Opinions on 3D Printing

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Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Wondering what you guys think of the whole 3D Printing for models? Ive been looking on Shapeways website lately and its got me thinking, maybe I should start making some HO scale construction detail parts that arnt readily available on the market.

Have you guys bought anything from the Shapeways website before and if so, how did you like the models?

Any of you have any experience in creating 3D models? What would be a good program to use? Ive been experimenting briefly in Sketchup, but am not able to learn it very easily when it comes to trying to make a scale model of something in the program. Ive watched a couple tutorials and got the basics down pretty well i think, but I dont quite understand all the layering and such when it comes to making shapes that need to overlap other shapes or be on top of one another. Ill have to keep messing around with it, but was just wondering what you all thought of the whole 3D printing thing when it comes to models for our layouts?
 

nvrr49

Member
I have designed and sold many items on shapeways, http://www.shapeways.com/designer/nvrr49?li=pb. I have always designed with SketchUp.

I also have an Afinia 3d printer for bigger items, http://www.afinia.com/. Shapeways is just too expensive for the larger items. I have designed and printed hundreds of items with it. Probably 25 items items printed so far this weekend. I document many of the things I learn on my blog at http://nvrr49.blogspot.com/.

Feel free to ask me anything. I will share what I have learned. I will be doing a clinics on both using SketchUp, and on what I have learned using a home 3d printer at the National Narrow Gauge Convention next week.

I print in HO scale, but have done things in N and O for people.

Shapeways item:


An item 3d printed on my home printer:
 

Richard V

Member
I'm on a scooter site and there is a guy there tell us how he does it to make body parts for his scooter, among other things. I find it very interesting.

Do you mind if I share your experience with the interested people over there?
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Kent, good to hear someone here has some experience with Sketchup! When you start the models in sketchup, do you make them scaled down or build them to full scale and then scale them down as a while piece? For example, im trying something basic here for starting.. A Traffic Cone, a 48" tall Delineator to be more specific, which you can see below ive found the actual measurements.
WH09-TD5100DelineatorIllustration.gif

Ive made the basic shape so far down to scale using a scale calculator. Its very very small in Sketchup, and is proving to be pretty difficult to work with when you get down to that small with the program when it comes to creating shapes. Which leads me to think that I should be making these models to their actual scale first?
 

nvrr49

Member
Generally, I draw in full scale. As you point out, drawing really small parts, down to a few hundreds of an inch, can be problematic. You still have to consider the resolution of the printer you are using, and make adjustments accordingly. With shapeways, their web site gives all the details you need for that. With a home printer I just kept experimenting with different sizes to find out what would work.
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Kent, thanks! I figured I was doing it wrong lol

I have now switched to making the cone in full scale in the program, however ive hit a road block! I need to make a arched "pipe" if you will that connects both posts on the top of the cone. Can you explain an each way to do that? My trial and error experimenting with the arch tool has proven unsuccessful lol

Here is a screenshot of what ive done so far with the cone
Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.01.32 PM.png
 
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nvrr49

Member
You want to draw an arch, a half circle, from the center of one post to the center of the other post. Then use the "follow me" tool. Look for a you tube video on the follow me tool.
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Thank you! I was making an arch from the far ends of each circles, and as soon as i did it from the center I was able to make the arch no problem!

One last thing if you dont mind! I need to make a very small sphere in the top center of the cone under the arch to simulate the caution tape tiedown location, you can see it in the top center of the cone picture i posted a couple posts ago with the dimensions and such. Is there a way to make such a small ball object?
Heres where im at now
Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.41.36 PM.png
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
I figured it out lol, here is the finished cone, this is prototype size based on dimensions i found on the internet, a 16" hexagon base, 5.5" diameter tube and 48" overall height.
Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 11.05.41 PM.png

Now, to figure out how to scale it down to HO scale?
 
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nvrr49

Member
Highlight the whole object, right click on the mouse, and make it in to a component. Then hit the "s" key on the keyboard. Sizing points will appear. For HO scale, grab a corner with the mouse and start to shrink it, then key on ".0115, enter". It will be 1/87 scale.
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
This addative (3D) printing is fascinating. It is getting sophisticated to the point where several aerospace outfits are making rocket engine components and even complete rocket engines using the process! Of course, they are using lasers to melt powder metallurgy such as titanium. Now, companies are advertising for young graduate engineers who can design things that can't be machined, but can be made by 3D, rather than the other way around. The future lies ahead.
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Highlight the whole object, right click on the mouse, and make it in to a component. Then hit the "s" key on the keyboard. Sizing points will appear. For HO scale, grab a corner with the mouse and start to shrink it, then key on ".0115, enter". It will be 1/87 scale.
Thank you very much Kent for all the help! So, I should scale the drawling in Sketchup before I upload it to Shapeways correct? I uploaded the un-scaled version last night before I went to bed. I changed the scaling document setup before I saved and uploaded to Shapeways. Everything came out okay and here is what it said:
Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 10.07.48 AM.png
A price of $3.24 for "white strong & flexable"

I then scaled the drawing in sketchup per your instructions and changed the scaling in document setuo back to default and saved another to upload a new one to shapeways. This one came out as:
Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 10.06.27 AM.png
A price of $1.66 for the same material, half the price! So im assuming that you do need to scale the drawling down in sketchup prior to uploading to shapeways right? The dimensions according to shapeways are very close to what the cone should be this second upload
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
This addative (3D) printing is fascinating. It is getting sophisticated to the point where several aerospace outfits are making rocket engine components and even complete rocket engines using the process! Of course, they are using lasers to melt powder metallurgy such as titanium. Now, companies are advertising for young graduate engineers who can design things that can't be machined, but can be made by 3D, rather than the other way around. The future lies ahead.
Some interesting information that I didnt know about, thanks for sharing! It is pretty amazing what is able to be done with a 3D Printer!
 

nvrr49

Member
Yeah, Trucklover, the second one, the lower price one is the correct size. I would guess you won't be happy with the time printed in WSF, and it would be worth getting in FD or FUD. But, I have been wrong before, and Shapeways quality keeps getting better.
 

Trucklover

BNSF SD70MAC's
Yeah im going to go ahead and get one of each in WSF, WD, and FUD to see whats best and if I should even offer WSF for these things. From the pictures that Shapeways has generated, they all look to be pretty good! But we will see. Im rather pleased with the pricing on the ones ive done so far as well. So Far ive got a 48" Delineator Cone, a 10 Pack of the same cone, a 10' wide 60" tall 3-bar road barricade, and a 5 and 10 pack for the barricade as well. Most expensive one is the 10 pack of the barricade and its still only showing a cost of $15.88 for the FUD material!

Whats your opinion on printing in color? Because these are going to be pretty small, I am thinking that it might be a good idea to have them printed in color if the cost isnt too much. Have you ever had anything printed in color with Shapeways? Is it expensive? Worth it? How do the objects look color wise?
 




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