Tag Archives: 3d printed warhammer

Patrick Prints! – Simple Printer Maintenance

Sometimes things go wrong. Your car doesn’t start in the morning. Your boss yells at you about your TPS reports. Your roommate eats the last Oreo even though your name was on the package and he knew you were saving it (I have not forgiven this transgression).


And sometimes your printer’s FEP pops a hole and spills resin on the screen.


I recently had to deal with several small hills of resin on my printer’s screen due to a pinhole in my FEP. Hopefully my first experience leaves you more prepared than I was.

What is a FEP?

A FEP (Flourinated Ethylene Propylene) is a plastic film that sits at the bottom of your resin vat. This film acts a barrier between your liquid resin and the curing source (your screen). FEP film is used in 3d printing because it has good chemical resistant properties, and generally won’t adhere to your print.

How did this happen?

That’s a great question! Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer.


If you have a print fail you need to empty out your vat, pouring the resin back into the bottle through a sieve to make sure that you are catching any larger hardened pieces that may be present. If your printer has a self-clean function (where it exposes the FEP to a solid block of UV light) you should do this to cure the bottom layer of resin. This traps any floaters against the FEP and allows you to be sure that when you pour out the resin and peel the clean layer away you are left with a pristine tank.


But, as I said above, sometimes things go wrong. In my case, I didn’t have a print failure that I can blame. Everything was going well until it wasn’t. If you are working with poorly supported models you could potentially have pieces of resin break off from the model and start to float around the tank. If one of these floaters gets in the wrong place it will be pushed down into your FEP. This could potentially puncture your FEP, or worse, break your screen.

Protecting the Screen

The best maintenance is preventative. If you address a problem before the machine breaks you are ultimately saving yourself some pain and money.


In the case of your screen, the easiest way to protect it is to get a screen protector (who saw that coming?). These only cost a few dollars and make cleaning up resin spills much easier. Simply peel the screen protector off and dispose of it.

Not exactly what you want to see on your screen.

They also provide a buffer for your screen to keep the screen from cracking. Most modern printers arrive from the factory with a screen protector installed, but you should still verify that one is there if you are in doubt.


The one point to note: if you do not currently have a screen protector, and you are installing one on your printer, you may want to recalibrate. The screen protector will not make a huge difference, but it is an extra layer of material that your UV light must pass through.


If you don’t have a screen protector you might be in a tight spot if you have a resin spill. There are a couple methods of cleaning cured resin off your screen, and I’ll link them below. Full disclosure: I have not tried either of these methods, so I cannot personally speak to their use.

Replacing the FEP

Your FEP should be considered a consumable part of your printer. Resin, gloves, and paper towels need to be replaced more often, but if your FEP becomes cloudy or gets punctured then the only fix is to replace it.


I have an after-market resin vat from Sovol that has been wonderful to use. I also found out that it has significantly fewer screws holding the FEP in place and still doesn’t leak. There are still a lot of screws used in the process of holding everything in place, and making sure you are balancing your frame while replacing it is important to avoid slack in the FEP.

One of many machine screws

Once the screws are pulled out, you can dispose of the old FEP, and lay the new one in place. You’ll need to have a hobby knife or sharp tweezers on hand before replacing the screws. Machine screws don’t have sharp points, so you will need to puncture the screw-holes in the FEP before you can get the threads of the screw to make contact with the threads of the hole. The FEP will have some excess material around the edges, but that’s a good sign, since it means that you have less risk of a bad seal. You simply need to take a hobby knife and carefully cut around the edge of the vat to remove the excess.

Stagger your screws to keep even pressure

Once that new FEP is in place it should be drum-head tight. The video below shows some light taps so I could test the tension.

Volume up for tippy-taps

Final Thoughts

Preventative maintenance and a solid plan for accidents are the best steps to achieve worry-free printing. When those accidents happen: don’t panic! It’s all part of the fun of the hobby. The more you work with your printer the more intimate you will become with it, and the more you will be able to get out of your little box-shaped friend.


Happy printing, friends!

Print it to Believe it – 3D Printing in Wargaming

I am not paid by Anycubic, EmanG, Function_Follies_From_Formless_Failures, or RedMakers. All file design credit goes to the creators.

When the Age of Darkness box was released a lot of people in my area were buying into the Horus Heresy. I was all in, the game looked fun and was a more engaging historical game for me when compared to real-history games like Team Yankee or Pike & Shotte. The major issue with Horus Heresy was that the majority of models were, and still are, Forgeworld exclusive. Even the models that have been transitioned to plastic have either mostly been tanks or have massive supply issues. I like the aesthetics of the Forgeworld units, but Peter doesn’t pay me enough to cover those prices.

Enter the Anycubic Photon Mono 4k.

3d printer go brrrrrr

Against Games Workshop’s wishes, I found a way to build my army without having to sell one of my kidneys. This quickly turned into its own hobby. I have spent the past year with the printer running nearly 24/7.

Why Printing?

Other than the cost savings?

Let’s focus more on the ratio of work to payoff that printing can bring. I consider myself a hobbyist first and a player second. I find painting relaxing, and I spend almost every morning making some progress on my models. Printing allows me a nearly infinite supply of new models on demand, assuming I still have resin on the shelf.

Printing isn’t fast, by any means, but it allows for regular models for testing paint schemes or adding more unique sculpts to my army. The Skarbrand proxy I recently printed took nearly three days to finish, but the final result is, in my opinion, so much better than the original GW model.

Model by EmanG. Painting by @poots_paints

This model brings me to my second point: printing gives creators the opportunity to interpret models in their own way. There are plenty of one-to-one printables out there for GW’s models. GW puts a lot of effort into removing these, and I can’t blame them, it’s a direct theft of their IP. But interpretation of these models through a different lens by creators gives life to the units that you wouldn’t normally see.

Take this big dreadnought, for instance. This fits with the aesthetic of the Adeptus Custodes but is not a carbon copy of the Telemon. Or these guard models that are great proxies for the Solar Auxilia without being complete reworks of the Forgeworld models.

Model by Function_Follies_From_Formless_Failures
Credit: RedMakers


There are a handful of things you should consider before getting into 3d printing. Your printing experience will be affected by your expectations and the amount of work you want to put in.

Printing is very much a hobby by itself. Don’t expect to come in and have zero work on the front end. A poorly calibrated printer will cause no end of frustration from failed prints. There are safety hazards present from handling resin. The cleaning process involves a lot of consumables. You need to be ready to support your models. You need to be prepared to clean your printer when your FEP inevitably gets a puncture.


Safety is paramount when dealing with resin. There are articles upon articles describing why you shouldn’t handle resin bare-handed, why you shouldn’t breathe in the fumes, and why you shouldn’t just pour your spent cleaning fluid down the drain. There are ways to safely deal with all of this, some more eco-friendly than others, but it all comes down to how much you’re willing to invest in safety equipment.

Boxes of Nitrile gloves are the best way to protect your skin from the resin. Keeping a pair of gloves on while you are handling the uncured resin is mandatory to keep from being exposed to toxic chemicals. Even once a part has been cleaning and dried, you still should not handle it bare-handed until it is fully cured.

Fumes are a bit easier to deal with. We’ve all been wearing masks for the past few years, but the mask you wear makes a difference. Most printers are shipped with a small paper surgical mask in the box. This mask does nothing for printer fumes, and you should probably save it for the next time you get the flu. Personally, I have a re-useable P100 respirator that I use. It does a great job of cutting back on the smell, but the level of protection is probably overkill. A standard N95 is sufficient, but you should try to find a reusable one. It’s also worth noting that facial hair can disrupt the seal of your respirator, so be sure that you are forming a tight seal before handling resin. I have to tuck in the points of my mustache in order to get a proper seal.

You, too, can breathe like Darth Vader!

Finally, and this is important for your water supply, your neighbors water supply, and your local wetlands: DON’T POUR YOUR USED CLEANING FLUID DOWN THE DRAIN. It’s toxic to you, and it’s worse for local wildlife. If you do that you’re a bad person, and you should feel bad.

This salamander is now dead because of you. Credit: National Geographic

Instead, find a solution for curing the resin particles in the fluid before disposal. The best method I’ve found is to pour your cleaning fluid into a bucket or large jar, allow it to settle, then set it in direct sunlight to let the sediment cure. This process will probably evaporate a lot of your liquid, but I find that I only have to replace this fluid every few months. There are ways you can find online to save your alcohol for reuse, but I haven’t tried any of these, myself.


Once you have your safety equipment assembled and ready, you need to calibrate your printer. Your calibration is going to be unique to your setup. The ambient temperature of your room, your printer screen, and the material you’re working with can all have an impact on your print quality. I recommend a quick-read calibration print that will help identify where your problems might lie. The Amerilabs Town is a good example that shows off the possible specs, but I found that the Cones of Calibration make for a very quick study of how well your supports will stick to your model. TableFlip Foundry has made an excellent video explaining how to use and interpret the cones.


Cleaning your prints is straightforward, assuming you have the right equipment. I clean using a two-stage method. First, I wash the bulk of the resin in a pickle bucket. You can buy these from Amazon for around $10. It makes a great way to get an initial alcohol bath with some good agitation. For the second stage I use the Anycubic Wash and Cure station. It provides agitation similar to a washing machine, forming a small vortex in a large tank. Using it as a second stage keeps the alcohol cleaner, and won’t let sediment jam my agitator blade.

Speaking of alcohol, you’ll need some on hand. My pickle bucket has about 1.5l of fluid, and my Wash and Cure stores about 2.5l. I use 99% IPA, but you can get away with 90+%. I used water-washable resin for a long time to save cost, but I’ve found that washing that resin in alcohol leaves a nicer surface finish than washing in water. The alcohol also evaporates off the surface of the resin much quicker, which is a nice bonus.


Not all models are pre-supported. Most of the time if you’re pulling models that creators list for free on sites like cults3d or thingiverse you’re going to find that you need to support them yourself. Even if you are paying for files, there is no guarantee that they are pre-supported. Even if the files are pre-supported, there is no guarantee that the creator test printed with their supports and the prints will fail (I strong feelings on this).

Learning to add supports to your prints, and how to identify when supports have been done poorly, is vital in the printing process. There are lots of videos on how to create supports for models, but I highly recommend watching these two to get a basic idea.

For the creators out there: there are plenty of people that will add supports and test prints for your models for a cost. If you are going to sell your files, you really should have pre-supports, Lychee or Chitubox files, and test prints before you sell. No one wants to pay $10 for files, only for it to fail. That $10 file can become a $100 screen.

I have been supporting my own files for more than a year, and I would be happy to discuss supporting yours. You can contact me on Instagram @poots_paints.


I’ve found my printer to be mostly maintenance-free. Once it’s set up an calibrated it runs without issue. There are a few modifications I have made over time, notably a magnetic build plate and all-metal resin vat, but these are purely optional. I recommend regular cleaning. Even if your printer looks perfect, sometimes a small resin spill from an over-full tank can cause stickiness if it isn’t cleaned properly.

I’ll cover replacing punctured FEP and heavy-duty screen cleaning in a future article.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the above few sections scare you. This is an extremely rewarding hobby. I’ve found a huge amount of satisfaction in taking a model from liquid resin to game table. With some investment of time and money, you can find a near-infinite number of new models to bring to your painting booth.

Happy printing, friends!