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VF-1S 3D Printed 1/20 Scale Project


Aztek
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Hey All,

Thought I would start a thread to post progress pics and create a space to archive feedback and suggestions from those in the hobby.

Backstory:  Long before 3D printing was a widely accessible thing I had been working on a ultra detailed, mechanically functional, variable VF-1S.  There are a bunch of posts in the Fan Works section of the model and archived on the "old forums".  Some old screenshots  I'll post a few for reference since this project uses that mesh but modified and updated with my understanding of the 3D printing process and how the VF-1 transforms.  The original version of the model was based on the Hasegawa 1/72 fighter kit from the early/mid 2000s.  It had the best line art and detail at the time. However, when in battroid form the scale and dimensions for the legs, arms and head just looked off.  I started messing with my own take on dimensions working with mocked up fighter, battroid and gerwalk modes.  I settled largely on what is in the Fan Works forums and only minimally mess with the proportions any more.

Now that I have gotten in to the 3D printing hobby and have a Prusa Mk3S FDM printer and a Elegoo Mars SLA printer I've dusted off the old files and started working on modifying the mesh and creating STLs for the model.  When thinking about scale I knew 1/72 and 1/60 would be too small.  1/48 ... maybe but I have the toys already.  1/32 seemed appealing until I saw the 1/20 Plamax kits that are out now.  At 1/20 we can get the details in the cockpit, landing gear bays, panels with incredible detail.  The resin SLA printer is AMAZING at detail work and I'm looking forward to finishing those meshes (landing gear , landing gear bay details, cockpit, radome, head, hands, vernier thrusters, joint gears, etc).  1/20 also allows for more gimmicks like hinge design and maybe even onboard lighting one day

The first draft prints are of the arms to get a sense for scale and hep me with joint and articulation challenges.  I had a bit of the factory PLA that came with the printer.  The seams/alignment pins and fit all seem pretty good.  The underside of the inside of the forearms is stringy/bridged and sags a bit.  Need to figure out how to build better supports in the voids.  The great thing about 3D printing this is even though it takes time (and fails) we can keep refining the model.

There are renders of fighter and battroid below.  No morphing on either, rendered in orthographic view.  The joints on arms and legs are floating as well as a bunch of other locations as I still have to engineer how it all comes together piece by piece, then design how it will split and joining after printing.  It took almost 2 days for me to work out and draw how to work the arm articulation.

Going forward I'm continuing to use the Hasegawa lineart for panel lines/markings etc.  Also using the Yamato 1/48 and Bandai DX 1/48 toys as reference for joints and mechanical movement.  I REALLY like the Bandai 1/48 leg articulation.  In a break from the norm and because 1/20 gives you lots of space for strength, I'm using the swing legs mechanism from the Bandai 1/72 kit.

I look forward to your tips and any feedback or lessons learned you may have!

 

battroidrender.jpg.112c6ac6955da9a38c4b7a83b5c27006.jpg fighter.jpg.fe20f61722ab22b5b1316a409f4ffa44.jpgmv01_m0029.jpg.4548b49e3f663dd1d18ae5c43ef3b1ea.jpg

fighterrender.jpg

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Edited by Aztek
grammar
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Thanks for the comments and copy that MT.  In my opinion designing/drawing the STL files is the heavy lifting and thankfully I have a fairly complete VF-1 already.  Even the Super/Strike/Elint mesh, just the elint isn’t textured.  
 

These photos have a bunch of lessons learned:

1.  If the object can be printed as a solid instead of halves I’ll do it in the future.  

2.  PLA in draft resolution (speed, .20 layer hight) didn’t get me the clearances I wanted for the joints.  I’ll have to redesign the slack or come up with better joint designs for the elbow and upper arm swivel as well as printing clearances in general.

3.  The parts that are sandwiched between other parts like the bicep section between the forearm body and shoulder box needs to be thinner to not bind.  On the bicep thats between the forearm and shoulder I forgot to narrow it and now the part that sandwiches it doesn’t close fully. Also need to factor in paint/primer clearances.

4.  Always have spare filament.  I ran out at 98% complete

5.  If you look close you can see the alignment blocks on the part halves.  I used scrap .175 filament as the alignment pins.  I have a .170 mm pen drill that bores out these holes in post processing and it works like a charm.  

6. I was upset with the print and design errors then realized it only cost me about 1.50 and an overnight print job.

The VF-1 in one of the photos is the Bandai DX for reference. Note I liked the angle of the upper tip of the forearm piece as opposed to being 90 degrees in most toys.  I attempted to mimic that but reversed the angle by accident. Currently re-modeling the upper chest plate since the transformation, hinges, heat shield clearances are tightest under that.  I switched to PETG last night and have a long way to go to dial in the quality like I had in PLA. My benchy was a hot mess!
 

If anyone has a good joint design that ratchets like the knee joint please let me know.  I took an older transformer apart and have tried printing the ratchet mechanism with springs purchased online.  They don’t grip and hold the same plus the material doesn’t seem strong enough to support the wear overtime.  I wanted to avoid friction joints due to wear.

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If you want some good ready-made ratcheting joints, you could look into certain LEGO components.

The large ratcheting pivots used in the AT-AT set legs tend to make a really sturdy pivot.  Range of motion is a little limited, but with the right orientation, they might work well.  They're really just ratcheting turntables attached to lift arms, but they might need modification to work.

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/lego-technic-locking-hinges-ratchet-1809177114

 

Edited by Chronocidal
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Thanks Chrono!  I’ll look in to that.  
 

Here is an update I had to burn for motivation.  One of the most iconic parts of the -1S is the head.  All these parts are printed at draft quality and can go much finer.  Goal will be to complete draft resolution mock up of the VF-1 to work out proportions/joinery/articulation and weight.  After that I can go back in and edit in panel lines/removable panels/ gimmicks (moveable actuators on neck and gear doors?). 
 

Also switched to PETG on the head for more strength and heat resistance.  Still dialing in the settings but wanted to post this mock up.  Double chin, neck, laser base and individual lasers are all jointed.  Also the neck has a vertical axis so that it seats deep/flush in fighter mode.

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  • 1 month later...

So I moved from Japan to the US and have had limited time to work on this with my printer.  Spent HOURS working on the mesh since I had my laptop but only recently got the printer set back up.  One of the parts that I wanted to engineer “right” was the hip hinge just below the intake.  Most toys/models have it with a visible hinge but I really wanted a concealed/invisible hinge.  Found a “Soss” hinge online and drew one to make it work.  The pics are of the hinge itself and intake/upper thigh with a Dr Pepper for scale :)  the joint is more stable than the photos make it look!  Also drafted up the chest plate and joints/hinges underneath it for the heat shield, shoulder hinge and leg swing bar with true to anime function:)

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@sqidd In 3D scale is relative.  The same file I drew in 2003ish is still largely here.  The current proportions are a hodge podge of personal choices but using 1/48 Yamato and Bandai toys as well as 1/72 Hasegawa models.  To get this right for 3D printing I chose a scale and use a website with a scale calculator that told me what tip to tail and wingspan “should” be for a 1/20 VF-1 based on canon data. I also have a micrometer to measure down to .01cm and use it on my 1/48s and 1/72s to verify everything is cross checking right.  http://www.scalemodelersworld.com/online-scale-converter-tool.html ... is a godsend since I can measure in the software and all my real world reference objects and convert between everything.  
 

Long answer for some measuring by hand and some in the software and some from canon data.  All done in metric centimeters for ease ... not choice :)

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@MT it’s always been a dream to build or scratch build a large, detailed transformable VF-1.  3D printing has been my gateway to this and is an amazing hobby.  Great support across the community when things aren’t printing right as well.  

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3 minutes ago, Aztek said:

@sqidd In 3D scale is relative.  The same file I drew in 2003ish is still largely here.  The current proportions are a hodge podge of personal choices but using 1/48 Yamato and Bandai toys as well as 1/72 Hasegawa models.  To get this right for 3D printing I chose a scale and use a website with a scale calculator that told me what tip to tail and wingspan “should” be for a 1/20 VF-1 based on canon data. I also have a micrometer to measure down to .01cm and use it on my 1/48s and 1/72s to verify everything is cross checking right.  http://www.scalemodelersworld.com/online-scale-converter-tool.html ... is a godsend since I can measure in the software and all my real world reference objects and convert between everything.  
 

Long answer for some measuring by hand and some in the software and some from canon data.  All done in metric centimeters for ease ... not choice :)

Wow, I'm blown away with all of that work.:hail:

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I am loving the work you're putting into this and once completed will gladly pay you for your efforts for the files.
How robust is that hinge on the intake?  It looks great, but also not quite robust enough.  Will you back it up with a larger hinge concealed within the accordion intake?

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The accordion intake structure is the backup.  I’ll try and post a screenshot from the software.  The accordion acts like a shroud around the hinge concealing it completely.  There are also tabs on the inside of the outer skin that are limit stops so it doesn’t overextend.  

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37 minutes ago, Aztek said:

The accordion intake structure is the backup.  I’ll try and post a screenshot from the software.  The accordion acts like a shroud around the hinge concealing it completely.  There are also tabs on the inside of the outer skin that are limit stops so it doesn’t overextend.  

Nice, you are doing some good engineering on this.

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On 8/27/2020 at 6:31 AM, Aztek said:

The accordion intake structure is the backup.  I’ll try and post a screenshot from the software.  The accordion acts like a shroud around the hinge concealing it completely.  There are also tabs on the inside of the outer skin that are limit stops so it doesn’t overextend.  

There is someone else on Starship Modeler's FB Group doing a 1:20 scale as well.  Yours is much nicer so far though.  He used a 1:55 style transformation with additional articulation points.

Edited by Knight26
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Here are some screen grabs.  I'm not really sure if it captures the geometry that shows the "strength" of the joints.  There are limit stops on the intake and upper thigh pieces that stop the quarter/half of the accordion looking piece.  Like most toys it stays rigid/welded to the intake and the upper thigh rotates down along it.  The Soss joint fits inside the accordion geometry and I'm working to strengthen/thicken it where able without jeopardizing the pivot points.  To show how much other designing/engineering has been going along I attached a teaser of the swing bar for the legs that is stuffed under the chest plate.  This is based on the Bandai 1/72 model that came out around 2014.  I love the design and the larger scale allows for a better build.  No new prints as I'm low on filament and am looking at either the legs or chest/back/wings next and it uses a bunch in the process!

hip.jpg

hip2.jpg

hip3.jpg

hinge.jpg

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SSP? Fast packs?  :) Already have the geometry from my base model.  Just need to convert to a printable/STL format once I get the final dimensions updated on this project :)  The weight with everything is likely going to be pretty heavy.  Snapping in to place may not be enough.  I'm working on slide locks to secure the model in fighter mode.  I hope in battroid the friction joints will be stable enough!

strike.jpg

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