Originally Posted by Giotto
3) Digital modeling and 3D printing
This is a area I haven't explored. I have seen some remarkable and detailed reproductions but I am think cost may be the limiting factor. If any of you have had experience with having a clay master digitized reduced and printed I would like to know about your experiences.
I'll chime in on this as it's something that our company does rather often.
For good-quality and most importantly accurate
reductions 3D scanning and printing is your only solution.
Someone already mentioned some prices which seem pretty spot on. But let me give a little explanation which might make those prices seem more affordable.
1. 3D Laser scanning cost - Once a 3D laser scan is completed you will always have it. You can use it for archiving purposes so if the original is broken or the sculpture is lost a new one can always be printed using the scan. If your sculpted clay is 30" and you're scanning to create a 12" piece for marketing purposes or whatever it may be, you can then use that scan to have a company like ours enlarge it to life-size or greater for a monumental sculpture. Using the 3D scanning services to their full potential from reduction and enlargement standpoints together or trying to achieve a larger variety of sizes the cost of the scanning starts to be dispersed.
2. 3D Printing - There is variation of different 3D printing machines but I personally have the most experience with ZCorp 3D printers so I'll talk about them. Synappsys mentioned a cost of $25/cu in which is spot on with what we charge for 3D printing using Zcorp printers which produce a plaster-like model which is great because having the plaster properties allows it to be tooled and "scraped" so modifying the model by hand (if you feel necessary for any reason) is done easily and quickly. We have some infiltration processes that also allow the "plaster" model to be drilled, tapped, etc.
I can't say about other printing processes but with our 3D printing service we can print the sculpture (if the shape allows) hollow. So while the $25/cu in price applies the volume of the sculpture gets decreased to only a relatively thin shell (roughly 5mm for stability purposes). You only get charged for the volume of that shell and not the whole model. So if lets say you had a box that was 2 x 2 x 2". That's 8 cu in and thus $200. But if we hollow that box to 5mm thickness and leave one side open (one side open would be no problem as it would sit on that side and would not be seen) now the volume becomes 3.35 cu in making it $84.
I know of too many people that did some guesstimate volume calculations (by eye) of their sculptures and eliminated 3D printing as a viable option (due to monetary concerns). Don't do those mistakes, talk to me or another company of your choice that does similar services so we can go over all the options and making these truly helpful services fit within your budget.
You can contact me with questions at email@example.com
Here are a couple examples of what we have done:
In this photo we're showing the "workability" of the material so you can refine or change the model using simple tools.
This reduction was done for Mr. MacDonald, you can see the 12" 3D printed model next to the original 36" plaster. If you look very closely at the reduced sculpture you can see the tiny signature.
This was actually an enlargement from 12" to 20" and as you can see, all details transfer over perfectly.
This is a perfect example of alleviating scanning cost. The artist had us create the large-scale angel using our robotic-routing service and also had a small 12" model 3D printed. The same 3D scan was used to create both.