After months of craft shows and custom orders, my very last design and print for 2015 was something for me! As soon as I received my first spool of ColorFabb GlowFill, I wanted to do an anglerfish. I’m almost done with that roll, so this seemed to be the time. And as luck would have it, PrintedSolid and reddit were running a mixed material use contest. Destiny! I designed and printed my anglerfish in BronzeFill and GlowFill on my MakerGear M2. The GlowFill parts were actually inserted into the fish and sealed in as the BronzeFill printed.
As you may expect, the GlowFill parts glow in the dark and the blacklight.
I chose two materials for my anglerfish, both were mainly selected for aesthetic reasons:
- colorFabb BronzeFill – The bulk of my print was in bronzeFill. To me, bronzeFill elevates designs. It’s heavy, so it feels expensive. It gets a sheen with sanding so it also looks expensive. I have found it to be a forgiving material as it is so easy to sand afterwards and redeem. I only had time for one print of my design before leaving for vacation. I needed a forgiving material. : ) I’ve also seen it bridge and do overhangs well, so I knew it was a good fit for my fish.
Semantics also play a little bit of a role. Bronze pulls with it connotations of the Bronze Age– gladiators and warriors. Bronze is a material of badasses. Anglerfish withstand immense pressures down there at the bottom of the ocean. They warrant a badass material.
- colorFabb GlowFill – And GlowFill was a no brainer. To really do justice to an anglerfish, I needed him to glow. : )
I designed my angerfish in Blender. I designed cavities and supports inside the fish to hold our GlowFill pieces. That way, I could insert the pieces and let the rest of the print seal them in.
So for example, the glowing eye detail. Inside the head of the fish, I have a little rectangular holder to keep that detail in place. I wanted the pupil of the eyes to remain dark, however, so that glowing eye detail had a circle cut out so the BronzeFill behind it could show through.
Printing – GlowFill
I printed all the GlowFill pieces first. Very straight forward– 0.25mm layers, nothing super special.
Printing – BronzeFill
BronzeFill is where the thinking came in. I still printed at 0.25mm layers. Using Simplify3D, I set up nine separate processes for the BronzeFill. At the end of each process, the print would stop, the Z bed would drop 100mm allowing me to insert in the appropriate GlowFill piece(s) before starting the next process.
I did have a bobble. When I inserted my side panels, I noticed they were a little higher than the BronzeFill layers around it. I thought it would be safe… but it knocked my nozzle and offset the X a bit. The seam you see in the pictures is the product of that shift. Lesson learned — better safe than sorry. : )
I did also end up printing the little dangly do-dad on the top of the fish separately. That was unplanned, but serendipitous as the fish would have been a pain to sand with that delicate detail in the way.
I sanded the fish with three separate grades of sand paper and I finished him off with super fine steel wool.
I only had time for one print and I do have adjustments I would make for my next run. First off– the teeth are not worth installing during the print. It was a lot of stops in the print to insert the teeth and the sanding. My gawd, the sanding. Those teeth were just a nuisance during sanding. I did get a little thrill each time I installed a tooth and had the print seal it in, but it wasn’t worth it. Next time, I’m just going to glue the teeth in after the fact.
Secondly, I learned to decrease the height of those side GlowFill panels slightly so I don’t get my nozzle knocked. : )
Even with my little bobble, I am thrilled with my anglerfish. Love!
More photos of my Anglerfish and its process can be found on my Flickr site.