3D printing software

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by dhunpael, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    Hi guy's,

    I'm going to take my first steps into 3D printing.
    At first i'm just going to model some stuff and let some local companies print it out for me.
    The real deal printer at home setup is somewhat to expensive for me at this moment.

    Now i was wondering what kind of software you people are using.
    What software is good (and preferably free) and what is not.

    (i tried searching here but i didn't have the courage to go over +60 pages of threads)

    Thank you!
     
  2. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Cura is free and I've used it (with a MakerBot).
     
  3. Machinimax

    Machinimax Active Member

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    You could use Google SketchUp. You have to download an add on that will allow you to save your work as a printable STL file but it's all free. I will say this about SketchUp however, circles tend to come out a little polygonal after printing. Not a shabby route to take though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  4. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    blender, meshmixer and the online service Tinkercad.
     
  5. NS4

    NS4 Well-Known Member

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    For mechanical/geometric designs DesignSpark (has the simplicity of sketchup but is a nurbs based direct modeller) and Blender for more organic modelling.
     
  6. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    i'm now going with tinkercad, since it has a somewhat low learning curve, but i'm pritty sure i'll change to something else fairly quick.
    I was under the impression that blender is made for modeling moving 3D objects :eek

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback, i'll make sure to check them out :)
     
  7. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Blender is powerful, but more towards the polygon modeler side of things. Which tends to be more useful for "organic" models (aka models with a lot of soft curves and organic-looking lumps, like say human figures). In the 3d model world the general division is towards polygons versus procedures. organic shapes versus mechanical. Polygon modelers give you control at the vertex level and tend to be about surfaces. Other strategies -- primitives, NURBS, etc. --- are about defining shapes, with the actual polygon mesh generated at a later stage.

    Still further in this direction are CAD programs, which besides being largely about volumes, and largely procedural, tend towards a work flow that treats geometric relationships as paramount and keep everything in a history. In a CAD, you can drag a hole around or re-size it; unless implicitly instructed otherwise the CAD will "remember" that the hole used to be centered, and used to be 3/8", and will maintain those relationships even as you change things around it.

    But in the end, its rather like programming languages; each has different methods, different strengths, and individual users tend to gravitate towards the ones that "feel right" for them.
     
  8. lurch

    lurch New Member

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    cura is good try an older version like 14.09 or maybe 14.12.1 ... they work for sure with most if not all printers.. I tried a newer version but I could not figure it out.. maybe they just hid all the variables or maybe they only write for their printers now.. didn't do much digging into it.. just went back to old faithful.

    what printer do you have?..

    good luck with your printer.
     
  9. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have the full version of Zbrush. But still use Tinkercad to create base models that I then import into Zbrush.

    Do NOT use the default rounded surface objects (spheres, torus, cylinder, etc.) from Tinkercad. They don't print well. (flat sided objects are okay) I watched a tutorial on creating these basic shapes in Blender at MUCH higher resolution and then just saved the shapes to a folder called "shapes" :)

    Then in Tinkercad, I use STL import to import these basic shapes and then alter them if needed.
     
  10. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    Thanks for the info, I didn't know that :D
    I think that a CAD-like program will suffice for now, since i'm not the greatest artistic tallent :lol

    I don't have a printer yet, for now i'll have to go to a shop and let them print out my designs.
    A 3D printer is a bit to expensive for now (just bought a house on my own and so on...)
    But i'm thinking of buying a DIY printer setup in the next couple of months. (probably a cheap Prusa)

    So you use 3 programs to design your stuff?
    Blender to get high resolution shapes that you can import to Tinkercad.
    Tinkercad to design the big outlines. And then Zbrush to clean up the Tinkercad file?

    ---- edit ----
    For now i'm going to try and design the Fury Toolbox from Marvel's agents of Shield.
    It's fairly basic and even someone like me, with no experience, should be able to make something that looks like it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  11. Fawbish

    Fawbish Sr Member

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    I used Autodesk 123d Design - it's free and the more you play with it, the more you can do. That's great for creating good solid mechanical stuff from scratch. I dont really model organic stuff but I do occasionally mess around with other files etc. I use Meshlab to occasionally reduce polygons for smaller file sizes. And recently picked up blender so now I can increase the size and quality of some stuff which is great when working with low poly game meshes and such. I also have the free version of netfabb which is v useful - not for the modelling itself, but for checking model integrity, and slicing (not printing slicing) your model up into useful printable sections, thats quite good. All free of course.
     
  12. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  13. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    Dude :p

    I'll see what i can up with and keep you guy's posted ^^
     
  14. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    So i've been trying stuff and it's going.

    Just a quick new question
    If you have a picture of something, do you just eyeball it to make it look look the orriginal or do you import the file somehow?
     
  15. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll import photo references every time I can. But an important caveat; almost no photographic reference will be entirely free of perspective distortion. So you need to treat them with a certain caution. I'm building the front end of a P-08 right now (as part of another prop) and I'm using calipers on a real one to check critical dimensions as I go.
     
  16. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    How do you import the references and it which program?
    I'd like to give it a try ^^

     
  17. jakemisra

    jakemisra New Member

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    For design:
    Pro-Engineering when I have access to my work computer.
    TinkerCAD when I need to do something quick.
    FreeCAD when it's something mildly complicated.

    For printing:
    Dremel3D Software
    Cura
    Simplify 3D (if you have the 100 bucks to spend on slicing software)
    slic3r (if you have time/desire to mess with 100 settings, not for the uninitiated)
     
  18. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For Fusion 360, which I assume is somewhat similar to other Autodesk products, you add a "Canvas" to the workspace. A nice function in Fusion is the "calibrate" for canvas; you select two known reference points on the reference image, then enter the distance they are supposed to be in proper scale; Fusion then adjusts the image.

    Most software will allow you some way of putting in a background image, but they are all different -- especially when it comes to how you can scale the reference. Working in scale is of course much simpler, but you can always model at an arbitrary scale then scale the completed model either in the workspace or even in the slicing software.

    (For instance; say you have something like "Carrara" which makes it extremely awkward to scale the references. Build at whatever size the reference is, then when you are ready, select the entire model and scale it correctly. After that, you can continue to tweak details and add hardware and whatever except that now you are working in scale. Working in scale is always better, especially if you will be integrating anything that has a fixed scale; dowel or plastrut in fixed sizes, real-world hardware or buttons and switches, found objects, your own hand, etc.)
     
  19. Big Dog

    Big Dog Active Member

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    I appreciate lots of people providing personal experience input here. As someone who has been looking into Blender lately for modelling, this helped me learn some new names of modelling programs I wasn't aware of. Gonna try my luck at modelling something and maybe getting it printed at my university.
     
  20. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    Hey guy's

    Any help on further aligning this? I'm already using a circle but i can't seem to get it totally symmetrical.
    I'm using tinkercad atm.

    Thank you

    3rWtKBk.jpg
     
  21. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ummm.....did you HIDE your ruler ? The ruler is the only way to be sure your items are aligned properly. That....and a little math. :)

    You can't always trust VISUAL perspective.
     
  22. dhunpael

    dhunpael Active Member

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    yeah, i try to do as much as possible with the ruler.
    Hate it that you can't turn the ruler the other way :(
     
  23. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For symmetrical things like yours, I write the dimensions of the objects in the bottom half of the orange circle and then rotate the entire object 180 degrees, and plug in the dimensions for the corresponding pieces. Works pretty well.

    (if you didn't know) You can drag a selection box over the entire structure and rotate it without actually joining the pieces. (and then click anywhere on the screen to de-select the objects)
     
  24. nomuse

    nomuse Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yeah -- always measure reference points.

    For flat objects, a better approach is to scan them instead of photograph. You may get some x/y dimension problems but it will be generally flatter.

    When you've got a camera image in Photoshop or Gimp, turn on the grid as a reference, then the tools that are most useful to square up the image are rotate, perspective, and distort. Use the last as the last resort when the other tools have gotten close. If you were really crazy, there are lens models to deal with barrel distortion, but I've found it is close enough for prop work to shoot with the center 3/4 of the frame and as I said from as far away and as flat to the thing as possible (and then use optical zoom, not digital zoom).

    Another trick. When you are modeling, use primitives when possible and dimension them to measured dimensions. So if you are using a picture of a gun as a reference image, do the barrel as a cylinder so it will be accurately dimensioned and square to the workspace. And then you can use that to sanity-check what the reference image says the gun barrel is.
     

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