Questions about Mini's capabilities

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Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Yonih » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:38 pm

Hey there

I've been lookin into buying a Up! Mini once I learn how to sculpt my 3D models (still unsure which software to use.. AutoCad, Zbrush, Sketchup..?)..

The purpose of it is to create props and replicas of mostly video games and movies items such as Borderlands 2's guns and masks and Iron Man masks.. After creating a first print, make a cast of it and then make many copies and hopefully sell them..

Of course most of these items are too big to be printed at on go so ill just have to glue them in pieces.

I have wondered though about some of the capabilities of the Mini. It looks like its possible but I just want to be sure.

Starting with masks.. As some masks are just 1 part front (for those who know, think of Handsome Jack of Borderlands) and some are full head enclosed (such as Iron Man). I've seen images of printed masks but I'm still unsure if the Mini can actually create such masks (even in pieces for large items).. As a mask, parts of it are higher than others (such as where the nose is) and I am unsure if a printer can print that part as there is no actual support beneath it. Can the Mini actually print that?

Moving to other props such as guns. These are pretty long items so many printing and gluing will take part. If I choose to print the gun on it's side, will the bottom layer that is laying on the heating platform be different (texture wise) than the top part?

Another question about items like guns.. Since many parts of guns are square boxes with usually 90 degrees angels, can the Mini print a box or will I have to print a box without it's top and then print the top and glue it on? (This comes as a hallow and not honeycomb print in order to save on expenses).

Thanks for anyone who can help me here

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Marcus » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:08 am

Hello Yonih, welcome to the forum :-)

I don't want to sound like a poor sport, I think printing 3D models of copyrighted material (even though you re-model them yourself) and selling them can cause you a lot of trouble. Just be careful and try to ensure you won't get into legal conflict.

That beeing said, let me try to answer a few of your questions.

3D Modeling
You can use any 3D software you feel comfortable with. Sketchup is easy as the learning curve is moderate, and it is well suited for basic applications. With such things as masks you may need software that is capable of boolean operators and subdivision for example. The free version of Sketchup can only go so far - even with the big collection of free plugins.
For such use something like zBrush or even Blender, if you want to go free, might be a better choice.
For mechanical parts such as guns, a more professional solution for CAD might be good.
If you have experience in any 3D modeling program, may it be CAD or 3D Animation, start from there.
If you have no experience, you might as well take your first steps in Sketchup, but you will feel it's limitations after a while. I still use it, but I'm looking into other programs as well.

3D Printing
Don't worry about overhangs and such, the UP does a great job at those.
Regarding your other thread, I own a Reprap based device (Printrbot) and a UP Plus.
The UP will just print out of the box, with only little software settings are need to be made, even for the most complex objects.
The Reprap software (Slic3r or others) will give you dozens or hundreds of values to change and experiment with, so sometimes it gives you more freedom. But you HAVE to figure it all out and change things a lot, especially the first weeks (months?). I do use both devices now, but especially for finer details and difficult objects that require support material, I use the UP. Even after all the nice new features Slic3r has now, I would still go so far and say that the UP is one of the best Printers, unless you go with a dual head extrusion and soluble support material.
But even then, this will require more after-math then just removing the UP generated raft and support structure...

The printer will create a fill structure, so that the object's top surfaces are no problem.
If you have a solid Box-shape, it will fill with a pattern depending on the density you choose.
If you have, let's say, a updisdown-U-shape, it will create thin break-away posts, depending on the settings. It is possible to print smaller overhangs or angles without support.
In case of the UP, this is one limitation: You only have a few settings to make (which usually is good), but some things can't be printed without support material, even though it would turn out well enough on a Reprap if it's completely turned off.
As for a hollow box: There has been some discussion about inner support structure, but you could just model it.
For example, just create some angles at the corners.

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But: Even with 10% infill or so models get rather solid.
Other then that, I now frequently glue parts instead of printing them whole. Sometimes it's just less of an hassle.

If you print directly onto Kapton tape without a raft, the bottom surface will always be smooth (see - it has a almost glossy finish) and the first layer a bit squished (depending on your nozzle height setting).
If you print with a raft, you will have less warping (more adhersion to the printbed), and the surface will be a little rough.
The top surface is not as smooth as the one without raft, and sometimes has little gaps, depending on how thin parts are, and especially on curved surfaces (see or upper part --- I print very little things, so it is very visible there. When you print larger things and perhaps even paint or sand them, this will be hardly noticeable). This issue has been addressed in the latest software version, but I have not tried it yet.

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Yonih » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:11 am

Hey there
Thanks for the elaborate post.

As for copyrights and the like, I am unsure about this as well but there are so many people doing it, it looks like its fine. But yeah, further looking up is needed.

Today I found out about a new 3D modeling software, Mondo. I've looked up YouTube tutorials and from what people are saying about it, it's quick, not hard to learn and inexpensive.. I think I'll give it a go, they're offering it for 15 days trial.

AutoCad looks very complex and hard to learn..

So I think I've got all my questions sorted out. Need to start working on my 3d skills and then buy a printer. And also lookmore into the copy rights / legal part of this as well

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Robin » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:41 am

Yonih wrote: AutoCad looks very complex and hard to learn..
I can only describe the software I have tried, there may be something miraculous out there I don't know about :mrgreen:

I used AutoCAD for years when someone else was paying for it. I now use a cheap AutoCAD clone called ProgeCAD, works much the same but isn't quite as slick. AutoCAD will do 3D but it isn't easy. It may have moved on but my biggest gripe was that you had to set the facet size when you drew the shape not after. I like it because it is dead easy to extract facet free shapes in 2.5D for milling.

For 3D I am using Alibre, can't say I recommend that either because the $99 version is only 32 bit. Their little lever to extract big bucks when you have gone through their learning curve, find you need a 64 bit version, don't want to start at the bottom of someone else's learning curve and have to move to Alibre Pro. They also want to charge if you need more than the basic manual which doesn't help. OTOH if you can live with the 32 bit restriction $99 is a cheap alternative to Solidworks and you can get a 30 free trial.

Sketchup may be okay. The problem with Sketchup is you can't go back and edit the list of inserts, cuts, moves and stretches that built up the shape. You always start from where you are now. If you aren't commercial that may be okay for you.

If you go searching for 3D mesh software you find there is a big industry in drawing photo realistic 3D images of girls. A bit kinky perhaps but they have some really neat tools for creating and editing meshes, just make sure your wife isn't likely to creep up behind you if you decide to investigate it.

Software choice really depends what you are trying to achieve. Someone has come up with a trick to scan items into a 3D mesh using nothing more than a webcam and a builders laser level. There are tools to automate the process on thingiverse if you don't want to do it by hand. Could be a good idea to pick up a copy before he starts charging for it.

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by doraemon » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:30 pm

As Robin pointed out above, software choice will depend on what you're trying to model and your budget. The pro-level mechanical CAD packages aren't very good for modeling things like figures and other bodies. They're great for designing mechanical parts, since that's what they were designed to do. I've used both history-based/parametric and dynamic modelers and both have their strengths, again depending on what you want to model. For something like guns, you probably want a mechanical CAD package (SolidWorks, Pro/E, maybe Inventor or my personal favorite PTC's Creo Elements). History-based makes sense if the design is fairly firm and you want the flexibility to set up parameters. Dynamic works best if you don't know ahead of time what you want to model. I use both at work depending on the particular job.

For sculpting masks, you might be better off with one of the 3D graphics modelers, like 3DStudio or the like. I've heard of something called Sculptess, but have not used it.

If you're a student or teacher, you can often get many of the pro-level packages at a significant discount, either direct from the software maker or through a reseller like
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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:00 pm

Sculptris is the freeware version of ZBrush from Pixologic and works really well for freeware. When we go to schools we let children sculpt things (kids are amazing at thinking 3D) and then print it on the Up. With Sculptris you can only open and save .obj files but they can be easily transformed to .stl's. The other way around works too, convert stl's to obj's and sculpt them into other things.

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Yonih » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:26 am

Hey there

So yeah I'm looking for a software that will allow me to sculpt mainly guns and masks. In the future after I get more skilled I wouldn't mind going for bigger and better stuff such as highly detailed miniatures or something..

So options so far include ;

3Ds max

I'm looking for one where I can preferably use YouTube videos as a guide..
Since right now I got images of all the guns I want to make in the Borderlands inspect mode (3D view of the gun, able to rotate 360 degrees) I reckon learning how to model them wont be too hard..


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Re: Platform Too Hot Error

Post by wackojacko » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:40 am

I remember reading somewhere that you could use an application (open gl) that would capture the 3d content of your graphics card and make a 3d cad file. Try googling it...

Need help with your printer, check out our Youtube channel. ... /playlists

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by Yonih » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:18 pm

There's a few online services (free) that I've stumbled that let you upload photos of your item (they recommend about 20-40 photos. Sides, front, back, top and bottom) and it will render a 3d model for you.. I've tried that and was very unpleased with the result.

Would much rather make my own 3d model even after watching YouTube movies all day an seeing how complex it can be

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by simplebot » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:18 am

A couple of other options for modeling that are free, and export stl:

123d Design from Autodesk. Kind of a beginners CAD program.
and wings 3D, a basic polygon modeling program that works very well.

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by jamesward » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:22 pm

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Re: Questions about Mini's capabilities

Post by alexia90 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:51 am

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