Re: Newbie RP question

From: Bathsheba Grossman (
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 21:02:09 EET

On Mon, 11 Nov 2002, Jonathon Barlow wrote:
> 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)?

Not that I know of. I don't have a scanner myself, but since I have a
Solidscape, which is the RP machine you'd probably be looking at for
printing the miniatures, I'm often asked about this type of project.
My understanding is that if you want to scan something and reproduce
it at a tiny size with a fantastic amount of detail, it's best to
start with an object at least a foot in size.

Bigger doesn't hurt...the other day I talked to a fellow who wanted to
have me print a two-inch motorcycle charm. His clever idea was to get
a plastic model motorcycle and scan it for reduction. This would work
if the model's a good sized one, but the guys with the scanner felt
that for best results he should use a real motorcycle: they'd
spray-paint it a flat color and scan it. I had to tell them the
project budget wasn't up to that.

In all seriousness, maybe your best move would be to consult people
that do reenactments, get a good-looking fellow to dress up in full
uniform, and scan him? Any of the big scanning bureaus could handle


Bathsheba Grossman                 phone (831)429-8224, fax (831)460-1242
Sculpting geometry                                
Solidscape prototyping                           

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