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Simply amazing.

Imagine this, take any old steam engine, say the John Bull, have it scanned and before you can say Casey Jones one can have a set of parts in plastic ready for casting in metal. I want one.
 

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Pete

Did you happen to catch the part about the wrench being created all at one time, then getting a bath to dissolve the place-holder material and the wrench becomes an actual working model. Pretty darn sharp. eh.
 

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Dave

Give it a bit of time, that 3-D scanner costs less than $3000.00 and that is a major price drop from a year ago.
 

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Impressive video...and I'm sure through Jays Garage, this technology will get a lot of publicity. My son is in this business...so I've seen the machines work. He sells those same 3D printers...and a 3D scanner...and little CNC machines...and laser cutters. (http://protopulsion.com/) .

I've watched these printers print and seen a lot of the output. If you ever wondered how all those plastic parts you see inside a car or in the engine compartment of a car are made...lately it starts with a 3D prototype of the part. Dashboards, knobs, ductwork, bezels...damn near the whole insides of a car are printed by these things during design and then assembled into a full size prototype. When the kinks are worked out by the engineers, the prototype's CAD files are used in CNC machines to make the basic plastic mold. The same is true for cell phones, PDAs, home electronic cases, toys, figures, etc..where the look and feel of the device is important to the marketing end of a company. The accuracy of these printers continues to improve as time goes on. I think the current ones are accurate to 1/10,000th of an inch.

They're still not inexpensive for the hobbyist, but there is another approach...that being use of a prototyping service. My son established a prototyping service using these machines ( http://protocafe.com/index.html) . You can email them a 3D CAD file and they will print the part and send it back to you for a fee, often overnight. I'm not sure if his prototyping service does 3D scanning of a part...but they probably will. I keep thinking about how I would use his service to make parts for engine and car bashing.

The 3D scanner they sell is really interesting too. With his (unlike the one you saw on the Leno video), being a handheld device, you need a reference for the scanner...so little reference stickers are stuck to the subject being scanned. The scanner recognizes these reference stickers and uses them to automatically assemble all the handheld scanner files into one 3D CAD model. This allows one to scan large objects...like a locomotive or car. Then, through the CAD software, you can rescale the item and print it on the 3D scanner.

The 3D printer output is good enough for many modeling tasks. The parts might need some minor sanding if they have large smooth surfaces...but for small parts, they're pretty much good to go. The material is usually ABS plastic...so the printed part is pretty tough.
 

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That is the most unbelievable piece of technology I have seen in a long time. Think of the possibilities regarding our hobby alone.

I have one question. Why do the manufacterers of our hobby products have the Chinese build our stuff???? We can do it write her in America.

Maybe Aristo Craft should buy one of them to put in the back office to make replacement parts.

Glen
 

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The problem with some of the mock ups I have seen at work from this technolgy is they were VERY fragile with thin parts, but this may be the resin used.
 

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This is a most amazing setup. I used to make the occasional broken gun part or whatnot for the guys when things were slow. I feel a tad ... antiquated.

Les
 

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Posted By Spule 4 on 02/11/2009 8:11 PM
The problem with some of the mock ups I have seen at work from this technolgy is they were VERY fragile with thin parts, but this may be the resin used.




That machine prints using ABS plastic. There's nothing fragile about the output unless you make the part too thin...and that is possible.
 

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Jay's shop is just a mile or so from our house here in Burbank. We see Leno driving around in his steamer all the time. He is a very "mechanical" kind of guy. Very cool technology!
 

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The applications are infinite! Complicated small assemblies fabricated fully assembled! I gotta have one, but no way I could afford the cost. Maybe we modelers need to start coops and all chip in for the cost of facilities and equipment in our own locals. Sort of time share shop and equipment :)
 

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I have some experience using these NextEngine 3D scanners. They are definitely a revolutionary product and there's nothing else out there for this price! Also, I've been very impressed with the people at NextEngine (I've met several of them).


However, be aware that they aren't for everyone and the results shown in this video are not typical in my experience. I've scanned dozens of items, of different textures and materials, and some work very well (such as clay sculptures) but others work very poorly (such as shiny plastic). However, you can powder a shiny object to get better results. Also, most objects will require several scans (each of which can take 10 to 40 minutes depending on the settings) so it's not quite as fast as the video implies. The software is really easy to use though and it easy to put the scans together and "fuse" them.
 

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I'd rather just email the file to be printed and get the printed part in the mail in a few days!!!!!

I currently have stuff scanned and/or I design in 3D solid modeling software. I then either cnc machine or send the file out for 3D printing. I then take the printed part and us it to make a mold for casting. There is more to it than meets the eye and most printed parts require me to do further finishing before they are suitable for use as patterns for mold making. The 3D printing technology is pretty expensive and I understand that there is a learning curve to gettng the most from it. In the design process you have to design a "water tight" model that is a good stl file. Like anything, there is skill involved from start to finish.

Probably the most useful tool a modeler can have is a good cad or 3D solid modeling software that can output in the form of .stl files. If you can model the part and output it as an stl file you can then have it printed or machined.

There are various 3D printing technologies out there and some are better than others.

3D printing is a great technology and is making better scale models and parts possible!

Jack
 

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Can someone tell me the advantage here? It's a naive question--why can't Leno just...cast the replacement part, using the original broken part to make a mold? Because at the end of the process, he has a copy of the part in plastic, and he'll either

A: use the part to make a mold
B: take the plastic part to a machinist


Which is--check me if I'm wrong--exactly where he'd have been with the original broken part. I agree, the technology is dazzling, but to make a working steam engine model in plastic using the printer, you'd need...a working steam engine model to scan. I suppose printing it might be easier than casting each part and assembling it? Maybe not--how long does the printer take, how expensive is each run?




It's amazing stuff but I'm not sure I see the advantage over, say, resin casting or molding in plastic
 

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Low,

You missed the disparaging remarks about finding a machinist. They included, but weren't limited to: cost, skill and availability.

I could, and have, made many parts from broken ones--some with a few pieces missing. I've also made many one-offs, engineering study models for which not even a blueprint was produced. But then I was making the serious money Jay objected to. Apparently only late-night comedians deserve the big bucks nowadays. He took a huge dive in my estimation after I heard that remark.

Also, you missed the connection between developing the scans and CNC machining.

All this will go merrily along, until someone needs an 'original part' fabricated w/o the expense/availabilty/feasibility of numerical machining. Then they'll want someone who can read the print (or follow a sketch) do the setup and turn the cranks by hand. N/C C/C C/M all existed in my day. But guess who made the engineering prototype? Me. And a few other guys like me.

I'm too old to bother with them, and I don't see a new generation being brought up on manual setup machines. That's where the skill comes in: making the first one.

Les
 

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Posted By lownote on 02/12/2009 4:43 PM
Can someone tell me the advantage here? It's a naive question--why can't Leno just...cast the replacement part, using the original broken part to make a mold? Because at the end of the process, he has a copy of the part in plastic, and he'll either

A: use the part to make a mold
B: take the plastic part to a machinist


Which is--check me if I'm wrong--exactly where he'd have been with the original broken part. I agree, the technology is dazzling, but to make a working steam engine model in plastic using the printer, you'd need...a working steam engine model to scan. I suppose printing it might be easier than casting each part and assembling it? Maybe not--how long does the printer take, how expensive is each run?




It's amazing stuff but I'm not sure I see the advantage over, say, resin casting or molding in plastic




The video oversimplified the whole process frankly. There are many benefits actually. You see, one of the things they didn't really explain was that you get a 3D CAD model out of the scanned part. There's a good deal of "clean up" work done between the scanning of the pat and the printing of the part. And normally, that's done with a CAD program. The part that is made is a full size prototype...that you can fit into whatever you need to ensure it's the right size. Once you've convinced yourself it's right, then you can use the CAD to generate the files that a CNC machine uses to make a mold. By far, the making of a mold is the most expensive process in going from an out of production item to a replacement item. This helps you reduce mold making mistakes.

Another benefit is that you can redesign the "old" part before making the mold using the CAD software. This might be done to make the item more sellable or more reliable or cheaper or to reflect a new material you are going to make the production item out of. You can also rescale things...an obvious benefit if you are into modeling. One of my son's customers scans full size tanks and military vehicles and then prints plastic models of them. That business you saw in the video of making a working model by printing it with the dissolvable links fits very nicely into the world of high end, expensive models where complete, working subassemblies can be produced in one printing move. Or...in the design of a toy...where the output is a full sized working plastic toy.

If you read about all the parts problems that folks have in our hobby, this technology suite might become helpful in the future. Imagine a manufacturer being able to use the 3D CAD files that were developed to produce a locomotve as the basis for making a plastic repair part needed by someone? No more having to have a warehouse of spare parts...or a "fkeet" of hanger queens that you've stripped parts from. Part order comes in, you print the part, and ship it back to the purchaser. Or if you run a fixit shop...or the fixit shop at a manufacturer and you need a part...you just print it. Heck, you could put up a web page with all the parts for any locomotive or car or building or turnout on it, and let the purchaser directly order the part, charge it to his credit card, have it cued for printing, print the mailing label, etc. All the vendor would have to do it put the part in a box and stick the label on it.
 

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In theory, couldn't you put the info from the 3-D Scanner into a CNC machine then just make it from metal? The printer was only an example of what it could be linked with.
 

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The scanner generates a "point cloud" which is transformed into a "mesh" file in a cad or solid modeling program. To machine using cnc that file has to be processed in CAM software to generate tool paths. The tool path file is loaded into the machines controller software which controlls the machines movement.

Jack
 

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Les,

I'm an old-timey die-sinker brought up through the trade since the very early sixties. Turning handles manually. Yeah, I did some prototype dies for Boeing and many other aerospace outfits. I truly believed that they would always need us skilled people to layout and machine and "bench" their dies. It WAS a very well paid trade indeed! But when the recession of 1990 hit, I was the one with the rude awakening. I went back to school and started with MasterCam and learned NC programming. In a few years, I was doing solid modeling (Solidworks) and 3D surfacing and wireframe (MasterCam) any producing the most complicated segmented dies imaginable. AND they were always correct. You cannot do this by hand turning cranks and handles AND do it in a timely manner (profitability!). YOU now become indispensable to your company. I felt the same way you did, but it truly can do the work faster, more accurately and be more productive. By my retirement, I was making 4X the income I was making doing CAD and NC work and without breaking a sweat like the "old" days. I'm a believer in using NC and CAD!

It's sometimes difficult to let "old" ways go, but believe me, numerical control and CAD software is here to stay. In the So Cal area right now, the ONLY forging die shops surviving AND flourishing, are those doing NC work. The rest have gone the way of the dinosaur. The way this system was presented by Leno is typical of those demos that make it look like "smoke and mirrors". There is a great deal of schooling and training that goes into using any of these machines and software. It doesn't happen overnight. When I was in the trade, stereo-lithography was the coming thing, but this system is very cool. If anyone is thinking of starting a coop with one of these machines, plan on spending some BIG bucks indeed. AND the learning curve is outrageous!
 
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