Time To Start A 3D 'Wants' List?

Discussion in 'Modelling' started by At Home Dad (Returning), Jul 28, 2011.

  1. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    The home brew printers are quite difficult to run with print head blockages being the major cause of problems.

    I've been using a prototype service to print. Just like taking your 2D drawing to a print shop for A0/A1 output.

    3D Printing Service UK |3D Prototypes | 3D Print UK

    Nice way to dip a toe in the water.

    David3D scanning using sculptured light via a video projector
    Mesh cleaning and jointing using free download Meshlab software
    Printing using 3D Print UK

    That's all there is to it

  2. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    I was looking for a similar shot of the bridge so as to do
    a comparison, but couldn't find a good clear match. The one
    thing I did notice was the differences in the windows of the
    'control room/gear room'. I would have thought that any model
    of such a historic place would be super accurate, down to the
    rivets - but I cant find a good image to compare

    At Salute2012 , the major wargames show, we saw first hand how good 3D printing can be.
    Here's a photo of Pegasus Bridge.

    B-17 Flying Fortress by GE - Thingiverse
    P-51 Mustang by GE - Thingiverse
    A6M2 Zero Fighter Desktop Model by benglish - Thingiverse
  3. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Have you ever printed a picture and it hasn't come out quite right, and the image appears to be lined? In the print industry we call that banding and it was a big deal in the early days of Inkjet printers. I know because I was involved in solving the problem. The problem was solved by a comibnation of factors, better print heads (as in the peizo electric heads that came on the first Epson Stylus Printers) better inks and better software (my end of the equation).

    The lower end 3D printers are at about the same place as the early inkjets and if you see somethings that have been printed on the low-end 3D printer you will see the very same 'banding' on the items produced. It means that you can produced rough-finished prototypes but if you wanted to use it for making a mold you'd still need a bit of elbow-grease to smooth the surfaces. You can get better surface finishes but you're looking at overnight printing, i.e. something in the region of 6 - 8 hours. Do you really want to go to bed and leave a bit of equipment to run that long with the attendant risks of over-heating. Especially give that the print medium is most likley go to be high flammable.

    On the higher end machines the quality is much, much better but you're looking at prices in the region of £6,000. Of course prices are coming down and will continue to come down. When Laser printers first began shipping back in the late 80's they cosy about $10,000 and were a CFO approved item of spending. They invariably went to the people who needed then most and the mere mortals in company XYZ never so much as got a look at them. Same with Colour photocopiers! Now look at the price of Laser printers and colour photocopiers. The revolution in the inkjet market forced the price of lasers downwards and this will happen here also. However, in order to recoup the cost of the device (many of which are now sold at a loss) the manufacturers have taken to inflating the price of the consumables...both paper and ink! When buying a printer we now talk in term of TCO (total cost of ownership) because the initial spend on the hardware is now not the big spend item it's the ink and paper supplies! This is what will happen in the 3D printing arena also. But the added cost is the IPR (intellectual Property Rights) and costs of buying, downloading the necessary 3D CAD drawings to make what you want. Anyone running training course in 3D software should see a huge upswing in revenue as printers become cheaper and joe-public wishes to mkae use of them. Already people like Autodesk are moving forward on that with software like Autodesk 123D and Autodesk 123D Catch (the latter offers you the possibility to take multiple photographs of an item and then use these to create a mesh and an eventual CAD file to be printed on your 3D printer). These two software packages can be downloaded for free from the Internet and I know one modeller who has used the former software to create a CAD file of a road wheel for a German 1/6th scale tank. THis file he then sent to a 3D printing boutique who sent him a completed wheel about 6 weeks later (huge order backlogs apparently). The cost was about 35 euros. Very expensive if he needed 10 sets of double road wheels but cheap if all he wanted was something accurate and detail from which to make his own mold!

    Already there are 3D printer manufacturers seeking to make good quality printers for lesser and lesser price points and it wasn't too long ago that an Israeli company was talking about bring out a good quality 3D printer for sub $5,000. It's happening and when it does it will transform Capitalism in some ways but it will not be the end of Capitalism as the Rep-Rap hippies at the University of Bath like to claim.

    The immediate use I see for 3D printers will have an impact on consumerism. Over the last 30 years consumerism has reached a point that it is easier and cheaper to chuck something out than it is to obtain a replacement for the broken part. Indeed manufactures have cut costs by not keeping stocks of replacement parts and so you are encouraged to either chuck the item or send it back to be replaced by a 'remanufactured' item of the 'same quality'. Yeah, we've all had that! In the not too distant future your home based 3D printer will be connected directly to the internet and if you need a replacement part the manufacturer will email a CAD file direct to you printer which will then print it and deleted the original file, thus preserving the manufacturers IPR. If you're within warrantly the part will be free but out of warrantly and you'll pay for it (of-course you'll be paying for it twice because you are also paying for the print material). Expect warrantly periods to be reduced quite considerably as manufacturers seek to maximise their profits from their library of CAD files.

    As for modelling, companies like DML have already moved the vast majority of their model designs onto CAD systems and can now have models made in any scale you require, you'll notice that they are already doing this and have released several 1/6th scale models which have quite obviously come from their 1/35 line. In the future (think short to mdeium term) they'll sell base models of particular vehicles and then if you want a variant you can purchase, via their website, a copy of some files to allow you to print the items you need. Once again the files will be sent direct to your printer and deleted as soon as the item is printed! Longer term they'll simply want to do away with manufacturing altogether and just sell the files.

    But then that begs the question of what happens to the hobby of modelling in the long run when you can simply 'print' what you want, in whatever colour you want..with decals already added!

    Of course all this may come a lot sooner than we expect. Technology has a habit of reaching tipping point very fast and then going critical mass. And that is especially true today now that a lot more of the population is computer savvy!
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Anyone here done much 3D modelling or CAD design? I used to play around with it in the early 1990s using a DOS based programme by Autodesk called 3D Studio. Wish I'd kept it up now! Could print myself a Lanc or Spitfire. ;)

    What's the current 3D software around, are 3DS Max and Maya still in use?
  5. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Very interesting Old Git, thanks for posting that.
    I did 3 City and Guild courses in AutoCAD several years ago, 2D, 3D and solid modelling. I worked for a consulting engineers and CAD was an essential tool. At the time building companies (and building services companies) were not generally using 3D modelling but I believe it is more the norm today. I haven't used any of the latest 3D and solid modelling programmes but the major difficulty always used to be creating accurate complex curved surfaces. Straight lines are not usually a problem in any orientation.
  6. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

  7. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  9. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    I suppose the kit you would need for doing this sort of stuff, is going to be Blender, which is free and maybe Google Sketchup, also free. There is a link on the Shapeways site that gives you a program to convert to the format that Strangeways wants. They will convert for you but it's best to check for bugs yourself first. Ideally you would want a high end nurb modeler program and maybe Zbrush or Mudbox. Not that Blender is low end, it's not, but the manual is a wiki and it's a bit of a pain to learn it.
  10. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    If anyone wants to create a model and have it 3d printed there are a lot of free 3d models out there. Turbosquid has a lot of free models, as does the Sketchup 3d warehouse. Best to read the small print though. A model may be free for non commercial use but cost otherwise.
  11. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

  12. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

  13. Bob Turner

    Bob Turner Senior Member

    Look at this one, it involves getting dna to build stuff. RCSB PDB-101
  14. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek

    As the gun debate around automatic rifles continues in the United States, one company has decided to combat possible legislation by designing a gun that can be made at home.

    BBC News - Gun parts made on 3D printer
  15. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

  16. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Question to any of the CAD experts reading -

    how simple or otherwise is the process to
    make a piece of artwork/photo of a figure
    into a 3D model?

    Thinking, in particular, famous images or paintings.

    Is there software which can automatically scan and
    begin the basic (or more detailed) design process?
  17. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    At Home Dad,

    Good question - I've often wondered that too. I suppose if it was easy we would all have mini-sculptures of our parents, etc. as made from an old photo ... ?
  18. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Give it a go with a local statue/building where you can take the photos yourself.

    ARC 3D Webservice

    It takes a bit of practice to get the photo parameters correct and to get used to looking for the common details on photos for stitching.

    I used a local statue and had several failures first but once you get the hang of it all clicks into place.

    Not accurate enough for engineering replicas but ok for producing a Defiant 3d file from the FSM that was in the BP collection at Wolverhampton.

    For engineering details of a Merlin I used a video projector for structured light scanning and for hand sized components green laser light scan. The processing of the SLC and Laser is via David3D

    david-wiki [DAVID-Wiki]

    Manipulation of the the produced 3d mesh file from all scan sources via Meshlab (open source for FOC)


    It's horses for courses - the photo service for gear I cannot move, SLC for 2mtr cube size or things that do not stay still for long and laser for gear that I want >0.1mm accuracy.

    Give it a go and make mistakes with the cheap stuff - it's the type of subject that you learn more from doing with than reading and thinking!
    (Hmm seem to have suggested this at the start of the thread)

    First results are mindblowing with David out the box and a handheld laser level from B&Q. It spurs you on to improve your methods and set up in economic stages.

    So I suggested a free way to convert photos - a free way to manipulate the 3d file - a free way to trial SLC and Laser scanning - uses standard web cam and either standard video projector or <£20 laser level. Time for you all to try for yourselves rather than tyre kicking.

    alieneyes likes this.
  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  20. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    AHD, If I am interpreting your thoughts (in post 36) correctly I think you are on a non-starter.
    The sort of programmes RAF Commands has described above (and I have looked at a couple of alternatives) rely on using overlapping photos (or laser scans) of a 3D object, taken from many angles, to produce a 'point cloud' 3 dimensional model.
    As far as I know there is no programme available that can produce a 3D model from a single 2D representation eg a single photo or painting.
    So if you want a model of eg your children you have to get them to stay still while you take a series of pictures (laser scans not recommended for obvious reasons) from many angles, preferably 360 degrees with an image taken typically minimum every 20 degrees, with good lighting and ensuring all the images overlap. Then you can upload the series of images and let the software produce the 'point cloud' model which you can manipulate.
    There seems to be quite a few systems now available for home use, several of them free, and you can use the models for any purpose you want eg 3D printing or CAD/CAM. Some sites retain copyright of the 'model' so it can be difficult to use it commercially.
    A fascinating subject.

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