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tom

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So, how many of you out there with Ultimakers consider yourself competent in modeling? Looking around the various blogs etc... The technical know how doesn't seem to be whats keeping the community from making more high detail prints (like the yoda bust) so much as the lack of 3d modeling experience. Maybe I'm completely off base in this assumption, but I guess thats why I'm asking.

Also, I know there have been some posts about good free software to use for modeling, what I'd like to know is what some of the users already making content are producing it with.

I personally use blender, and zbrush here lately, though in my undergraduate work we had to use Autodesk products so it was a Maya and Mudbox combination.

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Hi Tom,

the programs you are talking about are more or less freestyle 3D modelers with limited capabilities of drawing things in exact dimensions. Obviously there's nothing wrong with that but there are quiet a few programs for drawing 3D from a technician's point of view. AutoDesk 123D, OpenSCAD and Google Sketchup are more precise in drawing technical bits and are all free. Alibre is not free but priced at about 100 Euro (or some 130 USD) it's not unaffordable. There are much more programs for bussinesses but these licenses cost a fortune (4.000+ USD each).

There's another method to get into 3D which is a 3D scanner. Several scanners are available, including AutoDesk 123D Catch. Catch is not really a scanner but is a piece of software which is able to produce a 3D model from a series of photo's (JPG's). I tried this a few times but honestly I can't get a good result from it (yet). Nevertheless I feel this sort of software eventually CAN work pretty well. Perhaps some more experimenting will do the trick. Please feel free to give it a try.

Other than 123D Catch I have the DAVID laserscanner which is pretty affordable at 400 Euro's. I get some really nice results from it now. It exports .OBJ files so that very nice. Don't expect 100% flawless scans on the first try but this set is really nice!

As for myself I have several options:

Technical pieces in PTC Creo (at work), export to STL, mail them to myself and print them at home

Technical pieces in 123D (at home since I can't afford a PTC Creo license...)

Free-style stuff in a combination of Sculptris + Blender.

I will still need to learn quiet a few things though. PTC Creo has no secrets for me anymore but I just started with the other programs last month :-) I posted a question on this forum about <200 USD programs and these turned out to work really well for most people so I decided not to waste my money and go with the awesome free stuf. I feel pretty happy with this combination of programs so far.

Hope this was helpful to you.

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For me it's more an inspiration/time issue right now.

I know how to work OpenSCAD, Sketch-up and 3D Studio Max

I like OpenSCAD because it almost guarantees that you model is manifold and printable. It also allows you to adjust things with ease. But it doesn't cut it for all things. I don't use Sketch-up a lot, but it allows rapid drawing of things, but I found out I could sketch on paper faster and then OpenSCAD it. Lastly 3D studio max, I haven't done any printable 3D modeling in it yet.

3D studio max is ridiculously expensive, but I'm used to the UI and Blender doesn't seem to cut it for me, I always fail to do whatever I try in Blender.

But time and inspiration are two main issues. For example, I have an almost finish small eggbot, which I still need to print 2 parts of, wire up and write the firmware. This is a new design, with very few parts and very few none-printed parts. But I'm not sure if it will work, so It's not uploaded yet.

I have a partially printed Lathe, but I still need to print some of the larger parts.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12472

Parts for the chuck are quite complex and large. And I have layer shift problems that I haven't found the cause of yet, so printing those larger complex parts or gears is not something I want to try right now until I solved the issue.

And then I also want to build something robotic, but I haven't found the inspiration to design it yet.

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Netfabb has the nice repair feature which is pretty helpful to make objects closed and printable in case some meshes are lost in the process. This is particularly necessary with Sketchup files. I don't know about Blender's output yet but the Sculptris output is a closed object.

The 'technical' programs are (afaik) all solid designers which, as the name says, produce solid (=closed) objects.

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I haven't had a chance to play with it too much yet as I'm waiting on my printer still, but I'm interested to see the kind of output that the zbrush 3d print exporter plugin produces. I know its an stl file, just curious as to the quality etc... If it works anything like the decimation master plugin though it should be of fairly high usability and quality.

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