Tiny Golden Owls



I tend to buy all my 3D printing fibres from Faberdashery. They are by no means the cheapest, but I’ve found their quality and consistency to be very good, and they have a range of really nice colours that go well together, at least to my untrained artistic eye.

There is one little trick that the company plays that is really rather cunning. When they send you a box of fibres they always include a few metres of a colour you haven’t ordered, to play with. This is sneaky because it usually ends up with me ordering a full roll of that colour. Today I got some new fibre and found that they’d included some gold stuff. This is not just gold, it has tiny flecks in it that look really nice. The picture above doesn’t really do it justice,

I’ve never really managed to get a happy ending when I print very small objects, they just tend to merge into one molten looking lump. However, I thought I’d have a go because if things went badly at least I’d not waste much raw materials, which didn’t cost me any money anyway. So I printed out a couple of tiny owl earrings and I don’t think they’ve turned out half bad.

A 3D printing tip: One of the things that determines the quality of the print is the “layer height”. The printer prints by laying down successive layers of plastic on top of each other. In theory, the thinner each layer the higher the resolution of the printing. My printer is supposed to be running at high quality when it prints layers which are a tenth of a millimetre thick. However I’ve found that in practice an ultra-thin layer doesn’t work very well. The print head is so close to the object being printed that it melts one layer as it puts the next on top, resulting in a sludgy looking mess. I’ve had much better results printing with thicker layers. The owls above were printed using layers that were a fifth of a millimetre in height. You can see each layer, but I quite like that, in the same way as wood has a grain, I quite like to be able to see how the object was constructed. I reckon it is worth trying to print out at with thicker layers sometimes. The printing will be quicker and it might even look nicer.