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lyneux

3D Printed Tree Armatures

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Think of the amount of time it takes to make a really good tree armature by the time-honoured technique of twisting strands of wire together and covering in modelling clay. Now think about how quickly this could be accomplished using 3D printing and algorithms.

 

I've been playing around with Blender and a plugin called 'modular tree' to create tree armatures for 3D printing.

 

They look quite lifelike and are nice and random. The attached screenshot was the result of 5 minutes of playing with the package. I was able to create a manifold mesh by closing up the 'hole' at the bottom of the trunk. There are tons of parameters that you can play with. To get an idea of what this package is capable of have a look at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQx0eh8z-iM

 

I'm going to set the printer off in a moment and see how I get on. Watch this space....!

 

Guy

Screenshot_2020-04-27_at_18_31_02.png

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Great idea that! Look forward to seeing the results. 

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Probably a heap of sludge in the bottom of the vat, but it feels worth a try!

 

I'm going to try something more like the size of a shrub to start with so that I don't have to wait for ages to see if it is viable.

 

Guy

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I suspect you’ll lose some definition toward the end of the branches and they’ll droop, but definitely worth a try as you say for a few minutes and a bit of resin!

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The amount of support required for that would be huge, but the idea is interesting.

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The aim is to print without supports but this will require the angles to be correct (i.e. the branches all pointing more or less at 45-90 degrees upwards).

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I wonder if something like an oak tree with more established 'limbs' might be better, then again they probably would need supporting at their extremes.

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First very small-scale results are very promising! This would be something like a rose bush in 4mm.

 

In principle, the technique works.

 

For trees with large horizontal lower branches, I will make a split, detach the branches and print these vertically to be later re-combined.

 

I feel the need to do something bigger now I know it works without additional supports.

 

Guy

IMG_6884.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Here is the model that I printed it from. So it's clear that quite a few branches haven't printed properly, but this almost doesn't matter. Also the branches are incredibly fine at their tips, a fraction of a mm.

 

 

Screenshot 2020-04-28 at 12.31.17.png

Edited by lyneux
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Looks good.  Are you using a resin printer? If so could you break the tree above into say the 8 or 9 large branches plus the trunk, (maybe create spigots and housings to aid  reassembly) then arrange them individually angled more horizontally on the print bed - or at least as many as would fit.  Printing time would then be greatly reduced, plus if one branch didn't print you haven't wasted the whole tree, just redesign and reprint that bit.

 

Just thinking out loud!

 

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Posted (edited)

It's an Anycubic Photon.

 

The point of printing upright (or upside down in fact) is so that they don't need supports. If I printed the branches horizontal to the print bed then I'd have lots of supports to tidy up and remove. Print time isn't a massive issue as I'm only printing with 0.5mm layer thickness at the moment. But I agree, I think I will need to print several branches at a time and have them attach to the model.

 

The software is great fun to use and doesn't take long to assemble a very authentic looking tree armature. I'm only beginning to understand all of the settings by playing with it. You can vary most parameters that govern the shape of the tree.

 

Here's a bigger one next to the first one that I did (but still only about a quarter of the size that it needs to be).

 

It'll be interesting to see how a bit of paint, postiche hair and 'leaves' improves the look.

 

Guy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree1and2.jpg

Edited by lyneux
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The gradient effect on the transparent resin is pretty cool too!

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Great idea! 

 

Aren't they a bit brittle once cured though? Perhaps worth trying in a "flex" resin if they were going on a layout?

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