Thursday, May 16, 2019

CN Woodchip Car - Live & Learn

Designing 3D printed product with a goal toward semi-commercial replication isn't something that can be done seamlessly. The learning curve is indeed steep and I had to master 3D modelling in a way I wasn't accustomed to.

Modelling 3D architecture is one thing, but creating solids that will print correctly is another thing. When I ventured into this project, I certainly didn't know the subtle differences between both type of 3D models. In my mind, 3D was 3D. But STL files and 3D printer were quick to teach me otherwise.

It’s not my goal to detail all the problems I encounter, but it was a good occasion to learn about my own ignorance on the subject. I also came to appreciate how 3D modelling isn’t that different from scratchbuilding. Basically, it’s the same process of looking at something, trying to figure out how it is made and then proceeding to create complex assemblies using basic shapes.

Another pitfall for a while was my use of SketchUp. This free software is well-known for its ease of use, but we dealing with solids, it can be tricky. I quickly found out it wasn’t wise to draw to HO scale. The software has a hard time dealing with very small complex shapes. Thus, it is required to work on a larger scale (let’s say 10 times 1:87) to ensure a trouble free experience. I also had to learn using software extensions that made some process easier.

Had I known all that from the start, my life you have been easier and I suspect design time would have been decreased by a fact 4. But you’ve got to start somewhere anyway and I feel this project was simple enough to be tackled yet providing substantial challenges to improve my skills.

With that said, I hope to get some printed parts in my hand by the end of May as promised.

No comments:

Post a Comment