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Help with 3d printing

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So this definitely seems to be an up and coming technology useful to modelers. I know there are a few out there who are using this technology to prototype parts for resin casting.

I've been playing with the 3d design program Sketchup, and am getting the hang of it. have managed to draw up some tires, and some misc parts.

I was hoping perhaps some who have made that next step might be willing to start a discussion here to help people like me make that next step to actually getting a part printed.

I am aware of Shapeways, but believe there are others out there who will take on print work from a 3d drawing. Any and all tips, pitfalls, encouragement or even well meaning discouragement welcome. A start to finish description of your experience getting a part printed would be very welcome.


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Aaron, do a search on the site. There are at least 4 different threads going on this subject. I and a few others have posted in most of them. There is a lot to learn by reading the current threads and not having to re-hash everything in a new one. If you have any questions post them in the existing threads.


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There are basically two distinct classes of online print services. There are your "volume" outfits, most notably Shapeways and Sculpteo, and then there are your "professional" outfits, who claim fast turnaround or high quality and are much more expensive. I've had work done by three different "professional" outfits: one gave me a jaw-dropping gorgeous part, another game me parts that were sub-par and barely usable, and the third gave me parts that were utter BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH. I use Shapeways almost exclusively because they offer the best print quality at the best price in a reasonable amount of time. Try Shapeways first, and then you'll be in a better position to judge the capabilities of the other services.

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I've seen several with people getting stuff 3d printed and a lot of debates for how the technology will change the hobby, but haven't noticed any specifically talking about the process itself. I'll take a look around though, if it is already being talked about that works for me.

Thanks Joseph, like DIY decals, and resin casting this seems like a really neat additional skill to develop.

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