Newbie RP question

From: Jonathon Barlow (
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 09:21:47 EET

Hello all,

I'm a mold maker and caster by trade and know very little about
rapid prototype manufacturing so I'm hoping someone here can
give me a little info. I sell small military miniatures and would like
to find a way to reduce the miniatures in size so I can sell them in
different scales (I can't manually scupt/model the miniatures as
small as they need to be). I'm not sure if this can be done so I'm
hoping someone here can give me an educated opinion.

So I have a couple questions. First, I know I'd need some sort of input
device to digitize the shape of the miniatures. I've seen both
optical and touch probe scanners. Are these capable of capturing
extremely fine details (the miniatures are more detailed than
most jewelry)?

Secondly I'd need an output device to produce the prototypes
after I re-scaled them using some sort of CAD/CAM software.
>From what I see the choice is between 3D printing and CNC
milling. From the pictures I've seen of items produced on 3D
printers the objects look heavily textured and I'm thinking the
fine detail might be lost, but having never seen one first hand
I don't know. I thought of trying CNC milling to mill mold halves
of the objects, but I don't know how fine of detail the mills are
capable of handling. Would it be possible to produce
extremely fine detail using either of these methods? These are
very small objects, like 25mm tall military figures with their
equipment. A rifle in that scale is like a detailed swing needle.

What I'd really like to find is some company who could take
one of my models and produce a reduced size prototype so
I can see the results, but the only ones I have found on the internet
only handle output and require a file of the object. I have no
input device so I can't produce a file. Does anyone out there
do complete reverse engineering? Please send a copy of
any replies to my email address as I'm not a subscriber to this

Thanks & regards,
J Barlow

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