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Miniatures out of thin air....

Posted by in on October 22, 2013 . .

... not really ;) . But it is true that rapid prototypying techniques really do make a lot of things to change.

Some time ago I had a discussion when one of people argued that 3D printing quality wise is not up to the standart yet to make good miniatures. As it is something we've been doing for the past 2 years I disagree - and hopefully pics below will prove that :) .

One of the benefits of using this technology is that you're able to scale the models to your liking without a need of actually resculpting them - you simply print them in different scale :)

But to be honest it is also one of the main issues really - when you're switching to CAD in the beggining it is tricky to get the scale right. On a computer screen you see models lots of times larger, with no comparison to a real object. Yeah, you can use caliper to measure a real object, you can scan it and use it as a guide for 3d sculpt - but in the end it is a hit-and-miss kind of process.

Luckily after a while you have a library of sculpts you can use when scaling new ones and thus you get rid of the problem.

One common misconception is that this method is something akin to StarTrek technology and miniatures apear "miraculously" - ZZAPP and done! Far from that - it is really time consuming process. At high quality model is being built from layers that are couple of microns thick and it literally takes hours to build a single 30mm miniature. This makes this technology expensive and atm suitable only for prototypes (well, even though we have some ideas that we''ll propably share in the coming months on howto make 3d printing service more affordable).

Will it change in future? Well , I'm rather sceptic on the matter - I doubt that it will happen soon. While there have been some major improvements in terms of quality, the core technologies behind 3d printing haven't changed since like 70's? Without some really innovative concept on howto build 3d models, it will be tricky to get better speeds - as I think we're nearing the boundaries of current tech.

On a good side it is great to see some lower res printers within a budget that a regular household can afford. Watching what people do with those is awesome!

Tags: 3d Last update: October 22, 2013
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