Cool no? Entirely 3D printed. Obviously this is the end result after painting and whatnot but lets go back to the start. I didn't design this model, far from it. It was released as part of the May the 4th celebrations in 2014 by the very skilled Jacky Wan. and can still be found here here .
I see now that I look at the page that there are now 2 versions of this for you to print, a 4 piece version (which is the one I printed) and a 14 piece version which is more accurate and takes advantage of printing direction better. If I were doing it now again, of course I would make the more complex one, but to be honest you will get more out of doing a nice paintjob than you will in printing an accurate model. but more on that in part 2.
The creation of the 14 piece model raises a good point on printing direction though. Printers are great at creating cylindrical objects built up gradually in the Y axis. However any part that is cylindrical that does not align that way will suffer in quality (Such as the control buttons). This is detailed very well on the above article on the light saber above.
Anyway so we built this thing seen here before painting.
A Few of key points. We used white filament because that's all we had at the time, if I were doing it again I would do it black as it makes painting a bit easier. Secondly the model was actually JUST to large for the UP! printer. this meant that we scaled the parts in the UP! software to about 95% and then it fit no problem within the build depth. In all honestly the Lightsaber still feels the right size and no one could probably tell. Thirdly we wanted to tax the printer as a test so we tried to print ALL the parts in a single build! So that means all 4 parts in one build surface!
Which in total was a 22 hour print time and at the time we were feeling confident leaving the printer on overnight so that's what we did. In the morning it was clear something had gone terribly wrong as one of the parts was on the floor and there was a large amount of white spaghetti over the build surface (I wish I took pictures).
So what happened? well if you have any printed object where the print head leaves part of an object to go print elsewhere (As with the multiple parts) occasionally the printer will leave a little tail of filament sticking up. When the print head comes back to that part it may snag that little tail and in our case, because the model was so tall with such a small base, it had enough torque to unstick that part and dump it on the floor!
So lesson learned there, I probably wouldn't go for printing the parts all at once again but a valuable lesson was learned! The faulty part was reprinted and all was well.
another problem with this model and 3d printing parts in general is that using twist - fit components are a gamble. again because the model is built up in layers, too much torque when you are fitting / unfitting parts can snap off the locking part, which i also did.
The final assembled body above was actually securely glued together and for extra strength and a little heft I put an aluminum rod inside it which is also glued at either end. and the next step was onto paint!