Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Models & Toys
  3D printing services for producing space models

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   3D printing services for producing space models
sev8n
Member

Posts: 55
From: Dallas TX USA
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 01-07-2013 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm looking for recommendations for a 3D printing service to produce space models. If anyone has such information (or a link to an earlier post) please reply here or send me an e-mail.

Specifically, I'm looking to create more realistic RCS nozzles for the Apollo SM and LM 1/48 scale kits by Revell and Monogram.

keymichael1855
Member

Posts: 20
From: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-08-2013 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keymichael1855   Click Here to Email keymichael1855     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I might have some info that you are looking for. I have produced 3D printed models for several members on this site. The site that I used and had great success with is shapeways.com. Here is a link to my shop on that site with some space models that I have created.

If you would like any more info, feel free to send me an email. Thanks! — Michael

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 245
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 01-08-2013 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
3D Systems is just about the largest, the have several service bureaus. They are the company that developed Stereolithography.

Polyjet parts on an objet printer give great results for something that small.

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 245
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 01-09-2013 01:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keymichael1855:
I have produced 3D printed models for several members on this site.
Your stuff looks great! How are the sales on Shapeways? How come no price on the 1/48th F-1? Aren't you concerned that these parts will be used as masters for creating molds and castings?

arjuna
unregistered
posted 01-09-2013 02:46 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given that a 3D printing revolution looks imminent, I would think that molders and casters should be the ones worried about their business model. (And I don't say that with any animus whatsoever towards those fine folks. It's just that their unique talent may soon become the equivalent of buggy whip makers in the early age of the automobile.)

Tom Dahl
New Member

Posts: 5
From: MA, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 01-09-2013 10:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom Dahl   Click Here to Email Tom Dahl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those who have used commercial services, what sort of accuracy and repeatability to you get (and in what materials)? For example if you wanted to make a 2.000 inch cube, how close would it be in all three axes? How about longer parts, up to 6 inches say? Are the tolerances absolute (0.x inches deviation regardless of total length) or a percentage (due to shrinkage for example)?

keymichael1855
Member

Posts: 20
From: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-10-2013 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for keymichael1855   Click Here to Email keymichael1855     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Retro Rocket, I think we have communicated before- I hope you are doing well! As for the 1:48 F1, I don't currently have it for sale because it isn't printable. It is simply a scaled down 1:36 engine, and the walls are too thin. It's on my list of things to correct, but just haven't got to it yet. I uploaded it to get a general idea of what it would cost, but didn't make it available for sale.

As for people using the models for creating molds, it is a catch 22 for me. If I want to expose them for the general space enthusisast (cS members) to buy, I obviously have to have them for sale to the people who might "steal" them and make molds with them. I don't think that would be right, but the only way to completely avoid that is to not allow them for sale at all. Then the models aren't available for anyone, and I don't make any $ at all. Even though I have a "shop," I make very little $ off of these models. This is more of a passion/hobby of mine- NOT a supply of income. I just like to use my talents to build models that I, and hopefully others, would like to have in their collection. If I can make a couple of bucks to fund future projects, that is a bonus!!!

As for 3D printing, I agree with you arjuna to an extent. As 3D printers get cheaper, I think more people will have access to them. I think they will be beside ink jets at Wal Mart one day, but it might take a few years. From what I've heard, a good molding process can be very expensive, so I think the 3D printing will surpass it one day.

Tom, here is the experience I've had with accuracy with Shapeways. In their "Strong and Flexible" material (their cheapest option), I can expect the models to be right on in terms of accuracy. Some of the "Detail" materials can expect a shrinkage of 1-2%, no matter what the size. If you need to join two parts together, you had better put them together in one .stl file so that they print together in the same batch.

tetrox
Member

Posts: 92
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-10-2013 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To extend this a little would there be any recommendations of basic 3D software best suited for producing the drawings required to have pieces made?

I realise of course people will have their favourites and some of the programs cost many hundreds of pounds/dollars etc but was curious if there were any particularly popular ones for the layperson.

keymichael1855
Member

Posts: 20
From: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-10-2013 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keymichael1855   Click Here to Email keymichael1855     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
tetrox, I use AutoCAD for producing my models, and I have a strong background in producing architecural models for 3D illustration. 3D models produced for illustration are created in the exact same way as those for producing 3D models. AutoCAD is one of those pieces of software that is very expensive, however.

I think some people have had good success producing simpler printed models with Sketch-Up. It's pretty user friendly, but I'm not sure of the ability to create more complex models.

BrianB
Member

Posts: 98
From:
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 01-10-2013 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BrianB   Click Here to Email BrianB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have an Objet 30 printer at work, so perhaps I can give some input.

We have had the printer for about 18 months now, and the learning curve has been pretty steep. The promotional literature definitely shows "best case" printing results that we haven't been able to duplicate. We used moddler.com before we bought our printer, and their results are better than we can produce in house. I pay fairly close attention to the use of 3D printers for production of scale models, and my feeling is that, at this time, they are better suited to providing a product that is going to need some hand massaging/cleanup/detailing to get a finished model.

We use Solidworks ($10,000 +) at work, but there are many suitable software packages. Typically you will want to produce an .stl file format, and there are a series of rules about making the model "printable". Objet's website has a pretty good explanation of this. We have done some printing for customers, and we have never yet had a file given to us that didn't need considerable tweaking to make it printable.

p51
Member

Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 01-10-2013 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by arjuna:
Given that a 3D printing revolution looks imminent, I would think that molders and casters should be the ones worried about their business model.
That ones that are smart, are. I know a guy who makes a living selling lost wax castings of parts for model railroad folks. He said he's not sleeping at night, worried what he's going to do once these 'printers' become more common and people realize how easy it is make their own stuff.

I think we're looking at the threshold of a massive change in that industry. The money, I think, will be made on making the designs to sell to people who'll produce their own stuff...

sev8n
Member

Posts: 55
From: Dallas TX USA
Registered: Jul 2012

posted 01-10-2013 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the replies.

I have several high-resolution photos of the RCS bells taken at various museums, what I don't have are the actual dimensions of the RCS bells. If I knew the outer diameter I could scale the rest of the dimensions from my photos. Also, it appears the SM and LM bells were identical — is that true?

Michael, with respect to modeling programs, would Sketchup be suitable for making a revolved profile for the RCS bells?

GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 01-10-2013 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The outside diameter of the bell is 5.738".

tetrox
Member

Posts: 92
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 01-10-2013 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for the kind replies and information regarding suitable 3D software.

I was looking at the open source "Blender" drawing program since posting my message which seems quite comprehensive,has anyone had experience of this as a tool?

sev8n,I scanned and posted to Photobucket a dimensioned drawing of the R4d engine which was used on the Lunar and service modules.

If you wish, download the drawing.

keymichael1855
Member

Posts: 20
From: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-10-2013 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keymichael1855   Click Here to Email keymichael1855     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I concur... 5.378" is spot on from the drawings I have seen. I have never used Sketch-Up myself, but it looks like it will do the revolve. Here is a YouTube video that shows you that it can be done.

If you like, sev8n, I would be glad to produce this for you. I currently have a larger scale Service Module on the production list, so I'm going to have to do this engine at some point anyway. If you would like me to do this for you, just send me an email. It will just take a few minutes- on the house! Just let me know... Thanks!

keymichael1855
Member

Posts: 20
From: Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-10-2013 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keymichael1855   Click Here to Email keymichael1855     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ooops, I mean 5.738"- I got a little dyslexic! I found the same document tetrox did....

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 245
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 01-10-2013 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the big limitations of 3D printing right now is the time required to finish the surface of the part.

Recently I saw an objet printed part that was only lightly bead blasted and it's surface was essentially done, a good primer coat and it would be ready to mold or paint.

Also there's still a fairly steep learning curve, the quality of identical parts done on the same kind of machines produced two very different parts, one had lost all the surface detail, the other was nice and crisp, the difference was the print settings and the post processing.

That's why right now I would recommend finding a company or person with a good track record, not good pricing alone.

As far as CAD programs go, I use Rhino3D, it's one of the best programs for modeling available with an intuitive U.I. Sketch-up is also really slick and based on some of the models I've seen. The main thing is, don't spend a lot of money on CAD programs unless you plan on using it full time.

I did a few RCS nozzles for someone, was that you?

arjuna
unregistered
posted 01-10-2013 10:50 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
I think we're looking at the threshold of a massive change in that industry. The money, I think, will be made on making the designs to sell to people who'll produce their own stuff...
It sure seems so. My detailed knowledge of AutoCAD and such are sketchy, but I closely follow emerging technologies and the only real question seems to be whether or not 3D printing will be a widespread artisan sort of enterprise (i.e. the "maker movement"), or will generate a full-on manufacturing revolution. (The truth probably lies somewhere in between.) Either way, it will profoundly change the current modeling industry.

As for the quality of the current generation of printers that create surfaces that need a lot of clean up etc., that will also likely change - and soon. The MIT Media Lab-linked Form 1 printer and others are bringing down the cost of sterolithographic 3D printing, a more sophisticated printing technology that can resolve details as fine as 300 microns, (apparently) needs little to no cleanup, and yet is a "simple, intuitive user experience that streamlines the process of importing .STL models". I'm not affiliated with them in any way other than to have kicked in a couple of bucks to their Kickstarter project. I'm just passing along the info.

space1
Member

Posts: 506
From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 01-11-2013 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll add my experience producing full scale parts. I use SolidWorks for producing the digital models. (The starting price for the very robust and capable basic product is probably less than $4K, far less than a full-blown $10K package with the add-ons, but still expensive.) I like SolidWorks because of its assembly features and capabilities, and parametric model creation. (With parametric modeling, if you finish a model and then need to make a change, you edit the feature and the part rebuilds with the change. No need to start over.)

For 3d printing I use an Envisiontec Ultra machine. It has very good surface finish, good repeatability and accuracy, and is at the low end for material cost. You can see some of my results on the Apollo hatch modeling project.

My system is somewhat limited for smaller scaled parts with their small feature size. But I am intrigued by the Formlabs Form 1 system mentioned by arjuna.

------------------
John Fongheiser
Historic Space Systems

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement