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Thread: Shapeways planes in full color?

  1. #1

    Default Shapeways planes in full color?

    Shapeways has released a new technology "High Definition Full Color Plastic". The technology is (at last) approaching where we can get full-color 3D prints!

    The bad side is that it is currently pretty expensive: US$40-ish for a full-color 1:144 Albatros D.III (the only plane for which I've done a full-color texture map). But I have to think that the price will only decrease over time, when the technology becomes commonplace instead of bleeding-edge. I'm going to order one and see how it comes out -- I'll post photos when it arrives. The other bad news (for me) is that it requires somewhat thicker parts, so all the models have to be tweaked (not to mention the task of generating texture maps for each plane and camouflage).

    Here's the model I'm going to order as a test, a full-color Jasta 2 Albatros D.III: (this isn't the actual print... that will come later)
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    I don't have my hopes up very high at this point, but it shows that the technology is coming along. It will be interesting to see how precise are the color boundaries. For instance, can you read the serial number? Can you see the white border around the fuselage cross? And whether the printed colors are anything close to the ones in the texture map.

    Update: you can see photos of the full-color print in response #24 below!
    Last edited by ReducedAirFact; 04-23-2021 at 09:48. Reason: update

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    That will be pretty impressive Daryl if it comes out O.K.
    It certainly will appeal to those who are not into painting models.

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    Eh, I'm one of those who prefers doing up my own paints; but yes, I can see the appeal for those who don't. Let's see if it catches on enough for the price to drop.

  5. #5

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    This will be quite a step forward in printing technology. I love painting my own and will keep doing so but this is great for the non-painters out there.

  6. #6

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    Very interesting, Daryl.
    If the price comes down and the process works this could be 'game changer'
    Pun intended.

  7. #7

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    Very nice, hope it does not put my painting hobby out of business.

  8. #8

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    Magic! That means I might be able to get a Brumowski Albatros before I forget how to play the game

  9. #9

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    I'd seen that announcement, very interesting, Daryl. Glad you're doing a test run and it will be interesting to see how the finish looks. Maybe try one with lozenge camo wings

  10. #10

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    This is a game changer, saw an article the other day about a company now producing full colour 28mm fantasy figures, to be honest they looked pretty good. I await this development with baited breath as one of the non painters of the world.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReducedAirFact View Post
    For instance, can you read the serial number? Can you see the white border around the fuselage cross?
    The serial number might be D.2421 and the white border around the fuselage cross can easily be seen.

  12. #12

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    Great news, even for technophobes like me. Always happy for someone else to do the printing. Plus I don’t mind using a brush.

  13. #13

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    Keen to see how these turn out. Definitely a game changer if the price comes down.

  14. #14

  15. #15

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    The miniature maker mentioned above is HeroForge. During the Kickstarter for HeroForge 2.0 (i.e. color) they said their minis would be 3D printed by Shapeways. I mentioned this on the Forums at the time, but there was little reaction. Below is what a mini design looks like on HeroForge and what the final product looks like. Very small details can be colored next to each other, but the colors are not very bright. These models will not be as bright as an Ares airplane. As Zoe pointed out, a real test would be a lozenge pattern, or the Bavarian diamonds. I think it can be done, but it will not be as bright as a decal. Of course, the ultimate product is where the designers make the model, but the buyer makes the color scheme like HeroForge. And $40 isn't bad. A 1/144 scale model is larger than a 28mm miniature and HeroForge charges $45.

    Metallic colors do not look right so don't expect any shiny engine panels, although one could always paint on top of the printed colors.

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    So how many books are in your personal library?

  16. #16

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    Wow, Daryl, the possibilities are very exciting. Even if the colours don't come out quite right during the early stages, the built in guide will be there before our eyes and any extra paint on top should only help. But if I remember correctly, the e mail they sent out about this referred to 10 million colours available. They must surely be able to get pretty close with that.
    Re the High Definition - does that mean they will be rather brittle and require careful handling? Or has that issue been resolved?
    Looking forward to seeing the pic of the Albatros you ordered. Any idea of lead time?
    The price might be a problem at first, especially in the UK, with Shapeways based in Holland. Customs are now whacking on higher taxes etc. Add that to carriage costs and the price might put many off. However, to remain positive, lets keep fingers crossed and hope that in the long term all this things will come out in the wash.

  17. #17

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    THAT IS AMAZING. Having just painted 380 zombie mini's over the last 9 months, this is a real eye opener. The precision of the color placement, crips lines and shading/highlighting are incredibly time consuming to produce with a brush. There are many minis that don't need to be or aren't supposed to be shiny and bright. Zombicide 2 and Aliens - Another Glorious Day in the Corps are the most recent that come to mind. This would have been perfect!

    I'll be watching this technology... and thanks for the share.
    “Fly fast - take chances!”

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeemagnus View Post
    Wow, Daryl, the possibilities are very exciting. Even if the colours don't come out quite right during the early stages, the built in guide will be there before our eyes and any extra paint on top should only help. But if I remember correctly, the e mail they sent out about this referred to 10 million colours available. They must surely be able to get pretty close with that.
    Re the High Definition - does that mean they will be rather brittle and require careful handling? Or has that issue been resolved?
    Looking forward to seeing the pic of the Albatros you ordered. Any idea of lead time?
    The price might be a problem at first, especially in the UK, with Shapeways based in Holland. Customs are now whacking on higher taxes etc. Add that to carriage costs and the price might put many off. However, to remain positive, lets keep fingers crossed and hope that in the long term all this things will come out in the wash.
    My test print should be here by the first half of May... I'll be happy to post pictures when it arrives. It will be interesting to see the color accuracy, color resolution, and material properties. (Is it fragile like Detail Plastic/FUD, easily deformed like Versatile/WSF, or pretty robust like PA12?)

    As for specifying your own colors...it might (eventually) be possible to specify something like whether you want an "A" or a "B" or a "C" on the wing, but I can't see full customization happening. The creation and mapping of a good texture map is a pretty arcane art. For me, it's actually harder than the creation of a (colorless) 3D model. I might spend N hours working on a model and N*4 trying to get the texture mapping and colors correct.

  19. #19

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    Heroforge, that’s the one, but am not spending $40 on a single 28mm figure...

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedeby View Post
    Heroforge, that’s the one, but am not spending $40 on a single 28mm figure...
    For general use minis I agree. But, if you have a character figure for use in a campaign that runs for a year or so.... I would buy one.

  21. #21

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    Fascinating concept - I look forward to seeing the resulting Albatros mini.
    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  22. #22

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    Heard about this awhile ago; some think it's the way Ares should go, to avoid the issues with the Chinese factory.
    Me: not so sure, unless the cost comes way down for mass production.
    For a custom, one-off for the gaming table, maybe. To replace what we have available now, not so much.
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  23. #23

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    just one more step towards replicators!

  24. #24

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    The test print is back and I have to say I am impressed!

    First a couple notes:
    1. I did the coloring (texture) for the engine, guns, and pilot's head in a different way than the rest, and the software left those features white. It would be easy to correct those now that I know about it, but the previews did not show the problem. I'll touch them up with paint in the last pictures and fix the texture maps.
    2. These are very close-up pictures with a macro lens and bright lighting. To the naked eye the detail is even more remarkable, and you have to look really close to see any stepping.
    3. There is a subtle arch to the upper wing that must be an artifact of the printing process, because it's not part of the software model.
    4. Minor tweaks: I mapped the upper-wing crosses to be too close to the forward wing edge. And I think I'd choose a more medium gray for the tire colors.
    5. It came in a HeroForge box even though I never touched the HeroForge website in this process!



    Now to the pictures! You've all seen a 1:144 Albatros D.III before, but to reinforce the scale I took it next to a US quarter and one pound coin:

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    Now for some pictures from a moderate distance:

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    And to get in really close with the macro lens. You can make out the serial number if you look close, and you can see the weights marking on the side (though that is unreadable). The lines around the crosses are very crisp, and you can see the Axial logo on the propeller.

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    Next I corrected my texture errors with a few touches of paint:

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    With this detail, I would be proud to use this on the gaming table. Some time soon I'll use the color meter on the wings and see how close the output color matches what I specified, but to the naked eye the colors look pretty good. It's not as glossy to the naked eye, but I was throwing a lot of light on it for the pictures (minimum aperture for maximum depth-of-field, requiring a lot of light).

    I was especially pleased to find the white very white and the black nice and deep.

    Now...is there a market for these at their current price of US$40-ish? I don't know. But at least we can see that the technology has arrived.

  25. #25

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    Looks gorgeous Daryl

    The printer resolution looks pretty good - is the strength like WSF?

    $40 - a bit steep at the moment and probably not likely to go much lower


    10 of those would get you a resin printer, wash and cure machine and a bottle of resin - which in theory would print 100 models (accounting for failures)
    (there are a few other costs like isopropyl alcohol and lots of paper towels)

    You know you need one

  26. #26

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    That IS impressive - especially for a first attempt!

    I'd expect it to get even better over time, in the same way as the current Shapeways prints are a world away from the early ones.
    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  27. #27

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    Yes, I agree with Tim - the future looks very promising. Given the photographic conditions, the print and the colours look really good. But the price? Well I agree with Paul there, but lets hope the price can come down eventually.

  28. #28

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    Amazing and interesting !

  29. #29

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    Wow, I'm quite impressed. As Tim said, when this gets to be the norm maybe the price will be reasonable. We better paint our inventories fast as we painters are being made obsolete.

  30. #30

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    Looks great! I am quite amazed.

  31. #31

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    Daryl, thanks for demonstrating this evolving tech. That is an amazing first run. It's absolutely dripping with potential.
    “Fly fast - take chances!”

  32. #32

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    Fantastic, Daryl! I was pretty skeptical initially but that test print turned out great.

    $40 is pricey, but of course we spend quite a lot on decals, paint, and primer. Painting offers great customization but the texture mapping tech will probably catch up. Or some generic Albatros and Fokker models with lozenge wings and crosses in place that could be finished out in varying styles might help us catch up with Tim. Kidding. Kidding. Will never happen.

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by malachi View Post
    Or some generic Albatros and Fokker models with lozenge wings and crosses in place that could be finished out in varying styles might help us catch up with Tim. Kidding. Kidding. Will never happen.
    Kidding or not......



    I laugh in the face of danger - then I hide until it goes away!

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    Kidding or not......



    If I could become like Tim by simply spending LOTS of money... I would.
    “Fly fast - take chances!”

  35. #35

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    Quite impressive, Daryl. I still like the activity of painting my own: but yeah, for those that don't, a great resource!

  36. #36

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    $40 for a Albatros D.III might seem a lot, but look what eBay is getting for D.VII and Halberstadts.

    I would readily pay $40 for one off 'specials' that are impossible to come by these days.


    Especially Jasta 18

  37. #37

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    The material seems pretty robust -- not brittle like Detail Plastic (FUD). But I admit I'm reluctant to give it any real stress testing, given its price. A true test involves stressing it until it breaks.

    By the way, the colors I chose are for a fictional plane in Jasta 2 (Jasta Boelcke).

  38. #38

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    Bloody hell..... they are way better than I thought they would be. DEFINITELY the future. This could be a game changer.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  39. #39

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    Fantastic....$40.seems very reasonable considering what some models go for on ebay. But the question is, who is going to start mapping schemes and uploading them to a store, and how much more are *they* going to charge?

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenalfonzo View Post
    Fantastic....$40.seems very reasonable considering what some models go for on ebay. But the question is, who is going to start mapping schemes and uploading them to a store, and how much more are *they* going to charge?
    At this stage I think it has to be the same person that did the 3D model. Unwrapping a model onto a 2D texture map is a bit of black magic (at least, to me) and pretty intensive labor. (It's known as UV unwrapping.)

    But once that unwrapping is done, it's conceivable that you could farm out the creation of new textures to other people. In fact, in some ways that would be preferable, because the skills to do good 3D modeling are not the same skills it takes to do good texture maps (I have a lot of practice at the former but struggle with the latter, which is more like computer-painting.)

    Here's an example. Through several laborious steps I mapped all the points of the 3D model to a 2D map like the first one shown in grayscale. If nothing else, you can certainly recognize the areas that correspond to the wings. I could enhance it by adding labels in the "unused areas".

    To get the colors on the model, I created a texture map like the second one shown below. If someone knew what all the areas corresponded to on the first map, they could choose different colors for the second, and we'd get a new "paint job". For instance, a lozenge texture could be used for the wings instead of lilac and green on top and turquoise on the underside.

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  41. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenalfonzo View Post
    Fantastic....$40.seems very reasonable considering what some models go for on ebay. But the question is, who is going to start mapping schemes and uploading them to a store, and how much more are *they* going to charge?
    I was thinking the same thing. $40 is a bit steep, but not for the planes you're really looking for and definitely not so bad compared to eBay.

    This is awesome.



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