For this week’s edition of Inventor Spotlight, we talked to the outstanding 3D designer and creator, Simon Clark, also known as Topgunsi. We chatted about his inspirations, the creative process behind the colossal T-Rex head model, and advice for people starting with 3D printing.
What Inspires Simon to Create in 3D?
For Simon, the journey towards 3D printing started when he stumbled across the VR sculpting app, SculptrVR three years ago. The app is available on most VR platforms. Nathan, the developer, created the app to give people with VR devices an easy way to make organic type models to 3D print. When Simon started using the app, he realized that it was a lot more powerful than it looked. Then, Simon wanted to 3D print one of his models to give the developer a token of appreciation for the app. He received several quotes from 3D printing companies to print the model, but after talking SculptrVR discord member Auwimo, Simon decided to get his own Ender 3 Pro. Simon instantly fell in love with the Ender 3 Pro 3D printer’s prowess and the ability to bring his 3D models to life. So far, he has focused on printing reptiles and dinosaur models. He has done numerous prints now, and they have progressively been getting larger and more ambitious.
Tell Us About the Creative Process Behind T-Rex Head?
Simon’s raptor head was seven pieces and took a week of printing. The results were fantastic. When he started the Rex, he had just upgraded to a direct drive Extruder, which turned out to be an excellent upgrade. The Rex took over 700 hours of printing in total and in 53 prints. Simon did a couple of test pieces at first to check the settings. Fortunately, from the first print to the final part, he did not face any major hiccups or fails.
Simon is driven and motivated by the creative freedom to create unique models and then print them. He summed it by saying, “It is a pretty special feeling seeing a design from virtual reality come to life in PLA.”
Advice for Beginners?
As per Simon, patience is the key, especially for the beginners. It will take time, but the results are rewarding and completely worth it. As for the people interested in big multiple part prints, Simon recommends using an inexpensive 3D printing pen and a soldering iron to stitch all the parts together. The pen worked wonders for Simon on the seams, and he was able to fix any minor warping issues. The biggest and most time-consuming part of the process was using a 3D builder to cut and dissect the model. It involved using a plane cut tool and position and repair each piece so that it was watertight and needed no supports to print and saved filament. In the end, it used 9 kilograms of PLA, at printing temp of 200 degrees, Bed 65 degrees, layer height was 0.28, at the speed of 60, and infill varied between 1% and 10% depending on the shape of the piece.
Where to Find Topgunsi?
You can find Simon on Instagram @topgunsi and Reddit at u/topgunsi.
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