In the previous post we looked at some basic steps for 3D modeling in 3ds Max for Shapeways, in this tutorial we will have a very basic look at how to output full color VRML files for full color 3D printing with Shapeways using 3ds Max. In this tutorial we will be demonstrating in 3ds Max 2011 which is available for free download for current students (perfect for any students wanting to submit there designs for the Full Color 3D Print Student Contest which is closing at the end of May 2010).
Read on for a basic step by step tutorial with a simple projection map, if the Shapeways community is interested we will also look at more complex color mapping, and of course if anyone has any more tips please do share them with us.
Following is a basic tutorial to 3D model and output STL files for 3D printing using Autodesk's 3ds Max (or 3D Studio Max or 3D Studio Viz which was discontinued in 2008). 3ds Max is a is a 3D modeling, animation and rendering package developed by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It has modeling capabilities, a plugin architecture and is able to be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is used by video game developers, TV commercial studios and architectural visualization studios, industrial designers as well as movie effects and movie pre-visualization. There are currently two versions available, being 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design which share core technology and features, but offer differentiated experiences and specialized toolsets. 3ds Max is designed for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing software is designed for games developers, visual effects artists, and graphic designers working on games, film, and television content, while 3ds Max Design is formulated for architects, designers, civil engineers, and 3D visualization. Both are available to download as a 30 Day Trial or Free Download of a 13 month license if you are a current student (perfect if entering the Full Color Student Contest)!
Next Thursday at 19:00 CET we will be having another Shapeways Live
webcast. The last was informative but a bit of a technical challenge
and we hope to improve that this time round. This Shapeways Live will
be about "which materials Should Shapeways offer in the future."
Additionally there will be a Q & A where you can ask any questions
you may have about the site, 3D printing, Shapeways, etc.
This time we will be trying out Webex as a technology platform.
A Quick Tutorial Preparing Cinema 4D Files for Shapeways
Cinema 4D is a modeling, animation and rendering package developed by German based company Maxon. It is capable of procedural and polygonal sub-divisional modeling, animating, lighting, texturing and rendering. Cinema 4D was first released in 1993 for the Amiga. It has been used for architectural and engineering visualizations as well as in games and feature films such as and check out their show reel of (very) commercial work.
A quick tutorial
Set Cinema 4D Preferences to use Millimeters
Create geometry without using Boolean (seems like Booleans never work once translated to VRML but they may work with STL)
For the example above I created a, Objects>Text Spline Primitive of the word 'Shapeways'
I then made an Objects>Nurbs>Extrude Nurbs
In the Object window on the right side of the screen you then drag the Text Spline onto the Extrude Nurbs icon to make the spline into a 3D object
I then made a cube with Objects>Primitive>Cube then Functions>Make Editable then scaled to fit behind the text
Make your geometry a single object, the Objects>Modeling>Connect Object
Drag the elements you want to connect into Connect Object icon using the Object window to the right of the screen.
Keep polygon count less than 100,000 and it must be less than 500,000
Since version 11, if you have Advanced Renderer you can check Render>Cineman>Select non-Manifold edges
Export at VRML 2 with the scale set to 1000
This brings the models in as centimeters, i.e. 100 mm = 10 cm and in
Cinema 4D the object is scaled at a reasonable size so it’s easy to work
I made a new Design Rules for Stainless Steel tutorial for you. This tutorial should help you guys tackle the issue of designing for Stainless Steel 3D printing. I basically used the Glass Design rules tutorial as a starting point and was able to recycle all the images in that along with some text. This should give you an idea how similar the processes are. They are however different, more is possible with Steel. I like for this to be a "living document" and update it with new feedback from production or you. So please either email, comment, or write in the forum if you think new things need to be explained. I hope you find the new tutorial useful.
The main issue that we are seeing right now are moving parts. This causes a lot of Stainless Steel models to fail. We are cognizant of the fact that we would love to be able to tell you upon upload if a model will work or not. Our automated filters have come a long way, especially with the recent introduction of Mesh Medic. However we still are not able to always tell you in advance if a model will print or not. With the thermoplastic 3D printing processes we are further along then with steel and glass. This is partially because the Steel and Glass processes are so new that they and their design rules are evolving. Another reason is that these processes themselves are much more complex.
The moving parts issue is one such issue. Moving parts are possible but I would discourage them. If you do want to do any kind of moving or loose part a 10mm gap between both loose parts is necessary. Any loose part can not be longer than 80mm. Even then your part might fail.
With regards to these rules, Cooldjez's great ring, pictured above was posted on the forum with "defying the steel rules" and indeed it does. We can still print it but we did not anticipate being able to do so ahead of time. We would love for our design rules to be set in stone. We know this will be much easier for all of us. Indeed, its no fun having to tell people that their design is not printable. We hope you guys understand that all this is very new and things change.