Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Day284 3D Printing and MDMing

3D Printing
I got my nice new copy of 3D World issue 97. I have been looking forward to this because of the feature article on 3D Printing therein. Roy Spencer's article (pp 34 - 41) gives us a quick rundown of where this technology and industry is at and some good examples of the features and problems of the process whether done in-house or through a bureau.

The translucent resin versions I am familiar with still have a certain techy and mysterious charm about them and the costs are certainly falling rapidly. The colour print versions are perhaps a fraction crude in some ways, but the capability leap is awesome. The example in the article is an Elf character and when coloured gives us a host more visual depth. Other examples I have seen images of use colour to convey stress levels in components, cell types in medical applications and atomic details in molecular studies.

Some of the newer 'desktop' 3D printers coming our way are not only much more affordable but dont eat up a fridge sized hole in the room. The 3D Systems World Conference site mentioned in the article doesnt reveal too much more - but does show the scale of this industry now.

This is the promo image used to advertise the article in issue 96. The 3D World Magazine site gives a nice link to Simon Robertson's site where we get to see some nice modelling. Plus an image of the mag cover - just in case you dont spot it in a shop somewhere.

[robot 3D print image from the 3D World Magazine site and the issue 97 cover]


ThingLab is the company that did the 3D print of the robot above and though there are many other companies out there doing amazing stuff in this field these guys have a nice site that shows off many of them. There is much to be impressed with here from the detail, the materials, the finish, the colour and interlocking working components. Here are 3 examples from their gallery to draw you in for a closer look.

[3 gallery images from the ThingLab site of their 3D print products]


3D is proving rather stressful for me now. Our group is working well enough together with each of us keen to contribute and work on the concept that we all feel could be really good. That said the interface between us is causing too many headaches in Maya as we reference files, make changes and try to keep the ship tight. Our inexperience at where the issues will come from is chewing up a great deal of time as we retrace steps and troubleshoot issues we encounter. Though we are all working on things, we are learning on the fly a great deal of concepts which is exciting. This is the entire point, but it total is meaning our submission deadline is altogether too close.

James has been working on the rigs, Yaron on the 3D model (and some of 2D as well). I rebuilt some of 2D today after our talk today and after a little more texturing and a rig will be ready to throw into the scene for animating. It is an interesting change to work on a character in 3 dimensions who only really plays in two of them.

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