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Robot Chicken's PILLAR OF AUTUMN Build - 3D Printed

Discussion in 'Halo 3D Modeling' started by RobotChicken, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. RobotChicken


    The $500 "professional" CAD software decided to crap out on me again, this time during a file save and corrupted two weeks worth of work. The file is now "damaged" and won't open. I was nearly half done with the hull texture, but now get to start over. I've said it before, I'll say it again - if you're shopping for professional CAD software, stay away from TurboCAD Mac Pro - it is absolute garbage. Some people (including Apple "engineers") simply are not qualified to be programmers.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  2. RobotChicken


    Still chugging away at the hull texture tile. Past the halfway point now.


    But...it's not just 2-dimensional:


    Now, I still don't know if this is going to print, but I figure once I've got the artwork done I'll be able to use it for creating a photo-etching mask if 3D printing it ends up being a no-go. Unfortunately, work on this will slow down over the next few weeks as we prep the yard for spring and this is the year we are finally going to finish and paint the garage interior and install cabinets. (It will be both strange and gratifying having tools, materials, etc actually sorted and put away in designated cabinets!) Got drywall tape and primer yesterday and need to start emptying the garage today. (No clue where all that stuff is going to go while the work is being done - will be a crowded house for a little while I guess.) Anyway, thought you might like seeing the hull texture progress.
    SI3RRA 117 likes this.
  3. mblackwell1002


    yeah! nice!

    I suppose that you could just intersect the actual hull model with the detail model and have an 'engraved' model. The game model appears to have 'engraved' greeblies.
  4. RobotChicken


    I too originally thought the detail was engraved (like recessed panel lines), but after spending a lot of time examining it up close from different angles I've concluded it to be raised texture (a lot of "piping" and "greeblies" all over the hull's surface). That also correlates with what I see in the texture map game asset. So the detail model will indeed intersect the hull, but as raised texture rather than engraved.

    mblackwell1002 likes this.
  5. bestellen

    bestellen New Member

    Yeah, the last page kind've got a bit off-topic discussing 3D printers when mine stopped working but filament is flowing again so hopefully parts will print properly when I get back to printing them.
  6. bluvasa2

    bluvasa2 New Member

    If it were me I would simplify the detail and make the panel lines recessed.

    Unless you are going to print at a very large scale model, most of that detail probably won't be printable on an FDM printer. I would choose the most prominent panel lines that capture the character of the ship texture and not worry about the rest (see below in red for an example).

    Having recessed panel lines should make the model a lot easier to clean up. It will be much easier to sand along the exterior surface of the ship that is essentially flat with recesses, rather than have to sand around an innumerable amount of raised panel lines. I think you would find that all that raised detail would be quickly sanded away when you are combining the various printed sections of the ship.

    Finally, I think recessed panel lines fit better in the canon knowing that the ship would have been made from titanium plates. Each panel line would be at the intersection of multiple sheets of metal. The UNSC shipbuilders would probably minimize the amount of external piping on the ship as this would be combat liability.

  7. RobotChicken


    Thanks, but that goes against the game asset's texture map and screen captures. The scale of this model is over a meter long but it's still unknown how well this texture will print. The printer I have on order will print at 5um resolution so I'm not expecting much sanding to be needed at all - prints from this machine have an injection-molded surface finish to them. At the real-world scale of the UNSC ship, you probably would not see any "panel lines" on the ship (unless they were huge trenches, like the kind X-wings could fly through...) Any seams in hull plating would simply not be discernible at this scale. For me, it makes more sense (and adheres to the game resources) that the ship would have piping around the exterior. You see that in real NASA craft (the large-scale ones like the space station, not the small shuttles and rockets) as well as many other sci-fi ships such as Galactica battlestars, the Millennium Falcon, Imperial Star Destroyers, and the Death Star. As for combat liability, let's not forget what happens to the Pillar at the beginning of Combat Evolved.... :)
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  8. RobotChicken


    Been spending most of my time this week in the garage prepping the walls and ceiling for paint. The house builders did a cruddy job on the drywall installation so a lot of repairs and correction was needed. Today will be a messy day of sanding. However, I have gotten a bit more done on the hull texture (the image size doesn't do justice to the details but hopefully that will be seen later on the printed parts):

  9. RobotChicken


    I finally finished one full tile. I decided to follow the texture map exactly so it has the same look as in the game, and honestly if this even prints at all much of it will be too faint to really notice the poor pattern repetition by 343. At screenshot scale much is blurred in the images below, but you get the general idea.


    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  10. RobotChicken


    Well crud. I thought when I finished the texture model all I'd need to do is orient it around the antenna boom for intersecting with the main model, but that''s not what's happening on the ship. In order to achieve the same look as seen in photos I am going to need a customized texture for nearly each side of the antenna boom. In the top-view photo below, the red line highlights an orthogonal direction on the texture and is aligned parallel with the ship...but only at the boom's center - they skew as you move towards the outside edges. The blue line is 90-degrees perpendicular (and straight) on the game asset's texture (and how it appears on other larger areas of the ship), but on the antenna boom they've decided to skew all the perpendicular lines....and they're not even straight - "zig-zag" turns are also present:


    Obviously drawing the blue line straight and perpendicular to the red one would change the whole look. I'm not going to skew any of the red-direction lines because that will just screw up alignment at face edges, but I am going to redraw the blue-direction lines for matching the "distortion" seen in images. With all the red-direction lines being parallel it won't be an exact match to the game, but I think it will look close enough and not appear "crooked" on the model.
    mblackwell1002 likes this.
  11. RobotChicken


    So I now find myself re-evaluating the decision to align the side texture straight or tilted like seen in the photo below. Tilting it would have all the other faces looking properly, but it would look "crooked" on the model. Putting it on straight would look more "normal" on the sides, but then it doesn't wrap properly around the other faces. What do you think?

  12. SI3RRA 117

    SI3RRA 117

    I don't know in my opinion it looks crooked on that section. But it's tough to compare it with the rest of the model from that photo.
  13. RobotChicken


    No, it is crooked on that section. The horizontal top edge of this section is straight compared with the rest of the ship, and the front of this section is truly vertical. The texture is skewed in this area compared to the rest of the ship where it's straight. You can see on the "sleeve" at the image's right how the texture is straight on that section, but it's crooked on the forward part. I thought it might be aligned with the angled rear bottom edge but nope it's not parallel with that either. The texture on this part of the ship is just bad.
  14. bluvasa2

    bluvasa2 New Member

    I would align the texture so that all of the horizontal lines are perpendicular with the front of the ship. The gradual sloping of the lower part of the texture doesn't really look right to me as it is too stretched. Whenever I see something like this in-game it makes me think that Bungie simply didn't have the time or resources to correct an obvious error. I would straighten out the lines and not worry too much about some slight misalignment of the texture wrapping around the edge since its unlikely that a viewer of the model would pick up on the discontinuity.
  15. RobotChicken


    Yeah, I'm really torn on this. It does seem like an error by the game modelers because the texture just looks crooked on the sides here and it's not like that on the rest of the ship, but that misalignment then yields distinct detailing characteristics on adjacent faces which could be deliberate and why it was done that way. At the moment I'm leaning towards replicating how it appears in the game so angles have the right look as the detail wraps around the adjacent faces. (That's assuming this detail will even be visible on the 3D printed parts.) On the weekend I'll take a look at the enhanced version for CE Anniversary to see if it's the same there (which could indicate intentional versus incidental texture). Until then I'm still getting my garage walls and ceiling prepped for primer.
  16. RobotChicken


    I remembered I've already got screenshots from CE and guess what, the forward antennas boom texture is crooked there too (although it's at a much larger scale than the Reach version - see image below). So I think it's meant to be that way. At the scale it's printing (assuming it even prints at all) I doubt it will really be that noticeable. (I've been dragging my feet on this, not just due to painting our garage but because I'm still waiting for my printer to arrive and I want to make a texture test print before committing time to applying it over the whole model. The printer company has been very S L O W to deliver on such an expensive machine.)

  17. bluvasa2

    bluvasa2 New Member

    Yeah, I think the real issue will be whether or not the detail will actually be printed. This of course depends on the scale that you are going to print the ship out at and the capabilities of the printer.

    This guy makes some of the best FDM printed models that I've seen. The details are printed at 60-80 micron layer height.

    With that in mind, it seems that you would have to print the POA at a very large scale to see much of the surface details.
    mblackwell1002 likes this.
  18. RobotChicken


    The model is roughly 1.3 meters long, and the printer's minimum layer height is 5um with 0.25mm nozzle, and I've got an "experimental" 0.1mm nozzle coming with the printer. I'm still working out the texture's scale from reference images, and delivery tracking shows the printer stuck at customs clearance in Memphis. However, I'm not planning on unpacking the printer until the garage is done.
  19. RobotChicken




    It says ED on the crate, but it's actually an XD. (I guess not enough room in the budget to print out a proper label.) Anyway, it will be a couple weeks before unpacking because the garage is getting done first. Almost done with the painting and then the floor is getting an epoxy finish before cabinets go in.
  20. RobotChicken


    My, how time flies....look at all these cobwebs. Believe it or not, the printer is still not unpacked yet. Our garage remodel ended up taking months rather than weeks. Drywall finishing, priming, painting, metallic epoxy floor, custom cabinets, etc - each taking more time than I expected. The good news is it should be pretty much wrapped up in the next week or two and then I can finally get back to this project. Except, you know what time of year this is. Luckily nothing too complex is being made for Halloween this year - it will be Daniel Jackson from "Stargate SG-1". All the clothing, patches, props, etc are already bought, but the kid decided he wants a Zat'nik'tel and since I've got a low-poly PDO of one and 30 days lead time...I'm going to try increasing the poly count on it for use as one of the initial test prints whilst I'm learning the new printer's capabilities. The wife also wants a holder printed for her Apple Watch so that is also in line ahead of printing the first Pillar parts. Plus, with working on the garage each day for the last few months (and difficulty in getting over to the Pillar in the game for taking a few more reference photos - which I finally managed to get last week), I still don't have the hull texture sized and applied to the model yet. I also haven't decided if I'll shoot a video of the printer unboxing and setup. On one hand, there aren't too many videos online for this printer so it would be good to do an unboxing and review, but on the other hand our house is kind've a mess and I don't like being in front of the camera (I'm more a behind-the-camera type of guy) so I'm not sure yet how that will develop. Anyway, just thought I'd drop by and give a quick update on things.
    mblackwell1002 likes this.
  21. RobotChicken


    The new printer is up and running. I'm still dialing in settings for optimal print results. A lot of people 3D print a "Benchy" model - I'm a little nerdier than that, and time is in short supply this week so I've been setting up the printer with this:


    Yep, a Zat'nik'tel from Stargate for my kid's Halloween outfit this year. It's nice having a larger printer that can print models like this without the need to split them into smaller pieces. Getting the putty work done tonight for sanding tomorrow and hopefully paint on the weekend. The next model up for printing is also for his costume and I'm still working on its final details before printing:

    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  22. SI3RRA 117

    SI3RRA 117

    Awesome glad to see you up and printing again. Hard to see print quality in the photo, but not seeing much for print lines (unless you've sanded it already?)
    mblackwell1002 likes this.
  23. RobotChicken


    Nope, that's right off the printer with 0.4mm nozzle and 0.1mm layer height. Not going for high-def yet as I've been having extruder issues with the machine and the kid's props don't need to be high resolution - once they're sanded and painted they will look just fine. After I'm better acquainted with the new machine I intend to switch out the nozzle and start experimenting with sub-50um layer heights. The printer is capable of 0.025mm layer height, and I'm eager to see how well (or not) that turns out.
    SI3RRA 117 likes this.
  24. SI3RRA 117

    SI3RRA 117

    Nice look forward to seeing what this thing can do
  25. TurboCharizard

    TurboCharizard RMO 405th Regiment Officer


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