Brian Chapman <cornbeltroute@...>
Fascinating information, and I thank you much for providing it. I
don't know how much longer you're willing to discuss this, but I have
a few more comments and questions, if you'e willing. Likely, I won't
post further in this thread since I worry it strays too far off topic
(the thread is about freight car "construction," although it is kinda
esoteric freight car construction <g )
After quickly looking, I was pleased to discover that the 3D drawing
program I use, Rhino3D, exports in stereolithography format (.STL).
And, the CAM program that I use (Vector from IMService) is also a
full-functioning 3D program (boy, wish I had the CNC expertise to mill
in 3D) that imports/exports .STL files. But, I assume I would only use
the latter program in this way if I possessed the 3D RP machine itself
(not likely any time soon).
Yes, I was thinking of the powder deposition RP method. The UV-curable
resin format, well now, how interesting is this for we fine scale
railroad modelers who think we can see production methods nudging ever
closer to the individual user level, even if yet some years off?
I have done a bit of cursory market research into low-end laser
cutting devices. I'm thinking that the curable resin laser machine is
an adaptation of today's laser cutting machines of the type and
wattage power used in the hobby industry? The adaptation is the tank
with the moveable platform, since the laser head already moves about
on the X-Y axes. Or, am I thinking wrong?
The laser is driven by a 3D CAD file of the part(s) after it hasbeen "sliced". Sort of like making a topographical map out of
layers of cardboard, for those you old enough to remember doing such
So, maybe a CAM software package is not needed? I know that I was
startled when I learned that the Versalaser operates as does the
common computer laser paper printer (the Versalaser is about the same
size as a laser printer): XP Windows operating system and, with your
CAD program open with the drawing file, hit Print in the same way that
you do to print a letter. Voila! Your wood or plastic piece is laser
cut. Perhaps your machine operates this simply, too?
Often, I use .005" end mills for my CNC cutting routines. But, at
.002" resolution, your RP machine increases resolution by a factor of
2.5? Wow. (My math might be off; I'm a history-poly sci type, math is
kind of a foreign language to me.) Although, maybe not quite, since
the laser head is .0035". Anyway, an improvement in resolution from
what I can accomplish. . . .
few of the companies that have the capability have done anythinglike this. The rapid prototyping business is structured to
make 1:1 objects very quickly for well-heeled industrial clients. <
I did not expect to find services available in my price range but
thought it a good idea to ask, anyway.
The company I consult for has had this capability for several years,but I'm the first to take advantage of it. It has caused some
consternation among the sales staff. They are completely dazzled by
the parts but don't know what to do about it because for years they've
been telling clients we don't have such a capability. <
Perhaps if the sales staff was populated with a certain number of
scale modelers . . . ? <g
Tom, again, thank you for being generous with this information. This
process truly is fascinating . . . intriguing, too. As I go about
working to get better at what I do, I'm going to try to keep an eye on
developments at your end of things. Just maybe, some day. . . .