Queen of Hearts castle

Queen of Hearts castle 1This is my custom made replica of Queen of Hearts castle model, decoration from rooftop from Alice in Wonderland themed Banquet Hall at Disneyland in Tokyo. I was commissioned to build it by staff of children’s hospital in California and it will be a birthday gift for one little girl and later decoration in her room.
I modelled it digitally and 3d printed in ABS on my new 3d printer. I finally replaced my home-built Printrbot clone with much more reliable Makerbot clone called CTC replicator. It is very reliable machine so far. I used it on few other projects I will post soon. It worked out of the box and cost just 400 euro with shipping from amazon UK.  It’s great value, cost the same as all the parts I sourced from ebay for my previous 2 printers which were only causing me problems for last few years.
The model is 24x24cm and 25cm tall but it printed fast because its hollow. All parts were 3d printed without support and it took 20hours to print main structure. I filled the empty space inside with rigid polyurethane foam for durability but keeping it light what saves on shipping costs. I had to split it into few parts so it would fit on CTC printer bed which is 23x15cm.
I designed the files based on 3 photos taken from almost the same vantage point because this object stands on roof of the restaurant. I tried to take the shapes from satellite images on Google maps, but this only showed that this decoration is only made of front walls with some steel frame on the back, what is invisible for guests of theme park. I took some artistic licence and invented back of the model.
Queen of Hearts, Tokyo DIsneylandTo get the  right shapes I uploaded the photo of elevation to CAD software and outlined towers with curved lines. I scaled the image to the size I wanted and then created horizontal lines at even 1cm increments. Every line intersects with 2 curved lines at 2 points giving me diameter of the tower at 1,2,3,… height. I drew all the circles at the plane and adjusted them to intersect roughly the same as the towers from the photo. I exported the plan to  Autodesk 123D and lifted all the circles to the right height at Z axis. Then I marked them and created LOFT  . I learned that from this YouTube tutorial about creating horns in 123D. It gave me nice solid piece ready to print on bigger machine but I had to split it into 2 parts. I used Meshmixer to do that.
Queen of Hearts castle 2I sliced both parts on Makerware software which came with the printer  using 4 perimeters and 0 infill. That gave me strong empty shape with top and bottom. I drilled few holes on the top an poured mixed polyurethane foam which quickly expanded and filled all space with rigid foam. Some of it spilled looking like strange volcano but was easy to remove when its hardened.
At original structure the stone work looks like painted because it was never seen from close distance. I thought that it may lack of detail on my model so I decided to scribe the lines with the knife. I did small test piece and it worked well with soft ABS plastic. It turned to be many hours of extra work. I pencilled them in the right places and cut with knife. Than had to sand them with sandpaper and dremel bits. It ended well but lesson for my future  self, next time with similar project just spend more time in CAD and draw them digitally 🙂
The extra bits on top of the towers were modelled in Google Sketchup as block model, then converted to solid and smoothed in Meshmixer and later with sandpaper after printing. The sanding process was dusty but greatly speeded with my mouse sander, I think it’s essential tool for post-processing 3d printed parts. I tried acetone smoothing but only used nail polish remover with the brush and it didn’t work great. Meaby it is too much diluted formula. I need to test it  with acetone vapour technique but this model would not fit inside any jar I had at hand. I just sanded and  then primed and sanded multiple times to remove all layer lines created by 3d printer.Queen of Hearts castle 3The painting was done with acrylics with many different colours to match original Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. The colours looked too vibrant so I sprayed it with fine mist of white paint. That smoothed the transitions and brushed strokes and made it look like airbrushed. I then added some dry brushed highlights and washes in the joints between stonework.
The finishing touch were 2 golden roofs on top of tallest towers. They were also 3d printed hollow and blank and covered with laser cut paper roof tiles attached with superglue. I used this technique because cleaning 3d printed parts with that amount of detail and sculpting it digitally would take me too much time. Another good reason that sticking it by hand gave me randomness I would have difficulty to achieve in software. Few coats of black primer and dry brushed gold gave me realistic and weathered look.



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