Posted 13 May 2014 - 06:19 AM
Just some quick notes regarding 3d modelling and 3d printing:
There has been much discussion, pro and con, regarding 3d modelling and subsequently printing out parts to create scale models. Since CAD tools are used to design the real 1:1 subjects, it only seems natural that scale models can also be rendered/created the same way. Printing out the parts using suitable materials that can withstand temperature changes, and maintain structural integrity over time, accept glue and paint, and printed with reasonable quality and cost, is another matter; at least for the time being. If cost is not a consideration, then most of the cons mentioned above are no longer an issue, if you outsource the print job to a vender having an SLA industrial-quality printer. If you have been following the development of personal 3d printers (Makerbot, Up, etc..) you will quickly see that many owners of these printers rely on others' .stl files to create frogs, owls, whistles, and similar gigitry. In other words; the printer is a toy. The ability to create 3d models worthy of printing seems to be the greatest obstacle for most people who own printers. Obviously this thread showcases outstanding talent that is not as typical or commonplace as you might think. As a designer working in the automotive field, I can tell you that the greatest challenge for people wanting to create 3d models of cars, will be in aquiring the skills to create class-a surfaces for the bodies. Class-a is a term used to describe automotive surfaces that reflect highlights correctly, and balanced proportions that imitate the 1:1 subject. This is not an easy thing to do for the 1:1 cars, and I suspect it's the same for scale models. Check out the scale cars on any download site, take a look at a car you are familiar with, and you will see what I mean.
Here's the good news: Hi-end CAD is getting more affordable. 3d scanners are still pricey, but steadily coming down. The modelling skills shown here in this thread clearly illustrate the talent needed to learn advanced modeling used to create exterior surfaces.
In my humble opinion, 3d modeling and printing is coming; it's only a matter of time; probably sooner than later. The technology will not be the constraint in creating and printing 3d scale models; it's the CAD/design skills. If you want to consider this as an extension of your hobby, start learning CAD now, and let the hardware affordability and quality catch up with you.