login   |    register
Scratchbuilders!
Built a model or part from your own materials lately?
Hosted by Mike Kirchoff
Laser Cutter/3D Printer Projects
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 12:06 PM UTC
My school recently bought a 100W laser cutter capable of cutting and engraving anything from paper to 5mm pine. We also have 2 3D printers and access to AutoCAD. Now, I want to start using these for my modelling but i'm a bit stumped for ideas. Can anyone suggest/brainstorm anything I could make using these tools?
cheers
retiredyank
Visit this Community
Arkansas, United States
Member Since: June 29, 2009
entire network: 11,610 Posts
KitMaker Network: 3,657 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 06:39 PM UTC
You can print 3D replacement parts for kit inaccuracies or for complete conversions. You should also be able to cut etched parts for further detailing.
Sticky
Visit this Community
Vermont, United States
Member Since: September 14, 2004
entire network: 2,220 Posts
KitMaker Network: 336 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 06:54 PM UTC
How about some gingerbread for 1/35 scale russian houses?



I have lots more pics if you need inpiration!
MLD
Visit this Community
Vermont, United States
Member Since: July 21, 2002
entire network: 3,569 Posts
KitMaker Network: 684 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 07:44 PM UTC
Laser cut Vallejo style paint bottle racks and modular desk organizers. There are several on the market right now as well as a set of free plans on Thinigverse.
Depending on the resolution/tolerance of the laser, you could cut architectural details, window frames, shutters, layered door panels, wrought iron grill and balcony railings.

I used our school's 3d printer (using my filament) to make Tenax bottle holders and Mig/Ammo bottle holders/tip proofers. But this is costly in terms of filament and print time.
The resolution was not good enough to make actual model parts.

MikeyBugs95
Visit this Community
New York, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2013
entire network: 2,210 Posts
KitMaker Network: 345 Posts
Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 - 11:34 PM UTC
What CAD programs does your school have? Just AutoCAD? If so it is very difficult to design 3D models in AutoCAD. AutoCAD's bread and butter is 2D drawing and design. Like drawing and blueprinting on a sheet of paper. To design 3D you need something like Inventor, SketchUp, SolidWorks or even Catia, Blender or 3DS Max. Blender and Max are more for 3D design while Inventor, SketchUp and SolidWorks are 3D modelling and CAD. I'm not sure about Catia as I've never really looked into it much (it is very, very, very, very expensive... With no student versions). Blender and Max have limited or no CAD capabilities. They are great for something like scene design, animation or geometries. Not something where you need specific shapes at specific sizes which Inventor and SolidWorks excel at. Keep this in mind. AutoCAD is a great program and is a very good compliment to Inventor as well. But they are 2 different programs that excel in different areas.
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
Visit this Community
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Member Since: June 20, 2008
entire network: 3,976 Posts
KitMaker Network: 572 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 02:33 AM UTC
Actually, if you have AutoCAD you can do some serious 3D modelling - it just takes a lot of training and effort.



I do all my 3D work in ACAD. Granted, it is fairly poor at truly "organic" surfaces and compound curves, but for most model stuff it's not bad. (Just steer clear of things that were cast in sand moulds in real life, like Sherman turrets!)

Solidworks and Catia are the mutt's proverbials for 3D work, but only if you have extremely deep pockets or a day-job in the CAD studio of an engineering firm. Blender can be made to do accurate modelling, but the user interface is obtuse at best, and the learning curve is 10 degrees beyond vertical...
MikeyBugs95
Visit this Community
New York, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2013
entire network: 2,210 Posts
KitMaker Network: 345 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 06:37 AM UTC
Like I said, difficult. But not impossible. And that's an awesome model! I'd love to be able to do that in AutoCAD. I'm guessing it's easier to design on curved surfaces than in Inventor (which requires the use of the 3D drawing function or various surface geometries)?

I've tried to use Blender... Very difficult... I uninstalled it shortly after trying to use it. I did get a few minutes experience in Catia when I was visiting Vaughn college.
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
Visit this Community
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Member Since: June 20, 2008
entire network: 3,976 Posts
KitMaker Network: 572 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 03:14 PM UTC
What you saw is the result of many, many hours of cutting & shaping, after decades of ACAD experience, so you're right in saying it isn't really that easy! (Been using ACAD since way before they added the ACIS kernel for 3D solid stuff...) My philosophy is to view modelling as a form of sculpture, taking basic "blocks" and carving them to reveal the finished shape. That can mean creating shapes purely to act as whittling tools by "subtracting" them from the main model, or it can mean approaching each piece from a direction that isn't very intuitive. One thing's sure though - you can NEVER get enough money to compensate for the time you put in!

That cab is a conversion set for a 1:64 die-cast model, done as a commission for 3D printing at Shapeways. Turns out there's quite a market for trucks and farm equipment! I hate doing cabs though, because they are all full of compound curves, which ACAD hates. The folks who made the real ones did it by carving huge blocks of clay at 1:1 scale with hand tools - now that's a job I'd love!

I have access to Inventor, which should be a better modelling package, but I don't get on with it the same way I do with ACAD. And Blender only resides on my machine now so I can use some of its import/export functions - actually modelling with it is a nightmare! But there are lots of folks on SW who swear by it - go figure. Really high-end stuff like Solidworks, NX, and Catia are way beyond my reach.
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 03:42 PM UTC
Michael,
Yes, I do most of my 3D design work at school on AutoCAD, with a bit of Maya. I'm also pretty proficent with Blender but like you said it has very little CAD capability (its primary function is CGI and animation). I'll talk to my tech teacher about getting Inventor, is it a difficult software to learn? or are most of the skills i've learnt in AutoCAD applicable?
MikeyBugs95
Visit this Community
New York, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2013
entire network: 2,210 Posts
KitMaker Network: 345 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 09:59 PM UTC
Maya! I've forgotten about Maya... Aside from the fact that I never used it... Inventor isn't too hard to learn. You could learn it on your own really. The drawing skills do transfer over sometimes but, like I said, it's a different program with a different purpose. One thing to remember, zooming in Inventor is reversed from ACAD. Scroll in to zoom out. It's actually a pretty neat program to use when you get the hang of it. Just make sure to have everything constrained properly and you're good to go. Inventor is kind of like the more every day, does the job well enough 3D modelling program. SolidWorks, NX and Catia are very powerful (and extraordinarily expensive) and are probably like the million dollar cars of the 3D CAD world.

If you want to get Inventor for free on your home computer, they offer a student version. It's a full function program but the certificate only lasts for 3 years.
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 07:08 PM UTC
Yeah I've already got the Autodesk student account so downloading Inventor will be no problem:)
That's interesting about the inverted zoom, probably take a while to get the hand of.
what kind of stuff do you design in Invertor Michael?
MikeyBugs95
Visit this Community
New York, United States
Member Since: May 27, 2013
entire network: 2,210 Posts
KitMaker Network: 345 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 09:10 PM UTC
Various things. I've done a radio set, some hawsepipes, torpedoes, headlight brush guards... You can do a lot of things in the program. It has its limits but it's a very versatile and useful program. If you understand it and are relatively proficient with it, it's a big plus to put on your resume if you're going for an engineering or designing job. One thing to also remember is one important minimum computer requirement. Inventor requires at least 8 gigs of RAM to run well. Especially designs that are large in memory size. I tried to use it on a laptop with only 4 gigs and could really only load a design of around a max of 11 MB in size. Over that and the program slows down immensely in my situation.
matt
Staff MemberCampaigns Administrator
Visit this Community
New York, United States
Member Since: February 28, 2002
entire network: 5,957 Posts
KitMaker Network: 2,626 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 09:20 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Actually, if you have AutoCAD you can do some serious 3D modelling - it just takes a lot of training and effort.



I do all my 3D work in ACAD. Granted, it is fairly poor at truly "organic" surfaces and compound curves, but for most model stuff it's not bad. (Just steer clear of things that were cast in sand moulds in real life, like Sherman turrets!)

Solidworks and Catia are the mutt's proverbials for 3D work, but only if you have extremely deep pockets or a day-job in the CAD studio of an engineering firm. Blender can be made to do accurate modelling, but the user interface is obtuse at best, and the learning curve is 10 degrees beyond vertical...



I've used Autocad, mechanical deasktop, cadkey, and various others in the last 20 years. I use NX on a daily basis for work, and there's parts of NX I don't use at all.
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Friday, April 01, 2016 - 10:12 AM UTC
Michael, yeah my laptop should run it fine. I've got an i7, 8Gb ram and Nvidia GTX 760M GPU. I do loads of polygon modelling and rendering in Blender and it handles it fine:)
Your comment about the headlight guards got me thinking, my school has a 100W laser cutter, I've yet to try cutting brass on it but it'd probably work. Is there a way to like create a UV of the 3d model in AutoCAD, Inventor, ect so that the parts could be cut on the laser cutter? could this be an alternative to PE?
Epoch3
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: April 03, 2016
entire network: 18 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2016 - 01:28 AM UTC
Hi - I do my modeling in Rhino 3D and printing on several types of 3D printers. You might be interested in a project I did last year building a German 35.5cm M1 howitzer in 1/35th scale. You can find some pictures of this project on Axis History Forum at the following link.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=213588

Happy Modeling
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2016 - 04:28 PM UTC
Wow! Thats very impressive! love the detail. Unfortunately my 3D printer isnt that good I've heard of Rhino before, but I've honestly never looked into it before... what can you tell me about it?
Epoch3
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: April 03, 2016
entire network: 18 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2016 - 05:18 PM UTC
Rhino 3D is a powerful Nurbs based CAD program that offers a very high level of precision. The easiest way to think about Nurbs is to think of the lines and surfaces you draw being defined by Math formulae/equations (instead of little triangles or meshes). Of course you don't need to know that to use it. I have played around with just about every CAD/CAM program that has come around since the late 1980s. For me, Rhino 3D was the best choice available offering the right level of capability at a reasonable cost, a good user interface, and it was by far the easiest to learn quickly. Rhino can be great for the beginner as well as advanced users - I suppose it depends on the user a bit but I did all the modeling shown on the Axis Forum link using only about 20 or so commands. You can keep things very simple and still do very complicated geometries. There are some specialty things that the high-end packages offer that Rhino doesn't but you pay for them. If you are doing high-end professional level work you probably won't be using Rhino but with regard to modeling, I can't think of anything I can't do in Rhino. Again it depends on your background a bit (it would be unfair to say it doesn't matter at all) but the learning curve on Rhino was very short for me - I just sat down and took a few tutorials and I was able to do basic modeling in a few hours. I would highly recommend it.
Epoch3
Visit this Community
United States
Member Since: April 03, 2016
entire network: 18 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 06:19 PM UTC
One thing you might consider with regards to laser cutting projects - there are many very good paper models around which for some have large flat surfaces (like a model of a K5 for example). Consider using a paper model as the template. You could build quite a bit of something like a K5 carriage with a laser cutter - use a lathe for the wheels and barrel and then use a mix of other technologies for the leftover bits and pieces - Happy modeling!
olivepython
Visit this Community
Western Australia, Australia
Member Since: January 10, 2014
entire network: 43 Posts
KitMaker Network: 20 Posts
Posted: Monday, April 11, 2016 - 09:21 PM UTC
thanks Epoch3,
yeah I know a bit about nurbs:) NURBS (Non Uniform Rational B-Spline) use Splines and their intersects to make a surface, which means instead of the computer having to process and store the positions of vertices in XYZ space (like with Meshes), the mathematical equations for those curves are used, which cuts down on processing power and render time. Its also easier to model organic surfaces using NURBS surfaces, instead of subdividing meshes.
thanks for your input about Rhino, I'll definetly look into it because it sounds like a great piece of software.

that is a fantastic idea about the paper models! I have quite a stash of printable paper models of all sorts of subjects.. I'll post some results!
bwiber
Visit this Community
Washington, United States
Member Since: August 03, 2008
entire network: 436 Posts
KitMaker Network: 15 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 03:06 AM UTC

Quoted Text


I have access to Inventor, which should be a better modelling package, but I don't get on with it the same way I do with ACAD.



Tom,

I used to use ACAD for work... and found that the 3D program closest to it was something called Rhino3D. Definitely very ACAD like when I was playing with it. Last I saw it had 90 day trial version and academic pricing.

https://www.rhino3d.com

Bob W.