Ambl, looks like FDM probably isn’t going to suit me, as I have meshing 5mm gears with course teeth, smooth skin. High tolerance seems to be what I need. I’m a little confused too. I have what I hope is a good, innovative idea for a mechanical doll (about half the height of a Barbie), something like a music box ballerina. I’m reluctant to discuss it in detail yet, as I plan to seek patent protection for a few of its aspects. Ultimately I’d like to build and sell them myself. For that I would need steel or aluminum molds and would probably need to figure out how to injection mold at home and produce something akin to plastic scale models for hobbyists that I would assemble.
Complicating matters is that I first have to verify that the mechanicals will work as expected. So, I probably won’t head right for an expensive mold. Initially, I plan on having a precision set of parts made and I think I’ll need tolerances on the order of 0.05mm, so I’ll probably need the professional printers. If all goes well with that, I’ll probably try to make copies of the precious pieces with the blue stuff or green stuff - making cheap molds at home as described herein:
and see how that goes. If the mechanicals work and I still find her charming, I’ll probably try to see if there might be a market for her. If that goes well, then I’ll probably go for injection molding. Or I might try to see if a Walmart, a Target, or a leading toy store might want to license the potential patent. I have about $5000 right now, which I’ll be splitting between living and investing in that and a couple of other inventions I have in mind, before I have to go back to cab driving or looking for another job. So… we’ll see!
It’s looking like buying a printer might be a good idea, as Peter suggested. Or departing from Blender except for those pieces that have skin or fabric shells and making molds directly from actual gears, steel rods and brass in either silicon molds or materials like ‘blue stuff’, ‘green stuff’ or silicon caulk as recommended in the linked page (i.e. hacking my prototype that was cobbled together from those items). And sanding the 3d printed skin and molding the smoothed result. Gotta start somewhere.