Friday, December 4, 2015

Fun with 3D Scanning..

 Final Mini Hazel gallery is here;

Well, fun and then  a LOT of work which hopefully can be told mostly by the pictures.

First though, here is the process in a nutshell:

1.       I send the sculpture out to a scanning company – it’s prepped.  More on why it has a post in it’s belly in a bit.

2.       They scan and give me a digital file.

3.       I send said file around to various printers & get quotes… here’s where it got difficult.  Kelly Sealey came to my rescue and dumbed down the file (she left all the detail, she does movies!).  This had to happen because even the companies that make medical imaging parts said the file was too complex for them to print.   Quotes were also in the high thousands for a print out.

4.       Once Kelly had helped me with this file I also got a cheapo freebie 3D file manipulation software program to do a few fixes myself.

5.       Then I uploaded it to Shapeways & got an ultra high detailed (see photos though, it’s still very lined!).. printed physical ~4"inch tall copy… not done yet at all though!

6.       This 3D printing material is very hard to sand/work with so I molded the clear master just like I would any clay sculpture and then worked with it to finish it with full details you’ve all come to expect of me in the white resin. I didn't want to just fill in or loose details to smooth it out (that's not so hard & IS a LOT faster). Ultimately I painted my white resin with rust colored primer and then spot painted with an airbrush or paint brush in spots to keep it super thin and not fill in those details & still be able to check smoothness and add the wee-est of the wee wrinkles and bumps and such.

7.       I also got ~1"tall micros printed for a 10th of the price ea from Shapeways too.  Having several of those to compare it’s interesting to note that the same file does NOT have the same print lines in each direction ea time.  Very odd actually to me considering how I thought the process works.  Anyhow, I’ve had a friend cast these in a hard black resin after some wasted time trying to sand and detail one of them out too.. pretty hard to do!  I don’t want to revisit the resin to finish it up for a few months.  It’s just hard work.  My regular casters won ‘t cast micros either (too small/easy to break and they can’t charge enough to pay their employees for it)… so I’m looking at using my friend’s talent and good nature at casting there around her own schedule when I finally AM ready.  So I don’t know how  many I will offer at a time or what with the micros just yet.  They are amazing but they break if you breath on them wrong…

Ok, so here are the comparisons of the Shapeways print (clear) and then the redetailed resin (rust) I cast off of that to finish the sculpture.

Whoops!  The text beside these two is switched... I think it's clear enough though from the other photos.. but doh!

& With that explained, I’m going to leave you with pictures for  the rest here.  :D  I think they more aptly show how it’s not nearly as simple as scan and print smaller. ;)  Also..  while I used to have a place to recommend the scanning for I think my experience here wasn’t good enough to recommend them.. what with getting a file that even the scanning company’s recommended printer couldn’t physically work with (too many polygons) .    Kelly pointed out to me many times that too complicated was a GREAT problem but having a super sized 160MB file that took a day to transfer here & there to the various companies for quotes.. and then they couldn’t use (it’s interior and exterior so the scanning company made it microfine thin).. for the average artist they didn’t give me  a functional product… so I just cannot recommend them.  I just  don’t think that artists are their typical customer.  Maybe I was saddled with a bad technician too this time.  

It IS a gorgeous file though – here are the virtual proofs.   

The file is vastly smoother when you zoom in than you can see here too,  but lets look back at my two former times (posts from 1 & 2) I’ve done this with bitty bosco and dinky duke here for comparison!
Virtual bitty started 3 years later in 2008 was much smoother.. but you can see in later posts that that still was just as lined in the small small size.  It cost a lot more then still to print.  Some thing like $385 if I recall correctly.   So again, cost has decreased for this level of quality.

This is the oldest.. the technology for smoothing here was top notch at the time.. however as you can see from my mini prototype close ups of Hazel - in 10 years the printing hasn't really gotten much better.. see the post link above to see the top-quality printing of 2005. That cost something like $500 back then.  It's half that now and quite fast at least with Shapeways and similar companies!

Special Note on WHY I went there again… I was really planning on finishing Tetradrachm as late as June when I was suddenly petitioned!  :D  See early in 2015 a number of wonderful and persistent :) hobbyists requested that I make a mini hazel. The older I get the more challenging these minis get for me but I mostly was hemming and hawing due to the costs of 3D scanning and printing. Well.. a good friend asked me how many it would take for me to go ahead and take the fiscal plunge and then she shocked me by getting together with several other wonderful folks and getting this online petition going (you can still see this here).

I think anyone with a lick of business sense would put their current project plans on hold and get to it!  I had the prototype at Breyerfest at my booth.. but I had planned to be done by the end of Aug and then I got a rotator cuff injury.. then mad things to catch up on after that into a full schedule of Sept.. Oct got weird and while I was working on her here & there I decided to really slow down and try to get her as precise as possible.  Personally I think she is a bit more detailed that the original Hazel in some ways.  I hope folks will love her EVERY bit as much!

PS Whoops!   Forgot about the post in belly bit... I did that 1) for her safety in shipping to the scanning people.  She was glued to the base and I didn't want her to break off.  2) Then there was the 3D printing stage.  They break at that stage (or get rejected by quality control as being too breakable)... and so that helped there too.. then 3) my OWN man handling wasn't so nice in a lot of that sanding.  I didn't cut that post out until the last couple of weeks finishing her up!   Castings will be attached to the base too but there will be wires unless they become really problematic.  Even if they were, the manhandling of prepping and painting still wouldn't be as rough as the all over sanding for months I did.  Don't worry!   But do be gentle - she is wee, despite how mighty she might look! ;)