Metal Minion Nose Pricker

Discussion in 'My Shapeways Order Arrived' started by MaxSMoke777, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    WOOT! I finally got my first metal figurine today, after 3 months of waiting! It seems all of my Dirty Rats were too thin to print :cry:, as well my Dragon (which I'm still perfecting) so I had to submit a completely new model. Here's some shots:

    In my hand:

    Front shot on a CD for scale:

    Back shot on CD:

    Another front shot:

    As you can see, he's a vile, little brute. Minion is the kind of demon you summon when you get all of your spell components from 99 Cent Store. He's short, nasty, dumb, and almost useless. But if you need a creature to shovel dung, or just something to kick when you're mad, a Minion is a good choice.

    This is a "pet" I made for IMVU, the game that I make most of my money off of. He stands beside the player's avatar, looking cute, vulgar, occasionally evil, and usually funny. He's one of my earlier pets for the game, and remarkably popular.. unlike the angel I made, who's sold poorly.

    If you play IMVU, here's the catalog page where you can try him out for yourself and see this vile little moppet in action:

    BTW, I *LOVE* Metal!!!!

    The model is solid and heavy, and looks gorgeous at all angles without a single drop of paint. If they costs were better and the technique more forgiving of small parts, I would get MOST of my models in metal and only use plastic for special items that I intended to paint.

    If only I could get the Dirty Rat and Pen Dragon done in metal. I'm still looking into Electroplating. I *WILL* make my other models in metal, even if I have to layer the metal on their plastic bodies myself!
  2. joris
    joris New Member
    Sweet model!
  3. tree
    tree New Member
    where did you get the metal model done? as there are some of the models ive done id love to see in metal.
  4. pete
    pete Shapeways Employee CEO & Co-Founder
    Hi tree,

    if I am not mistaken we did it (at Shapeways).
    It was a limited time offer. We are definitely working hard to get metal printing available for everyone pretty soon. So stay tuned .....

  5. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    Well, this is the Shapeways website, and this is the "In Arrived" forum, so one would assume that I got this model printed here, at Shapeways. :laughing:

    Really, I'm VERY impressed with how my model turned out and I have HUGE dreams about what might be possible with metal. Of course, I have HUGE dreams about what kind of stuff I can do in plastic too. I just LOVE CNC printing!

    It's so nice to have a company like Shapeways that can do these small quantity prints. I've made 3D models for years, but never dreamed they could step off the screen and into the real-world. My lifetime of artwork has been trapped in the virtual world, but now, for the first time, it can walk freely in the real one! It's quite mind blowing.

    Now I'm not just a 3D modeler, but a sculptor, a toy maker, a craftsmen. I can make things for people that solve problems in real-life, as well as finally hold my life's work in my hands. It's amazing!

    (now, if only they'd lower the prices!) ;)
  6. gibell
    gibell Well-Known Member
    Beautiful! I don't see any lines like are seen on some plastic parts.
  7. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    Yah, I dunno why there's no printing lines, like have appeared on other models I've made. I think it's because there's no really flat areas that are completely vertical or horizontal. It's just too round, I'm guessing.

    Then again, it could be an effect of the heating process that burns away the plastic and binds the metal particle together. Maybe it's melted just enough to remove the lines?

    I'm certain the Shapeway guys know.
  8. Fingers
    Fingers New Member
    I think there's a post-processing step where they tumble polish it. Somebody said this is also why you can't do very tiny detail, the tumbling would destroy it.
  9. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    No no, I don't know about a post-kiln tumble, but as it was described to me, the reason fine things break is due to lack of support during the "Green" phase. It starts out as plastic coated metal granules, kinda like WSF is, but with a chewy metal gumball center. :laughing:

    Anyways, they melt the plastic together that holds the metal inside. So at this point, it's a little bit of plastic "Glue" holding together alot of heavy metal. At this point it's called "Green". They then take this into a Kiln, where the material is heated. The plastic burns away and the metal fuses. After that, the part is very strong. But until those metal bits fuse, it's VERY weak. Much weaker then another other material, even Black Detail.

    I'm guessing at the amount of plastic coating is kept VERY thin, so the part doesn't shrink too much. We know it shrinks some, from other forum posts. But the coat is so thin, that it can't hold up much wait when they blow away the support material, causing some parts to break.

    Anyways, this is how it was explained to me by Elena (Customer Service) and others here that do this form of CNC printing at their work.

    If breaking was just a matter of Tumbling, which I don't think they do at all, then I would simply ask them not to Tumbling my parts. It's not like I can't polish my Dragon or Rat at home later. The breaking occurs during the "Green" phase. There's no method to avoid it, other then building a stronger model.
  10. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    Hi all,
    I am a metalsmith acting as a consultant to Shapeways. I have been helping to develop some of the finishing and coloring procedures for this metal print medium.
    There are no visible print lines on this little dude because the raw print was gone over with a hand held rotary tool. The first step employs carbide burs to remove most of the print lines. This is followed by diamond coated "pins" to get into the tight spots and further blend and refine the surfaces. The final step on the little devil was a trip to the ceramic bead blasting cabinet. This blast media is composed of micro alumina beads which leaves a nice smooth matte finish.
  11. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    Is that the reason for the extreme cost, is all of the handling involved? Could we save some cost if there was no handling? I could certainly get out a drimel and do alot of that myself.

    And does this handling result in breakage? Another thing I'd be willing to handle myself if it would allow me to print more delicate works.
  12. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    High energy barrel finishing works well on some things, like the "cufflinks" and the '"ring poems". But as the name implies, the forces generated in the barrel can obscure or even destroy delicate parts with fine detail. The horns and tail of the NosePicker wouldn't have survived.
  13. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member
    Um... what? I'm holding the model in my hand now. The horns and tail are just fine. Did this model get blasted or not?
  14. GlenG
    GlenG New Member
    Yes, bead blasted, as a final smoothing. This process is actually rather gentle. Nose Picker did NOT go into the tumbler! The extreme abrasive action inside the barrel tumbler would have broken off the tail and worn off the horns.
  15. MaxSMoke777
    MaxSMoke777 New Member