Advice on the appropriate program; mechanical/organic mix

Discussion in 'Software and Applications' started by regularjon, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. regularjon
    regularjon New Member
    Hi all,

    I've just signed up to shapeways, been looking at the galleries and tutorials a while; all very inspiring! I've a project I've been mulling over that I'm looking to start, and was after some advice on what programme to use to make it happen.

    The project will be to make a poseable robot model in kit form, think something like the Gundam kits Bandai produce. It'd be about 7 inches high when complete and composed of roughly 60 pieces. The first question then is; is this too complex?! I notice there aren't many things of this kind in the galleries; are there limitations in printing that would make it too hard to do (I've had a look through the tutorials and materials section of the site, and can't see anything critically off-putting)?

    Assuming it is possible, my main question is can you suggest what programme would be most appropriate to model this in? It'll have blocky straight edged parts as well as more organic curves, as well as some fairly precise engineering for the joints. I used SketchUp for a previous papercraft project that was in a similar vein, and whilst it's very easy to use, it doesn't seem able to handle organic shapes at all well. I've recently got started with blender, but I find it comparatively very hard working in blender units, as well as modelling the more precise mechanical parts. Is there a CAD programme that's also good with polygons? Does 3ds Max handle the more mechanical product design side of things as well as (I find) SketchUp does? Are there ruby plugins for SketchUp that allow better polygon meshing? Or are there ways of simply importing a model back and forth between blender and SketchUp to get the benefits of both?

    Apologies for all the questions, but it'll be a pretty big project, so I'd like to be sure I'm on the right track before getting to far along! Thanks for any help.

  2. badbeaver
    badbeaver New Member
    Hi Alistair,
    Your project sounds interesting and very similar to mine. Perhaps we can talk further offline:
  3. skatersollie
    skatersollie New Member
    I think your going to have major complications and issues..especially trying to build so many parts in small scale.... I think you'll be limited in the options when it comes down to movable parts that will actually support the structure... The problem I face currently is that the plastic parts don't support the weight of the object.. I am working on a bbq pit about 6" see below...I have already printed the model, but not had a chance to take picture and post.. When complete and post you will see where I had issues and you'll probably face the same..

  4. regularjon
    regularjon New Member
    Yeah, I'm sure I'll hit some hitches; if it hasn't been done yet I'm sure there's a good reason. I'm hoping to find a way though. In terms of supporting the weight of the parts, I have some poly joints ( =All&Series=All&Dis=2), which are made of slightly soft abs (I think?) plastic. The idea is to design the model parts around these, which will themselves be the joints. I'll look out for your post though, would be good to see how the problems look in the printed item. What was the programme you used yourself?
  5. duann
    duann New Member
    Sounds like a cool project.

    Please be sure to share updates.
  6. regularjon
    regularjon New Member
    The poly caps are polyethylene; my bad.

    Thanks, I'll be sure to do so, at my usual slow rate!
  7. skatersollie
    skatersollie New Member
    currently using modo..
  8. regularjon
    regularjon New Member
    I had a look at modo, interesting, but a fair bit out of my pricerange! I've gone for blender in the end, after a weekend of bingeing on tutorials. Doing the roughing up now, it'll take a bit of time as I'll be learning as I go, but the design concepts are all down (on paper), so hopefully not too long.