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Kabutoni

3D Modeling; The Future

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Kabutoni

Sorry for the pretentious and ambitious sounding title, but this is how I see this thing personally. 3D modelling is the newest and hottest thing on the model train scene! Create whatever you like on the computer and have it printed for you. No matter how crazy the idea is, it can almost all be done. That is, if you're willing to put time and/or money in it.

 

Here in Japan, there is a small, but dedicated group in action to bring this under public attention. Recently they have released a first printed guide for 3D modeling: https://www.neko.co.jp/?p=75207, which I purchased after seeing it in the hobby shop nearby. The guide focuses on the program DesignSpark Mechanical, but because I run a Macintosh machine (and don't want to run it over an emulator), I use Autodesk 123 Design. It's still a bit flimsy to use, as it sometimes crashes, but it's for free, so I'm not complaining (much) and save my work a LOT.

 

So far, I have no experience with 3D printing yet, but I've seen some great examples up close and have seen what amazing detail can be done with this technique. It beats kitbashing and scratchbuilding by miles. What am I saying? I beats the shit (excusé le mot) out of kitbashing and scratchbuilding.

 

---

 

At the moment, I'm working on my first project, which I may probably want to redo one more time over. This concerns a train that was never built and actually only has appeared once in a flyer as a terrible artist rendering. It's a proposed Shibayama Railway train, that looks like a 16m length car. It's a small and versatile little thing with typical late 1980s styling. Classic bodywork with futuristic elements and wedge shapes. Not everyones' cup of tea, but I like these 'ugly' things.

 

This is my first attempt of rendering the front of this train in a realistic sort of manner:

 

post-188-0-70161000-1427343045_thumb.png

 

Now, I'm not trying to exactly recreate this image, but rather create a train that could have been. The original designer is probably a motor car designer by heart, as you can see a lot of elements that belong in a 1990s car design. Front bumper, side panels sliding over to the front while encapsulating the bumper and the skirt with outserts for fog lamps, etc.

 

---

 

Anyway, in this topic I'll try to keep you up to date with my developments in the quest of 3d modeling, but also with the happenings in my surroundings.

 

Please add your own projects or those of others you're following here!

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cteno4

Toni,

 

Ha you're bitten! Yep it is quite fun. Only real issue is learning CAD which I've found in the last 5 years or so of folks getting into 3d printing. Many just can't bet over the learning curve. But if you can then it's super cool!

 

Bout 6 years back I got frustrated that there were no good n scale road cones. I had bumped into a great chap doing prototypes in New Zealand that was doing a lot of the prototyping work for many of the model train companies. So got a few gross of them done up with a nice liquid polymer machine. Super simple as there was a cad file for the ISO cone that just needed cleaning up. Nowadays there are amazing amounts of 3d clip art to use or begin with as well. I started looking at doing a scooter then tomytec came out with a bunch...

 

What I'm most excited about with 3d printing are doing all those tiny bits of detail that use to be in the realm of doing resin or metal casting, but it was so tedious! These are the things that can make a scene really pop and can get hideously expensive to buy and tedious to build with nice detail. Great thing is they are cheap to print lots, hardly any plastic to them! Most of it is in the support piece!

 

I think this is going to be great to team up with 2d cutting machines to get the best of both worlds.

 

Downside still is the cost of things with more plastic in it, but that should hopefully come down with time.

 

Other thing is just getting the experience of how to properly brace items, what you can get away with on details, when things will warp in process, etc. this stuff is a bit of art like working with any machine and a lot of experimentation and practice!

 

Going to be interesting to see if the liquid polymer machines will drop in price eventually to be a hobby machine. Machines also need more cleaning and material turnover which add to cost, but I'm sure some cleaver ways will be found to make it cheaper and easier. Maybe a new process will pop up to do n scale detail as well.

 

Will look forward to your work on this! Your imagination and creativity I'm sure will creat some great stuff! I hope I can get into some detail stuff this year if I have enough spare time.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Kabutoni

Thank you Jeff.

 

3D modelling is certainly not for everybody. It's a very slow process, but if you keep the reward in mind, it's not hard at all!

 

Here is another attempt at forming the front of this train by the way.

 

post-188-0-36840100-1427355264_thumb.png

 

As you redo these things, you learn to work more efficient time after time! I think I will redo this project over one more time, since I'm starting to get the hang of it. Like with drawing (which is my job), creating a good base/sketch is everything to realising a solid end result.

 

As I've stated in a different topic: I want to combine 3D printing and 2D cutting, like this is done with brass models who have white metal parts.

- 2D cut sides, which you glue on top of eachother like layers, which provide strength and depth;

- 3D printed front parts and details;

- I have no idea how to do roofs yet, as I'd like to have these non-3D printed as well.

 

The main reason for 2D cut outs is to provide flexibility in car length -as I want to create rolling stock from 16 up to 20 meters, and cut down on 3D printing costs. Hence, the roofs have to be flexible in length as well. Maybe a paper layered base can solve this.

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kvp

 

The main reason for 2D cut outs is to provide flexibility in car length -as I want to create rolling stock from 16 up to 20 meters, and cut down on 3D printing costs. Hence, the roofs have to be flexible in length as well. Maybe a paper layered base can solve this.

The common solution is to have have modular trains, like in some greenmax kits. The sides and roofs can be printed as multiple pieces that can be glued together with various front and back ends. The whole kit then can be laid out (then optionally connected up) and printed to look like a single injection molded kit. You select the pieces you want then glue everything together. This allows kits that can be built in a number of ways to be modelled and printed as a single item. The classic example would be a kumoha-saha-moha-kuha emu kit, with two different roof ends (normal/panto base), common main roof, two front ends (gangway, non gangway), three back ends (simple, panto wire/ladder, ladder) and 2x3 different side end sections (full cab L/R , no cab L/R and gangway cab L) and the two basic sides. For the 4 unit train, you'll need 4 kits and will have some smaller leftovers. The builder can even choose to kitbash it a bit and build a two cab kumoha with the parts or many other configurations. To make a kit smaller or longer, a section in the middle can be formed as an optional piece with roof and sides that can be added or not depending on required length. A good example is a 4 door 20 meter emu that can be built as a 3 or 2 door unit (18 and 16 meters) or with doorless side panels as a 2 door 20 meter express unit.

 

ps: Actually the design/construction method behind the JNR 1xx series was exactly this in 1:1.

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Kabutoni

 

The common solution is to have have modular trains, like in some greenmax kits. The sides and roofs can be printed as multiple pieces that can be glued together with various front and back ends. The whole kit then can be laid out (then optionally connected up) and printed to look like a single injection molded kit. You select the pieces you want then glue everything together. This allows kits that can be built in a number of ways to be modelled and printed as a single item. The classic example would be a kumoha-saha-moha-kuha emu kit, with two different roof ends (normal/panto base), common main roof, two front ends (gangway, non gangway), three back ends (simple, panto wire/ladder, ladder) and 2x3 different side end sections (full cab L/R , no cab L/R and gangway cab L) and the two basic sides. For the 4 unit train, you'll need 4 kits and will have some smaller leftovers. The builder can even choose to kitbash it a bit and build a two cab kumoha with the parts or many other configurations. To make a kit smaller or longer, a section in the middle can be formed as an optional piece with roof and sides that can be added or not depending on required length. A good example is a 4 door 20 meter emu that can be built as a 3 or 2 door unit (18 and 16 meters) or with doorless side panels as a 2 door 20 meter express unit.

 

ps: Actually the design/construction method behind the JNR 1xx series was exactly this in 1:1.

 

Thank you very much for your suggestions! This really has got me thinking now (it's bad, as it's sleeping time atm).

 

Yes, that is a little bit of the way I was thinking how to work, with a completely modular system. Not only the sides, but probably also the roofs. The main problem is width, as is are a big variety of width running around on Japanese tracks. From the almost 3 meter wide JNR/JR 'fat' trains to the 2.5 meter wide 'narrow' subway crawlers (generally speaking). In between that, there is a plethora of different widths. If I want to incorporate all that, it will be very difficult to create an easy to use system.

 

Therefore, I want to use one width in the beginning of this project, which will be a standard private railway one. When I limit myself to this, I can develop a JNR 1xx series modular system, you mentioned, for both the roofs and sides. The fronts and gangway ends of the trains can be varied however the user wants to. The sides will limit variety in the end, but it should be enough the cater 16, 18 and 20 meter rolling stock.

 

Of course, this will not guarantee realistic trains, but that is not my goal. I want to make fiction become reality the easy way. Of course, it's not easy in the beginning, but eventually this will create a very smooth way of making this a thing.

 

Anyway, have another front test, not based on anything but my brain and cheap alcohol:

 

post-188-0-97485800-1427374408_thumb.png

post-188-0-92772800-1427372668_thumb.png

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Nick_Burman

I wouldn't mind some wamuhachi, properly dimensioned (none of the wagons in the market seem to be so...) and available in all build phases...

 

Cheers NB

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cteno4

Toni

 

It's also a better way by doing flat pieces to prototype as doing the full 3d build on things like this is where those nasty gotchas come in for from everything I've read and the folks I've takled with. Doing sides flat assures you of not worrying about walls bowing as they go up or roofs having to have a slight internal arc so as to build it from the edges instead of all at once that can cause issues at times in liquid polymer machines. This is where the art and experience come in from all I have heard that the real 3d cad/printing pros know how to avoid a lot of these gotchas, but it's not something that's a simple list, lots of learned nuances and then just doing things that way to begin with...

 

I've bought a couple full 3d mow carriages from some good Modelers on shapeways but both did have a few printing issues with vertical spindly bits and floating horizontal surfaces. Both seemed easily corrected by doing it in a few parts instead of all in one shot for n scale.

 

Plus you can just focus on a practice print run with three experiments on a side cheaper than rebuilding the whole shell (like $25 a pop cheapest for a whole shell ultra fine liquid polymer from shapeways) for just trying one thing. The permutations can kill you in full 3d.

 

Cool thing with cad though is you can model it full 3d then rip it up different ways as necessary to print it how ever!

 

I feel the wheels turning from across the sea here in your noggin! Can't wait to see the wild stuff that comes out! A new way for you to release that stuff from your neurons! Also will be great to see your's ad your group's experiences with all of this!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Darklighter

I wonder if it's possible to measure the 3D shape of a train using http://www.agisoft.com/ . I recently prepared a 3D scan of an archaeological object acquired by this technique for 3D printing and the result looked great.

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Atomsk

I have been known to make a 3D model or two :P

 

I find it far better to model objects in CAD (I use Blender) than to try scanning anything.  I made all of my models on a laptop, many of them during lunch breaks.

 

Here are a few renders of some of my latest efforts.

 

post-2520-0-36412400-1427393724_thumb.png

Santa Fe "Valley" series (1940), Pullman Plan 4099 6-6-4 Lightweight.

post-2520-0-99251000-1427393728_thumb.png

PRR "Imperial" series (1938), Pullman Plan 4069, 4-4-2 Lightweight.

post-2520-0-41651800-1427393732_thumb.png

NYC "Imperial" series (1938), Pullman Plan 4069, 4-4-2 Lightweight.

post-2520-0-77390800-1427393735_thumb.png

Pullman Plan 3410, 12-1 pool Heavyweight

 

I'm still trying to figure out how to do lettering in these renders, but textures are coming along nicely.

Edited by Atomsk

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cteno4

Atomsk,

 

Nice! Have you tried printing any of them yet?

 

Jeff

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Atomsk

Atomsk,

 

Nice! Have you tried printing any of them yet?

 

Jeff

Not these, but some of the smaller ones, like the ore hopper and the caboose, I have working versions on my carpet layout now.

 

This material is very light, so anything you make like this will need some serous ballast.

 

Next step is learning to airbrush.  A member of our Ttrak club ha promised to help me with that.

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Kabutoni

Jeff,

 

Thanks for the insight. Before I'm actually going to the printers (DMM, Kinkos, whatever service), I'd like to create something that is actually ready to print, which will take a while. In the meantime, I'd also like to talk a bit more with people who have some 3D printing experience and know what areas to be aware of when creating a print-ready model.

 

With this, I'm at the moment thinking of stepping off the 2D + 3D media idea, as the amount of detail you can create in 3D is so much greater than when using the combined 2D media option. The surfaces of cars isn't as flat as you'd think, as there usually is slight curve towards the roofline (depending on the model of course), which is hard to reproduce with 2D cutting tools I'd reckon. Next to that, there are a ton of other small details, like handles on doors (at foot-level for passengers and cab doors), the small extrusion below the door (doorstep), door lights, display spaces (destination, car number signs, etc.) and windowsills. It'd be a shame to see these details be neglected when much effort has been put in creating fronts and roofs.

 

I have been known to make a 3D model or two  :P

 

Awesome looking! However:

 

Not these, but some of the smaller ones, like the ore hopper and the caboose, I have working versions on my carpet layout now.

 

I'm sorry for asking, but why put them on sale if you haven't had printed results in your hands yet? That doesn't really make much sense to me to be honest.

 

Also, on the topic of laser scanning and printing thereof: it would be awesome if that would work, but I have the feeling scans of flat surfaces will never result in truly flat surfaces in the data. Especially with accurate scans, since there will always be inaccuracies in the original that is being scanned. The most accurate you can get when you want a model of a real train, is to render a (factory) blueprint in 3D software. This will probably cost the same amount of time in the end, but will result in a more desired result.

 

Anyway, I've been doing a test on the side of a car. This is not how to do it:

 

post-188-0-06576300-1427417390_thumb.png

 

Get your geometry straight, unless you want to have a weird gap between the windows... :(

 

Back to the hood drawing board!

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cteno4

Toni,

 

Yep its good to talk to anyone that has the experience and will share with you. ive found some wont as they see this as a competitive edge as that is now a niche to build or clean up and finish cad models for printing for others for hire. as the knowledge gets more generalized and out there and print systems get better and im sure even modeling software directed more towards directly printing stuff this niche will narrow as well and knowledge will flow better. shapeways has done well to help get info out and encourage sharing, but its marketplace may put it a bit at odds with this at times, not sure

 

print a few small things as soon as you can, its great feedback. just keep it small and pack the test ideas.

 

well with the 2d cutters you can emboss a bit and also scribe some of the lines in. you can also curve the car sides by making internal frames and layering thinner sheets (have to anyway as 2d die cutters can only do thinner stuff) that have a small curve built into the frames you wrap around. but its tricky. rounded corners as well are tough. requires different solid stock at the corners to be able to round. then its manual labor at that point and not so reproducible.

 

I think the scans are mostly to help with the complex curved surfaces and give a rapid set of actual measurements on all the details there. I know they go in and do a lot of tweaking or total rebuilding of the stuff that comes out of scans into cleaner segments that make better sense for plans and printing. these scanners if done in the right lighting conditions can get damn fine measurements over pretty large areas these days. getting pretty wild! laser tomography has quietly been coming a long long way in the last decade.

 

keep the wheels turning!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Atomsk

Awesome looking! However:

I'm sorry for asking, but why put them on sale if you haven't had printed results in your hands yet? That doesn't really make much sense to me to be honest.

Anything I haven't tested, I mark as Beta.  The Order->Print->Ship->Test->D'oh!->Edit->Upload->Order cycle can take several weeks, and I have only got so much free time/cash.  The HD flat car alone I've had to print 7 or 8 times for testing.  I make the untested models available in case some brave soul can't live without that particular whatever, as I work through the test prints. 

 

Many of the models are derivatives of each other, so printing and testing one can show issues with multiple products.  I can then edit them all and upload revisions.

 

Your model looks quite good.  At least you chose a first subject without any compound curves!

 

I usually model in life-size, and scale the model for printing.  Luckily, I use a second program to check the mesh for errors, before I upload it.  The modeling program outputs data in Meters, and the checker imports in mm.  Therefore I have to scale my models UP by 6.25x (1000/160) to get them to N scale.

Edited by Atomsk

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Kabutoni

Atomsk,

 

Thank you for explaining. I'm sure there is a lot of test printing going on with models and I'm very sure there must be one lost soul out there willing to buy 'beta' models that haven't been print-tested yet.

 

I think 3D modelling in real life size is a bit too much for me, as I'm sure there will be stability issues with the material with small details, as well as with the assembly and colouring process, but I think this will be different for everybody.

 

Here is another attempt at creating a 20m commuter coach with standardised 4-door/window configurations, without door windows (for some reason, I don't like them).

 

post-188-0-75300900-1427425421_thumb.png

 

The roof is a separate part, which is held up by the extrusions on the inside. The windows (±0.3mm thick plexiglass) also need support extrusions and so on. I'm planning to have a sort-of click and play system for this modular building project, so that it's easy and fun to experiment with the parts. My only fear is that the sides won't remain smooth, so I have to think of a solution for that or abandon the idea and just go for fixed sizes.

 

---

 

EDIT:

 

I've been working on refining a model into a modular system. The sides will consist of three different parts thus far:

- Cab left;

- Cab right;

- Middle;

 

post-188-0-15222900-1427438235_thumb.png

 

With this, you can create a 10 meter (2 modules) 16~15 meter train (3 modules) and a 20 meter train (4 modules), etc. The system is designed to fit together and to be flexible to use with connector pieces.

 

post-188-0-71986000-1427440085_thumb.png

 

I want to develop more on this system once I've refined the connection system a bit more, as well as have developed a simple chassis system (probably just a copy of the Greenmax Economy kit system) and compatibility with Tomytec drives.

 

There is lots of room for many different modules, like ones with windows next to the doors, display sign spaces and additional pieces to be able to create rolling stock of different lengths. Eventually this system can be developed further on different window layouts and body types, but that is something for the very far future.

Edited by Toni Babelony

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kvp

Actually if you add inserts for the windows, then you can get various styles:

-two classic frames (like in your example, 1960-s)

-two single panel frames (more modern, 1980-s)

-two glued glasses (even more modern, 2000-s)

-one single panel frame (single window, 1980-s)

-one single glued glass (2000-s)

 

If you make the single/double window inserts as one piece, then they can also be used to strengthen the connection between two parts and it takes care of the separation between the two smaller frames. (the larger ones will just have glass there)

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Kabutoni

That's a very interesting thought, but I can already foresee problems with curved windowsills. So, an alternative to this can be to mke the entire window band modular And have it connected with the doors. I'll think this over on the weekend, but it's probably a better solution than my current setup, as you don't have obnoxious lines between the different sections.

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Kabutoni

This weekend I've been thinking about my modular train project, and decide to drop it and create something substantial instead for actual printing.

 

One railway company that has been seriously neglected in having contemporary rolling stock is the Kantō Railway. Yes, there are a few models out there, but they're either rare brass kits or old models that no longer run. Hence, I've decided to start a series of trains for the Kanto Railway.

 

The first one is a body shell for a Niigata built 2200 type train, which can also be used for another single-car type, like a 2400 and 5000 type (which are similar in their basic appearance, but have some technical differences):

 

post-188-0-53669300-1427699937_thumb.png

 

320px-20071103kantetsu2201.jpg

 

Now, I haven't added the extreme details yet (notches, hinges, footplates, cable holders, etc.), as well as the front skirt, but I also don't want to get too much into it, as it probably won't show so well in a 3D printed version.

 

For this train, I'm not 100% sure what power unit I will be using, but because this is basically a heavily upgraded KIHA35, I'm targeting the power units from Kato. Reliable, easy to find, have the motor below window level and the option to fit interior lighting and front lights. In the next few days, I'm getting out to find a 2nd hand one for some measuring.

 

P.s. I have no technical drawings, so it's not very correct. All is measured from photos.

Edited by Toni Babelony
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Kabutoni

A little update on the Kanto Railway 2200/2400/5000 type project. Completely started anew with more accurate measurements from photos and a higher level of detail. I think this will be the correct basis to continue from, as well as form the basis for a possible 2-car project (2100/2300 types). The laptop I'm working on now really doesn't agree with me increasing the level of detail xD

 

post-188-0-70253600-1427775682_thumb.png

 

Anyway, the detail on the sides and the asymmetrical details on the front ends haven't been added yet, as these differ a little bit per type (2200 single cable, 2400+5000 double cable), but so far, the project is looking quite okay.

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Atomsk

Also, beware of the 3D modeler's curse.  If you work too hard on a model, a major manufacturer will come out with the same subject right as you're about to finish.  (stupid Rapido and their New Haven "American Flyer" coaches)

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Kabutoni

Also, beware of the 3D modeler's curse.  If you work too hard on a model, a major manufacturer will come out with the same subject right as you're about to finish.  (stupid Rapido and their New Haven "American Flyer" coaches)

 

Naw, I'm not so afraid with that for my Kanto Railway project, as it's a relatively obscure company, doesn't have much of a fanbase, does well on its own not having to rely on PR/merchandising and has rail cars that aren't seen anywhere else in Japan. It'd be quite a risk for a major company to jump on the Kanto Railway bandwagon. However, you may never know! Kato came out with the Kashima Rinkai Railway 6000 type quite as a surprise.

 

If the Kanto Railway suddenly has some kind of fanbase explosion (like the Keihan Ōtsu lines and the Ichibata Railway), then I'm fearing for the worst of my project. Even if so, it was good practice and I can always change the paint scheme to a fictional railway company.

 

P.s. I'm entering the preparation stages:

 

post-188-0-80351700-1427786901_thumb.png

 

I'm considering closing off the headlights, as well as adding holes where the jumper cables are supposed to go in the Toride-facing ends.

 

Cooling units and other roof junk is already provided by Greenmax, so no need to create these complicated structures in 3D. I see I also forgot the exhaust...

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cteno4

Tony,

 

Nice! I keep thinking of your interchangeable sides and ends with fanciful options and the wild combos that could be snapped together!

 

Ha! That's the other gotcha of 3d, bigger computers and screens! Leads to I need a bigger screen, more ram and a faster graphics card,many oh yeah throw in a few more cores while you are at it! Luckily these days that stuff is very cheap and computers usually have way more horsepower than we need, but cad wants some! I've always been the big advocate of one of the best computer work accelerators being getting a good large screen. Folks asking me to spec computer systems for them would always be wanting the fastest possible processor (not doing animation or video) to get the best productivity and I use to always direct them to mid level machine (good speed and usually best value) and the sink all the money they could into the screen. Hey it's your main interface with the computer! Folks would kick and scream until they got it and then never understood how they existed on the tiny crappy screen they had before! Large screens are especially nice now wih cad can have multiple views at once so easily along with all the bloody palettes!

 

Its great watching you progress, starting to stimulate me into getting back into cad, but resisting until I get a few other projects out of the way, i need some good dedicated time to get back up to speed as the software has changed a lot!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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cteno4

Also, beware of the 3D modeler's curse.  If you work too hard on a model, a major manufacturer will come out with the same subject right as you're about to finish.  (stupid Rapido and their New Haven "American Flyer" coaches)

Lol it's the modeler's curse! Tomytec does it to me all the time! A few years back I really wanted a lunch cart. I painstakingly figured out and tracked down all the bits to make one and was about 1/3 the way into putting one together and tomytec came out with 3!

 

My thing now is if I want tomytec to make something I just have to start planning and buying stuff to make it and tomytec will announce it. I'll take orders from other folks if they want for me to start building their tomytec wish item!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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Densha

Ha! That's the other gotcha of 3d, bigger computers and screens! Leads to I need a bigger screen, more ram and a faster graphics card,many oh yeah throw in a few more cores while you are at it! Luckily these days that stuff is very cheap and computers usually have way more horsepower than we need, but cad wants some! I've always been the big advocate of one of the best computer work accelerators being getting a good large screen. Folks asking me to spec computer systems for them would always be wanting the fastest possible processor (not doing animation or video) to get the best productivity and I use to always direct them to mid level machine (good speed and usually best value) and the sink all the money they could into the screen. Hey it's your main interface with the computer! Folks would kick and scream until they got it and then never understood how they existed on the tiny crappy screen they had before! Large screens are especially nice now wih cad can have multiple views at once so easily along with all the bloody palettes!

I mainly work with my 15 inch 1920x1080p notebook screen. I also have a 23 inch 1080p screen, but I barely use it except for watching movies (obviously because it's larger) and for photo editing (because it shows colours better). But apart from that I barely use my larger screen because it's more convenient to work with my notebook screen. It's mainly a resolution thing for me and for daily work I prefer the sharpness of 1080p on a 15 inch screen over the same resolution on a larger screen.

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