in 3D printing something 1/24 scale, there are a few variables
first being of course the rendering, it could be as complex as you'd like, but may not translate to the printed object, as printers are limited to (depending on the specific machine) a degree of resolution
in some cases, it actually helps to compromise to degree of detail which is possible to print, and sometimes either increase or decrease the feature so that it "appears" well in the final result, as some fine details simply disappear in the making
second, the material chosen can be a limiting factor, I prefer to always use the finest material choice possible, with shapeways that is their FUD, an ultra-fine material
third is printing direction, this is not something you can presently control easily if outsourcing, like with shapeways, they will print in any one of the three axis, depending on the technician who processes the order
the reason is that there will definitely be a grain in the final item, that is where a degree of finishing prep is required, sometimes simply a layer of primer to fill in the grain steps texture, and why I always choose the finest material to print
fourth is the machine & provider, many home based 3D printers are a work in progress, and though some produce fine results, you'll often find it is through much effort & trail to achieve, where as the market place 3D printing vendors have of course higher quality printers, but trust me when I say that they are definitely NOT all created equal, in pricing, service, or especially shipping
I've tried a few now, and still for ease I use shapeways, at least until someone can beat or match them in price & service
this example is a 1/24 tires, designed to the limit of their resolution, and printed in FUD material
ok but the thing is, in most of the websites linked to the photos from that google search, there are a lot of objects that I cannot really tell how big they are, and the ones that you can, like the miniature Eiffel tower, its a subject that lends itself to a straight line sort of process that hides the problems with the three D printers. can you show me an image of a 1/24 scale say engine block with a smooth polished surface, or at least a very subtle only realistic casting look to it?
im not saying this isn't possible because I think this technology has a big big promise for the future; I am just saying in my experience I haven't seen really nice small scale detailed parts, particularly not in person where it is easier to judge exactly what it is you are looking at.
Edited by Jeremy Jon, 31 October 2014 - 10:46 PM.