Poll: What are the barriers to 3D printing for you?

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by jochem, Jun 5, 2008.

Barriers to 3D printing

Poll closed Jan 3, 1970.
  1. Cost

  2. exporting from your 3D modeling program

    0 vote(s)
  3. limitations of the STL format

    0 vote(s)
  4. quality of available materials

    0 vote(s)
  5. the usage of color in 3D printing

    0 vote(s)
  6. knowledge of what 3D printing can do for you

    0 vote(s)
  7. Other (please clarify your feedback in a reply)

  1. jochem
    jochem New Member
    I'm interested to hear from you what you think is still missing to make 3D printing mainstream for 3D modelers.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  2. akiefer
    akiefer New Member
    I think a combination of the above factors...

    Cost: since price is in volume things can get pretty expensive when larger than just tiny models are made. In most cases this might not be a problem but sometimes size will be an issue.

    Software output: Now there is no clear cut workflow that gets a predictable input into your system. I for one use Cinema 4D to export my files as .obj These need to be read into another package that I have no experience with (Blender in my case) and I have to learn my basics of navigation and File I/O all over and still it will be guessing. My advice would be to develop either a stand alone 'sentry' application (either on both Mac OS and PC and Linux, etc) or a functional java application before the model goes into the ordering pipeline. This app should take any guesswork out of the translation process and pricing so that a users knows exactly what to expect.

    The quality of materials: I'd love to have metal castings and really smooth finishes which could boost this 3D to physical world into the jewelry and fine arts world with output hat is more permanent than the fragile materials direct from the 3D printer. Maybe alliances with metal workshops and jewellers that could cast bronzes, ect. would also broaden the service package.

    Color: Most models that have been created as a 3D character may already have a very nice texturemap applied and all this gets lost in the standard materials from the printer. Having color applied as well (as is possible with, among others, some ZCorp printers) would be a good bonus and added incentive to go print 3D...

  3. jochem
    jochem New Member
    Thanks Albert,

    That's very good feedback. We'll have a look at what we can do to tackle these issues one by one ;)


  4. jochem
    jochem New Member
    Starting with STL by the end of next week :cool: ...

  5. akiefer
    akiefer New Member
    Good news Jochem...

  6. Hey
    I think the main issues would be cost, color and knowledge of what the printer can do.

    For the cost, it probably wouldn't be to much of an issue for more professional 3D artists or companies, but it is however for the hobbyists and young artists.

    Color isn't as much of a problem, because anyone can paint/dye a model, or get someone else (with more expertise) to do it for them. Plus doing it yourself is more rewarding and personal, and I'm not sure about how detailed a 3D printer can be in regards to color.

    As mentioned in the previous sentence, there isn't much knowledge/info around about 3D printers, mainly because there a relatively 'new' machine and a lot of people probably don't even know they exist, let alone what their capable of. But luckily theres a few tutorials on this site, which should clear up any major issues/questions.

    Barts video about the cube puzzle was good to see :cool:

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  7. kfoong
    kfoong New Member
    definitely cost.
    I'm just wondering it its possible to sell my own 3D creations... for the things I'm creating, people would pay 10 to 20 dollars tops. dont know if this is possible or not... =P

    colouring for me isnt a problem as i can just paint it myself
  8. bartv
    bartv New Member
    There are some tricks to keep the cost down: you can design to use less material (see this example), make the objects hollow (and leave a few holes in the wall so the support material can be washed out) or simply make them smaller - the volume is the cube of the size of the object: make it half the size and the price will be 1/8th..


  9. MercuryCrest
    MercuryCrest New Member
    Cost, of course, but since I consider 3D printing to be a minor miracle, I'll gladly scrape money together for it. :D

    Textures, I used Blender and traditionally for my models I have relied on enabling the Nor function in the Mat./Texture buttons. This generally gives me beautiful results without have to subdivide ad-infinitum and manually adjust things.

    I don't know how texture information could possibly be applied to 3D printing, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    Example: I'm working now on a very large Eye. No problem to get blood vessels to pop out using a simple texture and Nor, but if I want this thing printed I'm going to have to make a displacement map, map it on using the modifier, then apply it. Not really a problem, but in order to get a good resolution I'm going to have to subdivide my model...a lot; hence slow down my computer drastically.

    I'm walking a fine line...for regular modeling I'm accustomed to using shortcuts and work-arounds, but for printing, I need the model to be "real-life accurate" so I have to go back to how I modeled when I first started out (2.03) and knew nothing of using textures to get detail; I'd actually model every single line, curve, brick pattern et all.
  10. kfoong
    kfoong New Member
    but how hollow can it be? the monkeys already a whopping $60 and they're tiny o_O making it hollow would put it down to how much?
  11. pete
    pete Shapeways Employee CEO & Co-Founder

    it is hard to guestimate before how much making it hollow would cost, it depends on the size and the form of your model.

    The wall thickness should stay around 3-5 mm to make it strong enough. Also again depending on the form of the model.

    Hope this helps,

  12. robert
    robert New Member
    Interesting remark.

    As you say it is essential to have a geometric accurate 3D model to print. As far as I understand is the nor mapping feature only applicable for visuals and does not change the shape of the 3D model.

  13. abdealijamali
    abdealijamali New Member
    for me cost is the biggest barrier
    i might print something if i can get something uploaded and if i win one of those contests (im downloading topmod)
  14. Wildsketch
    Wildsketch New Member
    I've always known that cost would be a prohibiting factor, but frankly I'm surprised that no one else has mentioned what the biggest barrier for me has been, actually knowing who will offer to print your model and exactly how much they would charge you for it.