Print-a-Part was at the 2007 AMPS show in April and had their first
product for sale -- a set of individual link tracks for the Italeri
LVT series of kits. Price was NOT cheap -- $90 a set to fit on a $35
kit -- but the detail was amazing. They are fragile but they can do
tricks nobody else can do.
Even the US Army uses CAD-CAM computer casting for some items where a
CO2 ("cold light") laser is played into a tank of special resin to
create 3D items. Best I saw was an HO caboose that came out with
separate grab rails cast in place.
That was 15 years ago and cost $250,000 for the equipment, so things
have definitely gotten more affordable.
Yup - stereo lithography. We do some of that, too. We also do a thing
out here using laser cut butcher paper - the paper sheets are layed up
and pressure glued, and then precision cut with a computer driven laser.
You can cut anything from flat shapes to spheres to engraving out of
the process. I've seen small examples of spheres cut inside of cubic
cages...really neat - you pull away the excess to reveal the sphere
inside the cube.
The resulting parts are sort of somewhere between wood and resin as far
as the material goes. The equipment is expensive, the material is dirt
cheap. And you can lacquer coat them to make them really smooth.
OTOH, the best I've seen is a plastic printer that prints working
assemblies - like an adjustable wrench, or gearbox, or a bottle with a
screw-off cap - that come right off the printer fully assembled and
operable. These will do that - went to an afternoon demo of one once:
According to the FSM article, this portable air compressor they
printed from the CAD drawing was $25 + $8 shipping. I suppose that's
not too far out of line with a resin cast kit of the same thing. Maybe
this is the next step for resin casters, do the master with CAD, send
it to Print a Part & then make your mold & start casting! A buddy of
mine has a machine shop & has one of these water jet cutters. It's
about the size of a pool table & man, what they can do with that
On Sep 30, 1:17 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
email@example.com wrote in news:1191176258.429200.83840@
I use several 3D-printed parts for the masters of my kits.
airplane kits mostly.
A "print" the size of an inch thick A4 will set me back some $75 (excl
VAT) and give me some very accurate, although kinda crude, shaped pieces
for the masters which have to be cleaned up and detailed.
The technique used is that a 1/10mm (0.004") thick layer of gupsum(?)
gets printed with normal coloured ink (this contains water). then a new
1/10mm layer is formed on top of the previous layer.
And yes.... because they use normal ink they can also 3D-print in colour
The gypsum hardens where the water in the ink got deposited.
After completion the gypsum shaped gets soaked with a PU resin or CA
glue and turn rock hard and very good to work with.
look here: http://www.zprinter.nl/en /
I wonder if this is something like I saw at the EAA exhibit in
Oshkosh, WI last year where they build up a 3-D part one grain at a
time one layer at a time. IIRC, it was called "sintering" (spelled?).
Really cool. If this is availabl for us "Joe Sixpack" modelers that
will be the greatest advance since the airbrush.
Two other forms of computerized fabrication that are similar are photo-
etch and laser cutting. In both cases one creates the artwork on the
computer. In PE the artwork is printed out as a photo mask. In the
second the file goes to the CAM laser cutter. Laser cutting could
make 3-D parts similar to these printers by building up layers. I
have a project in planning stage that I am considering having a laser
cutting place do. This service is really getting reasonable. I need
a complex bridge in small scale, and it looks like I can get it done
for about $20.
could you provide more details on the PE manufacturer.
I'm looking for someone to produce affordable one-of designs.
I haven't found such an outfit as most of them require a more-than-one
Currently I design my PE artwork. Then I print the photomasks and
develop and etch my PE parts, but it is a messy and time consuming
process. I would love to find someone to do the dirty work for me.
Here in the Netherlands I am in contact with some architects who produce
their own etchings. they sometimes produce very small series/one-offs for me,
when they can squeeze it in.
Maybe there are some where you live?
By the way.
Have you been bidding on some ceramics on Ebay yesterday? (and lost?)
I was bidding on some stuff for my mum and I had an "opponent" called
Peteski33, I thought "hey, that sounds familiar to me"
Could be an all different peteski though.
I'm in the US. My etchings are usually very small. Emblems, scripts
and builder's plates for automotive models. I sometimes do relief
(double-sided) etchings for certain items.
Peteski33 is not my eBay name. Mine has a different numeric suffix. I
originally wanted just "peteski" but that was already taken by some
inactive member. I even contacted them to see if they would give up
their name but I never got any replies.
Yes mine too. On several occasions I have successfully made some resin
castings of etched car emblems and cockpit bezels.
a friend of mine produces kits and he has series of etchings produced as
small as 100 pieces by ABER. Really affordable too.
I'd love to know and be able to produce the "chrome" relief stickers Tamiya
includes in its kits as car emblems.
Funny that you mentioned this technology. Few years back there was a
small manufacturer who was producing this type of stickers. It was
Auto Dynamics (in USA). I was in contact with them and they were
contemplating custom runs for customers who would provide the
artwork. But they closed shop shortly after that.
I tried to learn more about this technology but they were quite tight
lipped. The process is done through metal deposition (sort of reverse
of eteching) . I think that there is only one (or just very few)
companies specializing in this process. It is mostly used by the 1:1
scale automobile manufacturer. I think that one of the companies
might be in Japan. I was told that for one-of run it would cost about
$200-$300 US for a letter sized sheet of metal stickers. Auto
Dynamics were contemplating combining several customer's custom orders
onto a single sheet in order to make the process cheaper.
I feel exactly the same way. I do not have a specific business yet for
PE. However, people tell me that anyone who does custom PC board
etching will do it. I have to look in the Yellow Pages.
I DO have the Micro Mark PE etch set. It works, makes good PE, but it
is such an involved project that I'd rather pay someone a reasonable
Would you be satisfied with eliminating the darkroom, exposure, and
developing? All you need is a laser printer or laser copier and a
clothes iron or laminator.
Simply create the artwork as a mirror image, print or photocopy directly
onto a suitable paper or transfer film. Use an iron or laminator to
transfer the image onto the brass. The laser toner will act as a
resist. After etching, use lacquer thinner to remove the toner.
Here's a good article on the technique:
I first tried it years ago using overhead transparency film for laser
printers/copiers. It worked, but sometimes the toner didn't release
cleanly from the film onto the brass.
I've also used a transfer film called Press-n-Peel that's sold
specifically for making circuit boards. It has a special coating so the
toner releases easier. You can buy it direct from the manufacturer:
Pulsar makes a similar product called DirectEtch, aka "toner transfer
system" (TTS). They also have a line of products for making dry
transfer decals. <http://www.pulsarprofx.com/
I have tried the iron-on resists. It works okay for larger detail,
but not the fine decal a true photo etch offers. I don't know whether
the paper moves slightly during the ironing, or whether the toner
squishes out during ironing. In any case, I get a broader line than
what is on the artwork. Again, I find it okay for larger parts
without fine detail, but I personally would still like to find a place
that would do my fine detail PE needs.
Don, I wrote the article for Starship Modeler. Using an iron to make the
transfers is the problem; you just can't get the right pressure and
temperature every time, so you end up squashing the toner in some spots
or not transferring it in others. That's why I switched to using a
laminator. It's an even pressure and temperature and with one or two
passes, you can get excellent transfers and really fine details.
You can even etch from both sides, but that would require lining up two
Frank Henriquez Programmer/Analyst Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA
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