"Printing" our own parts!

The current issue of FineScale Modeler has an article on having
custom pieces made by "printing" from a CAD drawing. We can't scan in
a wheel & copy it yet, but we're getting close! The folks who 'print'
the part are here.
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Amazing!
Reply to
frank
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We've been following this tech for some time now. Actually, yes...we can scan in a wheel and copy it:
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Reply to
Rufus
Cool! I just paid off my house, so now I can finance something really worthwhile!
Reply to
frank
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.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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:
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Reply to
Rufus
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 thing!
Reply to
frank
Do you know how they get the excess liquid resin off of the part once it's made? Is there some sort of a solvent they soak it in?
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
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.
Reply to
robbelothe
There wasn't any on the parts I saw. If the laser did not "fire" to create a layer nothing stuck to the completed part.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in news:1191176258.429200.83840@ 19g2000hsx.googlegroups.com:
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:
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Reply to
Bert-Jan
Don, 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 minumum quantity.
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.
Peteski
Reply to
Peter W.
Peter,
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.
Reply to
Bert-Jan
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 amount.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
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.
Reply to
Wayne C. Morris
I've used printapart to make some very small scale figures. They're nice folks and very helpful. The process is still very expensive, though, and making the 3D originals in software is not easy. The devil is in the details, and not only do you have to create a 3D design, you have to make sure that it's printable, which means making sure that there are no holes in the resulting STL file, for example.
Here are my test figures:
http://149.142.139.138/web/pub/Figures/350-2500figures.jpg The largest ones are in 1/350 scale, followed by 1/700, 1/1000 and just barely visible, 1/2500 scale. The markings on the left side of the screen are mm.
The plastic is very brittle. This was only a test, so the figure design and choice of a base are not ideal for casting, but I was able to make a mold.
As can be seen on the figures, there's some grain to the plastic (basically, it's the 3D printer's resolution). I cut down the number of polygons on the original 3D file, and even though you can't see it well on these figures, some facial detail was duplicated.
Another company to consider is:
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They also make RTV molds of the printed parts. I haven't tried them because their new customer sign-up doesn't work at all for me.
Frank
Reply to
Frank Henriquez
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.
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
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 toner sheets.
Frank
Reply to
Frank Henriquez
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.
Peteski
Reply to
Peter W.
Thank you all for replies. My etchings are very small and detailed and I don't own a laser printer. So, that method is not really for me. And as I already have all the photo-based etchign chemicals, I don't think I'll invest more funds in a new way of etching.
The darkroom part is not all that bad as the photoresist is not all that sensitive to indoor lights. But the process as a whole is a bit painful. And since I also do relief (2-sided etching), that complicates things a bit.
I used to send my drawings to a printing service which would print them out for me on a photo typesetter. That produces a 3600dpi black on clear photomask.
I have recently been successful in directly printing my photomasks using my Alps printer. I use laser transparency and I run 2 passes of black ink (one relabeled as magenta to overlap any seams in the bands). I get pretty good results on most of my masks. They are quite fragile (as the wax ink can be easily damaged) but it works and in most cases as I only have to make one set of etchings. And I no longer have to wait for the printouts.
Ideally I would love to just send my drawings to some outfit and few weeks later receive the reasonably priced etched parts.
Peteski
Reply to
Peter W.

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