Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday musings

I've been having a bit of a ponder this morning about the various models from Shapeways, and how things could be improved. Looking at this picture this morning gave me some pause for reflection on how far things have progressed.

If any of this had been attempted in another medium, there would have been some major work involved. Different sides, ends and details would have to have been made. These would then have to be purchased, bundled up correctly by the manufacturer and sold. If the variation you wanted was out of stock, 'sorry thats your tough luck you should have brought one sooner'. The bonuses using this tech are great for a manufacturer. you don't have to carry any stock as the model is never out of supply. You don't have to spend your spare time doing that actual physical stuff that selling things entails (packing, posting etc).

One thing that I would change (if I was doing it) would be to possibly move away from the 1 piece model theory. The current level of technology generates models with some ridging (due to the process printing in layers). This can be easily removed but gets to be more challenging when details are in the way. taking the above example are the roof ventilators and collection of handrails (which In my experience tend to be brittle as well). My preference would be for these to be separate pieces, with locating holes on the main body. Handrails may well be better served by being etched from brass (if they could not be printed).The British have a 'large/sizable' cottage industry supplying extra detail parts for RTR models (and kitsets) so maybe theres a chance for a similar sort of thing to happen here. Possibly one answer would be to do 2 models, the first a 1 piece model with all the bits attached, and the second a 'clean' model for superdetailers to start from (its really nice to have a basic square form thats beyond my skills as a start point). Maybe the detail parts could be printed on a separate sprue, or even supplied by a different company, as MMW has done for the trackgang DF/DFT and Dx kits. 

As always, comments from the peanut galley welcome.

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