Resolution? No. Orientation. It’s all in the design.

One of the main complaints about commercial 3D Printers is the presence of “stepping” that ruins the surface finish of a model. This is often blamed on the lack of layer resolution of the printer, but, in truth, the orientation of the print plays a much bigger role.


Same files printed at 0.1mm layers height. The one on the right was printed horizontally and the one on the left was printed vertically

The picture above is the front part of the turret of the Tiger (same file, same layer height (0.1mm)). The only difference is that the one on the right was printed horizontally and the one on the left was printed vertically. As you can see, by simply changing the orientation of the part, the stepping is completely eliminated giving the part a great finish 🙂

3D Render of the turret assembly.

The Assembled turret. Front of the turret is printed vertically, the back of the turret is printed horizontally.


Tiger Ausf. E painted. The model received no post processing before painting. It was printed, assembled, then painted.

By playing around with the the print direction and by printing the tank as an assembly, what we end up with is a model that look just as good as any injection molded mini. Note: the tank was printed and painted without any post-processing. Weathering was then added to give the Tiger a more battled hardened look.


Conclusion: for a great 3D printed model, smart designs matter far more than the printer itself.

Thanks to Le Zonion for his talented painting.

The STL files for the Tiger can be found here:

The Tiger was printed in 28mm scale, but the file can be printed in other scales as well.



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