Materials

The models available on this site are designed with ancient materials in mind. This article explains the likely materials and then explores how materials are indicated in designs.

Ancient Materials

Imagine Moses coming down the mountain. He has tablets of stone inspired by the finger of God. He has been shown a vision, a design, for the system need to understand that text.

He was charged with building a museum, the tabernacle and its contents. Likely the inspired content was the models a student needed to understand the alphabet.

A table, maybe lamps, and the models themselves would be the primary contents. Some of the models need important and cleverly designed bases for their display. Those bases are needed to each the design of the letters, showing how the letters relate.

So Moses and Joshua son of Nun gathered supplies and set out to build their museum. The materials available and skills at using those materials came from the community. The models themselves would be similar to the work of ancient jewelers. The materials available to ancient jewelers form the basis for most of what Moses could possibly construct.

Metal Ores

If you study how the ores of precious metals are found in natural deposits on earth, you will learn to see the metals as ordered. From the top of a mountain to the bottom the ores are found in the following order.

Note any specific deposit will contain these ores in varying degrees. Some deposits have all the ores. Some deposits dominate in particular ores. In all case, though, they are ordered from the top of the ground going down.

The order relates to the rarity of the metal and its monetary value. To understand, we begin at the top.

Gold

Gold is the most precious metal. It is found at the top of ore deposits. Because it is at the surface it often washes down stream. Panning for gold is how ancient prospectors detected nearby metals deposits. They knew how gold sits atop the other ores.

Gold can be used in 2 different forms. A raw, unfinished gold, or rough form and highly polished gold form. This is true not just of gold, but the other metals as well.

Rough or less refined forms of all the metals become the platform on which parts are displayed. Parts themselves will always be displayed in the polished form.

Silver

Silver is found below gold in natural deposits. It is more abundant than gold, so less valuable as a monetary metal. It too can be used in both a rough or raw silver form and in a highly polished silver form.

Silver also readily tarnishes. This means that it can range in color from reflective like a mirror through light gray to a black.

Copper

Copper is found below silver in natural deposits. It is even more abundant which is why copper coins are less valuable that silver coins.

Copper has a distinctive red/orange color. Rough copper, say a well used copper bottom on a cooking pan is very different that fresh, polished copper, say like raw copper wire.

When copper oxidizes it turns green. You can see this on modern government builds with copper roofs. Many models in the system are of plants in various stages of development. Oxidation can be forced by exposing copper to acid, say lemon juice. So oxidized copper is an ancient modeling material.

Bronze

Bronze is an alloy of copper. This means copper is mixed with some other metal. In the hierarchy of metals going down a ore deposit we place it below copper. Often the added metal is tin, but many other additives are possible. Each additive gives different final colors, so bronze is less defined in terms of finished color.

Within the model system here we call out bronze when we need some form of green. Rough or unpolished bronze is considered similar to olive green. The color of uncultivated land. Polished bronze becomes bright and we will call out that material as the green for modeling live, growing, plants.

Glass

In the dead sea scroll museum in Jerusalem there are exhibits of artifacts found in the caves along with the scrolls. One of the most interesting exhibits is of a 2000+ year old glass serving platter. The craftsmanship was as well executed in ancient times as modern glassware that you might find in a department store.

So, clear class is an ancient material that is available to use in models. Impure glass, easier to make at any time is also available. This would be the material for a light sky blue or a dark water blue. So these materials are ancient and available.

Many of the models involve punctuation dots that are suspended on wire attached to holders. These holders should always be modeled as clear. They are NOT part of the 3d model itself, but needed for handling. Anything labeled a holder means the rest of the model is permanently wired to the holder.

There are also bases that are used to suspend parts in 3d space for showing off 3d design. These are NOT part of the 3d design, but are still needed. All such bases should be modeled with clear materials. Bases are not permanently attached to 3d models.

Ink

The story of the Gibeonites involves the provision for wood and water to the place where ancient scrolls were made. Wood is burned and the ashes are used for the carbon black used in all ink. Specially formulated vinegar, used as a fuser, and perhaps some water, is added to soot to make ink.

The same process used in ancient times is still used today. The black dust in a laser printer cartridge is carbon soot and a chemical fuser. The fuser acts to keep the soot bound to the page. Without a fuser of some sort, the carbon used in writing easily rubs off.

So black ink is an ancient material, and we can make anything black using ink.

Modern Plastics

We don't really want to source the precious metals that would have been used in ancient times. We don't want all the casting and finishing work needed to form those metals either. Instead we want to 3d print various types of plastics and then just assemble them together.

So in this modern rendition we want to match available plastics to the materials listed above. This way we get the same feel for the design as ancient students would have received. The gold parts, say, should be considered more valuable than the others.

If you go online and start shopping for 3d printer plastics you will find readily available plastics that match everything listed above.

Silver and shades of gray are hard to distinguish, any gray should work. Silver as a plastic name is the lightest in the spectrum of gray colors. The models also call out gray, as in a medium gray, and dark gray.

Beware of colors called bronze. Unpolished bronze should be shades of dark or olive green. Polished bronze should be an obvious green. As much of this is made in China, there are language problems with bronze in some brands of plastic. Look for pictures to decide real color.

Glues

In earlier revisions of the models found on this website, the models were sliced for 3d printing and then were expected to be glued together. The currently available 3d models do not require any use of glue. Wire is used instead to hold hold models together.

Wire and Thread

In the parts modeling system 2 types of wire are listed. These show up at times in file names and in model views.

'Wire' is used to indicate a 24 AWG tinned copper wire. Through holes in parts that need wire are set to use exactly this wire.

Anywhere parts need to be mechanically connected, this is the wire that should be used. There are usually small recesses or some other means to hide or tuck the end of the wire after it is installed and clipped to length.

There are also places were wire is used to suspend parts across empty space. This usually involves a dot of some sort, like the eye in the center of the Oo letter. In these situations it is possible to use finer wire, or even monofilament fishing line.

The fine wire for these cases is usually 1 strand out of tinned copper lamp cord or hook up wire. This is very hard to see and makes an excellent model. BUT, the model made with this size wire is very fragile.

Monofilament fishing line can be used for these cases instead. It is stronger than fine wire and requires very small drops of super glue to permanently attach.

The model system uses 'thread' to model the path of the wire in models that need wire. This shows up in 3d views and pictures. Thread shows the path that should be followed by one of the 3 possible materials listed here.

Scaling

The wire size does NOT scale with part sizes. So 50mm, 75mm and 100mm parts all expect this same 24 AWG tinned copper wire.

If you scale a part in the slicer you will be scaling through holes by the same scaling value. Adjust the wire size to match the scaling factor. You can also contact me for a set of files scaled to some other value if you have a special need.

PLA Plastic

I generally like printing in PLA plastic. It is readily available in many colors. But, PLA is a problem if the parts are going to be exposed to heat.

PLA deforms in the heat that can be generated in cars sitting in the sun. So PLA printed models need to be kept in normal indoor climate conditions. If that is going to be problem, then select some other grade plastic.

Silk Plastics

Because our set of ancient materials involves polished and unpolished forms, we want very much to use the 'silk' variations of PLA for the polished forms of models.

3d printing of silk plastics is not easy. The chemical added to PLA to make it shiny like silk also messes up PLA's famous ease of printing. That chemical makes the PLA less likely to stick to the printer bed and less likely to stick to itself. Print failures with silk spring from this fact of chemistry.

Different suppliers are different. Even from the same source, the dye used in the plastic interacts with the silk chemical making certain colors harder to print.

Beware good, but false, reviews of silk 3d filaments on Amazon. When the color is not clearly identified in the review, it is a false review. If the color is identified in the review but does not match the material on offer, then the review is also false.

To help with silk (and ABS) printing problems a heated enclosure for the printer may help. Also a filament dryer may be needed to rid silk plastics of moisture. Be prepared to spend an entire spool of silk filament just on printer calibration.

Another answer is to substitute plastics to some other, non-silk, color. Leave the base metals colors alone because the stands will use those. The table below indicates 'ideal' plastics when some form of polished material is indicated.

The 3d model system is reserving a primary color instead of the silk form to make it obvious there is a modern substitution in play.

Complete List

The following tables shows the list of materials used to design all the parts available on this site.

The left column indicates the modeling use of a specific part. These names are the last term given in all 3d part file names before the size of the model.

Follow the table to select a suitable plastic if you want to follow my recommendations.

Use the materials in the ideal column if you can print silk plastic. Otherwise use the easy column for all printing.

Materials List
LabelSampleHexEasyIdeal
Pipe   #ffee00YellowSilkGold
Bone   #eeeeeeWhiteSilkSilver
Tool   #ff3300RedSilkCopper
Plant   #33aa33GreenSilkBronze
Holder   #aaaaaaClear
Base   #aaaaaaClear
Shadow   #555555DarkGray
Highway   #ffbb00Gold
Road   #999999Silver
Brick   #ff6600Orange
Land   #666600Olive
Soil   #996600Copper
Tunnel   #555555DarkGray
Skirt   #333333Black
Frame   #333333Black
Table   #996600Copper
Case   #996600Copper
Water   #3333ffBlue
Wave   #00ffffCyan
Cloud   #ccffffWhite
Trunk   #555555DarkGray
Limb   #999999Silver
Leaf   #336633Green
Fruit   #ffff00YellowSilkGold
Red   #ff0000Red
Blue   #3333ffBlue
Green   #336633Green
Yellow   #ffff00Yellow
Purple   #ff33ccPurple
Orange   #ff6600Orange
Black   #333333Black
White   #ffffffWhite
Thread   #888888DarkGray
Wire   #aaaaaaSilver
Jig   #00ffffCyan

Printer Tuning

There is an old joke in church circles. Buy a bus for ministry and spend the rest of your time doing ministry to the bus.

The same risk happens with 3d printers. It should be in good working condition and known to print well before diving into the part sets given here.

Especially important is that the printer be correctly calibrated. Print and test some calibration cubes to make sure this is so.

Make sure the bed is calibrated with live-adjust-z set correctly. Elephant's feet in wire through holes is a potential source of trouble. Pins like those used by tailors can sometimes clear jammed wire through holes.

Use brims if bed adhesion is problem with fine parts. Especially watch for the various dots. Dots mark punctuation, but are used in other models which fold back to punctuation in various ways. Dots usually need brim turned on in the slicer in order to print successfully.

Splitting Parts

In some situations you may want to break up parts found in these files. Turn 1 downloaded design file into 2 different 3d print jobs.

A good example is the Oo letter. In that letter a dot, which normally needs a brim, is in the middle of a much bigger circle. That circle does not need a brim. To make this into 2 prints, divide the part into 2 parts using the slicer itself. Then generate 2 different jobs for the printer.

Also, there are some models that do not print readily on consumer 3d printers. These have been broken up into different models inside a single file. These may also need to be printed as more than 1 print job.

Good Luck

3d printing a complete set of 3d models and their bases is a rewarding task. You will then be equipped to learn the Paleo Language as did Moses, as did Joshua's disciples, as are the rest of us.