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I decided that I wanted one of two things for my 40th birthday last year. A 3D printer or a '66 Chevelle. Since one is much more expensive than the other (and takes up a massive amount of garage space), the decision was simple.
So I picked up http://www.flashforge-usa.com/shop/3d-printers/creator-dual-extruder.html for a good price (about $100 less than listed on their site) and started to work.
After a few months of tweaking and tuning and learning and false starts and picking up a glass print bed, I finally got to the point where I was comfortable tackling a large project (also, my wife got tired of all the little plastic trinkets I was leaving around the house and asked when I was going to print something useful) with long print times and many pieces.
I've now started printing a full-size 3D Catan set (up to 6 players), complete with magnetic brackets so that everything will simply snap together and we won't have to worry about things like warping cardboard and table bumps.
For the main tiles, I'm using this set: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26979. One of the cool features is that it has recesses for roads and settlements/cities (and eventually knights for when I get REALLY brave), and spots for the number tiles, which will help keep everything neater.
Since my print bed isn't large enough to print a full edge, I'm going to go with individual water tiles with the correct placement of ports. Plain water tiles: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:261449, and water tiles with placement for ports: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:360187
The player pieces (settlements, cities, and roads), and port tiles will be taken from this set: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1238980
The number tiles will be from here, because they have the A-Z assignment, which makes placement easy: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:112018
And to tie it all together, I'll be using these magnetic bases which allow me to drop in a 3mm ball magnet and seal it all together with the tile: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:565756
All in all, my goal is to get printing and base coat painting done by sometime in the next 30 days. If I do no other hobby-level stuff between now and then, I may be able to bring the completed set with me to Expo.
As of today (4/19), I have printed 4 sheep tiles and the desert tile. A pair takes roughly 5 hours to print. Many of the other bits will go faster, some will go slower. I wish I could figure out a good support model so I could print the brackets in stacks, but they wouldn't be smooth at all and that wouldn't be good for adherence to the tiles.
Will update with pictures as they come.
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