Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chain Mail 3D Print - First Try

3D printed some simple Chain Mail recently. Just small sheets to begin with - about 6"x"6" inches. But I am really happy with how flexible and sturdy the result turned out.

I used some basic black PLA from Hatchbox with a layer height of 0.2 mm on the Monoprice Maker Select v2. I was worried about the huge number of bridges, but the printer worked like a champ. I slowed the print speed by 30% on the first two layers of the bridging and got a solid print with no stringing. No supports were required.

The sheets bend well in one dimension and in two dimensions. They wrap around cylinders and even drape well over sharp edged shapes. There are some oddities in that behavior that depend on the orientation and spacing of the links. Nothing to keep me from experimenting, but it is something I need to understand more before I create any real projects.

I also experimented with varying the link-size and spacing between the links to see if I could add some visual interest or patterning to the sheets. It oriented fine, but the differences didn't show up as well as I had hoped. This might be because the chain mail was all black - maybe another color or surface finish would show the variations more effectively.

I also added a few through-holes along the edges of the small sheet so that I could tie several sheets together to form a larger sheet. It kind of defeats the concept of "pure 3D design," but it's a simple solution that I can use right now.

Overall, this is a successful experiment for me. I'm already working on a more finished piece with some extra goodies and techniques thrown in. Hopefully, I will have a small piece ready to wear soon.
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