3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Don’s Armillary Sphere

The thing about Don is that he LOVES all thing nautical, and his best days are spent at the helm of his sloop. He grew up on an island and he learned to navigate his boats long before GPS.  He has sailed the eastern seaboard several times and his family lived aboard their sailboat for a year while exploring the East Coast.

One of the tools of the trade for sailors in another era was an Astrolabe. Most Astrolabes are flat, much like their current cousin, the sextant. But long ago we had the Armillary Sphere, a global Astrolabe. As a 3D designer, he decided to have some fun and take on this historic design.

Don has a new BIG printer on the way and wanted to have something more ‘vertical’ ready for when it arrives. This concept fits the bill. Right now the largest he can print the big dial is about 6″ and the final build is about 9″ tall.

Screens and builds may be a little different as the print evolved.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

The 3D design in Lightwave

As noted with other subjects, Don models in Lightwave 3D. Don spent an afternoon working up the design, looking at original designs and then adding a few bit of own details to flush out the print. Of course, do not attempt to use this design for navigational purposes.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Assembly of the armillary

The build was one in two prints, Astro 1 and Astro 2. Astro one comprised the base and the large frame. Astro 2 was all the interior frames, the globe, the main axis and the arrows.

 

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Astro 1 print

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Astro 2 print

The next step is the same for all his prints. He runs the STL output through Simplify3D to generate the .x3g code that his printer uses to print the file. Simplify3D can fix any problems with the model, gives a platform for setting up all the particular settings for the printer (layer height, infill, speed, etc) and then slices the file so the printer knows what to lay down on each pass.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

The Simplify3D screen

 

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Astro 1 print

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Astro 2 print

A few thing shuffled between the prints, but the final run did well.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Photo of the assembled print

This is the assembly of the  Armillary Sphere, but unlike most of our projects, it isn’t the end of the course. When Don designed this print he had something else in mind. He wants to take this to the next step. He is going to “antique” the print (if he can) and take you through the steps on how to do it. Of course, he needs to figure out how to do that first. Fortunately, while the early proofs have been running (and have been adjusted) he has also been messing around with the ‘antiquing” process. Don will print one more proof of this print and then release the STL file in his store along with a tutorial on how to make it look like a dated Armillary Sphere. (Today’s date, May 29th, 2014)

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Don’s build table with the Sphere in assembly. It’s getting a bit crowded with his previous builds. He bags them and then assembles them and sends them to clients and to publications. These are busy days!

Of course, you can’t just print an Armillary Sphere in plastic. It looks…plastic.

So Don wanted to have a little fun (this may take extra time, but the model will be released while he plays). Let’s paint this thing copper.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

Primary coat

First Don lays down a primary coat. This is a stock ‘automotive primary paint that he bought at Home Depot. It’s not that he was worried about paint sticking, but he had read that a primary coat helps smooth out the horizontal layers.  After this he sprayed on a little fine “textured” paint to give it a feel of roughness.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

First coat of copper paint

After the texture (best seen with some copper paint on it, above) Don sprayed some ‘aged copper’ on the print and then (after photographing this) put it back in the paint booth to dry  some more before staining it.

3D Printing Don’s Armillary Sphere

The final stained print. Very cool. Don simply took a sponge with some oak stain (Minwax)  and blotted the surface of the print. Then wiped it down with paper towel.

This print was different, mostly because it wasn’t built on one of Don’s  illustrations. It was built just for the fun of it. The goal was to build a real object and to paint it so, if it sat on your desk, it would be a solid duplication of the object.

Click HERE to go to the store to buy this model.

 

 

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See full post here: donfoley.com2014-06-04.