A scale modeler friendly view on 3D printing.
This is not my first attempt to go from Blender to a 3D printed object (Shapeways prototyped doll), but this time i’m taking it a little bit more serious.
Blender is proving a great tool to quickly (but quite accurately) produce good quality 3D geometry to later pass to a 3D printing service. Also if it is not providing extremely accurate measurement, a paying a little attention on how to design the object can lead to very good results, also because the modeler will use the produced object as a solid base to further works and enhancements, rather than as a finished product.
Also finding professional printing services is now easier, also without going for the online alternative. Nothing bad with Shapeways, of course, but a more accurate research near you can reserve some good surprise (like a cheaper alternative and a better pre production aid).
The need for not so small pieces, with a good measure accuracy but not so much surface details, drive me to the choose of a SLS Selective Laser Sintering solution, using Nylon powder as a base material. So, if you’re a modeler, going from a quite rough surface to a mirror polished finish is just a matter of time, good automotive primer/filler (go just for the professional grade kind, the generic bricolage version is just a waste of time and money) and wet sanding.
This is just the first step, next move will be produce good quality molds to transform master 3D printed pieces in small production series goods. Also producing a bit larger molds than i was used to produce could be an interesting challenge, and a chance to try new materials. So i hope the next article will be on how to recast 3D printed objects using the standard modelers methods (RTV silicone molds, PU resin, etc…).