Going from virtual 3D object to a real one ?

Hi every body,

I use Blender for a few years, and I am now interested to go from virtual to real.

Does anybody have some experience and suggestions on how to get a real object made from a 3D virtual object created with Blender?

Is this a long process ?
Is it very expensive ?
Which material is used to make the object ? Plastic, wood, plaster, … ?
How many companies provide this service ? Any in Europe ?
Etc…

Thanks

I believe it is possible, but it’ll cost mucho €€€€€.
Don’t know where and how though.

Please make a search on google about “stereolythography” to learn more about this topic.

In short, in order to answer to your questions:

  1. price depends on quantity and volume/mass of the object to be stereolythographied. It’s far more affordable these days than a few years ago.

  2. material is quite always a resin as far as I know.

Here’s a french article related tho Rhino3D software and stereolythography:

http://www.3d-test.com/test/zcorp_1.htm

Hope this helps,
Cheers,

On the old forums, there was someone that found a company that would do it for a reasonable price.

I used to work with guys that did stereolithography work at a US Navy engineering lab. It is sort of a 3D printer. You have a tub filled with liquid that turns to a solid when hit with a laser. The laser makes the image by drawing the object on the surface of the liquid. There is a base plate that lowers after a layer is completed, to allow the laser to “build” the next slice of the object. It depends on the precision desired, but usually the layers were in the .003-.005 inch dimension. When the process is finished, you have an object that is a solid resin. There are different resins for different purposes. For prototypes, they would scale the object as actual size. It was pretty strong plastic, maybe slightly more brittle and yellowish/gold in color. It could be painted or glued. Another option was to make slight changes to the scale. The end object could be used to make casting molds. The exact scaling depended on the type of casting. An quick reaction method was to adjust the scale and create the object with a lot of air holes in it. The end result was much lighter. The advantage was that the object would be used as a direct mold. Just put the form around it and pour in molten metal. The metal would dissolve the object and you had a 1-time use mold.

You might want to check some CAD/CAM businesses or universities that have the equipment.

Back to the original, if you use the stereolithography to make a mold, the end result can be any material–steel, aluminum, plastic, rubber, etc.

In any case, Blender can export to the STL format often used for stereolithography, both binary and ascii forms.

Martin

What you are looking for is at

http://www.3darttopart.com/index.php

There prices are pretty resonable ie: $50 US

Heres a pic of one of the models
http://members.shaw.ca/rjplus/gallery_icepondfish_small.jpg

Hope this helps,
GreyBeard

I have seen the 3D printer concept before in a popular science magazine. It’s real neat how they do it basically doing it with material wafers or something like that. It’s real slow though.

Excelent tip, GreyBeard!

a couple of options…
http://www.sculptor.org/3D/Replication/Replicate.htm

I remember at a trade show seeing a tank of jelly that basically had two laser beams shooting into it and where they intersected produced heat, which solidified the jelly … precise enough to make seamless wheel molds, don’t know what happen? maybe cnc is still cheaper?

Thank you so much to all of you ! :smiley:
This is exactly what I was looking for, and the prices at more affordable than what I was expecting.

One more question though : in Blender, let say I have a cube with dimention 1/1/1 (given by the N key).
What unit is it going to have in the STL file : Centimeters, Inches, Feets, Meters, etc… ?

This is important as the price is dependant on the size of the object. Furthermore, if I want an object that is 5 centimeters high and the object is built 5 inches high, it wont fit my needs…

Thanks again for all your answers and thanks in advance for the answers on this one.