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Newbie 3D print build for Newbies - finished!

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I'm in the process of building an ANH E-11 3D print kit while I wait for my armor.  I thought I would post the progress.  Since I am new to all of this and not very social media savvy, I figured I should try posting a build before my armor arrives as I plan to post that build as well.  Anyway, this is my second 3D print kit - the first being a DLT-19.  Which I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.


The kit is from Blaster Master (Raymond) out of Florida.  It is printed in ABS and is a very detailed kit with many small pieces.  He has a Etsy store and I believe he is on this forum as well. 


Update:  Here is the finished kit (well, almost).  I went with the weathered look.



From what I can tell, the kit is pretty accurate and comes with all the proper add-on part that were added to the old Sterling like the power cylinders and counter.  The finished model does have a functional folding stock and charger.  There is an option for electronics that I am not including in my build.


So, I'm going to go through the basics with the hope that people that have never tackled a 3D print kit will get something out of this.  Plus, I will try to highlight my mistakes as I go along.  I'm part way through and forgot to take pictures at the beginning, but something is better than nothing.


By the time I thought to take pics, I had the barrel section pretty much done and was just starting to sand and prep the other parts.  By the way, if you are new to 3D prints, be prepared to do a lot of sanding!

This is where I started to take pics...



And this is an example of the barrel after sanding and priming compared to some pieces that have not undergone any prep work at all.



As you can see, the printing process does leave a lot of artifacts.


here is a link to a page I came across that outlines some of the common issues when 3D printing.  Just so you know what you are getting into and some of the challenges of printing with plastic.



Edited by wook1138
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As far as tools I am using:

small file set

small side cutters

needle nose pliers

dry wet sanding paper - from 100 to at least 300ish grit.  I use 600 on certain parts.

CA glue - I use a thicker glue - it fills in gaps a lot better and gives me some time to position the parts before the glue sets.

Filler Primer

various sticks and blocks for using with sandpaper


variety of sharp knives

Putty or wood filler

and other things that I am not thinking of right now.


I thought I would use ABS cement on this build, but because of all the sanding and the use of the primer I decided the CA glue would have to work.  Depending on the surfaces that you are gluing and the stresses that those parts will be under, CA glue can kind of suck.  It is not very good with shear stress or shock as it dries very brittle - from my experience.


I guess I should mention that I am pretty new to building kits like this.  I did some model building when I was younger (stopped in my mid 20's).  Everything I did was typical small-scale models.  Nothing like a 1:1 replica gun.  It took me a while to come to terms with that - instead of buying little jars of enamel model paint, I had to get used to the idea of buying large spray cans.  I do have an airbrush that I almost know how to use.  I used it to paint and detail my DLT-19 so I will be using it again for the E-11.


DLT-19 3D kit



Below are the different filler primers that I have used.  They work great at reducing sanding times and getting a very smooth surface. They both worked fine for me - the Dupli-color didn't spray on as well as the Rust-oleum but it seemed to sand a little easier IMO.







Edited by wook1138
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For anyone really new to this, I thought I would go through the sanding process on a piece of the t-track.  The sanding actually goes pretty quick and you really don't need to press very hard for the plastic.  Each stage is less than one minute.


In this kit, the t-track come in two parts - the base and the edge.  The parts need to be sanded and glued together.



These are supposed to be rubber, so the surface should be somewhat smooth.  Some cleaning up with a shape blade and sanding is needed. To be fair, this is a very close shot just to show the detail of the printing.




After 100 grit sanding...



I then followed that with 150 and 220.  I could have skipped 150 but my 220 was getting worn out.



And one coat of filler primer.  I usually spray on very lightly - about 3 coats - 10 or so minutes between coats depending on drying conditions.



Primed and sanded track base on right (just the front edge was done with 220 grit). You should see the plastic "highs" and the primer only seen filling the lows - you end up sanding most of the primer off. Depending on how smooth I need the surface to be, I will repeat the sanding and priming process 3 or 4 times and up to 600 grit. The surface is smooth to the touch although it looks a little rough in the pic - the lighter color is where the primer has filled in the grooves.



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So, the base and the top of the t-tracks didn't really fit together that well so I had to add some wood filler.  Wood filler isn't the best choice, but it is easy to clean up and I had it handy.  Also, tried dry fitting the completed t-tracks to the barrel and realized that they didn't fit so I had to clean out some of the vent holes on the barrel as well as file down parts of the t-tracks.  It wasn't difficult but does show that dry fitting everything is really important.


Also, I noticed that the t-tracks do not actually sit on the outer barrel. Is this normal?  I'll post pics in the next post.

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T-track assembly.


Gaps in the parts.  Used extra glue and ABS powder to fill then touch up with wood filler.



Wood filler thinned with water works pretty well in many cases.  Wood filler does not fair well when wet sanding as I found out on previous attempts.



wood filler before sanding.



I had to file and sand out this inner corner to make the t-tracks fit through the vents on the outer barrel.



Is this gap normal?  Also, the vent holes were very difficult to sand out.  Some people used a drill with sandpaper.  Since most of the holes are going to be covered with the t-tracks, I saved myself some grief and let the OCD go.


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This looks like a a detailed build. I was looking at one of these kits to do once I have my armor ready. I'm working on a Hasbro/doopy's build right now, but I'd like to go Centurion so I will need an upgraded blaster.

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11 minutes ago, Hankey said:

This looks like a a detailed build. I was looking at one of these kits to do once I have my armor ready. I'm working on a Hasbro/doopy's build right now, but I'd like to go Centurion so I will need an upgraded blaster.

yeah, I think there are over 100 pieces in the kit.  The trigger pulls, the selector switch moves, the counter has a moving reset button... .  If my patience holds out, it should be a pretty nice looking E-11 when it is done.   Probably not as durable as the resin cast ones though.

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Scope and Scope Rail.

This was pretty straight forward.  The rail comes in two pieces so they had to be glued together and sanded to hide the seam.  No issues there.   The scope itself was simple aside from the extra cleaning I had to do to remove some of the internal supports so that the pieces would fit together (no pics of that).   Note that the scope rail gets screwed into the rear sights - something that should be dry fitted before installing the rear sight so that everything fits nicely in the end.


The scope after sanding and covered in primer filler. There are still some unwanted lines. The lens cover piece (on the right) has a fairly large defect in it - it looks like the base of the print (the left side of the piece with arrow) slumped during printing or or warped during cooling. I will try to fill the depression with putty or wood filler. The piece will have a gap when glued to the piece beside it. I guess it will add some character.



Scope after a couple of primer filler coats and sanding up to 600 grit. The screws had to be trimmed down a little to fit in the provided holes - so they will be glued in next. I will add the lens "glass" and target graphics once all painting is done - so I will not glue the last few scope pieces at this time.  Be careful when dry fitting things like these little screws - if the fit is tight there is a chance that you will break the small piece.  If you are me, then there is a good chance that something will break.



The entire kit will get under-painted in either aluminum or hammered silver except for the scope.  I will give it a light enamel aluminum coat to help prime but then I will paint with a brass color.  I use Vallejo acrylics for most of my final coat painting (black or near black in this case) and i will use the Vallejo brass for the scope.  I will clear coat the brass before adding the final black coat.  I weather by rubbing off the black coat - the clear coat helps protect the layers below.


I will not use black paint on the legs of the scope (leave the brass) plus I will add a brass line (using a string or elastic band as a mask) about a cm or so from the front of the scope - this is a detail I've noticed in some reference pics but was not included on the print itself.  I'm guessing at the 1cm distance.  Thanks to photobucket, I've had some issues finding good pictures of this detail.


Scope rail with a couple of layers of filler primer and sanding. Ended up sanding with 600 grit paper to get nice smooth surface to contrast with rougher surface of the barrel. This piece is thicker than the original aluminum rail that was used - but plastic is not as durable.  I hope this is OK for Centurion (one day).  It looks bumpy in the pic, but that is just the primer in contrast to the original ABS.


Edited by wook1138
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Prepping the stock.

These pieces have been some of the hardest to clean up and sand.  This is mainly due to the piece known as the "wishbone".  It is quite delicate and did require me to remove support material.  Anyway, I managed to break it during the cleaning process.  It was easy enough to glue it back together and attach it to the rest of the stock.  gluing these two pieces together sooner than later is a good thing.  I would sand and clean the part of the wishbone that gets glued to the arm before separating the two pieces.  They come printed together with the same supports - I assume this is to protect the wishbone during shipping.


wishbone and arm in upper right.



I have to remove the supports below the mark - that does not leave much plastic supporting the piece.



it broke!  Time for a scotch.



Lots of CA glue and ABS powder sanded into the gaps.  Fixed.



This little pin is also part of the stock assembly.  I can't remember what it is called, but it goes inside the hollow cylindrical piece. Anyway, i won't go into what it does at this point, but I will mention that I managed to break it off while dry fitting it.  I had to use a screw as a tap to extract the piece stuck in the hole.  I glued the pin back together. 



The last part of the initial clean up of the stock was adding wood filler to the hollow arm part.  It was very rough and needed the extra prep. the other parts have been sanded and primed once.  they will get another layer of primer and then they will be painted with the hammered silver paint, like the barrel.


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Base coat painting of the stock (and barrel).

Once all the parts of the stock were cleaned up, then it was time for the hammered silver base coat.


I'm using a hammered metal enamel paint on the barrel and stock parts. I wanted to give these parts a slightly different texture than the "add on" pieces. From the looks of what I could find on the internet, the original sterlings (at least some) had a thick, rough crinkle coat. I believe this coating was removed from some of the guns used for ANH. So I gave these pieces a light coating as a compromise. I just liked the way it looked plus it helped hide some of the 3D printing artifacts.



What the paint looks like when dried.  It took a full 24 hours before it wasn't tacky.



And a close up of the barrel.



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Dry fitting the stock assembly.

So, I forgot to do this before the undercoat painting.  I should mention that Raymond (Master Blaster) does have instructions you can download and a number of youtube videos.  I suggest watching the videos as there are many tips in there.  Also, the instructions show a prototype kit - a few of the pieces are different and some other things are easy to miss.  Anyway, the stock does extend and lock into position so things need to line up.  I had to shave some material off the rear catch for the stock when it is in the extended position.  I also had to file down the pin that locks the stock in place when it is folded down.  During this part I also decided to sand some of the stock some more since the grooves from the 3D printing could be seen.  These areas only had a light coat of the metal paint on them so it wasn't a big loss.


Oh yes, and I broke that pin again.  There was a lot of friction in the sliding mechanism probably due to the paint.  It sheared off while testing.  So I fixed it again.



Had to shave off some plastic from the catches on the end of the barrel to the tabs on the stock would lock into place.



Stock now locks in the extended position.  You can see the horizontal print lines along the side of the stock.  This will be quite visible when the stock is folded up along the barrel so I will sand and re-paint the sides.



Oh yeah, and I totally missed this piece that gets glued into the butt to help lock the butt in place when the stock is extended.  I had no idea until I watched one of Raymond's youtube videos.  A little paint thinner to remove the enamel paint and I was good to glue the piece on. 


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Power Cylinders

The power cylinders come in two pieces - and they are very hard to sand.  You will need little sanding sticks.  I also used filler primer as well where I could.  There was some extra ABS in the holes where the smaller tips mount - this was removed with a knife.




On the smaller parts that are glued on to the end of the cylinders there are these extra bits that accept the wire that will run to the counter.  I didn't see these in the reference pics I saw but, oh well.  I clued these pieces on so that the extra part for connecting the wire is at the top.



When I painted the undercoat of hammered silver on the barrel, I masked off a spot for the power cylinders.  They are aligned parallel with the barrel as seen below.  I also put on a undercoat of aluminum paint on the cylinders (as well as everything else). The power cylinders are not glued yet but I think this is where I'll put them (after going through a number of other people's build threads).



The glossy aluminum paint does really show the print lines - which makes for a good opportunity to examine ones sanding job.

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Hengstler Counter.

So, the counter is made of two large pieces with a few smaller pieces.  One of the larger pieces requires some removal of support material so that the other part can mount into it.  Anyway, I thought there was an issue with one of the pieces - keeping the two pieces from connecting properly.  Turns out that the two parts are not supposed to join along a flush seam.  Oops.  So my counter is missing a slight seam that runs between the two pieces and is therefore about 2mm too short overall.  This became apparent when I went to attach the counter to the scope rail.  I will post pictures a little later.

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Hengstler Counter. I got carried away trimming the piece on the bottom to fit snugly with the upper piece. The support rafts were easy to remove (not shown) but the support material along the sides were very hard to remove. Turns out I didn't have to so this as the pieces are meant to not fit flush together. Oops.




I have taped off the area of the numbers in the counter.  I will add my Tk numbers in there... one day.  The red arrow shows were I am missing a slight spacing between the two halves of the counter.



Yep.  Some small parts. 



Ready for painting.


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Scope rail, scope and counter mount.

The scope rail clips into the outer barrel and is screwed into the rear sight.  I believe the instructions call for the scope to be glued to the rail and the counter mounts to be glued to the scope rail and counter.  I opted to use screws for attaching the counter mounts to the scope and scope rail.  I glued the counter mounts to the counter  - there are drill holes in the print, but because of my error with the counter, the holes didn't line up once the mounts were attached to the scope and rail.  I will have to counter sink the screws a bit so they fit under the scope rail.  I did this so I could remove the parts in the future.


Preparing the mounts.



Hole drilled-out with 9/16 bit (I think that's what I used).



I will have to counter sink these screws a bit so that they are not resting directly on the gun.



A close up of how the rear of the scope rail attaches to the barrel assembly.  I will have to drill a hole into the barrel.


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Base coat painting.

So the barrel got painted with hammered silver enamel paint.  The rest of the parts get a gloss aluminum (which is more of a lacquer-based paint I believe).  I do this because I will rub or sand off the black paint for weathering effects.  Also, it really highlights areas that need more sanding and prep work before I commit to my final layer of paint.


This is the paint I will use for most of the parts.  I will paint over with a gloss clear coat and then the black layer (which is acrylic).  Before the acrylic has a chance to cure, I will use paint thinner to gently remove black from areas that I want wear.



My fancy paint shop.  The heater is only there because I live in Canada - the garage is already cold.



Everything with a base or primer coat on it.  The t-tracks were painted with Plasti-dip spray paint.



Some obvious print lines in the clip.  I will need to sand and try some filler primer again.  The black will help hide some of this, but not much as one would hope.


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Ready for painting.  I sanded and primed a few parts after my first attempt at the aluminum undercoat.  I also glued on the grip, which caused some problems as it didn't seat very well into the provided slot.  This required some putty to clean up the seam where it attaches to the barrel.  counter sunk the screws that attach the counter to the scope and rail - I will need to sink them some more.  The pin that locks the stock into the folded position (as seen in the picture) need to be glued in place so it is not installed and therefore not holding the stock snugly to the barrel.


I still need to install the hex screws into the muzzle and screw down the back of the scope rail.  the t-tracks are not glued on at this point. The the counter is missing the numbers the clear cover.  The scope is still missing the target graphic and clear over as well.







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Last few things before the clear coat.


I painted the scope brass.  I also put a very light coat of brass on the Hengstler counter.  Some of the reference pics I came across shows the counter as being a brassy looking metal - not truly brass from the looks of it, but not completely silver or aluminum looking either.  I also added the hex screws to the muzzle.  I had to drill the holes out and glue the screws in.  I also re-shaped the pin that locks the stock into the folded position to that it fits into the slot on the bottom of the outer barrel.  I had forgot the wires that connect to the counter.  I had to very carefully heat the ends of the wire with a lighter (just wave the lighter about an inch below the wire a few times and it will become malleable for a couple seconds).  All the pieces got a clear coat of lacquer (testors gloss).  This helps seal the under coat so that it doesn't get removed during weathering.  Because I'm painting over acrylic and enamel with the lacquer, I put it on in very thin coats.


Drilling out the holes for the hex screws.



I had to reshape that ridiculous pin that I broke... twice.



Found a counter sink bit in my toolbox.  Makes the job easy.



Scope and counter painted with brass paint (picture over emphasizes the gold color).  The counter just got a light dusting of brass over the aluminum.  I will clear coat everything with gloss lacquer - people say never use lacquer over enamel or acrylics.  Since this is a undercoat, I'm not too worried.  Plus, I have used lacquer over other paints before - just wait for the paint to full cure and apply the lacquer in very light coats at first.



Straightened the end for the "wire".  It is plastic filament.  Just used the lighter to soften the plastic.



"wires" glued onto counter.


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First...New trailer looks pretty good.  Already got my tickets for Friday the 15th of December.  :)


So I had to mask a few parts on the scope so that the brass would show through.  I used an elastic band to leave a brass ring around the front part of the sight.  I used tape for the leg of the scope.  For the stock, I tried something new.  I wanted a weathered look for the gun, but I want to go with more of a chipped paint look for the stock and barrel (the parts with the hammered silver base).  So I tried some liquid mask.  I worked pretty well for this purpose.  I tested it on the stock parts first - so tomorrow or the next day I will finish the barrel in the same manner.


Scope with some tape and elastic band for masking



Liquid mask for the stock pieces.  I just added to areas that I would expect to get hit in a manner that the paint would chip off.  Also, I used some of the blemishes from the printing process to use as wear and tear.  This stuff just paints on like any other paint and sort of drys like white glue would.  You just peel it off after you paint over it.



I may have over-did it a bit.  Oh well.


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Black coat paint and weathering


So I made a mixture of not-quite-black.  It is about 90% black with some gunmetal and blue and burnt umber (all Vallejo air).  I use an airbrush so I am not limited to what comes in a can.  I painted the scope, counter, clip, and stock assembly.  The stock also had the liquid mask on it.  Once the black had a chance to dry, I peeled away the areas with the masking.  I also used paint thinner to rub the paint off along edges and where ever I wanted some metal to show through.


Stock pieces with the liquid mask removed.



Then after giving the pieces a rub with paint thinner on a paper towel.



The clip and counter before any weathering.



A gentle rub of paint thinner along the edges.  The black went on a little thicker than I planned and it didn't have much time to dry, so the thinner took off the paint in a fairly aggressive manner.  I will wait for a few hours and try again to see if I can get more of a worn look and less of a chipped paint look.



The scope.  I will try some very light sandpaper on the eyepiece to replicate a brushed metal texture - maybe.


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My quality control officer (aka my four year old son) stands on duty.   Time to go watch the trailer about 30 times.



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Painted the barrel and added weathering. A lot of weathering. Just waiting for one piece to dry then I can assemble and do the last detail painting.









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Sight for scope.

In the instructions for the build there are graphics for the sights. I printed them out on heavy stock presentation paper and adhered them to clear plastic with clear silicone. I used curved plastic (from light bulb packaging) for the front sight for a convex glass look. 


Using scrap pieces of plastic packaging.



The back eye piece - the graphic is behind the plastic and just set into the eye piece.



The front part of the scope.  This smaller graphic is glued to a piece of wood dowel with a curved piece of plastic attached with clear silicone.



It is hard to tell in this pic, but the front lens has a convex shape that catches the light - what I was going for.


Edited by wook1138
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Detail paint and finishing


So I added some detailing here and there.  did a little dry brushing with the silver.  Used the gunmetal in a few spots (very light wash).  And then I used the black wash over most of the gun to give it a dirty look (and to knock down the brightness of the scope brass).  I tried to give the whole gun a satin clear coat - but the paint really gummed up my airbrush so the satin coat is a little thin - as was my patience.  I  put a coat of gloss clear coat on the grip.


paints used for detailing



Oh yeah, the kit comes with little plastic number and a few letters for adding your TK (or other) identification to the counter.  I do not have and ID yet so I left this part for later.


Edited by wook1138
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