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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:12 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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3D Printing Parts

So I've been drooling over the thought of making scale parts with a 3D printing service for ages... finally going to try it.

Haven't had much time lately for model building, as I've been in an intense class to learn CATIA with no relief on my regular job... but hey it's cool. CATIA is the top of the line CAD software used by places such as Boeing and Ford, and they even gave me a cool but huge laptop that will run it. Sweet.

OK, so I have an ancient home 3D CAD package- Turbocad v7 (they're on v16 now)- and it will do the solid modeling required for submitting 3D print jobs... but CATIA is just SO much nicer... and Turbocad's models keep crashing in the STL conversion.

So anyway, you do need to be able to work in 3D CAD to use one of these services... elsewise, it's the whittling knife for you! Now, I could probably build a master for this sample part by hand, but that's not the point... I wanna try 3D printing.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:14 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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So where you going to go for this?

I'll try PrintaPart, which I believe is the outfit mentioned in a Fine Scale Modeler article a while back. https://www.printapart.com/
Another one is Shapeways, http://www.shapeways.com/ , and they seem to have a more interesting selection of materials... but I can't get any of my files to successfully upload there... no prob with the same files at PrintaPart.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:18 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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My subject will be a British Hall anchor... I need one 38mm wide, and don't see anything quite the right size at the usual places... close but not just right.

I'll only do the flukes' casting, as the shank is easy- just some square stock and a shackle. The base has a pocket for the shank and its pin, so the shank can swivel.

Here are a couple real Hall anchors- they do look different from the familiar USN anchors.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:22 PM
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Cool, Pat!

By the way, what is the big laptop?
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:26 PM
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So, now I draw the shape, and export the CAD file as an "STL" (stereolithographic) file. Another acceptable format at some houses is "WRL", which I think is used by 3D gamers...

The STL is only a surface model, and is really just a mesh of triangles that represent the part's surface.. sort of like one of those Christmas light net things which "represent" the surface of the bush you tossed it over. The STL file is crunched by the printer and is turned into a stack of slices, like the slices of your bod in a CAT scan. Various processes and materials are available now that then build up the part from those slices. But most use some variation on the theme of a laser burning the desired pattern onto a pool of liquid polymer, which causes the polymer to harden. Neat.

Here are a couple screen shots of my anchor.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Aero- it's some overly heavy Dell with like a 54" wide screen...

So what's next? I just uploaded my file to PaP, and ordered one copy... certainly more than just buying a slightly wrong sized part from Harbor-- about $34 including their $7 shipping fee-- and I still have to make the shank and then see if I can use it for a resin casting master... but it's a learning experience!

Should have the part in a week.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 07:47 PM
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Had a look at a friend's Dell Precision just the other day... impressive machine-
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:30 PM
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Yep, an M6400... the first screen shot show the aspect ratio compared to my 23" desk top (right)... I get whiplash looking back and forth across its width...and my progressive bifocals aren't cutting it either, this is a young person's job!
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:33 PM
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My brain doesn't seem like it is able to grasp the drawing in CAD part...

What is the overall dimension of your anchor?
Techshop wants to charge $25 per cubic inch, including support material.
The resolution is about 0.25 mm per layer.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:43 PM
Guard-Cadet
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After hundreds of hours of work on my brass Rads you tell me there is a company that will 3d Print the damn things at a fraction of the cost.

AAAAAAHHHHHHH,
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:46 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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Mine is 38x42x12 mm, their price seems reasonable too... depending on the process. Some use sintered nylon powder, which is good for big stuff, but looks like a part molded from beach sand...
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:46 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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Rad?
Be happy, plastic will never look like brass-work...
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:52 PM
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Sorry, I'm a little excited. This is the coolest thing since dry ice was invented. RAD = Right Angle Drive. Yeah the brass is way cooler and much stronger too.

I'm just thinking of all the little parts for my ship that I need to build. All my nightmares suddenly go away and I can now put my highly technical mind to use, and all those classes I took in Autodesk Inventor.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 08:57 PM
Veni, Vidi, Feci
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Just keep in mind that this stuff isn't perfect... the strata build up leaves a stairstep effect... like "jaggies" in low res images. If you can get at them to sand, ok.
Also, build small pieces, not one huge assy to process... easier to find geometry oopses!

May also be best to use the process to make masters, then make rubber molds and pour multiple parts in resin.
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Old Aug 01, 2009, 09:04 PM
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I was thinking about the 48 life raft and lifejacket lockers that are on the ship. Or the 128 fiberglass deck seats. I'm thinking of getting these things built up and then making molds off them. Cause I don't want to hand make 128 1" tall fiberglass deck chairs.

Will have to look into this a lot more once that time comes.
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