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3-D Printing - Will it really catch on ?

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  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
3-D Printing - Will it really catch on ?
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, March 09, 2017 6:13 AM

Hi ;

 As you know by now I am somewhat old fashioned . First there was Blow Molding , Then vacuum Molding , Then Two Color molding , then Slide Molding . These produced models with flash , in some cases , Easily addressed . Now 3-D printing at some Fourteen hundred bucks ( Based on Jeff's  Head's article on the German ship )

    Now I saw some samples at a Plastics and Computer trade show . A half hull of something similiar to Lindberg's Coast Guard cutter. It was far more smooth and filled with minute detail . But still needed smoothing ( Looked like it was molded out of Unsanded Unfinished Raw Wood ).

 Operator said whole hull would be about Four hundred Bucks . That's a lot !  That said , Does this mean in twenty years the hobby will revert back to wood bloocks and greeblies where you find them ? That's bound to be cheaper than even plastic by then . Being as how Plastic costs are tied to  Costs of a  Barrel of Crude Oil ( 42 std. Gallons).

 I have yet seen a printed model or part smooth enough to just build . Plus the finish of the printing material doesn't have the characteristics of Styrene . Kind of reminds me of trying to get a Multi - Brick construct of LEGO smooth enough to look like one piece . We all know LEGO is made of A.B.S.

 So Will printed kits make it on the market-place and supplant plastic kits ? I seriously doubt it . I am not usually a doubter here . I do believe it will have for a long time limited capabilities and not much more. I still think the cost will keep it limited .  T.B.

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:59 AM

Hi TB, your pretty much correct in how the market for 3D printed models is looking. 

I have been using 3D printing, or ADM as it was formally called, for almost 20 years for R&D proof of concept and now use it a lot for proto-typing and short run manufacturing.  Last year, I did a cost study on getting a production rated machine to do short run part making, and what I found is that the cost per volume is still extremely high for 3D printing.  For an injection molded or casted part, with tooling costs amortized out for the pattern, I can make parts for about $0.33 per cubic inch of volume, but to 3D print them, I am looking close to $3 to $5.  Until the cost of materials come down, and the cycle count can increase, we do not expect to see mass production 3d printed parts in the near future. The materials and processes are to the point where I can have a perfectly smooth part printed, and even out of an alloy, but its still quite expensive.  I do see using 3D printers for making patterns for molds becoming more popular, in fact, I am doing that with a current project.

There are a number of cottage short run operations out there that will do parts, and even full kits, but like when early resin kits started to come onto the market, these are not going to be cheap.  And since the binder of the material in 3D printing is resin, we have to handle, adhere, and apply finished to 3D parts just like when working with a resin kit.  

Scott

        

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, March 09, 2017 8:50 AM

I can see 3D printing making the patterns for resin casting, but at least at this time or the near future, I do not see production with that method.  Depending on the size and complexity, a single run can take a long time, hours to as much as a whole day.  That means the productivity of the machine suffers.  For custom one-offs, it might work but still be expensive.

I don't know much about making molds for styrene die casting- do any of the companies make their molds with CNC mills?

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:08 PM

Yes, I believe that is what figure producer Andrea is doing with their "EISERNES KREUZ" series.   The 3D scan is cleaned up and further refined to create a master mold, and they produce them in the four popular scales.  They are pricey, but then again, Andrea has always been that way.

http://www.andreadepotusa.com/busqueda.php?campobusqueda=EISERNES%20KREUZ&pagina=1

regards,

Jack

 

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, March 09, 2017 1:49 PM

To Address Don's question .

 Yes there are still  companies doing it this way , especially for slide molding. The tolerances are so tight as to require interfaces with computers in the nth degree .

 This way we get the best of the best in plastic detail .  T.B. 

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by CG Bob on Thursday, March 09, 2017 9:10 PM

I've been happy with the 3D printed parts I've purchased from Shapeways.com.  So far most of the parts have been 1/16th and 1/48th scale boat crew figures.  I also purchased sone 1/48th scale PT boat mufflers.  The crew for my 1/16th scale USCG 36' Motor Lifeboat were originally designed as a PT boat crew.  The designer made a few little tweaks to his computer program and created a new figure.  For certain parts the detail and cost isn't bad.PT mufflersCG crew

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Thursday, March 09, 2017 10:48 PM

C0ld hard facts about 3D printing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLJhfhrVK2U

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Thursday, March 09, 2017 10:59 PM

Hi,

I think that 3D printing will catch on, but that it'll be less an issue of replacing plastic kits, as much as supplementing them, much like resin models do now.

Over the last several years 3D printing capabilities appear to have advanced alot and prices have come down making them a bit more mainstream.  And there are alot of 3D CAD files available on the internet.  As such I could see 3D printing really filling a void for stuff that's likely too obscure a topic for a major company to invest in developing a plastic kit of, as well as being a potential source for specialty parts.

I guess one issue to me though is that there will likely be a period of experimentation in trying to determine the best, and most cost efficient way to proceed.  In playing around with my 3D printer, one thing that I have found is that, although 3D printing may allow you to print out complex shapes as one large piece, sometimes that is not necessarily the best approach. 

For some of the small things that I have tried to print I have found that sometimes printinh the hull and superstructure of a ship separately and gluing them together afterwards actually works best (and it sometimes help make cleaning and prepping the parts easier rather than trying to cleam and prep one larger piece, with potential overhangs and corners etc).  For a really large model I could even see how perhaps trying to 3D print a hull as a "shell" with a separate deck that you glue on later, rather than trying to print the whole hull as a single (semi-) solid block could help reduce the amount of material and time needed to print, and hence also reduce the total costs involved.

Pat

  • Member since
    May, 2016
Posted by Revenant on Friday, March 10, 2017 5:51 PM

I think the better question is, "Has it caught on?"  Its been around for some time now and is still stuck in a very small niche market for modelers, a place I predict it will stay for at least another decade or more.

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by MikeyBugs95 on Monday, March 13, 2017 4:43 AM
I have to agree with many sentiments ​here. For whole models, it's still too expensive and probably will remain so for the foreseeable future. But the market for smaller detail parts and upgrades is growing. Small parts in a high detail material is much more affordable and the market will probably grow further into the future and probably become more affordable as the technology progresses.

 In progress:

CAD:

1/35 SINCGARS ICOM/ASIP; 1/35 Flat screen TVs; 1/35 tactical light that I shall reveal later Devil

Models:

1/35 DML M4A1 DV; AFV Club M18 Hellcat; DML StuG IV; DML Armored Jeep w/ .50 cal; Panda Cougar 4x4 MRAP; Academy M3A1 Stuart; 1/700 Midship Models USS Miami; 1/700 Skywave Rudderow Destroyer Escort

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, March 13, 2017 9:09 AM

Tanker - Builder

...So Will printed kits make it on the market-place and supplant plastic kits ? I seriously doubt it . I am not usually a doubter here . I do believe it will have for a long time limited capabilities and not much more. I still think the cost will keep it limited .  T.B.

I disagree.  I think 3D printing absolutely will become more commonplace, and as the technology becomes cheaper, I predict that there will come a time when the average modeler will have a 3D printer, and instead of buying a complete set of sprues, we will buy the program to print the sprues ourselves.  I predict that manufacturers will use licensing and secure the program, to try to reduce piracy.

It makes sense for a manufacturer to do this.  He can eliminate the costs of materials and tools to produce the kit, leaving the costs of developing the masters and digitizing them for distribution to his customers.  The customers take on the costs of making the kit.

The general pattern for technology has been that the initial version has been prohibitively costly, and as it is improved and the market for it develops, the manufacturers find a way to produce it cheaper, to sell as many units as possible.  I think this one will follow the same patter.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v233/HansvonHammer/Humor/th_MonogramMafia.jpg?t=1296972087

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 13, 2017 9:28 PM

I just stumbled across a "killer app" for 3D ship modeling- barred chain!

https://matthewsmodelmarine.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/model-ship-stud-link-anchor-chain/

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Jerome, Idaho, U.S.A.
Posted by crackers on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:12 AM

To show you how far advanced 3D printing has become, the Army has unvailed a 3D printed granade launcher named the RAMBO, that fires granades made from 3D printed parts.

AP story  Happy modeling       Crackers   Surprise

Anthony V. Santos

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 12:53 PM

How far it has come is an understatement, as this thing cost a lot of money. Its made out of aluminum and steel, and like all 3D prints, needed extensive machining after printing.

It's not at all like the brief flurry of 3D pistol craziness. 

I see this as a CNC project using a different kind of machine tool to make prototypes.

Interesting.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:11 PM

Hi,

Here are some images of a 1/700 ship hull that I printed today.  I cut the model at the waterline and printed the top and bottom separately, because I found that this gives flat surfaces that can be glued together easily, and allows you to print most hulls without the need for external supports or rafts that would need to be removed and cleaned up later.

The bottom part of the hull printed with a slight glitch, I think because I didn't add enough glue stick to the printing surface.  Basically, a part of the already printed hull came loose and stuck to a different part of the model.  If you look  closely in once of the images you can see a light brown clump about midships on one side.  Because of this the rest of the upper layers got pushed a small amount to the side, resulting in a small offset, which you can see at the stern in some of the images.  Overall, its doesn't look like it'll be a big deal since I'll probably do a little sanding and filling once I put the two halves together anyway.

In  some of the images the bottom also looks a little yellow because I went ahead and smeared it with a light coat of balsa filler and then gave it a coat of sanding sealer to help fill in the "steps" in between each layer.  I didn't do that for the upper section because the differences in layers in that section are alot smaller, so that it already looks pretty smooth.

Two small issues with printing the hull out in pieces are that a) since the bottom half is so thin it already has begun to take on a slight "banana" shape and b) because the printing surface in the printer is heated there is a very small amount of flattening on the bottom of each printed piece.  I used some "sprue cutter" clippers to trim off the slight ridge that this heating causes, but it may be possible that the models pieces sharank just a little in height.  As such when I glue the two parts together I may add a very thin sheet of styrene between the two halves to try and make up for any lost height.

Regards

Pat

Bottom 1/2 just out of printer

 

Both 1/2s

More Images

My printer

Bottom 1/2 just starting

Bottom 1/2 50% done

Bottom 1/2 complete

Bottom 1/2 cleaned & prepped

Both parts clipped together

PS.  Here also is an image of some props that I had printed out a long time ago for a display model.  Unfortunately, part way through I realized that while I had scaled the diameter to an appropriate size, I hadn't checked the hub diameter, which ended up being too large for the model in question.  As such I never finished the pair, but I think I will try and finish them off now just for practice.  As you can see in this image because the props are fairly small and the blades really thin I ended up having to add a lot of putty to them to smooth them out and fill in the steps between each layer of the print (as compared to the ship hull above which came out fairly smooth from the printer).

Pair of Props

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:15 AM

Hmmm;

 Well , see , This is the kind of thing I was also thinking about .The items I've seen have these nice little lines where each layer is printed . I wonder about all that has to be done to make them smooth and if the material is compatabile to most of our glues without getting into Epoxy and stuff like that . I will stay on the sidelines and pay attention , because this does fascinate me .  T.B.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:37 AM

I just received the 1:350 scale USS Tunny SSG conversion from Shapeways/Mulsannes Corner.   It was printed in Frosted Extreme Detail plastic (FED).  The resolution is a function of the sized of the laser beam used to catelyze the There alre almost no deposition lines, what there are are very fine and on the lower 1/3 of the pressure vessel.   A quick coat of Rustoleum primer straight from the can is well on the way to hiding them.  Comparing the conversion parts with the AFV Club '42 Gato onto which they get grafted,  they are as detailed and as fine as the plastic.  

3D printing is here.   It will only get better.   Yes you will have to use non-hobby centric adhesives like CA or epoxy but those are the facts of the material.   Evolve with the hobby.  

3D styrene is essentially what you get from the 'melt & place' printers on the market today.

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:56 AM

Resolution is also a function of speed of the print.

Ed have you seen the anchor chains? Truly great stuff- the links on the larger ones are loose.

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:12 PM

Tanker - Builder

Hmmm;

 Well , see , This is the kind of thing I was also thinking about .The items I've seen have these nice little lines where each layer is printed . I wonder about all that has to be done to make them smooth and if the material is compatabile to most of our glues without getting into Epoxy and stuff like that . I will stay on the sidelines and pay attention , because this does fascinate me .  T.B.

 

Hi,

My printer uses ABS plastic and for gluing parts together I have been using a trick I found on the internet where you just throw your scrap pieces into a jar with some acetone (which you can get from places like Home Depot etc).  Mix it up and it makes a thin paste that you can then use as glue.

Regards

Pat

  • Member since
    May, 2010
Posted by amphib on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:37 AM

Years ago (not so many really) CAD drafting was in its infancy and there were professional draftsmen who stated that it would never completely supplant hand drafting. Where are professional hand drafters today?

I think the same thing will happen to some extent with 3D printing. It already has its applications in the real world with things like turbine blades. As the printers come down in cost and the programming becomes more precise I think you will see plastic model kits that are 3D printed offered at reasonable prices.

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Jerome, Idaho, U.S.A.
Posted by crackers on Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:39 AM

This is a picture of an oil rig model all put together by a 3D printer. The advancement of 3D printers in the future, opens up all kinds of possibilities for the ship modeler. I've been on the Forum since 2006. The most common lament and hand ringing subject that has been around since then, is the fact that there is so little choices of kit modeling subjects, especially sailing vessels. Those kits available on the market are usually the same dreary CONSTITUTION, VICTORY, MAYFLOWER et al. With advancement in 3D technology and the lowering of prices for 3D printers, a modeler can design a ship model from a plan and download the componants of that model as the modeler desires. It would be a howel and a hoot to see to creative output that could be presented on the Forum by 3D future modelers.

The Motely Factor picture      Happy modeling     Crackers   Big Smile

Anthony V. Santos

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:47 AM

" G "

 That is killer alright .Those chains in 1/200 or smaller can't be beat ! T.B.

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:50 AM

Hi Pat ;

  I have done this with LEGOS . I don't like doing it with other stuff though . Most of my spare and standby parts are styrene.  T.B. 

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