Saturday, November 23, 2013

3D Printed Type 92 Japanese Tankette

 There's a interesting thread over on the WWPD forum by Nate (aka Rabid Monkey) that discusses the design and creation of 28mm vehicles using CAD software and a 3D printer.  Nate is an extremely well skilled operator and one of his creations is a 28mm Type 92 Japanese Tankette.  It's so nice I bought two!  Each model comes with 11 pieces which are pictured to the left (oops, the turret is missing - well wait for the next picture).

 The model goes together extremely well - the part fitting was perfect and the detail is amazing.  As per Nate's suggestion, I used super glue which does bond very fast given the porous nature of the printed material (its a type of ABS, I think).  Test fitting all the parts is a must.  As these are pro type models they're a bit delicate - the sharp eyed amongst you will notice that I replaced the Medium Machine gun on the right turret with some brass rod.  I broke the gun off and lost in the carpeting under my workbench.  I think there's enough missing parts under the workbench for a whole army, but that's material for a future post.

 Next is a shot of the Type 92's primed.  As with most of my miniatures, I prime with grey auto primer as it helps me see the details and its' both very reliable and cheap.

A picture from the reverse side.  The detail that can be added via the 3D printing process is amazing.  For example the inside portions of the tracks and wheels are detailed and the rivets are both at scale and easily visible.

3D printing technology is still in it's very early stages and currently requires both a very talented designer and a fairly expensive piece of equipment.  I think it has great promise for just in time manufacturing and our hobby in particular over the next 5-10 years.  Similar to the way we can buy rules on PDF's or configured for tablets, I think we'll see the day when figures are purchased via the download of limited use cad designs which we then print out a preset number of copies.

Very exciting stuff.

14 comments:

john de terre neuve said...

Really very impressive looking models. I was curious, you say these are prototypes and remark that they are delicate. Is the plan to use a different material, I notice that the main gun looks a little droopy.

These 3D printers are amazing, and all though I am not a luddite they do make me nervous. The fact that you will be able to make "anything" is somewhat frightening to consider.

John

jmilesr said...

These aren't really production models and the guns are "true-scale" Most manufactures make over scale gun barrels to avoid the droop or breakage. I'm not sure what Nate wants to do with his Cads long term but it's pretty neat

As for the tech, it ail pose interesting challenges to current IP law and well as the application of judgement - the difference between "can do" and "should do" and knowing when the latter prevails

The Wilde Goose said...
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The Wilde Goose said...
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Mike said...

Those are very nice; good job on the assembly. It will be very interesting to watch this technology develop to the point where all you need do is scan a picture into the machine and it spits out the model parts.

Dan Vincent said...

Amazing detail on these. Hard to imagine they are 15mm scale.

jmilesr said...

Dan - the tanks are 28mm or 1/56th scale but the detail really is superb.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Wow... I'm convinced these 3D printers are going to be gigantic for the hobby.. only a matter if time until they become more affordable and then the skies the limits... need a couple of figures to make up a unit? Just print them... Need the type X variant of the PzIII? Just print it... What I worry about is figure piracy ...

Steve-the-Wargamer said...
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Allan and Carmen said...

They look fantastic! I have been following Nate's work with interest.

I can see the guns are thin but is the tankette brittle and would it break easily with normal handling during gameplay?

Got to ask as a prospective buyer ;)

Happy Gaming,

Allan

Lee Hadley said...

I think 3D Printing is going to be the next big thing in our hobby. Its already starting to appear in different ways, with terrain and buildings for instance. Especially as the qulity of the printing improves, and the latest use of 3D printing of metal objects works its way into practical usage.

Luther Elmo said...

Jmilesr,

I'm in the process of making a BA Japanese army that these tankettes would be perfect for. Does Rabid Monkey sell these, and if so, do you have contact information for him? I looked at the thread over at WWPD and couldn't see how to contact him directly. Thanks in advance.

jmilesr said...

Luther:
If you join the forum there's a PM function and you can contact Nate (Rabid Monkey) that way

jmilesr said...

Luther:
If you join the forum there's a PM function and you can contact Nate (Rabid Monkey) that way