Customs: On the Sketchup bandwagon

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by dsn1014, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    So having read a number of threads here on designing parts for printing by Shapeways, I thought I'd have a go. This is a kit I'm making for myself, I doubt there'd be any interest from others in getting it printed. There are a number of parts left to design. I'm doing this and not sure when I'll get it printed up, but it's good practice.

    I have one problem, I want to create a hinge for the panel on the chest to open midway down the torso,flipping out, but not sure what way to approach it.

    Anyway, just thought I'd show off what I'd got so far. Feel free to guess what it is.

    Thanks for all the info recently guys to put me in this direction, its quite absorbing once ya fall into it.
     

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  2. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    Wow, I love the detailing. Great job so far.
    It really is engrossing, isn't it? And I really think that designing stuff for yourself is the way to go, certainly when you're just starting. It's all very well trying to predict what will sell, but all too often you can find yourself putting in a lot of work and getting burned out on something that may not really interest you. Design something you want to see, and if other people want it as well, you can let them buy it! :D 

    As for hinges, I find the best way is to look at my figures for inspiration. If you can find a figure that has a similar kind of mechanism to that which you need, study it, see how it works, and steal it. :thumb 
     
  3. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Cheers man, I just fell into detailing it last night, comes out nice and crisp, but I want to round down the edges a bit on some of it. The mold it's going on is very detailed, so trying to match it.

    I doubt it will be of interest, as it's a slightly older mold not on the pegs anymore. I like the idea anyone can pick up this program and with minimal expertise be able to make project specific stuff. If people like it and want to have a go, it'll be there for them to try themselves when it's done. Another thing is I'm concerned about is my ability to scratch build this instead, getting it solid with all the details in, but I can sit on my arse with the laptop and cuppa with no danger of slicing a thumb off. Best thing I'm loving is that it's free and it's much easier to use than Solidworks, that really soured my preconceptions.

    The hinge is on my mind, good idea, I'll just have to keep my eyes out on the engineering of my tfs. Have decided to use magnets to hold it closed anyway, will see what comes of it.

    I've a couple of quick questions too,
    1. Is there any suggested wall thicknesses? The ones in the model are 1mm so far.
    2. Do I need to leave space between parts? Like .2mm or something, so parts can move around each other.
     
  4. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    Oh, man, I've been there. Put a sodding great gash in the base of my left thumb last September trying to score a Classics Rodimus canopy. At about half past friggin' midnight, on a Saturday during the Goose Fair. Impeccable timing it was not; the hospital was rammed. :p 

    Magnets are one way of doing it, but it should be quite easy to design tabs that hold it closed instead.

    For the most part, 1mm should be okay for a WSF print, but I'd recommend adding shallow fins along the inside for structural support (like long walls have buttresses).

    Yeah, it's a good idea to leave a little space; 0.1 or 0.2mm should be fine - that's assuming you intend to print the parts separately and assemble them after the fact, which I'd recommend. Just leave a few points with no clearance for where you need the friction (like those tab points, where a little overlap is a good idea).

    Hope that all makes some sense. :p 
     
  5. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    If you're planning on modeling the hinges or joints in place, that is, already assembled straight out of the printing machine, Shapeways recommends 0.6mm clearance to prevent the two parts from fusing together. This can lead to very loose connections.

    A clever thing to do is to model the two parts in place, but dislocate them before you upload your model, which just means you'll have to assemble them yourself. It takes a little more thought in designing them, but this way you can design to whatever tolerance you think will work well -- and I agree with the 0.1-0.2mm above.

    Ramrider: how are you modeling your balljoints? Are they essentially concentric spheres or is there something more to it?
     
  6. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    I was actually on the verge of mentioning that in my previous post, but thought it might confuse matters. :p  On the whole, while it's a nice idea to print it ready-assembled, I do think it's better to get it printed in kit form, especially since you'll likely want to paint and finish it before it's assembled anyway.

    Bingo, and exactly what I do. I wasn't sure if you could do this in SketchUp; I've always found my parts fusing the instant they touched, but that's probably just me doing it wrong. I model my figures as if assembled, then split the parts up and model a sprue (in an attempt to make it easier for the production guys to find and process the smaller parts).

    I have a feeling I've already posted these images elsewhere (probably in my Salvo thread), but here's the basic design I use for my balljoints.

    The balls are 4mm diameter spheres mounted on the ends of 3mm diameter shafts; the sockets are 4mm spheres subtracted from the female component, with a similar 4mm diameter cylinder subtracted to allow the ball access to the socket. I don't allow clearance in the ball itself; it needs the friction to hold poses, and I found even the 0.1-0.2mm that I used in my first tests of the design made them incredibly floppy.
    I subtract 3.2mm diameter cylinders to allow room for the ball's shaft to manoeuvre, and add two small nubs to the entrance of the socket; basically these allow the ball into the socket when you apply enough pressure, but won't allow it to just fall back out.
    Also, while it's not shown on these pics, I also subtract a small slot in the socket, on the opposite side to the entrance. This gives the air already in the socket somewhere to go when you push the ball in.

    They're much the same kind of design as you'll find on most TF figures, so having a good study of those will tell you a lot. :) 
     

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  7. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ah, excellent tips. Thank you!
     
  8. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    Anytime. :D 
     
  9. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Thanks for the advice guys, that's great help. This is definitely a once off item, but I think I see a few ways it can be changed to make it a stronger piece from that. I'll see how I get on.
     
  10. Rodentus prime

    Rodentus prime Well-Known Member

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    Normally in Sketchup you select a part, right click and 'make group' or 'make component' then the parts don't stick together when they touch, however some people are saying there is a problem with exporting models with grouped objects into shapeways.
     
  11. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    Just a quick question.

    I have the free version of Sketchup, in which you can't export the .stl files.

    If I upgrade to the regular version, can I import my files into the new version and be able to export them?
     
  12. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    Ah, I see. That'll be useful if I have call to try SketchUp again. Thanks. :) 
     
  13. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    Neither supports STL exports.

    From the free version, go to file->export and then select collada (.dae) as the output format. The import your collada file into Blender, and in object mode, press select all, and then export from Blender as an STL. That how I do it, at least.

    For simpler models, collada files often work as well with shape ways.
     
  14. big hank

    big hank Resident Slacker-Basher

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    Thankyou for that info! so I can theoretically use the free Sketchup to creatte with shapeways then correct, going through the process you outlined.
     
  15. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    I'm using a slew of programs to model this stuff, of which I've paid for none, and pirated none. They're all free versions or just plain free. All I've had to worry about is electricity. :lol 

    I'd still commend you use Blender to change to STL, as SW will have more luck with that.

    Also, important tip: if you use Product Design and Woodworking-Millimeters as a template in Sketchup, and then follow the Blender route, when uploading to shape ways, choose inches as your scale. I don't know why, but only inches gives the correct measurements. It's probably due to the fact you've put it through a few programs to get the final STL.


    @ the OP: how big is your model? Judging by the design, id guess something about the size of Cyb. metroplex's chest, however at that scale, the walls would be too thin to hold up such a large shape. Sure, it could print, but it wouldn't hold much weight. In that case, id suggest thickening the walls (extrude tool helps a lot) and ordering the piece in Alumide which I've heard is SW's recommended material for joints. Never tried it myself, though.
     
  16. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Cheers for the input. It's just around voyager size. Roughly, it's 50mmx30mm. I concur with the need for thicker walls for larger models, but its nowhere near the size of Metroplex, so I hope 1mm will be ok, have a mind to keep the print price down. I have bridged the gap between the shoulders to reinforce it though. If this does get printed I'll reinforce the inside with some putty. There a few goodies that need to fit inside this as well, so I've passed on ribbing the inside. For now, whether it gets printed or not, this is more of an exercise in the program.

    Had a go at the hinges and the clips. I think they work, but I really don't know. I've done two versions now, one for myself with an empty hole in the chest and another with some details to show off once the hinge opens up if it were of interest to someone else.

    I'll get better shots of the hinges and pegs later.

    Also, is there a way to test what I've made on the computer?

    I appreciate all the info I've got here, thanks everyone :) 

    edit, added more pics
     

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  17. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Ok, so I've been able to upload my designs, while they're tests I understand how to get them from start to finish.

    I did add in some ribbing to support it, will need to test print now to see what the quality is like. Maybe next week. More parts to be done for this, but for the minute these will do.

    I uploaded the files and selected inches for the scale, though they were designed in mm, will that maintain the size correctly?

    Also I used MeshLab instead of Blender to convert the files to .stl.

    Again thanks for all the excellent advice.
     
  18. Insane Galvatron

    Insane Galvatron is not insane. Really!

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    I've never heard of SketchUp, but I'm gonna have to check it out. It's hard to imagine it can be easier than Solidworks. I was able to figure out solidworks pretty easy. Much easier than the free Alibre.
     
  19. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    Did you ever get to test print this? I'd love to know how it turns out.
     
  20. dsn1014

    dsn1014 41:75:74:6f:62:6f:74

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    Not yet sadly, it could be a short spell before I have a chance to, but as soon as I've the spare cash I'm really looking forward to getting it. I do think the walls are a bit thin now, but I can't tell until I've a piece to study, but even if it is I'll reinforce the inside with putty and card.

    I hope the detail comes up though. Its for Apeface, its a long ongoing wip that I like to entertain meself with, but make very little progress on. For the moment here's a mockup and concept drawing of where the parts would go when they're eventually printed. The other parts are his new shins that join the legs for the vehicle mode.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I do hope the detail comes out well to match the organic details on the mold.
     

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