Newbie issue

Discussion in 'My Work In Progress' started by kepardue, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. kepardue
    kepardue New Member
    I'm mediocre at best at 3D modeling, and working on my first model for Shapeways. I've created it in Blender and uploaded it, a model of a house for an HO Scale model railroad. I've hollowed out the inside and the roof, and yet it somehow still seems to think that it's a $130 :eek: model. As near as I can tell, Shapeways thinks that this model consists of a solid interior. Is there some pointer you guys have for modeling such things for shapeways? My ideal was to have the floor and walls as one piece and a roof that's detatchable.

    Here's a link to the model as is:

    One odd thing I noticed is that the windows seem to be filled in, even though my model has them cut out.
  2. Magic
    Magic Well-Known Member
    Not sure there is a problem here. If your model was not hollow, it would be more than $2000 (from the bounding box values). So for me, the hollowing has been taken into account...
    Perhaps you can check the volume displayed by Shapeways, with the model computed by your modelling tool?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  3. kepardue
    kepardue New Member
    Wow, that's amazing. I know there's a whole category for model train stuff, so it must be a relatively common use. So you're saying that it's a reasonable price for a small 5" long house to be $130-$145? If so, I understand... that just really, really seemed to be a bit steep to me, considering everything I've heard about the new affordability of 3d printing.
  4. gibell
    gibell Well-Known Member
    The problem is that we live in a world full of injection molded plastic which is literally dirt cheap. People are accustomed to thinking of anything made out of plastic to be very inexpensive. 3D printing is probably 10 times more expensive than an injection molded part, but this is still a lot cheaper than it used to be.

    One can calculate the cost of a hollow cube 5 inches on a side. Simply take the surface area of 25 square inches, multiply by six for six faces, for 150 square inches. This is almost 1000 cm^2, so if it is 1mm thick it will be 100 cm^3 in volume, viola $150.

    The model train guys are willing to spend a lot for custom designs ...
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  5. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    That's why I work in Z scale :) 1/9th the volume of HO

    It's not uncommon for a Brass Z scale house to run $45 or more, and a Laser-cut Wood kit will run $25-$50. My buildings at $25 from Shapeways seems cheap (to me) in comparison, even though the surface finish is not as smooth as you get from the other sources.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  6. kepardue
    kepardue New Member
    Wow, hate to say it, but that makes scratch building seem like a much more compelling option at this point. I may go ahead and have this one printed for the experience and effect (it's intended to be a birthday gift for my father). Hoping to see these prices fall even more in the future.
  7. GHP
    GHP New Member
    Even though the price doesn't actually seem excessive for the size, you should check that your model has been uploaded as you intended. Shapeway's Meshmedic will try to fix a model that is non-manifold, has holes, or has overlapping volumes, and the results are not always what you may want.
  8. GWMT
    GWMT New Member
    How thick are the walls? Try making them as thin as possible (0.7mm for White, Strong & Flexible) and add 0.7mm thick supports about 20mm apart (like studs within the walls/roof).to strengthen the structure.
  9. kepardue
    kepardue New Member
    Hmm, thought I had posted back to this thread yesterday but I guess it didn't go through.

    The walls are actually right at 2mm thick (with grooves cut in them to represent siding). Since this is going to cost as much as it seems like it's going to cost, I don't want to take too much chance that this will crumple up when I start painting it. It's really expensive, but if it comes out well it'll be a one of a kind birthday gift for my father--a model of my parents' house for his model railroad. Plus, I think it'd be good experience.

    I may add some kind of elevated squares to the roof to represent shingles, but I think after the tweaks that I've made to account for the interpretation of the mesh medic I'm pretty close to being done.

    That said, I would like some of you more experienced designers to peek at my model if you have a spare minute to see if what I've got is practical.

    The shapeways page is:

    And the model itself is a Blender 2.5 file, at:
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  10. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    I would suggest thinning down to 1.0mm, with 0.25mm grooves for the siding. That will give you (in HO scale) 7 inch thick walls and 3/4inch siding, which is still very prototypical.

    Dropping from 2.0mm down to 1.0mm should halve your cost if not drop it by 75%.

    If you print it in WSF, there's VERY little chance that it will crumple. WSF is actually exactly what it says.. VERY white, and surprisingly strong :)

    On a house I had printed, I have 0.75mm diameter porch posts that are 11mm long. If pushed, they'll bend a little bit, but you'd have to apply quite a bit of pressure to get one of them to break. One post alone can support the entire weight of the building with no fears of it breaking.

    If you want the Detail Material(s), you'll have to make it just slightly thicker (1.25mm walls with 0.25mm grooves) but that should still reduce your cost.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  11. kepardue
    kepardue New Member
    Wow, I'm encouraged to see the strength of the material. I thought that about 1mm thick is the thickest I could go and still have it show up in the model. I slimmed my walls and the roof down from 2mm to 1.2mm, which knocked a good chunk off of the price, but I made back up for that in part by adding a textured roof and a few other details.
  12. GWMT
    GWMT New Member
    It's looking good - please post some closeup pics of the actual model when you get it. I'd like to see how the shingles print for you.

    What about removing most of the floor from the model? Nobody will be able to see it when it's on the layout. You'll also need to get inside to add glass to the windows and doors - you could always glue in a piece of styrene sheet for a floor at the very end.