Context : Revival of the Inercia Association
As far as I am concerned, Jeenio’s initiative of reviving Inercia association, and thus ensuring continuation of Inercia Demoparty, was a very important milestone on the portuguese demoscene.
And, as such, I wanted to find a way to contribute to Inércia demoparty. One of the organizers, psenough, asked for someone to print the trophies for the compos , and it seemed to be a good synergy between what I like to do and what contribution would be useful to the party.
How it began
Work on the trophies for the Inercia Demoparty 2022 began on April of 2022, using harvestpt Inercia designs as basis.
I was given free reign on the design and materials to use.
The community on scenePT discord was consulted and regularly informed of the progress of the work on the trophy design as it happened.
The major goal was to have a custom designed trophy – I did not want to just get a trophy from thingiverse and stick a inercia logo on it.
The trophies were designed on blender, sliced on Cura and printed on a Ender 3V2.
The final design I ended up pursing has 3 main features :
- 2 material design : The main Body and the Crown are 2 separate parts, that are then glued together :
- The main body in PLA with glitter
- The crown, bearing the inercia color was printed with wood infused PLA, and then varnished (Although it was not my first choice).
- Lettering “Demoparty 2022” hand painted with glow in the dark ink, with white paint pre applied before hand in order to enhance the glow.
- Design variations for each compo.
In total, 48 trophies were printed, spread along 16 competitions , one trophy for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Each 3 trophies took around 32 hours to print.
What went wrong
Installed 3D printing capacity:
I expected to have a second, bigger and more capable printer completed and working by summer time, but that was not possible. Therefore the ender 3V2 had to do all the printing.
The ender 3V2 is a good starter 3D printer, but its not good for such heavy workloads :
- No filament detection sensor : got an empty spool mid print , and with it, 3 failed trophies, that had to be re printed, wasting another 20 or so hours of printing. This made me measure the weight of every spool to ensure no failed prints due to filament ending before the print.
- The dreaded layer shifting due to driver overheat , that led to more waisted material and time. “Fixed” it by leaving the board housing partially open. Remember that I am printing 3 trophies at a time.
- Issues with under extrusion, and broken filament, that were traced to a worn down extruder gear. Replaced the whole extruded for a dual gear , metal extruder.
- The crowns for the trophies were to be initially printed with 3 different metal infused filaments (copper for 1st place, brass for 2nd and steel for 3rd), but the issues with the extruder and bed adhesion forced me to go to plan B and use a wood infused PLA for all trophies.
- Trials with polishing of the metal infused filament have shown that more time was required to archived the metallic, polished look for the crowns in time.
- Due to the issues above, even with plan B, not all crowns were printed on time, and I ended up sanding and varnishing additional crowns at the party place.
- Excessive stringing in some trophies required to additional rework to be for the trophy to be presentable.
All this issues added a lot of pressure as the demoparty date approached, since the Trophy production workflow was as follows :
- Make the competition specific design in blender
- Slice it in Cura
- Set the 3D Printer and Print
- Rework the 3D print (remove supports, remove stringing)
- Add tape mask to avoid getting paint on unintended trophy surfaces
- Hand paint the letters with white background paint, to improve glow of the glow in the dar paint.
- Fill the emboss with glow in the dark paint
Multiply all the above by 48.
What went right
- The attendees of Inercia demo party loved the trophies, specially the compo winners. It is something very satisfying for me to see, specially when a lot of labor whet into these.
- The organization loved it, trusted and supported me (material costs included) even when the deadline was getting tight.
- Communication with the scenePT community during development was very important, and made the community feel more involved. This was noticed verbally by the attendees on the party place.
- I was able to adapt the plan according to the circumstances ( print failures, the change of materials for the crown when it was noted what they would not be completed on time, painting and gluing then at the party place)
- I was able to pull it off, by my self. Despite some crowns still had to be printed, all the winners that attended Inercia demoparty physically got a complete trophy!
- Trophy prototype should have been done with the final materials, and final finish in order to evaluate technical capability and feasibility.
- A way to pre-activate the glow in the dark paint in order to have it glowing during the awards ceremony must be studied.
- Increase 3D printing capability is a must
- Design of the trophies must be revised : if the trophy design is compo specific, and the compo has no entries, it will be wasted time and effort.