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[Min KSP 1.12.X] Sandcastle: 3D printing for parts and vessels


Angel-125
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I'm still dealing with a lot of burnout- work is the primary reason- but I'm working on some parts for Sandcastle. First is the Sandcastle 3D print shop (WIP), available when you unlock Advanced Construction:

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This is a 6.5625m long, 2.5m in diameter part that is dedicated to 3D printing parts. You'll be able to print objects up to 11,000 L in volume, and it has 11,000 L of stock cargo space. That's big enough to print and store an FL-TX1800 Fuel Tank (or a part that is up to 1.875m in diameter and 3.75m long). I'm also debating adding a larger 3.75m "Sandwave" print lab, but I think handling 2.5m parts through stock construction will be unwieldy. The idea behind the mod's 3D printers is not to print everything out there, but rather, a limited subset. You'll be able to print up and manually assemble small vehicles but not whole vessels and bases.

If you want to print up entire vessels, you'll need Extraplanetary Launchpads and to use the Sandcaster 3D Printer (WIP), available when you unlock Automation:

UhgvHvs.png

Land one of these robotic printers, provide it with materials, and let it print up your base or vessel without the need for kerbals on site. Another version of this will be designed to work with the orbiting shipyard parts as well.

Time permitting, I hope to have the Sandcastle done by the end of the year, and release it along with the shipyard parts. The Sandcaster will take longer since I also need to integrate it with Extraplanetary Launchpads.

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Looking good Angel, models looks very promising! Also the design choices for using the printers seem very reasonable, like the option of having manned and unmanned printing. Maybe the unmanned printers have a higher cost in resources and electricity, to cover machine errors in printing?

For the Sandwave printer, maybe it can switch between either a single larger printer or two smaller ones? So that bringing the larger one could allow you to print several parts a once?

Make sure to take some time and to do something enjoyable this time of the year. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

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2 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

If you want to print up entire vessels, you'll need Extraplanetary Launchpads and to use the Sandcaster 3D Printer (WIP), available when you unlock Automation:

UhgvHvs.png

Land one of these robotic printers, provide it with materials, and let it print up your base or vessel without the need for kerbals on site. Another version of this will be designed to work with the orbiting shipyard parts as well.

Inspired by Relativity Space’s Stargate?

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19 hours ago, 4nxs said:

Looking good Angel, models looks very promising! Also the design choices for using the printers seem very reasonable, like the option of having manned and unmanned printing. Maybe the unmanned printers have a higher cost in resources and electricity, to cover machine errors in printing?

For the Sandwave printer, maybe it can switch between either a single larger printer or two smaller ones? So that bringing the larger one could allow you to print several parts a once?

Make sure to take some time and to do something enjoyable this time of the year. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

Hm, well, the idea behind needing kerbals for the Sandcastle is that the parts are made for EVA construction and you need kerbals to do that. Not sure what the use case for unkermanned printers would be.. Parallel printing wasn’t a consideration when I made the printer plugin, but you can adjust the print speed through the configuration file to approximate having multiple printers.

I definitely will be taking time off, binge watching shows, and the like. :) 
 

17 hours ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

Inspired by Relativity Space’s Stargate?

I am not familiar with that one, actually. I based my design on NASA’s con Images for 3D habitat printers.

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37 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

Hm, well, the idea behind needing kerbals for the Sandcastle is that the parts are made for EVA construction and you need kerbals to do that. Not sure what the use case for unkermanned printers would be.. Parallel printing wasn’t a consideration when I made the printer plugin, but you can adjust the print speed through the configuration file to approximate having multiple printers.

I was thinking along the lines of sending a printer ahead and have start making some parts for when the Kerbals arrive. Like everything for a rover and then they can assemble it when they arrive. But see what fits your design best,  Extraplanetary launchpads also covers that :)

And if you Apple TV, I recommend Foundation if you haven't seen it yet.

Edited by 4nxs
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On 12/11/2021 at 8:46 AM, 4nxs said:

I was thinking along the lines of sending a printer ahead and have start making some parts for when the Kerbals arrive. Like everything for a rover and then they can assemble it when they arrive. But see what fits your design best,  Extraplanetary launchpads also covers that :)

And if you Apple TV, I recommend Foundation if you haven't seen it yet.

Hm, I think I see what you mean. I can look into making the Sandcastle optionally kermanned.

And yes, Foundation was great.

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@4nxs As it turns out, I've already designed the 3D printer plugin to not require crew. But if the print shop has engineers inside (technically, anyone with the converter skill), then the shop will benefit from speed improvements.

Meanwhile, I've got the exterior for the Sandcastle 3D Print Shop done. It holds a crew of 2 (I need to do the IVA next), and the print shop will play an animation to let you know that it is working. Here's a preview:

TQiRXRo.png

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And here is the Sandcastle's little brother, the Quicksand. Right now, there's a ModuleManager patch to add the 3D printer to the stock science lab. That poor lab gets overloaded with functionality from various mods (including Snacks), so I've added this small dedicated module and removed the printer from the stock science lab. Just in case, I've left that MM patch available for those who want that functionality. Anyway, the Quicksand will share its IVA with the larger Sandcastle. here's a preview:

SXCDPXW.png

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5 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

@4nxs As it turns out, I've already designed the 3D printer plugin to not require crew. But if the print shop has engineers inside (technically, anyone with the converter skill), then the shop will benefit from speed improvements.

Meanwhile, I've got the exterior for the Sandcastle 3D Print Shop done. It holds a crew of 2 (I need to do the IVA next), and the print shop will play an animation to let you know that it is working. Here's a preview:

That's a happy coincidence! And makes complete sense to have it affect the speed of printing.

3 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

And here is the Sandcastle's little brother, the Quicksand. Right now, there's a ModuleManager patch to add the 3D printer to the stock science lab. That poor lab gets overloaded with functionality from various mods (including Snacks), so I've added this small dedicated module and removed the printer from the stock science lab. Just in case, I've left that MM patch available for those who want that functionality. Anyway, the Quicksand will share its IVA with the larger Sandcastle. here's a preview:

I'm loving the naming scheme of these parts. Smart to have them share the IVA.

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14 hours ago, Galileo chiu said:

Is there a vertical version where everything is vertical?

Also what is the hydrazine?

There's a Module Manager patch to replace the IVAs with the stock IVA for the Hitchhiker. That has a vertical orientation. Hydrazine is from Snacks; it's not relevant to Sandcastle.

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36 minutes ago, theJesuit said:

What a great idea!

It was pointed to me that 2.5m parts have vertical orientations so rather than make two versions of the same part, I added that patch. In the meantime, I made some simple Ultra High Capacity cargo storage units:

DS3Fs7Y.png

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5 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

It was pointed to me that 2.5m parts have vertical orientations so rather than make two versions of the same part, I added that patch. In the meantime, I made some simple Ultra High Capacity cargo storage units:

DS3Fs7Y.png

I feel that my SIMPLEX Assembly is becoming redundant.  Lol.

All to happy for that!

Peace.

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Working on the orbital construction "pad"

Ty1qlRi.png

This is for use with Extraplanetary Launchpads. The upper arm swings out to handle construction, while the lower arm swings out for recycling. The idea is that you hang one of these from your shipyard and use it to build ships.

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2 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

Working on the orbital construction "pad"

Ty1qlRi.png

This is for use with Extraplanetary Launchpads. The upper arm swings out to handle construction, while the lower arm swings out for recycling. The idea is that you hang one of these from your shipyard and use it to build ships.

Nice

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On 12/17/2021 at 8:57 PM, Angel-125 said:

Working on the orbital construction "pad"

Ty1qlRi.png

This is for use with Extraplanetary Launchpads. The upper arm swings out to handle construction, while the lower arm swings out for recycling. The idea is that you hang one of these from your shipyard and use it to build ships.

Man, I can't wait to be able to use these new parts, especially for the modular drydocks! 

About two years ago, I tried to make an earlier version of what I was envisioning: a network of orbiting servicing and repair docks, where damaged vessels could come in to be fixed, or aging vessels to come in for overhauls and upgrades. This was Service Dock K-1

8rf4pdh2nuk41.jpg

They were nowhere near as large as the massive shipyards used to build capital ships in orbit, but they were nice all the same. Still, it was clunky to use them, and they never really worked as intended. I got maybe 1 or 2 repairs done out of them, and they were all excruciating operations trying to wrangle the parts around as the USI Konstruction cranes really aren't very user-friendly (especially for fine positioning). 

One thing that I'd love to see (if you don't already have it planned / in the works) are collapsible docking ports. I recall that USI Konstruction has (or had - USI is essentially dead nowadays...) collapsible ports, where once connected, you could click a button and the ports would disappear, connecting the two parts together with a new node. However, I don't know if it works in the current KSP versions... I haven't tried it since about 1.7.3 or so.

Being able to print out parts with the printers, assemble them into sub-assemblies, use a crane / arm to move them into place, then permanently attach them using collapsing ports. That would be awesome!

 

While this may be a far-flung fantasy, as I don't know if it'd be possible to do with the game's design limitations, it would be amazing to have a "print in place" capability. Essentially, a modified version of the construction menu, where you can select and place parts sort of like how you would in the SPH/VAB. Then, after a set period of "printing time", the part will appear on the vessel. Either that, or something to a similar effect - I've found the stock EVA construction controls to be really clunky, and having to get several dozen kerbals outside to build something is a nightmare in having to maintain all of their positions, or otherwise having to spam ladders everywhere. Essentially, EVA construction, but without the EVA. Agh, I'm probably not making any sense, but I hope you get the general idea.

 

Enough rambling from me, though. I can't wait to see the next release of this mod!

Edited by Raptor22
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18 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

Almost there...

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Next is the smelter to turn metal ore into metal.

Not going to get my hopes up too early, but a release of this update (or at least a beta of it) would make for an awesome Christmas gift, lol

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On 12/23/2021 at 8:53 AM, Raptor22 said:

Not going to get my hopes up too early, but a release of this update (or at least a beta of it) would make for an awesome Christmas gift, lol

As a matter of fact, here's a pre-release:

Changes

New Parts

- Quicksand 3D Print Shop: The size of the stock Hitchhiker, this print shop is able to print small cargo items. It can be used as an Extraplanetary Launchpads workshop that also produces Rocket Parts.

- Sandcastle 3D Print Shop: This module is Size 2 (2.5m diameter) and it has a large 3D printer that's capable of printing objects up to the size of the FL-TX1800 Fuel Tank. It can be used as an Extraplanetary Launchpads workshop that also produces Rocket Parts.

- UHC-4K Cargo Storage Unit: This Size 2 (2.5m diameter) part stores 4,000l of stock cargo items in 24 slots.

- UHC-8K Cargo Storage Unit: This Size 2 (2.5m diameter) part stores 8,000l of stock cargo items in 24 slots.

- UHC-16K Cargo Storage Unit: This Size 2 (2.5m diameter) part stores 16,000l of stock cargo items in 24 slots.

- MS-37 Yard Frame: Inspired by the shipyard from Star Trek The Motion Picture, this Modular Shipyard component is a Size 3 (3.75m) panel that lets you configure it like a grid in order to keep the part count down. It also has angled variants.

- MS-75 Yard Frame: Inspired by the shipyard from Star Trek The Motion Picture, this Modular Shipyard component is a Size 5 (7.5m) panel that lets you configure it like a grid in order to keep the part count down. It also has angled variants.

- MS-L Lighting Panel: This panel provides lighting for your orbital shipyard's construction projects.

- EB-1V Variable Extension Boom: Similar to the stock girder, this is designed for robot arms that are used to build spacecraft. Its length can vary.

Extraplanetary Launchpad Parts

These parts are only available if you have Extraplanetary Launchpads installed.

- (TODO:) Sand Caster 3D Printer: This automated 3D printer is capable of creating whole vessels and bases without the need for kerbals on site. It will be slower than having kerbals around, but it will get the job done. it is designed for ground-based operations, and it's inspired by NASA's 3D habitat concept printers.

- EL-M Konstruction Marker: Equivalent to the Extraplanetary Launchpads' KS-MP Disposable Pad, the Konstruction Marker depicts where new builds will be added to the vessel. The Marker will be consumed when the new assembly is attached. It can be placed into stock inventories.

- EL-OCD Konstruction Manipulator: Equivalent to the Extraplanetary Launchpads' KS-OCD Orbital Construction Dock, the Konstruction Manipulator enables shipyards to build new vessels in orbit.

- (TODO:) EL-MTL Smelter: This is a Size 2 part that is designed to convert Metal Ore into Metal, and Scrap Metal into Metal.

- ELC-8 Rocket Parts Kontainer: This Size 2 container holds up to 1,600 Rocket Parts. If you have Wild Blue Tools installed, then it becomes an omni storage container with an 8,000 L capacity. If you don't have Wild Blue Tools but you have B9PartSwitch, then it can switch between Rocket Parts, Metal, Scrap Metal, and Metal Ore.

Plugin

- WBIPrintShop and WBICargoRecycler now support animations when operating.
- ModulePartGridVariants: This new part module supports mesh grids.

Patches

- Disabled the Module Manager patch that added a 3D printer to the stock science lab. This was always intended to be temporary until Sandcastle had custom parts. If you want this functionality back, go to the Sandcastle/Patches folder and rename ScienceLab3DPrinter from .txt to .cfg.

- HorizontalPrintShops: Rename this from .txt to .cfg to use a horizontally orented IVA in the print shops.

- OmniStorage: Adds omni storage capacity for the Cargo Storage Units and the Rocket Parts Kontainer if Wild Blue Tools is installed.

- B9PS: Adds additional resource storage options to the Rocket Parts Kontainer if B9 Part Switch is installed and Wild Blue Tools isn't installed.

NOTE: If it's marked (TODO:) then it's not done yet and not in the pre-release.

Happy Holidays!

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