Materials Explainer: Black High Definition Acrylate (BHDA)

Goblin warrior by Terror Form Miniatures 3D printed in Hi-Def Acrylate

Shapeways Black High Definition Acrylate is a great material for making extremely detailed objects, from tech accessories to jewelry to wargaming miniatures.

“My friends think it’s really cool I’ve got my own custom army,” says James Tasker, who runs the Terror Form Miniatures Shapeways shop and makes many of his fantasy figures in High Definition Acrylate.

High definition acrylate is printed one 50-micron layer at a time. Once a model comes out of the 3D printer, Shapeways technicians wash it in an alcohol bath, remove support materials by hand (unless you prefer to remove them yourself), and cure it under ultraviolet light.

“My goblin warrior was the first miniature I printed in BHDA,” Tasker says.

“I was really amazed by the smooth finish and how paintable the material was. I’d tried Frosted Detail, which has amazing resolution, but it had always been a bit tricky to paint. Even though I’d seen some pictures and read up on BHDA, I was still really impressed at how close it comes to typical injection-molded plastic models.“

Tasker urges anyone interested in working with BHDA to pay close attention to the material guidelines. He took a conservative design approach at first, then got more ambitious with his cleric’s ball and chain and his scaly snake-monster).

Painting can start off simply too, says Tasker. “The goblin warrior is pretty much just a few basic colors applied with a run-of-the-mill paintbrush with some inks to add shading,” he says, adding that YouTube is full of great tutorials for painting miniatures. “After the goblin warrior I started playing around with an airbrush, which can add a serious amount of character and shading in seconds.”

What have you made in Black High Definition Acrylate? Share your projects in the comments below for a chance to be featured on Shapeways Magazine.

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