I'm a custom bladesmith (you can see my stuff at bigrockforge.com) and I'm interested in using 3-D technology to design complex sword hilts. Such as that seen on Scottish claymors and sciavona. Something like this: I'm mostly interested in just getting a plastic model in real-world size that I can use to build a metal version. But I'm starting to learn that I may be able to get a metal version made as well that I could use for 'production' work. Anyway... I'm like to get opinions on whether this can be done with some of the simple free programs like Sketchup or if I'm way over my head (I have no computer aided design experience). I'd also like to convert photographs of actual historical specimens into 3-D files.. although I understand there is no easy way to do that.