On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

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Admiral Pertwee
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On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby Admiral Pertwee » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:13 pm

I recently stumbled across this On Demand 3D Printing company called Shapeways.
http://www.shapeways.com/

What caught my attention is the fact that Charles Onies, a 3D sculptor who did a lot of the miniatures for Ad Astra games is using it to produce his own line of starship miniatures which I have to say look amazing.
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/irrationaldesigns

It got me thinking if it would be possible to use this service to produce miniatures for Starmada and Iron Stars, either directly by setting up a shop on their website or by making masters for moulds that Brigade Models could use. The service seems competitive as cost is based solely on the type and amount of material used and there are tips for reducing this given on their website. The prices range from about $4 for the smallest ships to about $25 - 30 for the largest ones using plastic. Steel is also available and could be used for mould masters if the plastic isn’t suitable.

From the images used in the Starmada and Iron Star books it looks like you already have the 3D models so how much work would it take to turn them into something that could be printed out using this service.? This would probably mean cleaning some of the finer details away and breaking the model down into separate components in the same pattern as the recent Gamma Class Destroyer i.e. separate sails with a part of the hull attached and separate turrets.

I’ve ordered some of the Charles Onies miniatures and will report back on what they are like when they arrive. The prices listed excluded VAT but did include postage and packing to the EU.

jimbeau
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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby jimbeau » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:09 am

very cool

We need an MJ12Games logo brand...

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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby thedugan » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:49 am

Brigade has the option on the Iron Stars stuff, so I don't think they are available for this.

I *CAN* output the 3D stuff in a convertible format, I don't know how much work would be required to make them ready for Shapeways. If Dan wants me to, all he has to do is say the word. I suspect there's more to it than simple technical feasibility.

I'm actually on the "TSOD" list that Charles Oines runs on Yahoo, and I've been aware of Shapeways for a while now. They seem a bit overpriced to me. The smallest one is 4$? If I was actively gaming with a group, I'd probably do a LOT more scratch building.....
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starbreaker
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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby starbreaker » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:07 pm

De-lurking with a vengence:

Oh good, this is already on the radar. I've already started pushing the concept over on Dean's SCN site. Please look at the thread here:

http://www.star-ranger.com/forum/viewto ... =23&t=5599

There's no need to convert the entire mini to printed plastic, and in fact there are probably advantages to not doing so since Shapeways costs rise very rapidly as volume increases. Using Brigade pewter for the relatively bulky hulls while remaking the towers and sails with better detail and mounting points would be the best of both worlds, although it's unclear what it will do to price points - ought to save on shipping weight, though. The "spindly bits" are extremely low-volume, which is what you want in 3D printing.

Take a look at the intricate (but small) open-structure ships Afrodi has produced through Shapeways and imagine IS minis with detailed sails and girdered towers. We need to talk Tony into this, either as a collaborative effort or with him dealing with Shapeways directly.

I've got a tentative commission to paint Afrodi's pieces for his catalog, and will report back as well on the material suitability for minis use, including hybridization.

Rich

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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby thedugan » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:57 pm

Another option is to get Shapeways to make the prototypes, and have Brigade cast it all.
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starbreaker
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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby starbreaker » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:32 pm

Trust me, it's physically impossible to cast truly thin sails or open-lattice towers in pewter. Brigade did about the best you can do with the current versions. They might (and probably should) cast the hulls (remastered or no) in pewter, but you're going to need the add-ons in plastic for the full effect.

Pure Shapeways SWF would work in theory, but price climbs at a rate that's pretty much the cube of the volumetric increase. Probably not practical for decent sized ships.

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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby thedugan » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:43 pm

starbreaker wrote:Trust me, it's physically impossible to cast truly thin sails or open-lattice towers in pewter.


True, but they need not be pewter.

starbreaker wrote:Brigade did about the best you can do with the current versions. They might (and probably should) cast the hulls (remastered or no) in pewter, but you're going to need the add-ons in plastic for the full effect.


Yep...

starbreaker wrote:Pure Shapeways SWF would work in theory, but price climbs at a rate that's pretty much the cube of the volumetric increase. Probably not practical for decent sized ships.


The problem with pure shapeways is breaking whatever agreement you have with them, plus more expensive minis.
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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby afrodri » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:05 am

I *CAN* output the 3D stuff in a convertible format, I don't know how much work would be required to make them ready for Shapeways. If Dan wants me to, all he has to do is say the word. I suspect there's more to it than simple technical feasibility.


It is generally not too bad to convert for shapeways. The main restrictions (for the WSF) material is that it needs to be at least 0.7mm thick to be strong and that the minimum detail that will show up is 0.1-0.2mm. There is also a nice community on shapeways to help "debug" your file if you run into problems.

Another advantage of the shapeways/rapid prototyping process is economic rather than technical - because there is (potentially) no mold-making cost and production is on demand, the seller assumes less risk. They still have to do the design, of course, and it is best to order a part or two to make sure it came out right, but its a far cry from what ever a mold costs. Plus, since the part is laser sintered each time, you don't have to worry about molds wearing out.

Incidentally, the line of ships starbreaker refered to is at http://www.shapeways.com/shops/objects.

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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby Admiral Pertwee » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:15 pm

by starbreaker on Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:07 pm

There's no need to convert the entire mini to printed plastic, and in fact there are probably advantages to not doing so since Shapeways costs rise very rapidly as volume increases. Using Brigade pewter for the relatively bulky hulls while remaking the towers and sails with better detail and mounting points would be the best of both worlds, although it's unclear what it will do to price points - ought to save on shipping weight, though. The "spindly bits" are extremely low-volume, which is what you want in 3D printing.



I was actually thinking almost the opposite, since getting the hull shapes both correct and to scale looks like it would be the hardest part of making an Iron Star miniatures master. The hulls on larger models would not need to be solid, depending on how strong the material used is they could be as hollow as plastic aircraft kits are.

Costs for smaller ships could be further reduced by making them available in squadron packs or even fleet packs as well as individual models so that the $1.50 base cost is paid once rather than for each model.

by starbreaker on Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:32 pm

Trust me, it's physically impossible to cast truly thin sails or open-lattice towers in pewter. Brigade did about the best you can do with the current versions. They might (and probably should) cast the hulls (remastered or no) in pewter, but you're going to need the add-ons in plastic for the full effect.


This would be the detail that would need to be cleared from the 3D model that I noted earlier. The existing models would definitely need some modification before they could be used, including thickening or replacing details, hollowing out and breaking up into suitable pieces. Scalling different ships against each other might also be tricky. That being the case it might be worth seeing how much work this would be per model, possibly doing a test run for a single model to find out.

EDIT: Theres also the option of producing different models of the same ship both with and without the solid "sails". If I remember there were people on the forum who wanted to remove and replace these with wire mesh.

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Re: On Demand 3D Printing for Starmada and Iron Stars

Postby afrodri » Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:58 pm

Rough calculation:

Bantam class Battleship is 75mm long. I don't have the other measurements, so lets assume the body is 75x20x20mm, or about 30cm^3, this would be $31.50. If you hollow it out, the surface area is about 68 cm^2, with a thickness of 1mm, that comes to 6.8cm^2. Assume 20% overage for detail, and you get $13.74, which is about 40% more than the metal figure goes for, without the sails.

Of course I'm not sure of those measurements, and the 20% is just a guess...

Could someone point me to a link to the original renders?


thanks,

arun


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