/ 3D Modelling

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owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
Does anyone have any experience/suggestions for simple, easy to use 3D modelling packages for Windows XP?

I've got a design for what is effectively a photoframe-style item with a simple almost M-profile edge, and an assymmetric recess in the back (where you'd normally fit the glass/photo in a photoframe).

My plan is to 3D model it, then send it on for 3D printing, but never having tried 3D modelling before, I'm a bit out of my depth so looking for help/advice from UKC who know everything!

Can you recommend a relatively straight-forward package with will allow a newbie to do this, and export in a format suitable for 3D printing (.SRL?)?

Thanks.
Hardonicus - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: WHSmiths do a good line in photoframes.
owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Hardonicus: Maybe you missed the part where I said it was a photoframe-style item?
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

You looking to spend any money? Mostly they cost quite a bit.
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to confusicating: As it's a one-off job I was hoping there might be a free package out there that would do the job. I'm happy to pay what it costs for the 3D printing to realise the design once it's drawn up though.

I shall take a look at Blender this evening, thanks.
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

There should be youtube videos to help you get started, and maybe a tutorial on the software once you've downloaded it.
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

Oh also, I've not used that package.
jkarran - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

Where are you getting the printing done? Most online sites offer advice on packages for creating images. Try http://www.shapeways.com/ I'm pretty sure from memory they have a getting started section in there somewhere. Sketchup with the right plug-ins is apparently pretty quick and easy to use for basic gometric stuff though I've always found it far too vague/lightweight (in standard form) compared to traditional CAD packages. I guess the plug-ins make all the difference.

jk
needvert on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to confusicating:
> (In reply to owlart)
>
> http://www.blender.org/

Seconded. Documentation is awesome. Tool is awesome.
drolex - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:
Blender is probably what you want (it is free and very good) but I find it far from being straightforward. Unfortunately I can't think of any equivalent that would be and wouldn't cost several tenths of grands...

It takes a bit of time to learn how to use it (you will easily find tutorials) but it is worth it if you plan to make some more modelling.
owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Thanks all (well, almost all!), looks like Blender would be worth a go then. Not certain yet where I'm going to get it printed up, as in order to get any quotes from people I have to have a .SRL file first, it seems. I have seen one place offering a price of 10p/cm^3 material used, whereas others seem to suggest it's based on overall volume irrespective of amount of material used (ie. hollow objects cost the same as solid ones), which would make this very expensive as it has a large hole in the middle!
rug - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

You live in the wrong part of the UK ! At least, it's wrong at the moment, but plans are afoot to change that.

There is a FabLab in Manchester. This would be ideal for what you want to do. There are plans for a FabLab in Brighton. If you are going to be doing more of this sort of thing in the future, then perhaps you should contact them ( http://fablabbrighton.org/contact/ ). I don't know how soon they expect to open, but I am sure they would be happy to hear from you.

If it is anything like the Manchester one (and it should be), then you will be able to get help learning to produce the 3d printer file, and then printing the object, paying only a nominal charge to cover costs of materials for the printer.

Rug
Dangerous Dave - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Solidworks or Inventor both do a months free trial. They also have tutorials to help you get started.
They are the programmes I use at work.
captain paranoia - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

My suggestion would be Trimble (formerly Google) SketchUp to create the model, and then export to DXF, which I'd suspect most stereolith production tools should accept.

In fact, I'll bet that many 3D printers will take a SketchUp file direct.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=3d+printing+sketchup
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Dangerous Dave:

Oh aye, that's a good point. Month free trial is a great idea!
owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Thanks again folks! The 3D Printing sites I've looked at all seem to want .STL files.

Good call on the month free trial, do you think I can pick up the basics sufficiently in a month to generate something usable?

Brighton has a BuildBrighton warehouse with a 3D printer, that might be worth me investigating further too.
stumpy - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to Dangerous Dave: Its difficult to get the free trial from solidworks now if you are jus planning to use it for a quick one off job. You need to apply then a salesman come to you to install the software. They do offer backup for the course of the trial which I found to be helpful as they will answer any questions over the phone or even come to you to help
confusicating on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

Alibre isn't a great program, but you can just download a free trial if you're having trouble from the others. It's really easy to learn too because the basic package is so simple.
becauseitsthere - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

Autodesk Inventor. You can register with Autodesk Education and get the software for free. Its fairly intuitive to use and there are thousands of tutorials out there.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Angrypenguin - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: I'd second google sketchup (now called Trimble SketchUp) - the learning curve is much less steep than blender and blender is really overkill if you are just doing basic shapes. Took me days to work out blender properly.

The company I work for recently invested in a 3D printer and they are fab things. The plastic isn't that strong (unless you get an expensive ABS one I gather) but they are excellent for prototyping and quick mock ups of things.
captain paranoia - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

Well, in the Google search I did, the first service has a SketchUp plug-in:

http://i.materialise.com/sketchup

Add STL to the search string, and you get a whole bunch of useful-looking hits, including SketchUp extensions to save STL files, etc.

SketchUp Make is free.

http://www.sketchup.com/

"Hobbyists, kids and backyard spaceship builders all agree that SketchUp Make is the easiest, most fun, entirely free 3D drawing tool in the world. We think you will, too."
David Riley - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart:

http://www.openscad.org/

This is really easy to use for geometric shapes and it's free.
I am using it for 3D printing. (.STL output)

owlart - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Yet more helpful answers, thanks!

I'd done a Google search, but personal recommendation is always better than just a random stab in the dark at a package you're unfamiliar with.

Looks like I could be busy this weekend trying out packages to see which one I can work out the easiest!
Deri Jones - on 05 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Also have a look at Rhino3D - they do a download trial version and if you've used AutoCAD, it's a doddle to use. It can also export to a heap of other formats, STL is no probs.
owlart - on 10 Jul 2013
In reply to owlart: Thanks for all the help everyone, however it appears I'm just not bright enough to understand any of these tools (yeah, you knew this already, I know!), so I'll either end up paying someone to do it for me, or more likely drop the project :(

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