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Author Topic: 3D Printing?  (Read 13560 times)

Pat Matthews

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3D Printing?
« on: January 30, 2010, 08:30:44 pm »

So, whaddya think about using 3D printing for making model boat parts?

I've been drooling over the thought for ages, and finally obtained access to a capable 3D CAD program (Catia V5, eat yer hearts out)...

Some would argue that it's cheating, because I haven't whittled the parts out of wood I grew in my own backyard, using a knife I forged myself with ore dug with my bare hands. I say, get over it... and anyway, I still needed to research the part, draw it up in CAD (not trivial!), and then source the bits from a reliable shop.

My first exercise was a large Hall anchor in a size not readily available from any shop. Probably not the best example, because one could reasonably expect to whittle such a part... but I wanted to experiment with the process.

As expected, the parts came back with a stratified surface that needed sanding, but that went easily enough. And no, the parts aren't weak or brittle... pretty darn tough, actually.

Next, I'm ordering ship's cowl vents. I'm excited enough about these that I made a number of models in different sizes, and made them available through the vendor- Shapeways in the Netherlands: http://www.shapeways.com/     You can read more about how that works at my blog:
http://matthewsmodelmarine.wordpress.com/writings/matthews-cowl-vents-for-model-ships/   <<<< WARNING WARNING: I'll admit, shamelessly commercial, but it's nothing I'll get rich from.

But commercial or otherwise, I'm curious-- anyone else making use of this neat tool?
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Pat Matthews
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boatmadman

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2010, 08:55:39 pm »

Fascinating, tell us, what did the anchor cost to have made?

Ian
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2010, 09:00:04 pm »

Each part, depending on volume (i.e., cubic mm), can be just a few dollars... but Shapeways has a minimum of US$25 per order, so one needs to assemble a large order. For these vents, someone building a large scale ocean tug with several large vents might easily see the sense in it. One off, not so much!
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Pat Matthews
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snowwolflair

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2010, 09:23:35 pm »

I have been using it for some time.  Once you understand the limitations of the process and how to use the CAD properly it is very good.

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allnightin

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 11:53:41 am »

Pat,

Thanks indeed for showing where this has got to now and there are several items that I am really thinking of doing - once I have mastered the CAD stage!

From the thread in RC groups you show a 3d picture of a flat sheet style cowl (Vent30) but that isn't in your shop section at Shapeways and a search of the site didn't bring it up either.  Is that available as it looks very promising for a project i have in mind?

Francis Macnaughton
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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 12:12:35 pm »

I saw this at a show once. Very cleaver but the finish was poor. The cost well it an cheep on mater what why you looked at it.

John
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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 12:20:36 pm »

Finish depends on the quality (cost) of the machine. these things are improving all the time, and the cost is halving every twelve months or so.

As for price- what value do you place on your time?

I realise this is a hobby, but you have to look at it from a business point of view to see how things are priced up.

A company offering this service was at the London ME this year called 'impossible creations'. They had a printer whirring a way, printing a small adjustable spanner from ABS plastic. They had one they'd done earlier on display, and it was functional. The finish on the parts was good. Some small 'stepping' which could quickly be dealt with by a light rub over with some 600 grit wet and dry.

Andy
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2010, 01:07:22 pm »

Yes, what they said. Even the best machines leave some stratification, but as noted, it can be dealt with... though parts should be designed to allow for this. For example, make several parts that can be hand finished and assembled, instead of "printing" it all in one complex shape.

Francis- I do have that sheet-cowl model, but haven't scaled it to multiple sizes and made it available yet. What size do you have in mind? I hand-made one before, but it was easier, as it didn't need to be hollow. See the post at:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9265875#post9265875

CAD: Yes, there can be quite a learning curve! The tools used also matter. Once a solid model is created, you need to convert it to an "STL" file (stereolithographic file) for printing... and these STL files can go wrong in a number of ways. I tried using an inexpensive home CAD system, never got a usable result. With the highest-end system that I now have access to, the STL files are flawless.

Attached is a picture of the "flat" sheet cowl... Shapeway's shown price is too low, due to unrealistically low wall thickness in this particular model...
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elvis

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2010, 01:34:05 pm »

hi all
thats fantastic, wonder if they would be able to make some 1/4 scale (yes 1/4 scale over 6ft long) t90 tank track links for me and then i can get them cast in steel or alloy.
the upper and lower hull is made and finished also all the wheels so now just need to sort the motors/turret/tracks and sprockets.
then maybe a 1/4 scale landing craft. %% %%
all the best
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2010, 01:52:14 pm »

Tank!? Wrong forum!
But of course they could. In fact, they can make the parts in sintered stainless steel, but it's pricey. But having the links all cast up would be pricey too, so it might work out.
http://www.shapeways.com/materials/
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Pat Matthews
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elvis

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2010, 03:23:09 pm »

thanks for the info.
fantastic what they can do now.
all the best
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allnightin

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2010, 08:18:43 pm »

Pat,

Thanks for your bit above.  The quick answer re size is the cowl vent for a LCT5 as per the extracts from the original blueprints given below in 1/32nd, 1/35th, 1/48th and 1/72nd but I suspect there is quite a bit of work to get there!  In any event it is only the actual cowl bit that needs 3D printing as the stem below is easy enough to get a suitable size of tube for. Mind you there are quite a few other bits for the LCT that could also benefit from this technique I am going have to do quite a bit of thinking!
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2010, 08:44:42 pm »

Francis-
Let me suggest that this would be better represented by the "smooth" version... and so it seems from your print (oh, to have real prints for all my builds!). As in the lead photo at my blog entry (http://matthewsmodelmarine.wordpress.com/writings/matthews-cowl-vents-for-model-ships/ ), the segments were sometimes worked with compound curves, and I'll wager the seams were lead-filled, just as in steel coachwork.
You can also find examples with very "flat" segments, or lapped & riveted segments, such as at:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/OnlineLibrary/photos/images/i03000/i03600.jpg

but I think yours is smooth!

Pat

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Colin Bishop

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2010, 08:50:33 pm »

It would be very interesting to see how these components would be treated should a model be entered into a competition. The usual practice is to obtain a drawing and make the part. This process is more a case of make the drawing and obtain the part. It would certainly drive a coach and horses through most current competition rules....

Colin
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2010, 09:01:43 pm »

It's already been covered in the US. See:
http://shipmodeling.net/vb_forum/articles22.html

Where the Nautical Research Guild worked with the Mariners' Museum prior to the museum's prestigious model competition to better develop a definition of "scratch". In particular:

"Photo-etched, laser-cut, cast, or similar parts mechanically or chemically duplicated by others from the entrant's original master or pattern, shall be considered as scratch built."

Of course, other groups may beg to differ!
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Pat Matthews
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allnightin

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2010, 09:29:57 pm »

Pat,

This is probably the clearest shot that I can offer of the LCT5 cowl vent.  It does look a bit smoothed out but as i understand it the LCTs were not exactly built with many frills or fancy finishes!  I suppose that simulating the weld seams on a curved version might be nearer the original.


Can you suggest a CAD package that is likely to work with  Shapeways but won't break the bank by any chance?


Francis Macnaughton
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2010, 09:45:06 pm »

Alrighty then! Faceted it is!
Nope... all good cad is expensive.
But I may be able to reshape my faceted model, just confirm the tube and cowl diameter. And be patient!
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Pat Matthews

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Cowl Vents Received
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2010, 01:46:39 pm »

I finally got around to ordering some of my own 3D-printed cowl vents... quite happy with the results! I don't think you can order anything commercially that comes close to these, with the thin wall, hollow all the way through, and with no flash or parting lines.

Next, I'll finish them up with the stand-pipes and flanged bases. These are for a big steam tug in 1:32 scale, the bigger ones are about 30mm across the opening.
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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2010, 02:24:34 pm »

Very impressive!  :-))

Andy
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Arizona57

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2010, 02:44:08 pm »

Surely a 3D-printer is also on my 'wishlist'

for now I will keep on working with my 3D cnc milling machine (1000 x 590 x 110 mm)
I will try to create a vent like this on that machine, once one is created the file can be scaled (up or down) as one wishes.

I will only use the 3D printing service for professional models (nautical and architectural) because of the cost factor, it will become cheaper in the near furure I think

Cheers

John.
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2010, 03:11:21 pm »

AZ57- The larger vents only cost me about US$6 each. I don't see how you can beat that with CNC milling, even on your own machine using cast-off stock... unless you pay yourself pennies on the hour!
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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2010, 07:32:22 pm »

my company is supposed to buying an all singing one of these, problem being I have been told that I am NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE NEAR IT! We bought a vinyl printer /cutter, and the next thing was my named plastered everywhere all over the factory, the fact I was not even there or trained at the time did not enter managements head .....I still got blamed!!!
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Fifie

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2010, 09:08:59 am »

Hi
I have been using 3D Cad for over 25 years and 3D printing since it started
I have used them all and some are good and some are bad when taken in the modeling context
Cad wise I run in house Catia V5, Pro/Engineer Wildfire2, Rhino, Unigraphics
My favorite is Pro/e
I also run Minimagics (Freeware) to check stl. files before sending them out,  as there is always quite a severe charge for commercially correcting them.(£50 Plus)
I currently am producing a range of fittings using mainly the SLA process
The range includes Powerblocks, Window Bezels, Cranes & Nethaulers.
Costs. This in the UK is a problem as many bureaus have a initial fee of £250
Mine is not a commercial operation done mainly to supply my own needs plus a few for other like minded modelers
One well known Scottish modeler no longer makes his own fittings but uses mine
The cost is more than justified.
As most of the users are not in it for the awards the question of authenticity doesn’t come in it
Anybody interested in knowing more feel free to contact me at alistair.craig@sky .com
Fifie
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2011, 10:57:52 pm »

Hmm, too long dormant, this thread!
Fifie, those set up charges are way too much. Go to Shapeways, the min order is US$25, no set up, none.
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Pat Matthews
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Pat Matthews

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Re: 3D Printing?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2011, 11:12:24 pm »

I did the rudders and struts for my Baywatch lifeguard boat in stainless steel at Shapeways. Yes, real metal, stainless powder with copper infusion. Not brittle, not weak, almost not machinable!

The drawbacks? A bit of cost, a lot of grinding to take out the strata, and a bit of warpage is typical... the "green" blanks are very weak, and can sag during the infusion process.

Note that the struts are handed to connect the angled shafts to the opposite angles of the hull.
The rudder bosses were drilled out, and stainless shafts were silver soldered in.
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