Indepth Look at the Anaconda from Elite Dangerous


Calling all Elite lovers out there! We'd like to do a deep dive into the work that went into bringing the Anaconda product to you all. This widely popular 3D print was meticulously checked and improved for full color 3D printing - we modified geometry, the texture maps, and optimized the hollowing of the craft. Check out our product listing here!

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There is something about this print, when you hold it in your hand you just want to run around the room holding it high making wooooooooshing noises - seriously. This giant ship dominates your table top looking like a G6. Details lurk in every corner of the vehicle and you can't help but just stare and examine the surface for hours. The engines glow blue flaring up in the dead of space, striping emblazoned on the exterior hull of the ship.

So what did we do to the game's 3D design to make it printable? Let's take a look:

This won't be an all encompassing list but I will highlight many of the biggest changes and how the regular and large sizes differ.

1. One of the most notable changes is that the exhaust flaps were removed from the model. We unfortunately had to make this call as they were always going to be too thin for us to print at this size. If we had thickened them up to make them strong enough for shipping and handling they would have hidden all of the beautiful coloring and details on the rest of the engines at the rear of the ship.

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2. A closer look at the photo above also shows the piping on the sides of the engines have been thickened as they were both floating geometry and too thin in the original 3D mesh. We think that the back of the ship looks rather impressive with all of the details that come out.

Now is a good chance to compare that beautiful detailing on the regular and large sizes of ships. Notice the 4 intakes on the top of each ship - on the large size they actually do have some great curved geometry where as on the regular size it is fairly small to make out.

3. Looking further forward on the top of the ships you can see that both sizes actually look very similar and this is in large part because there isn't too much small geometry at all to be scaled differently between the two sizes. Even the level of color detail is fairly similar as the top of the Anaconda is like one big canvas for the 3D printers to decorate. The crispness of the coloring is definitely better on the large size, but the regular size still quite incredible.

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We helped improve the way the colors are printed on the ship by sharpening the image a small amount, improving color contrasts, enhancing glowing areas like the exhaust and the red details over the surface of the ship, and lastly sprinkling in a bit more saturation into duller colors. Color texture map modifications are key to making ProJet 660 prints pop!

4. Lastly let's take a look at the bottom side to see what happened there. The biggest thing to notice (or not notice really) is that the model has been hollowed out to ensure that you get the biggest ship possible for your money! A necessary evil to hollowing is that you need an escape hole to evacuate the unused powder on the inside of the model. If you aren't sure what I am referencing here take a look at our How It's Made page to learn more about the printing process.

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The escape hole for the Anaconda is located on the belly underneath the 4 yellow stripes and the edge of the hole is hidden in a geometric crevice making it rather difficult to make out that there was ever a hole in the model! We have built some really cool systems for hiding these plugs in models so that you never see the magic that's happening to bring you your 3D print! (But come to the blog and read up on all the secrets :P)

Well I hoped that you liked reading about what went into the Anaconda 3D prints! Shoot us a message from our contact us page if there is more that you'd like to hear about - we get back to everyone!

-Your friendly neighborhood Printability Engineer