How do you get a reptile snake skin appearance in a 3D print? We stumbled onto a cool method!
I was printing a combat robot chassis and stumbled upon this happy accident of a snake / reptile skin effect. To get durability in a bot for the “plastic ant” class, with its 1lb weight limit, and requirement that chassis and weapons must be 3D printed using only PLA, ABS or PETg, I used Chroma Strand Labs INOVA-1800 translucent green 3D printer filament, mainly because it looks cool- Watch for translucent green in Chroma Strand Labs’ value priced INOVA-2008 PETg soon!
The LulzBot Mini made a beautiful print, and the build volume was “just right” for a plastic ant. A good rule of thumb- If you need a LulzBot TAZ‘s build volume, your ant is going to be too heavy (ask me how I know..).
I created the model in Autodesk Fusion 360 (free for maker / student / non-commercial use!!) which has been an easy to use yet staggeringly powerful 3D modeling tool for quickly iterating through designs. The cloud sync makes it a snap to move between computers!
The key to is the infill pattern. I was experimenting with different infill patterns in the new CURA 2 LulzBot Edition Alpha and chose cubic for it’s strength. By happy accident, the combination of the translucent green INOVA-1800 and cubic infill yielded this cool pattern! Pictured don’t really do it justice as the surface is shiny, and the pattern shifts as it catches the light.