Curious Newbie wants to Know: Printing Plastic Model Kits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bells, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. bells
    bells New Member
    Hi there all!

    So, i found this forum totally by accident, and ended up reading up some of the thread around here. Most of all, i got curious about something that i think this might be the right audience to ask to

    So, i like to Build scale model Kits. Like these e=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:pt-BR:eek:fficial&client=firefo x-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=pt-b r&tab=wi&biw=1280&bih=897

    It's a Fun hobby and a decent time sinker.

    here is the thing though, i'm more into Gunpla. =firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Apt-BR%3Aofficial&biw=12 80&bih=897&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Gunpla&aq =f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

    Gunpla are Model Kits modeled to Robots of a Japanese Cartoon series over 30 years old, Gundam.

    I like these for the unique designs, challenge to build and playful nature, feels good to create something So impratical but at the same time, simply so cool looking.

    Now, Most Gunpla models (those on the 1/144 scale mostly) are entirely made of Plastic pieces on several colored Runners, like so =firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Apt-BR%3Aofficial&biw=12 80&bih=897&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=Gunpla+Runner s&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

    These are made out of Complex designs and printed on 3d Plastic printers.

    So, just out of Curiosity, here is my question...

    Now, if someone were to Simplify the designs, make it fewer pieces (some of these are made of over 200 pieces), all in white (so you would have to paint it yourself) maybe sacrifice some mobility ... would this be a Feasible investment?

    Not just for collectors, but even as a Market, a lot of people would like to work on some inventive designs like these... but, is this practical ? Cost effective?

    One of these Kits can run you from as low as US$15 to as high as US$500

    Just wanted your own opinions over these, about your expertise and knowledge on the tech behind it

    Would it be possible for an Artist or Enthusiast to design and build their own custom models like these in a Feasible cost-sensible manner?
  2. Jettuh
    Jettuh Well-Known Member
    Well, the first question from me to you is:

    do you build those plastic model kits for fun?
    or do you like the end result more?

    What i'm trying to say: why not build the entire model and print it.. no building needed.
    unless you like to build the ting from scrap.

    Then i would say, print it once and then go to a company to can replicate it with resin!
  3. glehn
    glehn Well-Known Member
    I have done some models (check my shop here in shapeways). I am into 1/144th scale aircraft, so my models are pretty small.
    3D printing costs depend a lot on the size of your models. My 1/144th scale airplanes costs are similar to plastic kits on the same scale, maybe a little higher than injected models, but probably cheaper than resin ones. But the most important for me is the ability to model airplanes that are not available from any kit manufacturer.
    Larger scale models will cost more to 3D print, but it might still be worth if it is a very unique subject.

  4. bells
    bells New Member
    I get what you're saying. To me, the process of building one of those is trully fun and seeing the end result is just icing in the cake, 'yknow?

    My curiosity lies more on that very notion you pointed. I'm sure that if someone were to make and print entire 3d Models or just larger pieces to put together, they could get some killer details. But you would loose most of the mobility of the model.

    For example, here is a video of a review of one of those Kits i mentioned

    A lot of moving parts, i'm guessing that plan that by yourself would be a complete pain... so maybe creating entire sections would be better? Like, a Entire hand, An entire forearm, etc...

  5. On a somewhat smaller scale, I do exactly this. Many of my models are transforming robot kits. They're only 56mm tall for the most part, with between 10 and 20 pieces, but they have good articulation, and, y'know, transform.
    Printing them as complete figures wouldn't be practical, but as kits, they work pretty well; you just clean the parts up, paint them, and pop 'em together. I sell them for around $20 apiece (in WSF, anyway), and people are buying them.

    It's worth experimenting with, if nothing else. But yeah, you need to consider scale. The bigger your figure is, the more material it will use, and therefore the more expensive it'll be to print. Probably the easiest way to do it would be to design a model as small as you practically can, upload it to test, then scale it up if you want it larger (it's a lot easier to scale a model up than down).