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My new boss took me out to lunch today and when we got in his car he showed me a bracket he'd made for his cell phone using a low-end 3D printer. He said it was a "Chinese knockoff" of some more popular brand - it costs about $1300 from Amazon. Unlike the commercial laser cured "stereo-lithography" systems I heard about years ago, these apparently use spools of ABS string that is melted and sprayed onto the part through small nozzles (much like an inkjet printer) to build up layers of plastic. The layering does make the sides of the parts a little rough, but nothing a little sanding wouldn't fix.

 

I was surprised at how crisp the parts were and how strong the material was; I didn't think the hobby-quality machines were this good or this cheap yet. Just wondering if anyone is using these for modeling and how hard it is to design parts.

 

Don

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I've never used or owned one, but the guy that runs the airbrush forum I am on just bought one and he's making little poseable multi=piece figures. Kind of like Lego's.

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Guest PetrolGator

3D printers are going to revolutionize the hobby, IMO. I've been seeing a lot of REALLY cool stuff, previously impossible, in 700 and 350 scale. For example, North Star Models uses a 3D printer to make some incredible "action" posed figures in 1/350. I'm also aware of a few other projects in the system that'll just blow the ship modeler community away.

 

With aircraft, imagine the detail possible with an engine cowling. Hell, imagine the day when we download blueprints and print a kit to our computers! I'm sure there will still be assembly required, for painting if nothing else.

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Don,

 

While I have not used any software or the new gen of 3D printers, I have recently purchased a few 3D printed pieces and I am very impressed... so far.

 

The 3D parts were printed by Shapeways with production in the US (Long Island City) and Europe.

 

http://www.shapeways.com

 

The designer of the parts (auto) is TDR Innovations.

 

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/tdrcatalog

 

I only purchased a few parts as I wanted to check the quality and test durability (drilling, sanding, etc.) and the primer and painting process.

 

While it is a project I've yet to get to, I do check the parts to see how they are holding up. I will say that I'm seeing some discoloration to the parts from when I first received them. I want to give them another month or two before I touch them to see if any other problems arise.

 

I think this (3D printing) has a long way to go before the clear leaders in the field emerge. Kind of like the early stages of photo editing and graphic programs back in the late '90s, and early aughts. One or two companies will emerge as the best software and there will be consolidation amongst the 3D printing companies.

 

Kevin

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Don,

 

While I have not used any software or the new gen of 3D printers, I have recently purchased a few 3D printed pieces and I am very impressed... so far.

 

The 3D parts were printed by Shapeways with production in the US (Long Island City) and Europe.

 

http://www.shapeways.com

 

The designer of the parts (auto) is TDR Innovations.

 

http://www.shapeways.com/shops/tdrcatalog

 

I only purchased a few parts as I wanted to check the quality and test durability (drilling, sanding, etc.) and the primer and painting process.

 

 

 

Hi Kevin,

 

I've seen some of the TDR parts on vendor tables at local shows; the detail is fantastic but some of the parts (1:8 427 FE engine block) seemed impossible to sand the surface texture off without ruining the detail. I'd love to be wrong, as I love their 6 cylinder Jaguar engine. I just checked their website and see they have a flathead Ford with Ardun heads available now; I got pretty far along mastering a head for my "Big Deuce" before realizing I had no way to add the cast in "ARDUN" name - guess that was a waste of time...

 

Don

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Hey Don,

 

Don't forget that there is suppose to be 'texture' on the 6 cylinder block. I know as modelers we want everything to be smooth as glass but the Jaguar iron block had a texture and the racing aluminum Jag blocks were sand cast then polished.

 

Example of a restored Jag block and you can see the texture: http://www.mckennasgarage.com/xke/jag36.htm

 

Mold lines are present on many cast automotive parts, the modelers are the ones who feel the need to smooth them out.

 

I know that the costs may be prohibitive to many, but I use the 3M sanding sponges in four of the five offered grits. Not an area you can't get to with these...

Edited by kptucker
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