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lostbaka
09-02-2007, 06:01 PM
Quick background: I've been in school to get a EE B.S. for sometime now (I'm not the greatests of students so things are slow). I've spent a little over a year working for a local company, dealing mostly with production work \ work orders. I came to realize how much I enjoy being on the shop floor and finding different ways to make something. This is what happens when you leave material on Lean Manufacturing on an intern's desk. Since then, I've been looking for ways increasing my knowledge in manufacturing.

I realize some of the questions I'm going to ask have been asked already. I'll try to make they as unique as possible.

Ok, so you can make molds from 3D CAD models but what about 3D characters created in Poser, Daz or other computer character modelling\animation apps? I was looking at the characters artists on dA create and was thinking it would be cool have them as little statutettes.

I realize that there are companies that do this, but we're only talking one-offs\ proof-of-concept.

Assuming the process is the same as a normal "engineering CAD" model. Would you make you model model, mill the molds, then cast?

I've been reading the posts on hobby injection molding and that seems interesting. Another thought was casting with materials from Polytek. That way the molds could be made from easier to machine materials (plastic blocks).

Any thoughts

Eurisko
09-02-2007, 06:53 PM
1) Rapid prototyping (3D printing) to create the model from the cad data.

2) Create a silicone mold of the model. From this mold, you could cast the figure in wax, polyurethane, pewter, etc.

3) You could also use lost wax casting to cast the figure in whatever metal you choose.

Rapid protoyping is not cheap. But the quality is impressive, and the technology is getting less expensive each year.

dpryor
09-04-2007, 12:51 PM
Depending on the size and complexity of the part, RP would be your best bet for a single part. There are many different RP methods. If the part was too big, it would probably be most econimical to machine it out of a solid piece. I would not do a silicone or other mold unless you needed several copies of the same piece.

lostbaka
09-06-2007, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the info!

I've talked to people who use 3D character modeling programs like Poser and they say it can export to an OBJ file. I don't know of any cad packages that will open that.

I was aiming for process that can be done at home or college\university, which put RP out. Fab@home and RepRap don't seem there yet. Although, inefficient, milling the molds would get the job done correct? It won't result ina finished product like RP will.