For the six year old’s birthday, I decided to print up all of the Mane Six – the six ponies in the main cast of My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic. None of the ponies were individually complex builds (except, maybe, for Rainbow Dash, who has a multi-part mane and tail), but this project took over a month of planning, printing, experimenting, and finally assembling.
Given the bodies of the ponies had the longest print times, I printed them early in the process, and they were faily quick. How quick that part of the process went was not representative of the overall project: the manes and tails, with no individual piece expected to take longer than 2 hours to print, took the better part of the month to get working.
The trouble with the manes and tails was that printed as oriented, they just wouldn’t successfully print. The bases would pull up from the print bed; the layers wouldn’t adhere; the supports would fall apart; the model would pull away from the supports – failure after failure, and I couldn’t get a print to complete.
This coincided with the release of Cura 3.2, which brought a new experimental feature to model slicing: Tree Supports. These supports are calculated to build up from the print plate in branching, almost organic, structures to support a print without adding support material on top of the model. A few quick tests, and the tree supports broke the failed print streak.
Manes started collecting on the work bench:
Finally after a month of work, the pieces were almost all ready. And just in time – I had two days before the birthday morning, when the ponies had to be waiting, assembled, on the breakfast table.
Tear down of the supports was a moderately arduous process, and in the end there was more support material than model material:
At 9pm the day before the birthday the last pieces finished printing (Applejack’s hat, which had its own printing problems). Assembly quickly began:
The last piece to finish was the eyes – provided as models for the whites of the eys, and PDFs for the iris’. A bit of gorilla glue for each iris, and some rough placement by hand, and the ponies were set on the table to dry at 11pm:
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The Mane Six, finished just in time for the six year old’s birthday. Over 100 hours of printing, finishing, and assembly. At a later date I plan to reprint the eyes and free hand paint the iris colors – for now I’ve printed the iris’ on paper and applied them to the eyes. Getting the manes to print took a ton of debugging- I was finally saved by the new Tree Supports in Cura 3.2. #3dprinting #manesix #mlp #toys #curaslicer
Eventually I may reprint the eyes, and free hand enamel paint the iris’, but for now, the ponies are done. Nearly 142 hours of printing, 8 hours of assembly, and 151 meters of filament.
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