Thursday, April 26, 2012

Build Time Lapse

I did a time lapse of the final build. It runs a little longer than I expected due to some technical difficulties like the LED switch breaking and some wiring issues. Overall it went together pretty smoothly.

And for those of you still interested, I tested the time lapse while doing all the prep and clean-up work.

FINISHED! - All the Beauty Pix

It all went together really well. Overall I'm very pleased.

I built a custom stand with a ball-joint to allow for lots of poses.
Hit the jump for lots of pictures...

Assembling the Octopod

The moment of truth. Will everything go together?  I did a lot of test prints for the tentacles but no big tests for the body.  I did small parts to try out methods and see what I could get away with, but for the most part this was the one and only print for the body.

Cockpit fits!

Read on to see how it went....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

File Prep

One of the many differences with modeling for 3D printing is the file prep which must be done.  The model has to be exported as an STL file (Standard Tessellation Language) which is meant for printing and CNC work and describes the surface geometry of the model.  The STL file must also be checked in mesh repair programs which will look for holes in the mesh, duplicate vertices, non-manifold edges (edge which touches more than two faces), inverted normals (flipped geometry faces) and more.  Sometimes additional work will have to be done on a part before it will run through correctly.

I printed in different materials so I had the additional step of dividing out all the parts to their separate materials.  This gets tricky when one part uses multiple materials because each material has to be exported separately and then reassembled in the printing program where the materials are assigned.  Here's a walk through:

Here's half of the body. Notice all the different colors.

Completed 3D Model

Well, was up until 4:00 am, but got the print turned in yesterday.  Looks like the final piece is going to run about $700, not including test prints.  Ouch.  It should be worth it.  I did some quick renders of how the color scheme will look, check out the slide show.

After the print is done, there will be lots of cleaning and probably some tweaking to get everything to fit right.  Also have to install the LED system.  Nervous.

Oh Noes! - When the Model Gets Goofed-Up

I was in the process of getting the Octopod ready for printing when I noticed this:

I'm looking along the length of the body where the two halves meet up and noticed that they didn't match.  Somewhere along the way the right half got bumped up by .01mm.  The cockpit lid also got bumped both forward and to the side.  Since all the parts go together with screws and all the holes must line up this could have been a total disaster.  I had to backtrack through 6 different versions of the project to find where the problem started so I could assess what I had to fix.  It sidetracked me for a few hours but I did get it fixed.

Remember to save often and of equal importance is to document what you have done to each file and how they differ.  I have a simple text document in the project directory for this purpose.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Mr. Miyagi School of Riveting

Rivets! Still messing around with the colors, but you get the idea.
Sometimes there is just no quick and easy way to do something and this was one of those times.  I have been dreading doing rivets on the Octopod because I couldn't think of a way to do it and make it look right without hand placing each one.  I met somewhere in the middle of tedious and super-tedious.

I discovered the cloner function in Cinema which lets you duplicate an object along the edge lines or vertices of an object.  Perfect!  But I immediately ran into problems because I had used a patch sphere for the body.  (A patch sphere is when you start with a cube and smooth it so much that it goes round.  They are good for 3D printing because true spheres tend to have pinched geometry at the poles.)  The problem with the patch sphere is that the edge lines are not perfectly parallel and straight going around the object.  You can see me figuring this out at the beginning of the video.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Update Pix 2 - Now With Even More Update Flavor!

Have hit some major roadblocks when trying to export STL files for printing.  The lesson learned is:

You DO NOT want interior faces left-over from extruding stuff, it will screw up your STL files big time.  Took a while to track down the offending parts and of course they were something small and relatively minor.

All good now, taking some files to the print lab on Friday so we can run test them with the print software.  Will be printing everything in less than two weeks.  Stressing.

A few update pix:

Slight update from previous version.  Portholes and hatches are cut out and windows have some more detail. Adding more hardware and rivets next.  Trying to add nautical stuff that would actually be used and in the right spot.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Update Pix

Wanted to quickly post some renders and screen grabs.