Making a Minion Chess Set

While browsing the various model sites I came across this chess set that looked interesting. Since my grandson has shown interest in the minions I decided to give this set a go. It has been a challenge!!

I am using Slic3r and RepetierHost to generate and print the models.

I printed one set in black PLA as I had that handy. This required a fair bit of “smoothing” afterwards. I think the speed was a bit too fast for the pawns as their belly had a fair amount of “bulges” that needed smoothing. I used a set of files I had on hand and things worked out fairly well. I tried a rotary tool with a grinding stone on the knight and it worked okay as well.
After making them relatively smooth with the files I ended up applying wood filler to make it even smoother. The wood filler dried in just a few minutes so I was able to file it down again same day. I tried painting a pawn, knight, rook/castle, and bishop without priming first. That was a mistake as the black PLA just made things too dark, the purple was almost black even after 3 coats. So I stuck all but a pawn and a bishop to a board, took them outside, and sprayed them with white primer. Just a single coat. Ten hours later I was painting the pieces and the colours turned out much better. So the blank PLA is now purple minions with green bananas.

I wanted to experiment with vapour smoothing but ventilation is an issue so ABS is not an option right now. Instead I used yellow PETG to print the second set. I tried vapour smoothing a couple pieces with some ethyl acetate. I need to play some more as the material became rubbery but not smooth.

The PETG was a pain to get the right settings dialed in. But I eventually got all the pawns to print. They had very few artefacts, mostly bits from the support material. The queen’s support material had me using quite a few choice words as it tended to remove good material at the same time. The label says to use 210-230 degrees. The supplier’s web site says to use 230-265 degrees. I started with 220 and it worked but only for small items. Printing at 230 worked for taller objects but felt oily in my hands, it also had globs that caused issues when they fell off the nozzle. Printing at 240 worked better, not oily, and few globs. Print speed remained the same for all temperatures as it was already slow.

A pawn would take 0:34 in PLA and 1:05 in PETG.

In all cases the bishop had issues with the bottom of the banana suit. Most of the time it would come loose and shift. The section would sometimes pop off the board, or it would break off the support material. With PLA I used wood filler to smooth things out into a nice straight edge. With PETG I did not have that option, luckily the first print went okay and the defect is minor. The other six prints failed at various stages in the first 25%, with one failing at 86%.

The knight, being a rocket, had issues with the wing tips. Every time the support material would come off the board or the piece wold break off and get dragged into the main body. I ended up trimming them back applying wood filler on the PLA prints and just painting over on the PETG.

I figure I spent one day’s worth printing the PLA version and three day’s worth printing the PETG version.
Then the time spent finishing the PLA prints and then the painting.
The finishing with the PETG was less as I just had to remove artefacts mostly left from support material. A knife cut off the bumps just fine.

I used acrylic paints I picked up at Walmart and Michaels along with assorted accessories. Hand painting these pieces is a time consuming task as I had to wait for each colour to dry before I could do the next. I also applied 2 or 3 coats. I was able to paint all the pieces with one colour and by the time I finished the first piece was dry enough for the next coat. Touch ups are still being done. There are up to 6 colours on any given piece.

the whole set before the resin coat

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