Typically when you aim to create a building for tabletop gaming the first building is typically a cottage or standard house would be created as a starter piece. However this is my third building type from the Kingdom of Thamarya Kickstarter (Previous: Blacksmith & Fisher’s Hut). What is most unique about this particular building from CastnPlay is that you can choose to print three different variations of the building making it one of the most bang for your buck.
I printed two of the three versions, the two story and a three story with an attic/ gable on top. The only version that I did not create was the standard three story. Overall these buildings were the easiest of all the buildings thus far to print. For FDM printers the majority of all layers of the buildings printed in singular pieces, with exceptions of the roofs. I did choose to print the entirety of the 3rd floor in pieces rather than a whole for FDM 1st layer choices and supports (More info: 3rd Floor Print Log)
Feel free to check out the Cottage Project Page for the Print Logs, Assembly Guides, and overall summary/review of the Cottage so far.
As for the current status: I am now officially on the final Painting step for these buildings! WOOHOO. The hope and intent is to paint them in tandem with the Blacksmith. However I did attempt several new things regarding my post processing steps with these cottages after assembly.
Always Trying Something New … Or Forced To
Whenever I do projects it is very common to attempt new things for personal growth and learning. In this case I tried three new new things.
- The Use of Spackle/ Drywall Compound for smoothing the underside of my roofs for improvement in finish.
- Magnetizing some of the layers for the building.
- Use of 0.5 inch foam for architecture flavor!
These were important steps for finishing the cottage but added a significant amount of time to its overall steps before priming.
I also was forced to try something new after priming my models because they melted and warped in the sun… Oops! I’ll talk about what I did to save these pieces as well.
The Search for the Best Compound for Terrain Gap Filling
On each and every single building so far I’ve attempted to use a different medium for gap filling between the pieces in the assembly for the buildings.
Fishers Hut: Green Stuff (Base & Roof)
Blacksmith: Milliput (Blacksmith Roof & Stair Modification)
So far each of these various tools had pros and cons in its usage. I have enjoyed Green Stuff for its sculpting capabilities but spreading over large areas was a problem. For several of these buildings I have not been the happiest with the underside appearance of the roofs due to support settings and the difficulty of the curvature of the sculpts. I have experimented using different settings such as support density but still have not perfected these prints for this particular set of buildings.
In general the underside of the pieces would never matter and almost no one would see them however I have a particular opinion that “I’d know and would see it”.
For the Blacksmith however I tried Milliput on the underside of the roof which had better spread capability than Green Stuff. It also dried harder and was easy to sand and cut away. The downside was that I tended to use a lot of it and it bunched together with itself to become bumpy without the use of lots of water.
So this time around I decided to try Dry Wall Compound also known in the US as Spackle. I ended up buying a small container of it online: “DryDex Spackling” as a 1/2 Pint (8 Fl Oz or 236 mL). I didn’t want to buy a large container because I had no idea if I would like it.
The fascinating thing about it was that it starts pink and as it dries turns white. This is great if you want to know if you can move onto the next step.
Overall I found it easy to smooth but terrible for sculpting. Some of the underside of the wood beams of the 3rd floor for example I tried to sculpt and found it extremely difficult and almost not worth it. The dry wall compound tried well and you could sand it smooth. Personally I hate the chalky texture and it definitely makes a mess when sanding. The use of a damp wash cloth or paper towel helped to clean up my workspace though.
Due to Dry Wall Compound and its actual purpose in home building you can simply prime on top of it without need of any additional steps once done.
What Did I learn? Its a great cheap choice for covering a large area, easy to smooth, see when dried, but not idea if any sculpting or more specific work needs to be done.
Have you used dry wall compound on any of your hobby projects? How was your experience? Is there something else I should know or test?
Do I like Magnetizing too much?
Ever since I experimented with magnetizing the Hydra model to have swappable heads, (Read Here: “How Do You magnetize Models Anyway?”), I admit to being a bit of an addict to using my new pin vise toy and magnets. Since these buildings came in so many sandwiched layers of; floor, walls, floor, walls, roof, walls roof, I did notice that the buildings as a whole were a bit top heavy. I want to keep the buildings completely modular and have playable interiors so gluing them all together was not idea. Instead I decided to experiment with magnetizing my FDM buildings to provide more structural integrity.
Magnetizing FDM is slightly different than Resin as my buildings in particular have very little material inside. I most commonly print all my pieces with only 5% infill meaning that 95% of the space inside the model is completely hollow. The buildings are still quite strong but simply drilling a hole in the model could lead to a magnet falling into the abyss.
The steps for magnetizing these models:
- Find the two pieces that fit together & check their fit
- Use a small pin vise and drill a pilot hole (I used a 2 mm bit)
- Use a larger bit to drill out the hole for the magnet. (Predominately used a 6.5mm bit)
- Mix some green stuff and push into the hole. This creates a sticky compound to keep magnet at surface of print without falling in.
- Check the fit of the magnet (6x2mm magnet)
- Check the polarity of the magnet. Make sure opposing magnet is opposite pole. To mark side that goes into the model I would mark with a black sharpie.
Apply Glue.Not necessarily needed for FDM since green stuff will harden and hold magnet in place.
- Use toothpick to navigate magnet into hole.
- Once dried check model again for fit and polarity.
- Optional: If desired could add super glue on top of magnet to ensure it does not fall out.
Note: Bold indicates new steps for FDM and crossed out is not needed.
In order to make sure magnets on both ends would match I did add bright acrylic paint on top of the magnet and combined the two pieces together to indicate where the opposing magnet holes are needed.
In the end I magnetized the 1st floor Base & Walls on both buildings. I also magnetized the entirety of the 2 story Cottage and 3rd Story addition to 2nd Story roof. Overall I did use 6 x 2 mm magnets and once used 4×2 mm magnets but preferred the strength of the the 6 mm diameter. The strength and fit feels really great with the one notable exception of the 2nd Story roof. I ended up putting magnets and drilling into the dry wall compound and due to the extra layer of spackle the pull force was not quite strong enough and is debatable on its value.
Trying to Add Architectural Elements
The one thing I wasn’t the happiest with regarding the design of this cottage is unfortunately a combination of weakness in printing models in filament and the sculpt itself. However it is also one thing I love about these buildings. As you can see the cottage gets wider as you climb up from the 1st story to the 2nd story of the building. To my knowledge this was a common architectural element of the medieval time period. The process of widening on subsequent floors in known as Jettying. If my rusty high school history lesson memory can be trusted, this was done because people were taxed based on square footage of 1st story. Therefore slowly expanding your house’s footprint going up was used. Others say that this technique is to increase space on the ground level for street traffic. Regardless I wanted to see if I could include it in the build itself.
The largest feature visible on these homes is the addition of support beams used and extruding from the underside of the next floor. I absolutely love this additional flavor in detail.
Why is this important for the Cottage? Well due to having to print the 2nd story floor completely flat against the build plate. There is absolutely zero detail for painting on the underside of the floor. This one aspect of the design of the building drove me nuts so I decided to try my hand at cutting foam and using it in conjunction with the building to add this architectural element. As a result it would add detail to an area of the building greatly needing it.
However, I have never tried using foam before. I know that foam is one of the core elements in almost all tabletop crafters toolboxes but has not been apart of mine…. until now.
I ended up purchasing Pink Insulation Foam, XPS that is 1/2 inch thick (6.35 mm) and cut a long sliver out of it to match the thickness of the existing wooden beams on the exterior of the cottage. Then cutting down length to size glued to the bottom of the wooden floor. I learned the hard way that you SHOULD NOT use superglue to glue the foam to the PLA which apparently melts the foam… oops. Silly Chemist you should know these fundamental principles. Well guess not. If you want to glue to PLA with XPS try PVA (Elmer’s Glue) or Hot Glue.
In general I was pretty happy with the appearance of this extra, wooden beams. To solidify the foam I also put on two coats of Mod Podge which stiffened and added extra adhesion for the foam to the PLA while also making it easier to paint later. The only downside is that I did not sculpt out the detail for wooden timbers before adding the mod podge. Guess I will have to go old school and paint on the detail. I was also able to prime the foam after the mod podge with a can of spray paint without melting the foam!
What do you think? Is this a worthwhile addition in detail?
How Much Heat is need to Melt your Building?
Yay, I finally finished all the post process cleanup to be able to paint! Or well so I thought. Since I do not own an airbrush I will prime my miniatures and terrain outside using a spray can and bring inside my enclosure to dry and ventilate out. However since I was working on two different copies of the Cottage I had many large pieces and they did not fit easily in my enclosure. So I left them to sit overnight outside.
Little did I know that it was going to be an incredibly warm the next day and my filament 3d printed pieces warped under direct sunlight. I almost entirely print on my Prusa MK3S using PLA or Polylactic Acid as the filament material of choice due to its ease in printing, releasing less toxic fumes as other alternatives, and low cost. However printing PLA requires a melting temperature of around 180 C or more for printing. Even on a hot day where I live my heat would only get to around 30 C or (85 F), 5 times less than what I print at. Regardless around lunch time when I went out to get the prints from the back porch I found this….
Both the 1st Story and 2nd Story floors warped. You can see the curve in the pieces themselves. Needless to say I was really frustrated and disappointed especially after taking the time to magnetize the 2nd story floor (I did not have the 1st story magnetized yet).
Talking to my amazing husband we cooked a plan to bend them back. Using the same heat that warped them we set the pieces out in the sun and used wooden blocks and weights added pressure points to bend them back flat. Overall It did really really well. I’m pretty satisfied with the results.
However the downside which was completely unpredicted. The pieces themselves shrank. This resulted in the male/female pegs of the floors not matching up with the walls anymore. None of the connections to the warped pieces would work. This was the primary requirement for magnetizing so much of the building. To salvage the parts without having to reprint I ended up cutting off the male pegs and magnetizing walls to all previously warped floor pieces. The end result definitely shows some more gap than I would like between sections of the building but we did save the buildings without having to reprint so much of it.
I am super surprised that the pieces shrank and will definitely have to go read more on the mechanical properties of PLA.
I have really been enjoying catching up on the documentation of my projects and working on these houses. So far I think the Kingdom of Thamarya Project is a fan favorite for many of my readers and Instagram followers. I am still a write up or two behind for this particular project as I finished printing the General Store and am currently in the process of assembly. Stay tuned for the project page on that building! I have also started printing the Mausoleum. Pretty soon I am going to write a status update on the Kickstarter as a whole and an in depth review of the project so far.
I have also been working really hard to update all the print logs for the Lost Adventures Vol 1 Kickstarter project.
Lately I have received so many positive messages regarding the work I have been doing on getting this site up and running and following along with my projects. It means so much to me, Thank you.
Let me know in the comments what you think of my latest installment to the Kingdom of Thamarya.
Carrie aka Crazmadsci the Crazy Mad Scientist.