much. Planet makes a good suggestion, but I'll add on to it, print a bunch of smaller projects first, things with complex geometry and what not. If they're smaller, but as complex as the armor you're planning on printing, then they'll make really good bench mark testing for you. Last thing I'll say is that speed != better. Faster prints are typically weaker, and since I rushed several parts of my ODST that simply didn't survive all that long, I'll be taking the slower route myself.
To reduce waste of filament from supports, look into recycling methods. I don't know how well they work, but I know there are some people who put the leftover supports into a grinder (think paper shredder for filament), then melt and extrude the material into usable filament. It could reduce waste and cost.
 

Lukavago

BMO
405th Regiment Officer
To reduce waste of filament from supports, look into recycling methods. I don't know how well they work, but I know there are some people who put the leftover supports into a grinder (think paper shredder for filament), then melt and extrude the material into usable filament. It could reduce waste and cost.
I have looked into recycling methods, and the simple truth is that I am nowhere near the levels of production required to make it viable. It's also a fairly complicated process, with lots of points for things to go wrong that can make your trash even worse for the environment. For the moment, I'm trying to find a way to compost my waste plastic, as it is technically biodegradable, but that's a bit like saying you can turn coal into diamonds. Technically true, but mostly beyond my means.
 

MistahFox

Member
At the end of the day, you just have to send it. Learn from your mistakes, discover better methods as you go and make sure you're having fun!
 

PlanetAlexander

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
For the moment, I'm trying to find a way to compost my waste plastic, as it is technically biodegradable, but that's a bit like saying you can turn coal into diamonds. Technically true, but mostly beyond my means.
Hi, I'm the nerd that spent the last semester of uni looking at ways to recycle 3D prints. I'd be interested to see what you find, but from what I've read (and as you implied), you need an industrial composter to break down PLA in a reasonable amount of time:


But as the technology grows, and it is growing very fast, there will hopefully be more organisations dedicated towards recycling/breaking down printing waste
 

Lukavago

BMO
405th Regiment Officer
As you said, it does break down. Problem is you need a fair amount of heat. Composting generates a lot of that (more than you'd expect actually) but we're talking levels of heat like waste steam from industrial uses, not really something any of us are dropping in our garage. The absolute best method I've managed to think up is reprocessing your waste plastic into new plastic. I don't have the tools for that, and it's not an easy process. Also, not sure how my roommate would feel about me baking plastic in my kitchen. Still, if I can get something set up, maybe next summer, I'll probably reach out to the Washington Battalion and see about doing a collection drive. Economies of scale and all that. After that, if it works, I'll send you a full writeup Planet and we'll see what the Aussies can make of it.
 

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