Written by 2:22 am 3D Printing, Nerd, Star Wars • 4 Comments

Building BD-1, Part 1: 3D Parts Finishing

Last December I picked up EA and Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, and wow.

This is the Star Wars game I had been waiting for. An RPG where you play Padawan Cal Kestis as he searches the galaxy for clues to a Holocron that contains the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of force-sensitive children.

It’s a race against time and the empire as Cal goes from planet to planet in search of the Holocron.

At the very beginning of the game, Cal befriends BD-1, a droid once owned by Jedi master Eno Cordova. BD-1 sticks with Cal throughout the entire game, providing information, upgrades, access and health revive.

I love this droid, and thanks to modern technology and skill, someone went through the effort to 3d model and come up with automation plans so us nerds can build our very own BD-1.

Thanks to Michael Baddeley for creating the amazing 3D files for this as well as the automation instructions. Go support him here and start your own build today!

https://www.patreon.com/mrbaddeley/

Finishing the 3D printed pieces

3D printing is amazing technology however it’s not perfect. If you want smooth prints you’ll need to invest in a SLA (Resin) printer which produces beautiful prints without the layering caused by a traditional FDM (filament) printer.

Since I don’t have a resin printer, I’m going to give my guns a good work out by sanding the heck out of these pieces.

The level of effort in finishing a part is really dependent a few things:

  1. The material used.
  2. The amount of time you want to invest in creating something “perfect”

Materials

There are several different types of filament available for printing purposes however some of the more popular ones are:

ABS: A strong, wear-resistant filament with a high heat tolerance. Good for interlocking parts or parts that will be exposed to the sun. This is also one of the better plastics for finishing as it’s very easy to sand or even vapor smooth with acetone.

PET: Durable and flexible while also being impact and heat resistant and is really good for mechanical parts. This also is relatively easy to finish with sanding and filler.

PLA: A stiff but brittle filament that is corn-based and biodegradable. It’s good for low-stress applications and is best for beginners due to the ease of printing and minimal warping. It’s also the most challenging to finish as it doesn’t sand easily at all.

Thanks to Matterhackers (https://www.matterhackers.com/3d-printer-filament-compare) for the great definitions.

I printed this in PLA… why? Because I had it around. In hindsight, I would have printed in PET for the stability. I guess the proof will be in the pudding once I get BD-1 fully automated!

There are two routes to go with finishing these parts. Sanding and epoxy coating.

Sanding

With PLA I start with a low grit like 120 to knock down the more severe layer lines, and then gradually work my way up to 320/400 grit to get a nice smooth finish.

These will not be perfect though so plan on using a spot glaze putty to fill in any voids. This will also help you achieve a smoother finish.

Epoxy Coating

There are several epoxy coatings available. I used XTC-3D for the base of BD-1.

XTC-3D is a two part, thin epoxy that is meant to be brushed on in thin coats to fill in the striations from the 3D print layers. It’s also allegedly self leveling.

I’ve had mixed results with this. And while I think it would be good for a piece that is meant to be perfectly smooth, I found this to be too excessive for my liking.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on XTC-3D in the comments below!

Part 2

Coming soon! Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll know when Part 2 is uploaded! (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUplbpHJhFVhmaO3mqJVhMA?sub_confirmation=1)

Shopping List

Here are the tools and materials I used (these are affiliate links, I get a couple penny’s every time you buy from them):

Tools:

Materials:

Paints:

Credits

Footage from Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (2019), EA & Respawn, All Rights Reserved.

Intro Music; Straight Through by Groove Bakery | https://groovebakery.com

Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com

Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…

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Tags: , , , Last modified: March 21, 2020
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