Shape my Ways

Posted by B00 
B00
Thats awesome, I'll need to look into this thing!

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Late to the party as usual catching up on this thread. Really cool seeing some comparison results from different companies. Thanks SO much for pitching yourselves over the cliffs, and documenting it! Love those "kits" you're cooking up Tom.

Just curious. How flexible are the clamping/receiver sockets, that have to spread, and spring back, for pop-together ball/socket joints, such as shoulder, hip, and foot pivots? I'm assuming the commonly used materials you guys are discussing the most work ok for this?

And dagnabbit, the marketers sure know how to craftily find stories to make a rough-edged grown man get misty eyed, with "power armor" stories like this. I'm sure most 3d guys have seen it long since: [news.cnet.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2012 10:49PM by repairtechjon.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah, Jon, a lot of the materials out there are pretty well known to us by now...including their mechanical properties, as well as their resolution, surface finish, warpage/dimensional stability, and other geometric factors. Fortunately, there are lots of different options available...for all kinds of different applications! For example, laser-sintered (SLS) polyamide is perfect for ball-n-socket joints because it's super strong, flexible, and dimensionally stable (even if the finish and resolution kinda blow).

Man, even though that video is clearly just an ad for Stratasys, that story about the little girl's "power loader" is pretty sweet!
B00
Finally got in some sample. The cannon, Drop-Shot, and the revision model of Blockhead.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/2012 11:37PM by B00.
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Sanjeev (Admin)
Heh...your photography makes them look like snowmen!

Anyway, don't leave us in suspense here: how do they work? What can be improved? What did you learn from the assembly...in terms of designing-for-manufacture?
B00
Well they all work amazingly. The cannon has a dual axle inside that lets the center rotate while the barrel remains stationary, but there's a little "transmission" section in the stationary barrel that rotates in unison. The fitting needed a lot of sanding WSF can be very unreliable for precision.

Same thing with Drop-shot (the little dude with the big gun arms). His fitting stay together, but they are loose and floppy. The tolerances are off, again WSF isnt so good for proper fittings on a small scale. Drop Shot is legion size, but very complex. He transforms into his gun mode, but doing so wears down all his ball joints fast, so I'm waiting till I do a little photo shoot to transform him again. He wont be available in my store. It took me about 8 hours to get him fitting and assembled and I know his design, for anyone else I think they would just throw him away after a few hours. Even if they get him together he's floppy and frail. He's a success and a failure. His design work but the material isn't reliable enough. A poorer quality print than mine, and he simply wont work at all.

My favorite 3D print group Moddler just got a new super awesome printer with crazy resolution and a very "plastic like" material. I'm gonna give it a shot.





neither of those prints are my work, it was examples Moddler sent me.

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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2012 02:56PM by B00.
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Sanjeev (Admin)
Damn....well, it sounds like it was a good learning experience...but probably NOT something you'd want to repeat? Polyamide has its uses, but high-precision mechanisms may be off the table.

Have you thought of printing up one of these bad boys in 3D Systems??? Pricey...but you may get better results from an assembly perspective!

And that stuff from Moddler...wow...sounds like they've upgraded significantly from the Objet they used to have. Is their new machine an EnvisionTEC or something like that? Those samples really look like something my local prototyper here would produce. Wild!
B00
Getting a print in the 3D system would look nice, but I doubt the parts would survive assembly. I'm working on a new pivot system that should work around WSF's deficiencies. Im going to send a selection of joint assemblies to moddler and see who well the new 3D printer work. Their new machine is an Evisiontec Mini.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Ah, NICE....yeah, the EnvisionTEC Mini is the exact one my local prototyper uses. Uh...I don't suppose Moddler gave you a quote for something printed using that thing??? It's a monster...that eats your wallet.

Anyway, I'm in the midst of a project right now where I'm trying to get tiny polyamide joints to work in concert with 3D printed stainless steel. I'm hoping they can play nice so that I can make a toy that's 100% 3D printed...
B00
No they didn't quote me a price for a small figure. They did quote me a price for my monster cannon, around 350. Seems like a good price actually.

Ive been curious about using the stainless steel myself. The wall thickness is 3mm so that will impair a lot of my designs that use 1mm walls. Also the resolution and precision isn't so good. Might be good for larger ball joints.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Wow...$350 on something that big and intricate? That's a GREAT deal on an EnvisionTEC! Of course...in terms of hi-res, that might be a bit overkill: if I'm getting sick enough resolution from 3D Systems that I can put tiny faces on MUSCLE guys, I'm not sure if the price hike is really worth it...

Anyway, what's funny about that 3mm wall thickness is that it's apparently bullshit! Just on a whim, I printed up my Mazinger Z MUSCLE...and it came out *perfect*...right down to the tiny ear-horns. I mean, hell, the fucking Scrander wings are 1.7mm thick...and it doesn't get much broader and flatter than that. The surface finish is crap, obviously...but it can be leveraged depending on the subject matter of your design.

I'm hoping everything works out with my project so I can finally announce it later this month...
B00
I cant wait to see what it is. I've got another little target master like guy I'm working on. It's a lot more simplistic than the Dropshot model and I've come up with a new joint setup that should work around the WSF deficiencies.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Sounds killer...can't wait to compare notes. I've got a bunch of joint test parts expected back from Shapeways in a couple weeks...once I've determined whether or not this thing is even feasible, I'll post all about what I'm working on.
B00
I have some better shots of the little target master guy on my flickr now [www.flickr.com]

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B00
Shotgun LAW!!!

Another custom "Target Cohort", Hijack. He transforms from bot to shotgun. As always the model will need to be tested before it's made available for sale. He is a two part kit. Hijack the bot is here. You can find his Gun is here.


Hijack_Shotgun by t.birge, on Flickr

Hijack_bot by t.birge, on Flickr

Hijack_W_gun by t.birge, on Flickr

Hijack_Splode by t.birge, on Flickr

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2013 04:38PM by B00.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Oh man...love the Bruticus-y head. You continue to blow me away with your CAD skills, Tom!
B00
Thanks man. I love making these things, but I need more education if I want to go into full on plastic production. I've been looking into going back to school, not sure what "Toy Making" would fall under. Industrial design? Mechanical engineering? I need to get into a school that offers product manufacturing or something along those lines, any advice?

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Sanjeev (Admin)
I guess Industrial Design? I was a Mechanical Engineer...which helped me run the nuclear reactor on-campus...helps me make airplanes now...and obviously got my foot in the door into the CAD industry...but there wasn't much directly related to mass-producing small mechanisms (toys).

I'm honestly not sure you even need any formal education. I mean, what would you expect to get from an Industrial Design program? You already know what your toys will look like. Maybe they could give you some tips on designing for manufacture...but how fucking hard is it to hollow out a block to lighten it, or add some ribs to strengthen a structure, or draft a surface so that it can demold more efficiently???

Toy manufacture is hard as hell, but it doesn't seem like any of it can be learned in a classroom. I think you just have to DO IT. Or...roll with someone who is, and look over their shoulder all the time to see what types of issues come up. Either way, you're gonna need a contact in China in order to source a reliable factory...
B00
Just feel like my life is moving in that direction ya'know? I think a formal education wouldn't hurt anything, that degree would probly help me in landing a real job and get me out of this nightmare of freelance and endless temp shit. I never cut it in games, so its time to move on.

I still need to learn actual drafting software, something like rhino or inventor, 3D Max just isnt the right thing for this. Also I need to know how to design things for two-part molds. As it is, my stuff is 3D printable, but not 2-part compatible, that's the biggest gap I need to cross.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
I hear that. Sounds like a change is needed either way.

I'm only wary because I have a bunch of friends with extra degrees & shit...and all it has really amounted to is more debt. Finding a job is no joke. And it just doesn't seem like having more education helps much in the search, if at all. Also, none of the folks I know who are actively making toys have any formal education (well, a couple have art degrees...but that's, like, drawing comics and whatnot). They just went out and made shit happen. Chinese factories don't give a fuck about a resume.

I think a degree would help get you into Mattel or Hasbro...but do you really wanna be working for them???

Your second point about design-for-manufacture makes sense, though. I guess I was underestimating what's involved in that in my previous post. Designing parts that will be injection molded IS a whole helluva lot different from designing for 3D printing...
B00
I finally got my Shotgun guy put together. The first print I got was so flimsy and weak it could hardly touch the pieces without them crumbling. I bitched at Shapeways and they re-printed it with the proper strength.



Even the pump action handle works!






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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2013 07:21PM by B00.
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Pump Handle = Bad Ass = Win. Nice detail touch there.

- Mike


Deep in the Hasbro Jungle
Sanjeev (Admin)
That is one helluva thing right there, Tom!

Have you thought of getting them printed up in different polyamide colors just to offer some contrast? Or hell...you could just paint it yourself.
B00
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Mr. Ginrai
Pump Handle = Bad Ass = Win. Nice detail touch there.

That handle was the main reason I wanted to make him.

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Sanjeev
That is one helluva thing right there, Tom!

Have you thought of getting them printed up in different polyamide colors just to offer some contrast? Or hell...you could just paint it yourself.

Thanks man, a lot of work went into this guy. WSF is the cheapest, also I'm a shit-tastic painter! I would love to get this guy made in plastic. I'm fixing up his predecessor and improving his stability, I'm going to make a few more "target cohorts" and launch a kick starter.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
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B00
...I'm going to make a few more "target cohorts" and launch a kick starter.

Well, damn!

That's what I'm talking about!
B00
I got off my butt, and stopped playing gears of war long enough to take some good photos of Hijack.

[www.tfw2005.com]

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Killer, man! Is the handle for this guy (and all your other guns) the standard 5mm peg?
B00
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Sanjeev
Killer, man! Is the handle for this guy (and all your other guns) the standard 5mm peg?

Yup. Master mind creations was sorta interested last fall, but they broke things off when they found out I was a hobbiest and not a professional designer. Other 3rd party guys have done the same.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Bwah? The fuck's the difference between a "hobbyist" and a "designer" as long as you can produce ill shit?

That seems weirdly short-sighted...
B00
The difference is what I was talking about a little while ago. A lot of my parts won't work in a steel mold. They would need a lot of re tooling either by the factory or by another designer. I don't know the basics of steel mold design. And those guys (3rd party guys) don't want that expense when they are looking for a cheaper toy line. So I'm going to try and charge ahead recklessly and see what I can get done myself.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
Ah, I see what you're saying...yeah, that's a good point...

But is it really THAT hard to add rounds and shells and draft surfaces to make them easy to pull from a mold? I dunno...most of the design-for-manufacture courses I took in college were pretty fucking easy and common sense.

I dunno...

Anyway, you *could* go the Ben-route and buy your own printer to make your own shit. It sure seems to be working for him...especially with the acetone vapor trick...
B00
I looked into 3D printers a lot last year. The one I would need is well out of my price range. The parts I make are so small and intricate I would need at least something like what Shapeways uses for their WSF. So I figured to just keep using services. After I make a few more of these guys I'll see what happens.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
This might be stretching the topic a wee bit, but I wanted to post this somewhere on the board where there was active discussion about 3D printing...

This morning, Mike (mikenozon) sent me a link to a new crowd-funding project on indiegogo for a consumer-grade 3D scanner that's being developed in Canada called the Photon:
[www.indiegogo.com]

Bottom line: I have a good feeling about this thing because the optical/imaging tech *does* exist to bring 3D scanning devices down from their currently-stratospheric prices. At $400, that's a little over one-tenth the price of your average scanner on the market today. That's pretty ridiculous!

That said, I find it mad suspect that the project runners completely FAIL to mention the scanner's resolution anywhere on the page. That's pretty much the ONLY critical spec of a 3D scanner, and it doesn't build much confidence that it's missing. I'm gonna contact them shortly to see if I can get some actual numbers...

Stay tuned.
MSW
Speaking of 3D printing here is a comparison chart of the major 3D printer choices that cost $20k or less:
[www.additive3d.com]

And here is a video introduction to 3D printing (mostly focusing in the Makerbot printers):
[www.youtube.com]

Sounds like operating the "hobby" level 3D printers can be kinda frustrating.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah, "hobby" level printers are just that: a hobby unto themselves. Whatever. Just not my thing. I want something that makes me shit...for the benefit of my other hobbies.

Ben put me on to Make magazine's comprehensive run-down of cheapie printers (~$2k and under):
[www.makershed.com]
(if you don't wanna pony up the $7 for the PDF download, there might just be torrents for it...)

It's good stuff.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Eh...hrrmm...so this morning, I PMed Drew on indiegogo about the Photon scanner project. I said that it was kinda conspicuous that they'd left out one of the ONLY relevant statistics for any 3D scanner: it's resolution. I mentioned that NextEngine's scanner has a clearly-stated resolution of .005"...and that if they posted the Photon's resolution, it'd go a long way in building potential backers' confidence.

Well, I just got some feedback:
"Hey Sanjeev, Thanks for your message. We're actually filming the scanner scanning as we speak. And with that video update will be models you can download and see for yourself... and the resolution of the scanner itself. Thanks for your support. Cheers and thanks -Drew"

So...I really appreciate the quick reply and all...but still no number. Shady? Well, I'm keeping an open mind. If they're just not gonna post the resolution, the video and downloadable samples better fucking wow me. Like, I figure if they can scan a typical ~1" wargaming miniature and have it look reasonably good, I'll be sold.

I'll reply to that effect shortly...and see what he says...
B00
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MSW
Speaking of 3D printing here is a comparison chart of the major 3D printer choices that cost $20k or less:
[www.additive3d.com]

And here is a video introduction to 3D printing (mostly focusing in the Makerbot printers):
[www.youtube.com]

Sounds like operating the "hobby" level 3D printers can be kinda frustrating.

I've stumbled onto that list a few times, its a good resource. It's how I found the Asiga freeform. Awesome printer for the price, just wish the material wasn't to brittle.

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Sanjeev
Eh...hrrmm...so this morning, I PMed Drew on indiegogo about the Photon scanner project. I said that it was kinda conspicuous that they'd left out one of the ONLY relevant statistics for any 3D scanner: it's resolution. I mentioned that NextEngine's scanner has a clearly-stated resolution of .005"...and that if they posted the Photon's resolution, it'd go a long way in building potential backers' confidence.

Well, I just got some feedback:
"Hey Sanjeev, Thanks for your message. We're actually filming the scanner scanning as we speak. And with that video update will be models you can download and see for yourself... and the resolution of the scanner itself. Thanks for your support. Cheers and thanks -Drew"

So...I really appreciate the quick reply and all...but still no number. Shady? Well, I'm keeping an open mind. If they're just not gonna post the resolution, the video and downloadable samples better fucking wow me. Like, I figure if they can scan a typical ~1" wargaming miniature and have it look reasonably good, I'll be sold.

I'll reply to that effect shortly...and see what he says...

i wonder if they haven't properly measured the res yet, or they're tweaking the machine to improve it's res. It still looks pretty promising.

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Sanjeev (Admin)
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B00
i wonder if they haven't properly measured the res yet, or they're tweaking the machine to improve it's res. It still looks pretty promising.

I would assume that's the case...but it's odd that they wouldn't just come out and say that. I PMed the dude again last night, but I still haven't heard back. They're probably swamped...
Sanjeev (Admin)
Well, it looks like you were right on the money, Tom. I just got this note from the other project runner, Adam, last night:
"For sure Sanjeev. We'll add it soon, we just want to make sure we have the numbers right. When we do update I'll add it to the page but also make it an update so it'll be easy to see. Should be in the next couple days. Fully understand it's a critical point, but we are actually getting better resolution than expected."

Definitely builds confidence. But again, we'll see in the next few days with their updated video and downloadable samples.

One thing to note, though: this project seems to be blowing up the spot. It's already up to over C$142k. But the not-so-cool thing is that they seem to be increasing the preorder price with each batch that gets filled. So the first 100 folks got one for $350, the next 200 after that were $400, and now, the next 200 are $450. :/

Now, who knows what the final retail price of the scanner will be after all is said and done. Hell...if it's a grand, either way, this is a great deal. And that wouldn't be all that fucked up a figure...seeing as how the next "consumer-level" scanner up on the market (the NextEngine) is three grand! But obviously we can't be certain at this point...

The price hike *could* be a way to temper additional preorders...'cause remember: if indiegogo is anything like Kickstarter, there's no limit. You can't cap donations once you hit a certain level. So if your project is stoopidly popular...beyond your wildest dreams--which DOES happen these days--you can end up fucking yourself by taking more preorders than you can possibly process.

Or, y'know...they could just be greedy bastards. I just wish they'd be more forthcoming about it.
Sanjeev (Admin)
So apparently, just as I was typing my post above, Adam from Matterform was explaining the price hike to $450 in the project's Comments section:

"Hi Brandon, we’re not planning to further increase the price passed $449 in the future of this campaign. We tried to explain it via the latest update, it’s not meant as a cash grab, unfortunately to meet further demand past the 300 units we originally meant to sell and still deliver them in a timely manner it means we need to bring on a couple extra people. This costs money. It would have been impossible (from a business standpoint) to keep the same price of $399 and the same dates."

So I was sorta wrong about it being a means to stem the tide of preorders...but it's the same general idea. In order NOT to get in over their heads, they're gonna have to hire more people to handle the preorders. Hence the price hike. I can dig it.

All that's left is the question about resolution...which should be answered hopefully this weekend.

...

^^Does anyone actually give a rat's ass about this 3D scanner stuff??? If no one cares, I can stop posting about it! :P
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