Jump to content

Sunken F6F Hellcat Bikini Atolls Marshall Islands

Recommended Posts

  • 2 months later...

Merry Christmas to all.


Its been a few months since I posted on this project. My time hasn't been idle besides work and life I did allot of research on 3D printers. Yeh its a pretty saturated market now that they are more mainstream and the choices are endless. So I decided that the printer didn't have to be anything big all I want it for it to make my own custom parts usually in 1/48th. 


I finally decided on Anycubic Photon Mono SE 2K LCD Resin 3D Printer its a mid range printer I timed it for the Black Friday sales Anycubic had a great deal the printer+ Wash and Cure unit+1x100ml container resin+free shipping for $500. 


So it arrived last week unboxing and set up was easy, There are dozens of YouTube tutorials from set up to working the software. What I didn't know is that most manufactures of these machines use a specific file recognition format. For example Anycubic uses pwms. format that is what the printer reads. For those considering 3D printer how it works is there is a interface program you use on your laptop. You can use/download the one from the manufactures or there are stand alone free programs a very popular one I am using that sings is Chitubox. You can either get pre existing 3D files from sites like Turbosquid of create your own in a CAD program like Fusion360 which is free also and more than adequate for modelers shout out to ARC member "crackerjazz" for pointing me in the right direction😉. When you find a 3D item you like on a site like Turbosquid make sure that it is a STL. or OBJ. they are the common file types. You can either pay of search for free downloads.






I found a 3D fish file in STL format and downloaded it I opened it in Chitubox there I was able to resize it down to the scale I needed in this case 10mm to 27mm. Once I had one set I added supports for the printing process the program can do this automatically but after checking the model I added extra because the fins were not supported. I want to create a school around the Hellcat wreck so ill print as many as I can on the printing plate leaving room to scrape them off without hitting the surrounding fish.


Here is the first test build for size at 10mm fresh out of the printer on the build plate, I might try a plate smaller around 8mm.



Next was washing it in Isopropanol alcohol then hardening it with the UV.



After it was hardened I sprayed it with some Vallejo primer gray. I am amazed at the delicate fine detail and I can make as many as I need.


I see some modelling ridges not sure what that is from probably a setting I should adjust on Chitubox. As I am a Newbie to this if any experienced 3D modelers can lend a hand it would be much appreciated.



I added Anti-aliasing for the next build wondering if that will fix the issue and smooth the finish. I mean at that scale its pretty sweet but I think it could be better.



Anyways going to get these fish printed, primed and placed into the diorama. I am so friggen stoked at the possibilities of 3D printing. I can now also make the two divers I need cant wait to see them printed, painted and on the wreck as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Dave, I'm glad to know you've decided on a 3D printer; I'm sure it would do nothing but amplify your already fantastic modeling skills. 


Those first prints look good; the ridges seem to be the limit of the XY resolution; I'm far from an expert, but what I would try is to orient the models at a 45° angle on the XY plane to maximize the effect of the anti-aliasing (because of the flat shape of the fish); tilting the model on the Z-axis could also help, but you would have to make the supports again and don't think is worth it.


The funny coincidence is that I also went for the Anycubic offer on Cyber Monday but chose the Mono 4k instead; I'll be following your progress closely to learn and get the best of this.


I hope that soon, a handful of aftermarket producers will start to sell digital products (ANYZ is an example) to save time for those like me who aren't good with CAD.


Merry Christmas to you and your family



Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Such a good investment, Dave.

What'd be the average time for learning to master Autodesk Fusion 360, approx, for instance? I've been watching the parts you can achieve with 3D-printing, and it's quite tempting to at least start learning how to use the software related to these type of machines.




Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a cool 3D-printed fish, Dave!    I notice that too -- they're like woodgrain patterns  : ) -- and they're farther apart especially on shallow curves that are angled steeply.  You can bank the fish as cruiz suggested -- you may have to modify fin supports.  There'll be more lines but the fish's body will be smoother, the top (the side facing upwards) more so than the bottom.  Also, if you don't mind long printing times you can reduce the layer height for an even smoother finish.  And once you get that down you should print as much fish as you can on a single printing session because it will take the same amount of time to print all of them at once as printing a single fish.   I have a lot of experimenting to do myself -- haven't printed anything I'm totally satisfied with so far : ) I even picked up a 4K as well (Mars 3) in the hope of getting higher-resolution/smoother prints.


I, too, wish for a dedicated 3D-printing section on ARC, as you suggested, to share tips and tricks and get help.  Some of the more experienced 3D printing nuts on the forum I know of are Bill (niart17), Mofo, Aussie-Pete, Pascal (bubble), crincon, Vincent Meens...and the list is growing.   And they're all Anycubic users, I believe.   Not sure if I'm the only one here using Elegoo.


By the way, here's some of the more helpful vids from Youtube --- you might find them useful, especially as far as printing orientation and supports.  

For your leisure-watching : )


Why Resin 3D Prints Fail - Improve Your Prints - Tips on Understanding Overhangs and Supports

3D print supports EASY GUIDE by VOG (VegOilGuy)

CHITUBOX and SUPPORT PLACEMENT PART 2 (Why Auto-supports suck) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Its been a few weeks got pretty sick thought it was Covid but just a bad Flu. During my quarantine I watched many YouTube videos on the do's and don'ts of 3D printing. Still a lot to learn but I did have some success improving the fish print quality so I went into full production mode printing four species. I was abble to print 40-50 at a time. Then it was onto cleaning, priming, painting then placement. I used the method I trialed a few months back suspending them with individual strands of fine clear fishing line there is an irony somewhere in that! I studies photos of their behavior around wrecks and carefully placed them hiding and schooling around the Hellcat.







After a few weeks I finally found that scuba diver .OBJ file I was looking for to print. I downloaded the file cleaned it up in Fusion 360. I measured a 1/48 figure I had it came to 45mm so when I imported the Diver into Chitubox it was easy to resize him down to the right scale. I printed a test piece and was amazed at the detail.

Screenshot 2021-12-22 213359.png


Screenshot 2021-12-22 213628.png

Figure resized, supported and ready for printing.



Figure printed took about 20 min








A few days later I have painted one and starting on the second. I printed and extra for parts, you can see I have cut and repositioned the feet and arms to give them a swimming appearance.


Her are both in the drink ready for action. I gave one a underwater GoPro on a extendable selfie stick and the other diver is just checking out the Hellcat. I am going tp forgo the lit divers light I just cant see a way to make the wires disappear and make the driver still look like he is suspended.





So next I am onto getting the whole scene into the acrylic cylinder secured and ready for the big day when I cover the whole thing in tinted acrylic all the fishing line will disappear and it should all come together barring and modelling disaster phenomenon.


Thanks for reading.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say mastered I have tired a few larger prints that failed. What I can say about 3D printing for the scale hobbyist is the resin printer is good. The technology needs to be way more intuitive at this stage its fairly new to the every day user and the companies like Anycubic have not made the leap to making the hobby user friendly. They are trying but from what I can see there is a few years to go, I was expecting a plug and play like a new cell phone this is like going back to the early 2000s when cell phones were new any you had to set everything up manually. Having to tinker with the dozens of settings to find the sweet spot so a print is successful isn't my idea of enjoyment I just want to find a cool file print it paint it and enjoy it. My advice would be to wait until the tech has developed I mean you still have to manually configure the printer to connect to Wi-Fi for god sakes using notepad and manually typing config file...what!


I have a bigger project on the bench for 2022 that I specifically got into the 3D printing for so I am willing to go through some trial and frustration. 


Happy New Year to all, looking forward to lots of modelling.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's awesome! I've flown all over the Pacific and seen aircraft from WWII in the shallow 

water. I never got in the water...had seen some pretty big sharks lurking around. You seem 

to have mastered the 3D print part. I agree...Shapeways prices have gotten ridiculous. 

Waiting on the final product....


Cheers and Happy New Year!


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry to hear you were so ill Dave, I'm glad to see you well enough to build. This is such a remarkable build and I can't say how excited I am to see it completed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The scene is a depiction at depth where light is limited and color disappears. Once I add the blue acrylic the realism will come to life the greys will take on shades of blue. Adding color other than the water will make the scene unrealistic.


Here is a good example.



And here was one of the test beds I did earlier.



I was asked some time ago how I was going to give the divers air bubble clouds. This was another test where a simple repeated insertion of a wood dowel which is porus pushes air into the acrylic when its almost cured leaving bubbles behind.



Link to post
Share on other sites


Good God, man! Your skill level is amazing!  And the fact that despite being ill & quarantined, you picked up new skills is very inspirational.  :worship:




Edited by JackMan
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I’m just seeing this thread. My last assignment was a tour in the Marshall Islands. The wrecks out there were incredible to dive and you’ve nailed the look and color at depth in my opinion. Fantastic!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I too am dazzled by this amazing creation! What a creative and imaginative mind you have (not to mention the modeling skill).


Appears there is still no dedicated 3D area on ARC?


Gene K

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...