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kyoshosan
2014.05.27, 10:02 PM
This one goes to the guys that do 3D modelling, which software do you guys use, and what you recommend for someone willing to learn? I'd like to create my own parts and I was wondering which software should I try to learn, the one I was looking into is AutoCAD Inventor. Any inputs appreciated :D

arch2b
2014.05.27, 10:25 PM
Sketchup is very common. My office uses sketchup, rhino and autocad. Autodesk anything is going to be the most cost prohibitive.

LED
2014.05.28, 12:56 AM
Are you taking about parts with basic shapes like motorpods, suspensions parts etc or bodys?

In case of the first, inventor would be a good choice. As would be solid works or solid edge.
They are easy to learn programs once you understand the philosophy behind them.
If you are talking about bodys, you would need something like Catia or 3D studio max.

But all the programs are costly.

I personaly use inventor at work on a daily basis, I am a 3D design engineer.

ProfoxCG
2014.05.28, 10:30 AM
Hi Alex, let first me first say that I love you blog. I have been looking at it for a few years and enjoy the pictures.

Regarding your question, I would stay away from 3d max for anything that you want to build. The tolerances are just not there.

Sketchup is very simple to use and could be a good platform for get your feet wet. Maybe you can look at a 2D cad (autocad) and sketchup workflow.

Inventor is also a great software and I use it myself (not in a professional setting). But it is more complicated to use.

I'm surprised no one mentioned rhino. That is another software in my tool kit. It's great for both 2D and 3d, but unlike inventor, it is not parametric.

arch2b
2014.05.28, 10:54 AM
...I'm surprised no one mentioned rhino. That is another software in my tool kit. It's great for both 2D and 3d, but unlike inventor, it is not parametric.

see post #2 ;) our office uses grasshopper with rhino and v-ray for rhino for rendering. this is the most commonly used setup in my office.

ProfoxCG
2014.05.28, 11:34 AM
I see, but I'm sure the needs of your office are much different. If I were in Alex ' shoes, I would learn a bit of rhino, and then jump into inventor.

kyoshosan
2014.05.28, 11:37 AM
If you are talking about bodys, you would need something like Catia or 3D studio max.


Hi LED,

Thanks for your comments, would Sketchup be good software for designing Bodies? Thanks again

kyoshosan
2014.05.28, 11:54 AM
Hi Alex, let first me first say that I love you blog. I have been looking at it for a few years and enjoy the pictures.

Sketchup is very simple to use and could be a good platform for get your feet wet. Maybe you can look at a 2D cad (autocad) and sketchup workflow.

Inventor is also a great software and I use it myself (not in a professional setting). But it is more complicated to use.

I'm surprised no one mentioned rhino. That is another software in my tool kit. It's great for both 2D and 3d, but unlike inventor, it is not parametric.

Hi ProfoxCG,

Thanks for all your comments :) I really appreciate working on the Blog and getting feedback from you guys :) It's awesome!

I looked up Sketchup and it seems pretty good. I'll definitely be looking into learning that, any good books you would recommend?

thanks again,

arch2b
2014.05.28, 12:09 PM
the upside to Rhino is, it's very user friendly when compared to Autodesk programs. the commands are very intuitive and easy to use. just have to get used to sequence of operations, which is common any time your bouncing between various programs.

kyoshosan
2014.05.28, 12:18 PM
the upside to Rhino is, it's very user friendly when compared to Autodesk programs. the commands are very intuitive and easy to use. just have to get used to sequence of operations, which is common any time your bouncing between various programs.

Thanks Arch2b! I will also take a look at Rhino, looks like they have some good online tutorials.

Thanks again,

ProfoxCG
2014.05.28, 01:27 PM
I think for bodies you can't go wrong with Rhino.
But that is my oppinion. SU (sketch up) would be my least favorite. But people do it so I'm sure there are tons of tutorials out there. Regarding books, for SU you really don't need them. There isn't much to working w the software as there is with rhino, inventor and the others we discussed.

LED
2014.05.28, 03:29 PM
Hi LED,

Thanks for your comments, would Sketchup be good software for designing Bodies? Thanks again

I'm sorry I do not have experience with sketchup or Rhino.

Regarding Inventor, I can say that it is not hard to learn the basic.
I helped a friend out last year who was planning on building a house and wanted me to draw it for him in 3D. To get a feel for stuff like the kitchen and so.
I spend 2 evenings with him explaining the basics. How to make to do basic shapes and moddeling the first night, and the second night how to put everything together.
After that he drew the house in 3 weeks time. Calling me a couple of times because he was stuck.
And this is a guy not realy handy with computers :-D

ProfoxCG
2014.05.28, 03:40 PM
Hi, that is great. But, talk about the wrong tool for the task. I would not do a house in inventor. Maybe a chair, or a kitchen cabinet IF it were for CNC. But not a house. All this unless I'm just looking for a "pretty picture"

byebye
2014.05.28, 06:46 PM
Don't buy a 3D scanner. Trust me you're better off learning to make it from scratch.

Kris

imxlr8ed
2014.05.29, 12:16 AM
I use Catia V5 at work, that software can do anything you want it to do. Problem is, it's not as intuitive as most out there and it is crazy expensive. But if you've ever taken a look at payrates for Catia operators... you quickly
understand why Catia operators choose to suffer with it.

AutoCad is always good to know, kinda like a pair of well worn slippers. I feel a bit the same way about SolidWorks too now... just another handy tool if I bounce to another job. Tons of companies looking for SolidWorks talent.

KeyCreator is something I've been using for years and it's strange compared to most others out there. It has what I would consider to be the best translation software out there,meaning it can open virtually any type of file out there and then you can basically do anything you want with it. One thing it never does is guess, or compromise on certain commands. Curves and fillets must be configured properly or it just won't do it. Some software I have used will give you it's best working guess for your operation. This is fine for most people and designers but when you're working on products like I do, a best guess isn't always the best option.

For someone starting out, I'd recommend AutoCad. For someone starting out and wanting to get right to surfacing and lofting, Rhino should be good enough but I would still look into SolidWorks. And if you want to really go against the grain, there are older versions of KeyCreator out there that are incredibly versatile for fairly cheap prices. BobCad might be one to look at as well. IntelliCad is cheap too but I never used it for 3D.

I consider any software to be my chisel... what I sculpt and how good I want to make it is up to me. I have to know the limits of the software I am using. And if you want to create spot-on models, I'm sorry to tell you that there is no real quick way to learn it on any program out there, it will take time and patience whichever route you choose!

I've use all kinds of software over my career and I've learned something new from every one of them.

Best of luck and remember to keep a stress ball handy!

ProfoxCG
2014.05.29, 02:10 AM
^ Good advice above. Specially the stress ball lol.

LED
2014.05.29, 07:11 AM
Hi, that is great. But, talk about the wrong tool for the task. I would not do a house in inventor. Maybe a chair, or a kitchen cabinet IF it were for CNC. But not a house. All this unless I'm just looking for a "pretty picture"

Offcourse the actual plan of the hose is drawn by an achitect :)
He only wanted to see how the setup would be, how much room he would have in his kitchen, where his sofa and TV could be place.
So basicly the house was a box, and the furniture was moddelled with basic shapes.

ProfoxCG
2014.05.29, 08:22 PM
Architects.. :rolleyes: weird breed those.
anyway, in that case what you are said makes more sense.

arch2b
2014.05.29, 10:09 PM
hey now... not entirely unwarranted but like any professional occupation, it has it's stereotypes.

ProfoxCG
2014.05.29, 10:41 PM
I am included in that group. Look at me - in a toy car forum lol. what more proof do I need?

ProfoxCG
2014.05.29, 10:43 PM
BTW, holly cow, you have 31K post. did you never take a break since 2002?

Draconious
2014.05.30, 07:54 AM
Some may have seen a few images posted by me on here, made in AutoCAD, usually R 2000 Solids.

Almost a year ago I acquired a job doing custom 3D CAD/CAM for a jewelry company. Since we do a lot of engagement rings, it is cool to think that the results of my CAD work might remain on someone's finger until they croak, or get divorced.

They use Rhino 3D... so I had to somewhat adapt from AutoCAD to Rhino to work there. I almost gave up the first day because I could not find the "draw line" button! Which is because there is no draw line button in Rhino, all lines are called curves in Rhino, so you just draw a flat curve for a line. In a few days I adapted from AutoCAD Solids to Rhino 3D solids, and was drawing complex ring shapes in no time. After using it a few months, I now like it MORE than AutoCAD. I can even import and somewhat edit STL files, or Meshes, even Boolean edit them with Solids.

Rhino is great for anyone that is use to AutoCAD, as about 80% of the type-in commands for AutoCAD are in Rhino...

I have also used the free version of SketchUp, which I recommend as a first cad system for anyone trying to learn it on their own, it is very simple and crude so it is also very easy to learn, as there is less of it to confuse you. It is also very easy and quick to draw simple square shapes, such as floor plans, but it sucks with curves, as it cannot actually draw them, and instead just draws a bunch of lines to make a curve...


SketchUp is the only affordable CAD system... as it is free.

Rhino can be about $700-$900, student copy cost me about $130-ish.

AutoCAD/AutoCAD Inventor is $900 to $4000

Organized Editing CAD systems with a history of a parts construction, like Inventor and Solid Works are more for engineering parts, when you expect to move the location of holes and ribs and other things within a part often, when there are lots of changes. While this history comes in handy for editing, it can be confusing to learn by newer cad users. I never really got much experience in Inventor or Solid works, but I have had them on my screen long enough to draw a few shapes.

kyoshosan
2014.05.30, 09:03 AM
Wow! You guys rock! :D I really appreciate you all for taking the time and energy to reply and share your experiences and advises.

Many many thanks!

kyoshosan
2014.05.30, 09:22 AM
Don't buy a 3D scanner. Trust me you're better off learning to make it from scratch.

Kris

Hi Kris,

I'd be interested to hear more from your experience on this topic. I can't say that the thought hasn't crossed my mind, like for example, scanning a 1/24 body and scaling it down to 1/27.5 to create a mold and make a new mini-z body.

I wouldn't necessarily buy a 3D scanner but I'd have it scanned by a specialized company that know what their doing :) Although, I have no idea yet which company or how much a service like that would cost, anyone knows? I would then have the 3D model printed to produce a prototype, which would then be used later to produce a mold.

sykdevil
2014.06.07, 06:27 AM
I'm also starting to learn to draw 3d on my own, starting with Autodesk 123D to climb the steep learning curve before I move up to more advance softwares such as autocad (I know its totally different). Autodesk 123D is free so its good for experimenting. I'm looking to get a 3D printer down the road to play with, perhaps those micro rc car parts can be realized soon even though the crazed has died down already.

Sad to see rc stuff go out of trend and quiet these days.

byebye
2014.06.07, 09:22 PM
Hi Kris,

I'd be interested to hear more from your experience on this topic. I can't say that the thought hasn't crossed my mind, like for example, scanning a 1/24 body and scaling it down to 1/27.5 to create a mold and make a new mini-z body.

I wouldn't necessarily buy a 3D scanner but I'd have it scanned by a specialized company that know what their doing :) Although, I have no idea yet which company or how much a service like that would cost, anyone knows? I would then have the 3D model printed to produce a prototype, which would then be used later to produce a mold.

You'd think it would just scan it and spit out an exact image like the movies but unfortunately it doesn't.

I ended up using a program called autodesk123. But more about that in a second.

I bought the makerbot 3d digitizer (http://store.makerbot.com/digitizer)($800). I had it for a week or so. The results were no where near what I was expecting especially for the price. Long story short to capture the best images the item has to be a flat ivory color and it will not/not capture anything 1:1 perfect including solid clay models. i scanned a white body probably 20 times in a slew of lighting conditions and angles. It just cant get the details like I'd hoped. On top of that it cannot realize any deep holes or cutouts.

So I went back to the makerbot forums and did some more reading and I was directed to this video on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBg-m2hrIM). This actually produced the best results. When I dumped it into another program(I don't remember what it was) it may have been autodesk123d it created a 360deg viewable 3d image but when it assigned lines to create the mesh it was extremely uneven and I gave up from there.

Best bet-learn to create your own from scratch then you can 3d print those files.

Kris

Fovea3d
2014.06.08, 01:26 AM
I scanned my car using Autodesk 123d Catch.

Bybye, the video you linked shows this method, but they scanned a shoe, and also it was only rendered, not 3d printed.
While a shoe can accept some bumpiness, Mini-z body surfaces must be smooth like a mirror.

Back on my car (WIP), and checking the pictures below. While the small details and proportions were correctly acquired, large surfaces are still bumpy, and no I dont want to paint my car flat grey, even temporary ;-)

Even if they were smooth, the surfaces need polygon re-ordering, something that can only be done by hand (working on one half of the car is sufficient, the other half is only symetric). It takes a long time and test renderings with raking lights to check the surfaces correctness. This step took me 1 to 2 weeks with the Porsche 917, the last car I made (I have around 200 test renderings of the 917 in my folder).

In fact this is complete remodeling, using the photogrammetric scan only as a 3d blueprint while fixing warping and adapting the body to a specific chassis configuration. As the body edges (and almost only them) were correctly acquired using this method, they become the reference lines for the new surfaces.

On the picture, the grey mesh is the untouched scan, the bottom image shows how it was remodeled by arranging and reducing the triangle count (much easier to work with less triangles). BTW I am currently working on the roof and windows, you can still see some untouched triangles there.
It is really important while re-arranging the triangles to slide them along the acquired surface to keep the shape true to original (slide triangle points along surface command). Holes and bumps need surface reconstruction using the edges of the body panels as a guide, sometimes a portion of the car was better acquired on one side and that portion can be made symmetrical.

The close up rendering (this is a 3d rendering and not an actual picture of my bumpy car, and no my car is not "that" bumpy, tank you ;-) shows the amazing level of details 123d Catch can... catch. The blinker for instance will be exactly reproduced and precisely located on the printed model, something that is hard to achieved with scratch modeling almost always leading to accessories placement approximations. This is how a printed 3d model can become incredibly true to scale compared to older methods, in fact it is something like a 3d photography.

Even after it was remodeled, the mesh can't be printed as is.
The body needs an inner surface to give the shell its thickness (I found out 0.8mm is best with the Shapeways nylon, reducing amount of material/cost/weight to its minimum and a sweet spot between strength and elasticity for mini-z bodies, keeping in mind that minimum thickness required at Shapeways is 0.7mm) and lastly the edges joining the inner and outer surfaces must be filled, as the final mesh needs to be watertight to be printable (no hole/not any triangle missing).
Fusing solid objects like the front slot, side clips, details like mirrors and strength ribs whithin the shell is the final step.

About softwares. While Rhinoceros is a very good modeler, it works with vectors (surfaces are lofted using bezier curves). So it is good for design studios where corrections must be made often and mathematical operations are required. Kyosho certainly uses vector modeling both for body and chassis parts design.

But 3D scans and 3d printing both work using polygon meshes (simple meshes of triangles and polygons located in 3 dimensions with point clouds).
Polygon meshes and vector surfaces (Rhino, Catia) just don't mix together.
For instance you can export a vector model made with Rhino (or Catia, etc) to a polygon mesh for printing purpose but you can not do that in reverse (a supposed software making a vector model for Rhino or Catia from a polygon mesh is the holy grail...).
This (http://www.nanospeeders.com/photos/meshvsvector.jpg) is what happens when I try to deform a donut using the control points on a mesh vs a vector object. You can clearly see that the left donut is just a bunch of points defining the position of the facets forming the object, while the right donut is a mathematical construction using circles as sections, bezier points, etc.

Entry level 3d print uses polygon (facet) meshes files to work with, this is why I choosed polygon mesh editing/modeling for my prints.

And trust me, if I could scan & print, I would ;-)

http://www.nanospeeders.com/photos/123dcatch.jpg

LED
2014.06.08, 03:19 AM
I scanned my car using Autodesk 123d Catch....

That actually looks like a great smashed up car :D
I would print like that :p

byebye
2014.06.08, 07:41 AM
Fovea3d! :) thanks so much for dropping into this thread. I would go so far as to say you are our resident expert as you have taken this from digital to physical with some great results.


I scanned my car using Autodesk 123d Catch.

Bybye, the video you linked shows this method, but they scanned a shoe, and also it was only rendered, not 3d printed.
While a shoe can accept some bumpiness, Mini-z body surfaces must be smooth like a mirror.

Back on my car (WIP), and checking the pictures below. While the small details and proportions were correctly acquired, large surfaces are still bumpy, and no I dont want to paint my car flat grey, even temporary ;-)

Even if they were smooth, the surfaces need polygon re-ordering, something that can only be done by hand (working on one half of the car is sufficient, the other half is only symetric). It takes a long time and test renderings with raking lights to check the surfaces correctness. This step took me 1 to 2 weeks with the Porsche 917, the last car I made (I have around 200 test renderings of the 917 in my folder).

In fact this is complete remodeling, using the photogrammetric scan only as a 3d blueprint while fixing warping and adapting the body to a specific chassis configuration. As the body edges (and almost only them) were correctly acquired using this method, they become the reference lines for the new surfaces.

On the picture, the grey mesh is the untouched scan, the bottom image shows how it was remodeled by arranging and reducing the triangle count (much easier to work with less triangles). BTW I am currently working on the roof and windows, you can still see some untouched triangles there.
It is really important while re-arranging the triangles to slide them along the acquired surface to keep the shape true to original (slide triangle points along surface command). Holes and bumps need surface reconstruction using the edges of the body panels as a guide, sometimes a portion of the car was better acquired on one side and that portion can be made symmetrical.

The close up rendering (this is a 3d rendering and not an actual picture of my bumpy car, and no my car is not "that" bumpy, tank you ;-) shows the amazing level of details 123d Catch can... catch. The blinker for instance will be exactly reproduced and precisely located on the printed model, something that is hard to achieved with scratch modeling almost always leading to accessories placement approximations. This is how a printed 3d model can become incredibly true to scale compared to older methods, in fact it is something like a 3d photography.

Even after it was remodeled, the mesh can't be printed as is.
The body needs an inner surface to give the shell its thickness (I found out 0.8mm is best with the Shapeways nylon, reducing amount of material/cost/weight to its minimum and a sweet spot between strength and elasticity for mini-z bodies, keeping in mind that minimum thickness required at Shapeways is 0.7mm) and lastly the edges joining the inner and outer surfaces must be filled, as the final mesh needs to be watertight to be printable (no hole/not any triangle missing).
Fusing solid objects like the front slot, side clips, details like mirrors and strength ribs whithin the shell is the final step.

About softwares. While Rhinoceros is a very good modeler, it works with vectors (surfaces are lofted using bezier curves). So it is good for design studios where corrections must be made often and mathematical operations are required. Kyosho certainly uses vector modeling both for body and chassis parts design.

But 3D scans and 3d printing both work using polygon meshes (simple meshes of triangles and polygons located in 3 dimensions with point clouds).
Polygon meshes and vector surfaces (Rhino, Catia) just don't mix together.
For instance you can export a vector model made with Rhino (or Catia, etc) to a polygon mesh for printing purpose but you can not do that in reverse (a supposed software making a vector model for Rhino or Catia from a polygon mesh is the holy grail...).
This (http://www.nanospeeders.com/photos/meshvsvector.jpg) is what happens when I try to deform a donut using the control points on a mesh vs a vector object. You can clearly see that the left donut is just a bunch of points defining the position of the facets forming the object, while the right donut is a mathematical construction using circles as sections, bezier points, etc.

Entry level 3d print uses polygon (facet) meshes files to work with, this is why I choosed polygon mesh editing/modeling for my prints.

And trust me, if I could scan & print, I would ;-)

http://www.nanospeeders.com/photos/123dcatch.jpg

quazster
2014.06.09, 12:52 AM
SketchUp is the only affordable CAD system... as it is free.


If you are looking for real parametric 3D CAD that is affordable, I would recommend Cubify Design:

http://cubify.com/en/Products/Software

Cubify bought Alibre, and I used Alibre daily at work at one point. Nowadays my tool is SolidWorks and would recommend it too as the user interface is quite intuitive and the help files and myriad of tutorials out there make self paced learning really easy. Only problem as with many software, SW is expensive for individual.

Cubify is not the best tool for freeforming complex shapes, or doing surface modelling. This is not to say that it couldn't be done, just that the tool is not optimized for this.

Modelling a detailed body from scratch is not small project to say the least. I would start with some simpler parts at first to get my head around the logic of parametric modelling.

Rhino etc. visual modelling softwares are great tools for industrial designers for making good looking shapes but these usually have little to do with real mechanical engineering. Of course you can do lots with these too, such as jewelery as stated before. Even the complex shapes such as real car parts are modelled parametrically in the end (usually with Catia). But real a-class surface modelling is not needed in any way to make good looking parts/bodies/whatever at your own computer.

ProfoxCG
2014.06.10, 08:01 AM
I think the closer you get you an A-class surface the better. Why would you not want to do that in a scale model?

You are right, Rhino does not have mechanical engineering capabilities built it, but that does not mean it is not use in a design workflow. In reality I would say that many design start in rhino and then make it into engineering platforms down the road.

imxlr8ed
2014.06.10, 09:02 AM
There are so many types of downloadable cars out there on the web that you really don't have to draw anything if you don't want to. You just have to dig like crazy! Also, you have to be able to translate the model to a version that can be edited and useable by your printing service. It's a really rare case that anyone actually creates many of these models because they are already out on the web as either a free download or a pay service. One of my co-workers used to do scanning and surface modeling for the Franklin Mint and that was certainly not a one-man operation. Not saying it's not possible but it takes a ton of time to draw your own replicas correctly.

In aerospace, we can't leave anything to chance, there is no halfway-startup software for the models we use. If I do sketching in one software, I have to go from the beginning and fully recreate it in the final software. Everything that we build has to be in the software package we choose so it can be revised and modified as needed. If you gotta play with many types of solids and surfaces, find a software that can do as many types of imports and not only that, can translate multiple version of those types!