Taking Sculpting/ Prototyping to the Next Level

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carlart

Guest
This thing is the balls!
With $20,000 in spare cash, and the skill of building 3D objects on the computer, you could bang out prototypes off this new "3D Printer". No more messy clay and silicone, a protoptype in minutes-it's crazy!
Got an info CD at a tradeshow, and posted a Quicktime short about it here:
www.zippyvideos.com/5560239196270756/call/

Here's their website:
www.dimensionprinting.com

As exciting as it is, I fear yet another time honored craft done by hand will fall to the computer. Yet, it is amazing.

carlart
 
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tommynator1024

Guest
you still need to do the 3D model "by hand"...


about time something like that becomes available! Cool!
 
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seknewb

Guest
Actually, it's not so new. We've been using that process to generate miniature and robot-like parts in the model and creature shops since at least 1999 (that I'm aware of). Many of the robot parts we did on "A.I." at Winston's (in early 2000) were done this way as were most of the T3 parts (TX for example). Since all of the design work is being rendered as 3D files these days anyway, it's an obvious next step for accuracy and speed in many cases.

Desk-top versions of the printers have been available for small business and "home" use for at least 3 years. They are limited by the size of the part that can be made. Usually around 8 or 9 by 12 inches with a 6-7 inch draw. A part that size could take days to make though on the smaller machines.

There are a number of different processes. Stereolithography, Fused Deposition Modeling, etc. are just a couple. Differences between them are in speed, material output (wax, acrylic photopolymer, ABS, etc), the actual grow process, etc. Also, the quality of the end result.

Some of the processes work much like an ink-jet printer with a print head "dripping" small amounts of material on to a print bed which then drops down for the next layer. The down side being that a support structure needs to be built for any overhangs and undercuts. This of course can require major re-tooling in some instances and absolutely in the underside of the part. The other issue being that in the grow process, the individual layers will present themselves in the final part with very apparent "scan like" lines which need to be re-tooled.

One of the best would be Selective Laser Sintering which uses a CO2 laser to selectively cold-fuse the surface in a vat of polymer. The part then drops into the mix and the next layer is fused. That way, the un-fused polymer actually supports the overhangs and undercuts rather than a support structure that needs to be cleaned out later.

This absolutely has it's place, but like all "newer" technologies, it's prohibitively expensive (in general) for the average person. I've used it myself on personal projects only because I have contacts to get parts done at cost. Realistically though, something like the model below (in 1/4 scale - yes it's a PL leg) could run you $2000+ to generate using even the cheapest of processes if you're having it done by someone at "retail", and you would still need to make a mold to duplicate it for copies.



119809484.jpg




And, as mentioned, you still need to make your 3D model at a very high resolution for rendering. If you don't have the software or know-how there, you're looking at potentially 1000's of $ more.

Great process, but it's not taking away the "art" any time soon.
 
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carlart

Guest
Thanks for clarifying, seknewb. Yes, I had heard the process had been around a few years, but nothing like the way you've explained it. In Jurassic Park 3 they had something similar to create a 3D nasal cavity od a raptor with a portable (yeah, right) unit. With the cost being so prohibitive, it explains why this stuff isn't mainstream yet. I am thankful that the artist's job is still secure----for the time being anyway. Don't put those tools away yet!
carlart
 
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seknewb

Guest
Hey Carl-

I made some of those nasal cavities over at Stan's.

They started making a very small desktop version of these printers that is literally the size of a large suitcase. Very much portable, but I hadn't heard talk of those until about 1 1/2 years ago, long after JP3. They can be rented through a company in LA, but they are of the low end variety, and even renting them, you're looking at about $1500 a week plus the materials for the grow which run about $250-300 for a part that would be roughly 8" x 12" x 4-6". Slightly cheaper than having it done, but not much, and the quality is quite a bit inferior to the higher end types.
 
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