Re: [HOn3] Re: 3D Printer
- Going from what I'm seeing reported as used in the Shapeways models, it's just about anything for software.
Some are using the freeware version of Google Sketch-up, some are using the $300 MOI, some using the various versions of TurboCad-3d [Pro sometimes]. Of course some are using the high-priced stuff like AutoCad.
But as I browse, I gotta swear that most people are using much less expensive or even free CAD software compared to AutoCad
Look at the different programs MOI, TurboCad, and Sketch-up and you'll see that folks are not using the same sort of structured CAD program, to make their 3d prints.
It is very much a matter of using what you feel comfortable working with.
Best to ya...
Milwaukee, Wi, USA
- The current status of 3D printing reminds me of the discussions a few years ago about digital photography, that is, " it will never replace film. " We saw how wrong that was. Not saying that 3D printing will replace traditional manufacturing techniques, but I suspect it will revolutionize industry in a remarkably short time.
- Anyone know what the file type is used for the 3D files?
In my current Aerospace Engineering life I model in ProE CAD.
My customers send me 3D plastic printed objects to fit check with our test fixtures.
Some of them are amazing with moving parts printed all in one shot.
There are now 3D printers printing aerospace parts in titanium and aluminum.
Now if they could combine plastics and metals…..
The replicator isn't far off in the future.
No more made in China? 3D printed in USA?
Order the part file from Amazon and create it yourself?
- Several file types can be used for 3d printing but the most common one is
the stereo lithography file type (.stl). The models must be true solids and
not faceted models. Faceted models are hollow and, though they may look
solid for rendering and modeling purposes, are more like boxes or paper
models. Many software programs produce this type of 3d model and they will
not print. I use a program called IronCad that uses both the Acis and
Parasolild modeling kernels which are true solid modeling formats. Not sure
about the other software programs but the output to 3d solids is the
The level of detail provided in 3d printing is something that is advancing
in leaps and bounds (and so is the price for 3d prints using newer printers
Now, if Form Labs can get their printer off and running
http://formlabs.com/pages/our-printer at about $3,000, there might very well
be a printer in every hobbyist's home some time in the future.
13536 County Road 45
Tuskegee, AL 36083
- We are using a makerbot replicator 2X and Solidworks 2013 here in the
company. We had a lot of problems to maintain dimension stability in our
prototypes because the printer resolution wasn’t good. If we had same
problems to produce faucets prototypes you could think what kind of problems
we could have to produce same hon3 products!
- This may be of general interest.
I expand on a previous reply to MCG.
As things currently stand, 3D printing trades off the detail reproduction
possible in a Grandt/PSC/Blackstone/... styrene injection molded model, or a
Westerfield/Sunshine/... urethane flat cast kit, for the convenience of a one
piece model, without the capital costs of multiple piece dies. I don't yet find
that trade compelling for ordinary models. Where 3D printing shines is in very
low demand prototypes, but as you point out, it is often far from matching the
quality we have grown to expect from older technologies.
With any approach, someone has to devise an original. With rubber molded
Urethane this is an actual final size model. With lost-wax brass it is a
slightly oversize model that can stand up to vulcanization. With injection
molded plastics it is a final size negative model, cut out of metal blocks.
This requires two or more pieces that can be be held in precise alignment for
plastic injection, and can later be withdrawn from the final solid model. For
an MDC-class car body, that requires a 5 or six piece mold, which goes far to
explain the capital cost of the one-piece injection molded approach. A flat
cast styrene kit can usually get by with two-piece molds, while Urethane usually
only needs single sided slightly flexible molds, which largely explains the
ability of these two to get by without high volume sales.
The more modern approaches uses computer aided design (CAD) programs to define
the desired form as a solid model file, which is ultimately reformatted to drive
the process that creates the physical model. This process could be any of a
wide variety of direct deposition (3D printing) technologies, using plastics,
metals, ceramics and now even paper. Or a computer driven machining center can
be used to cut either a master or a mold from sold metal. The advantages of CAD
are that it can be done by anyone willing to master the tools, on almost any
computer, and allows thorough inspection of a design prior to manufacture.
These are a bit deceptive, in that good computer modeling requires mastering a
skill sit comparable to that needed for good modeling in any other medium. It
is further deceptive, in that the computer model is not the final product. One
must further master enough of the details of the chosen manufacturing process to
ensure that the model can be made. These details will differ for different
processes, and different materials within a process, and even for different ways
of using a single model file in a single process.
So CAD does not offer any panaceas. Even the new 2D photo to 3D model file
technologies will require experienced editing to generate versions that can be
manufactured. But the combination of CAD and direct deposition will eventually
extend our modeling options, much as the introduction of styrene did 50 years
ago. There are enormous possibilities in this, and quite few people are already
experimenting with it.
As for what is currently available, Shapeways seems to be the current largest
source of model railroad products. They draw on hundreds of individual
designers, by providing facilities to build anyone's computer modeled concepts,
with a web based market for designers to sell copies of their work on demand.
But searching for anything specific on the Shapeways website is currently an
exercise in terminal frustration. The following designer's shops have most of
what will interest us, and give good examples of the current state of the art.
This list is by no means complete, and I encourage anyone who has found useful
items from other shops to let the rest of us know. At present this shop based
approach seems the best way to screen out the junk returned by Shapeways' search
Shapeways may offer these designer's products in several materials. Their
Frosted Ultra Detail gives the best reproduction of a model file, but is their
most expensive plastic. Frosted Detail costs a bit less, and may suffice for
larger models with little fine detail. These two are apparently Acrylics (i.e.
Plexiglass), and can be handled as such. White Strong Flexible is tougher,
apparently a nylon deposited as about 0.005" diameter drops, so HO scale models
appear to be composed of scale 1/2" pebbles. I consider it wholly unsuitable for
models, though it should be good for some mechanical applications.
On 05/06/2013 02:27 PM, d_rg_br wrote:
> Mr. Stutz,
> Thank you for your logical analysis of current 3D printing
> capabilities. We´re a long way to truly efficient use of this
> technology with the limiting factor being material preparation
> and current nozzle capacities. Any printer that has the input capacity
> and nozzle sizes of interest place them in upper echelon industrial
> processes and they´re not there yet.
> Some times I feel like I´m whistling in the wind
> after 40 years in industrial automation
> MCG de Oliveira
>> I have no experience with either.
>> The above are really copying processes, and not of much use use for modeling.
>> John Stutz
- None of your replies have ever been excessive, something that makes
your replies definitive. I´ve been off-shore for so long that I´ve
lost the tact to clearly state my position on many subjects.
Thank you so much for your clarity, and in this case it´s far
beyond a statement of current realities in 3D printing for HOn3
MCG de Oliveira
--- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, John Stutz <John.C.Stutz@...> wrote:
> This may be of general interest.
> I expand on a previous reply to MCG.
> Perhaps excessively?
> >> John Stutz
- If you have any doubts as to whether this technology is good enough for
HOn3, On3, Nn3, or such models, go look at what people have done!
I became a convert after I saw Eric Cox's fine models...his N-scale items
look better than the commercial models alongside them in photos!
Or how about HO bicycles?
19th century railroad need an N-scale stagecoach for a forced perspective
Please do not confuse home printers such as the Makerbot products with
commercial/industrial printers. There is an extra zero on price tag of the
later. It is like confusing a butchers knife with a hobby knife. I
believe that Shapeways uses a ProJet 3510 for the UD and FUD prints. Most
of us use FUD which is UV cured acrylic. The layers are 29 microns thick
(1/100" in HO scale) and it has a resolution of 0.1" in HO scale (actually
As far as software, you may use whatever you like so long as it produces
watertight, manifold components. I've used 123Design by Autodesk (don't
like it), Blender which is open-source, and good old free and easy Google
Sketchup. Solidworks may be easier to get your files ready (I've never
tried it, don't know), but the free programs will produce just as nicely
This technology isn't, in my opinion, all that great (right now) for the
production of HOn3 passenger cars due to costs nor replicating any of your
already available D&RGW models. But, it is a game changer for those of us
interested in stuff on the roads less traveled and time periods unknown.
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