Saturday, 24 November 2012

3D Printing







The Telegraph ran one of their 'all this modern stuff is rubbish' articles by one of their 'angry old white men in ties' about 3D printers that specifically mentions wargaming. You wouldn't think 3D printing was a political issue but apparently in the strange world of the Telegraph, it is:

"handful of Lefty academics thrilled by the idea of abolishing property"

At this point he presumably stopped to swallow some tranquilisers. Not sure what Lefty academics have to do with 3D printers, other than conceiving them but still....

I came across this model offered on eBay UK which apparently comes from the Shapeways printing service.

At the moment, the technology is not quite there: see above. Either the model is grainy or expensive and the cheapest printers are about £2K. Now my first laserprinter cost £2.5K of 1980s money. My latest one cost two hundred quid and is better: wireless for one thing.

3D printers are in their infancy.

The article burbles about piracy and offers the opinion that 3D printer piracy will never be a threat to toy soldier companies because it will always be cheaper to manufacture using traditional methods. Now that may be true but it completely misses the point.

It's not the cost of mass production of models using traditional methods versus 3D printers that is the issue BUT the cost to the private individual of buying a model retail versus knocking it out on their home printer. And that may be a very different kettle of aquatic vertebrates.

When a private individual can run some photos through basic cheap CAD/CAM software and 3D print out his own models to whatever scale is desired then model-makers like GW are in the doggy do and no 'stop the world I want to get off' articles from the foaming at the mouth brigade will stop it.


14 comments:

  1. Good old Torygraph! I'm following this quite closely and am currently studying 3D CAD in the hope of running a laser-cutter, transfer printer and 3D prototype printer/profiler, so I know articles like that are well off-message.

    There was better coverage of a recent industry 3D conference in the Netherlands in the 'i' newspaper the other day.

    Also what the author has entirely missed is that while the Toy Soldier companies aren't using 3D printers yet, they are almost certainly using 3D scanners and running 3D milling machines off 3D cad files (to make monks? - it's the way I tell'em!).

    Indeed al aspects of CAD/CAM must be behind the huge renaissance in toy soldiers lead by HaT, Italeri and Strelets*R and now encompassing all this 25 and 28mm kit based styrene, the 'fast build' phenomenon, the fact that Hasegawa are back in AFV production etc...

    It was interesting how back in 2007/8 we had two threads on 3D on HaT and one on the Stelets forum's and neither time did the owners/mods comment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assume that 3D CAD is used in all the new plastic-sprue models, cheapening the process enormously. This is how the same sprue can be turned out at different scales.

      Sculpting is heading for a cup due sac of one off artwork. The new skills will be in computer graphics.

      What 3D printers offer are short production runs for the amateur.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I completely agree that the major Toy Soldier manufacturers have been using the 3D Sculpt programs to produce their expanding range of figures.

      There are some easy to used advanced 3d graphic sculpting programs out that expand the skills of the user dramatically.

      Since sculptures are the next major cost to production itself - then creating sets of figures has already been placed within reach of the ambitious amateur. Perhaps cut in half in some cases.

      Delete
  2. This is a fascinating subject, and the price of printers has dropped significantly in just a couple of years. Give this five years or so, and it will be really interesting.
    This will be a game-changer for sure.
    /Joakim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Torygraph article compares 3D printers to microwave ovens in their impact, which tells you all you need to know about the writer's grasp of technology.

      Delete
  3. Hi John - I've put you up for a Liebster Award, should you wish to accept it! http://hereford1938.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/id-like-to-thank-my-parents-my-agent-my.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am intrigued by the IP ramifications of cheap, accurate home 3d printing. I suspect that along with legitimate original models, "re-scans" of specific manufacturers' models will be available through the usual piracy chain (will bit torrents still be around?) the same way dodgy recasts are available on eBay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mike
      This is certainly one to watch.
      J

      Delete
  5. Generating 3d effects in printing is like a milestone which helps a lot in generating captivating objects.....

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is great. I need a Plastic card printing machine for home use. Where i can get the best one?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Chicago printing

    ReplyDelete
  8. Before, 3D printers were around £3,000 - £5,000. At the moment, it’s already half that price. You can purchase your own prototyping machine under £999. I have a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer Kit at home which supports my 3D2print’s 1.75mm PLA filaments and it produces high quality prints. There are other affordable 3D printing machines in the market; the competition is on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The major Toy Soldier manufacturers have been using the 3D Sculpt programs to produce their expanding range of figures.

    There are some easy to used advanced 3d graphic sculpting programs out that expand the skills of the user dramatically.

    Since sculptures are the next major cost to production itself - then creating sets of figures has already been placed within reach of the ambitious amateur. Perhaps cut in half in some cases.

    ReplyDelete