New Recruit with some questions


New Member
Hello everyone,

I am a new recruit based out of Ottawa Ontario.

I just purchased a Neptune 3 Max 3D printer and look forward to jumping down this pain staking hobby and be part of the community.

I do have 1 question off the hop, has anyone printed a helmet in 1 shot before? My printer can easily do this, just confused on the orientation to save some print time and filament.

Welcome to the world of 3d printing. There's a few threads here to help with that, but as you've already gotten a printer the one on selection is a moot point. Here's a good "I wish I knew" thread.

I do have 1 question off the hop, has anyone printed a helmet in 1 shot before?
Sure. Several people have. Some of us have even printed entire chest or back in one part.

just confused on the orientation to save some print time and filament.
The short answer is: That depends on the helmet you're printing and your experience will guide you.

The longer answer is: My **personal opinion** is that your helmet probably should be last, not first. Yeah yeah, everyone wants a helmet to drool over. But it's the thing everyone stares at so you want to do it AFTER you've developed a process and techniques and skills.

Personally I always recommend starting at the feet and working up.
You're going to weather and distress the boots more than anything else... and they get looked at with the least critical eye.
Then shins which have to ride on the boots.
Then thighs since you have to avoid joint conflict so you can sit etc.
See how this goes? Up from the boots.
By the time you get to the chest and helmet; the parts at eye level that everyone stares at, looks at first, is right there in your face in every photo - you can make them look stellar.

And if you start at the boots you're looking at parts that are only a day or two per part not 6 days per part. So you can hone your scaling skills.

Again, personal opinion based on experience:
Jumping right to armor is really not the best way to go when learning 3d printing. You really want to work up to something this big and specialized. A few settings differences can be the difference between a $10 part and a $40 part.... a part too weak to be used and printing your armor so heavy its exhausting to wear.
Work up to things that big where a 3% goof can mean added costs, joints that lock up and you can't bend your elbow etc. Little easy things first… Things with no supports to start. Move up to props like pistols. And keep moving upward over time.

My regular 'new printed armorer' post:

Personally... Machine makers give you PLA filament with the printer because it's incredibly forgiving. Even with a wide temperature range of 180°-220° and you'll still get something you're happy with. PLA will get you started, and its fine for indoor use like statues to paint and train cars on your model railroad. Use it to get some quick successes under your belt to build confidence. But understand its beginner filament. They give it away with the printer for a reason: Because it's hard to mess up, not because it's an awesome choice in materials.

You're not going to use PLA to make your armor because the transition temp of it is too low. It will result in warped props and armor if you leave your stuff in a hot car back seat, trunk or on the tarmac of your flight to a convention in another state.

Order some PETG and learn to print with that, because that's what you really want to build your armor out of so it can stand up to real world, outdoor, Arizona or hot car temperatures.

Then dial in so you are printing at something less coarse than the default .2 layer height. .12 or .08 will increase your print time and test your "but I want it noooooooow" resistance. - but an extra day on the printer means 3 days less sanding. So let the robot do more of the work so you don't have to.

PETG is only a little more learning curve. It wants a more accurate selection of temperature and a more accurate dial in of nozzle gap and retraction. No more than 30% cooling fan. I run it with fans off. That's about it. It's worth the time to learn the technology.

Then take the time to dial in support settings. There's no point rushing to print your blahblahdoohicky the day after you get the printer if you can't separate it from the supports because they're fused to the print. Breaking the print or having a totally horrible surface where you take the supports off doesn't make anything "faster".

Learn, experiment, learn, experiment, crawl, walk... then run.

And join a couple groups specific to learning 3d printing and your machine specifically. Asking all the beginner questions in other groups will just rile up some folks. It's like asking Johnson outboard engine repair questions on a fishing forum just because they're sorta kinda related-ish.
Welcome to the wonderful hobby of 3D printing! As SgtSaint said up there ^ it's always good to get some experience under your belt before hitting a whole armour set. Personally, I made a few helmets from halo and star wars before I considered doing a whole suit.

As my printer is not the biggest thing in the world, I don't have the luxury or printing a full halo helmet in any orientation, and the only orientation that it fits is less than ideal. You still have to worry about the same issues when printing in pieces though. While experience will be your best guide; the one tip I can give you is to make sure you analyze the print plan schematic layer by layer. Sometimes auto-support won't generate under certain overhangs or there will be unnecessary support in areas where it will be hard to remove. You will probably have to manually place supports in some sections and block supports in others. You goal is to reduce the chances of a print failure, while making sure you can still remove support.
Welcome to the 405th and the world of 3D printing!

Piggybacking off the other suggestions, one thing that I'd recommend as far as print time and filament goes is infill amount and pattern. There's some more discussion about it over at the "I wish I knew" thread that SgtSaint linked (highly recommend checking that thread as well, btw), but in essence, infill is how much stuff fills in the empty space between the outer and inner edges of a print while pattern is just that. Certain choices can push time and filament consumption up or down, and generally speaking you won't need too much infill for the print to still be sturdy. Definitely experiment around a little with some test prints before you start on the helmet to see which settings suit you the most.

Another thing to watch out for is support type. If you're using Cura as your slicer, you typically have the option between normal, blocky supports and branching "tree" supports. Both do the job well, but depending on the print, one might take more time and filament than the other. I've had a part for my chest plate take 2 days with normal supports, while using tree supports would've added an extra 15 hours. You're able to preview the print in most slicers, so do be sure to give it a good look before you commit.

I know you're mainly concerned about orientation, but I think these are still important things to keep in mind no matter how you choose to go about your print. Either way, I hope your helmet comes out well!
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