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New orchid project and siding question


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Hi everyone!

I'm from Sydney Australia and received an Orchid kit for Christmas - very excited to start! I'm currently in the planning stages and am trying to work out what I'm going to do with the outside of the house. I saw a couple of posts on here with what looked like vertical siding (??) and really liked that but I have no idea what it is or how to use it. Any suggestions? Or if I go with regular siding, is it better to use the sheets of siding, or the single panels?

Also, DH has a 3D printer so I'm planning to design and 3D print a different set of stairs in wood filament. Does anyone have any tips / experience for using 3D printed items in projects like this?

I'm just in the very early stages of planning and figuring out my approach so any tips and suggestions gratefully received :)

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Vertical siding (board and batten) can be achieved by gluing thin pieces of stripwood on the outer wall. It's not necessary to create an entire siding panel. Keep in mind that miniatures are magical, and like real life magicians, we rely heavily on smoke and mirrors. :) 

Several members here have used 3D items printed by Shapeways, mainly furnishings, but also some architectural elements. Do keep us posted on how your stairs turn out.

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Welcome to the little family, Mallory.  I finished my Magnolia Florida Cracker house in beadboard using the stripwood for the exterior

KathieB's photos:  Mafggie's front

and siding strips for the interior, as well as for the upstairs floors:

KathieB's photos:  the master bedroom

I prefer the single strips of siding, personally.

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Hi there Mallory and welcome! 

I've used 3D printed components myself, new technology can achieve wonders in miniature scales specially when it comes to smaller details. The most cost efficient way of printing is perhaps with plastic, it's easy to cut and work with, and for super high detail I think they use a frosted semi-transparent kind that is a bit more expensive than the basic sort- I haven't tried that one yet but heard it's really nice and smooth. The downsides of using plastic is that you have to assemble everything before you paint and after finished there is not much room for change aside from repainting, but you might as well just print a new one if you need to restart. 

In my experience, 3D printing is awsome for components that would be made out of 'metal', either plastic painted to look like metal or having something printed in metal (more expensive), as well as stone surfaces and components that will be painted on. Just apply a coat of primer after assembly and you can paint it however you want, it's a good alternative to using resin, metal or other cast components. I have honestly never tried 'printed wood', heard about it but from the pics I saw it didn't look like wood to me, I am curious about it but somewhat skeptical if it would ever be possible to digitaly replicate the organical texture of real wood. Wood can be lasercut into pretty much any shape and with great precision, so I would probably go for that option instead if I must use wood as a material. But like Kathie said, if it's possible to replicate the wood texture with a bit of 'smoke and mirrors' I would love to hear more about it and learn some new magic tricks. :) 

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Thanks KathieB for the terminology (board and batten - I had no idea!), link and smoke and mirrors advice :)  I shall keep pottering about the internet now I know what to look for and work out which way I want to go

Thanks Wormwoodz for your suggestions. I've tried a low quality timber filament before (for other things) and sometimes it looks ok, and sometimes it looks very plasticy - like you said, not very convincing. I printed a chess piece that looked great, but tried a train track and it looked rubbish. I've ordered a better quality wood filament so will see how that goes, and if it doesn't look great will probably just go with plastic as you suggest. I'll keep you posted :) 

And thanks Havanaholly for the pics - gorgeous house! I love the siding in the attic - very cute

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I did an "Orchid Marathon" build this weekend.  I wanted to see how much I could get completed in three days using only leftover wallpaper, etc. from other builds.  I didn't get finished, but I did try something cool that I've heard others talk about.  I mixed paint and fine sand to create a "stucco" for the outside.  It was quick and easy and much less messy than traditional stucco mixes.  I don't have any trim on yet, but I think it's going to give it a cute country cottage look.  I just thought I'd offer that as another siding option.


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I did the board and batten siding on my Orchid, and it was not that difficult at all. I did a lot of sanding and filling to get the wood as smooth as possible, then measured out the strips across the exterior. Make sure to account for corner trim, windows, foundation, etc, then adjust as needed. I glued the strips on then painted the whole thing. It was a period-appropriate finish for the house, and I'd like to do that again on another build some day.  

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Stickyfingers - your Orchid is absolutely gorgeous! Such a beautiful style. It is making me very tempted by the board and batten approach. How did you do the corners of the house? Are they two pieces joined or can you buy L shaped wood? Sorry if it's a silly question!

Khadi - thanks for the suggestion for stucco, I will definitely keep that in mind for the next project - at the moment I feel like this little house is sending me timber vibes :) 

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Thank you so much!! For the corners, I used L-shaped wood, called corner molding or corner trim. You could also just glue two strips together. For the inside edges of walls, I used what's called channel molding- it's kind of U-shaped, and coveres the bare edges nicely, and adds some stability.   

Good luck on your build!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Mallory. :wave: Welcome to the forum. I hope you aren't melting in the heat down there in Sydney town. 

Board and batten is a lovely finish and I don't think it would be very hard to recreate. If you wan't some more Orchid inspiration/eye candy.. Check out MyAngela's bash.


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