Fortnite Drift Mask: My First Ever Project

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Hi Everyone.

I recently got my very first 3D printer after a few years of wondering if I should. I would always watch other makers on here and youtube produce stunning props, replicas and models and just assumed I would never have that ability. Well, I thought what the heck and went with a very nice Creality CR-10s and I love it, I was shocked by the quality of the prints and I wanted to jump straight in. So I give to you for your very welcome constructive criticism, my first ever 3D print, first ever model painting and first ever maker project.

Thing's started out ok, I used a clear PLA filament. I didn't know clear was an option, when I ordered it I assumed uncoloured just meant white, but I figured I would be painting it anyway so it shouldn't matter. The print was due to take 31 hours and require little support. I should probably point out at this point that I opted to print the drift mask from season 5 of the game Fortnite. I found the 3D files on Etsy for about £11 which I thought was brilliant.

About 18 hours into the print I woke up and went to check how it had progressed overnight, this image shows how much of the print was done. It seems during the night the filament got caught on something and the spool fell over snapping the filament, luckily the CR-10S has a filament detection switch which got knocked off by the spool, this caused the printer to pause printing as it thought it had run out of filament, unfortunately not before it attempted to print a few more layers. I reloaded the filament and unpaused the print and it carried on.


It soon became evident that the print failure had caused a flaw in the print, you can see in this image that one side had a fairly large gap. I had seen a few videos on filling gaps in 3D prints so I was happy to let the print continue and I went off to order some car body filler ready for when it finished.


40 hours had passed and the print had finally finished. How proud I was.


I must have remembered a thing or two about the importance of making the print stick to the print bed because it was on there pretty solid. I prised at the support base and it slowly came away from the print bed, this is when I realised the weakness of the print failure was worse than I thought. The whole print split in two.


Not to worry, I went to get super glue and my body filler was due to arrive the same day. I quickly glued the print back together and did a rather over the top job at filling the gap.


Time to sand it. Wow, 3D prints take a lot of sanding, but boy was it worth it. I used 80, 120, 240 grit sandpaper to dry sand. At one point I went out to get an electric sander to try and speed the process up but I found it didn't make much difference and in general found it hard to sand the more detailed areas. The final stage was to wet sand with 1000 grit, I read that if done properly the print should have a glass-like feel, which I never truly believed or thought I would achieve, but it did and I thought it looked amazing. I then primed the print with a grey primer, I was originally going to use a white primer as this would be my final colour but I read the grey would help show any imperfections, it certainly did, so I went back over and sanded the areas that needed attention using the same process. I was unsure if wet sanding with the primer on was a good idea so I dry sanded with the 1000 grit to finish.


I then primed the print again and it looked much, much better.


At this point, I was stunned that I could produce something that didn't look 3D printed. Once the primer had set I applied a white gloss to the whole print this would be my base colour.


I should point out I have little to no experience using spray paint and painting in general. I soon realised gloss paint takes much longer to dry than the primer. and accidentally set the print down where it proceeded to pick up every piece of dust and dirt going. Luckily I managed to remove it all and cover it up nicely


Once the gloss white had dried I started the process of masking the areas I want to spray next. I had some very fine masking tape that I used to hug the detail of the mask.


I used a more standard sized tape for the larger areas.


My approach was somewhat simple. I had 3 colours to paint, pink on the ears and face markings, black around the eyes and mouth and gold on the piece running down the bridge of the nose. I had previously tested the pink spray paint and felt it might be a little too pink so I figured (and this may have been part of my downfall) I would spray the pink areas black first and spray the pink on top, maybe that would give me a darker pink.


All seemed well, so I let it dry and moved on to covering the areas I wanted to stay black and spraying the pink areas, pink.


When I applied the pink paint, it seemed much runnier than the white and black I had used previously, it would go on much thinner and took much longer to dry. I don't know if this was due to me using the black as an undercoat or because the pink paint just wasn't very good.

I left the print to dry once more and applied the gold to the centrepiece.


The gold came out stunning, this was just a cheap can of paint from the local supermarket so I was very impressed. Then after one last dry, it came time to unmask the mask and reveal my amazing paint job.


Oh dear, what a mess. a lot of the paint had run through the masking tape, especially the detailed thin masking tape and the whole paint job looked messy. I got to work hand painting and covering up the leaks with some white acrylic paint I had. I was reluctant to hand paint because I wasn't confident in my ability and really didn't want brush strokes. It took a while but I got there in the end and it looked much neater.


Now came the final step. I gave the mask a coat of clear gloss spray and allowed it to dry. I felt the clear gloss would sort of seal everything and bring back any shine lost by my hand painting. Here is the final finished mask in all it's glory.


In general, I am very, very pleased with how it turned out and I cannot believe I managed to create this piece from scratch.
I would love to get some feedback on where I could improve, what I could do better and help or advise for a complete beginner would be really helpful.

I think my struggle is the painting, I want to work on some more detailed pieces but painting them is my concern. I also want to see if I can discover a better sanding technique because some areas I just couldn't get to and the electric sander seemed to do me no favours, maybe there's a fine detail sander I could get? Or maybe I should just persevere.

Anyway, thank you for your time. I certainly have the maker bug now and I can't wait to start the next project.

Thank you,

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