I caught a post on Orchid and want to offer to send any interested
party a couple of things I've done recently using STL files. It is
correct that the RP surface can be a bit rough, however, much of that
depends on how the piece is oriented for "growing" of the model, and
knowing there will be some roughness, you can build a little sanding
room into the model to begin with. Getting a RP company that know's
it stuff is crucial.
I use a company, 3D Factory, which has a Viper system which produces
the model in a hard epoxy resin. They're even about to offer one
which can go directly to investment. My preference is to mold in RTV
and cast from there. Models from systems which produce a hard wax
model cost about the same, but the waxes are incredibly fragile so no
pre-molding touch-up or modification is possible.
As for cost, my time to produce a model is usually as much, and
often more, than producing the same thing via RP, although for very
simple things this obviously doesn't hold.
I agree that using RP for spec designs is not a good idea, but if
you do much custom work it pays off handsomely for reasons mentioned
above (time/$$$) as well as giving you added options via a model with
endless copies available.
Something else to consider is what has been mentioned before, the
CAD/CAM programs are high to astonomically high $$'s. And despite
what the box promises, they are not easy to learn for people who are
without any previous experience. I mean really hard.
But ultimately, it's all in how you like to work: people who are all
thumbs carving wax can create beautiful pieces at the keyboard, and
we have 5 thousand years of evidence of what people can do at the
If you want to see two finished pieces in which the model was
produced completely in RP please contact me off list. Hopefully it
won't be all of you.
Les Brown L.F.Brown Goldwork, Inc. 17 Second St. East, #101 Kalispell,
MT 59901 406-257-1129 Les Brown L.F.Brown Goldwork, Inc. 17 Second St.
East, #101 Kalispell, MT 59901 406-257-1129