11 March 2010

Octopus King Thing

A few weeks back I checked in on Shapeways and discovered they were now printing coloured models! This is a seriously cool development so I had to give it a try.

I quickly knocked up this strange eight-legged object for the purposes of testing the new material. I put some small detail on the legs and back, the legs are reasonably thin and the crown is quite low-poly (a sixteen-sided circle).

The material it's printed in is called full colour sandstone which is said to be quite brittle. Now that I've got the model (which is 5cm tall) it actually feels quite tough... even the legs/tentacles.

The texture map has come-out reasonably well but it is quite fuzzy looking and the real-small detail like the web address on the back is not great. The colours are quite dull too but I just sent RGB textures instead of CMYK ones. I guess it might be better if you just stick to pure CMYK too. I also had shadowy effects baked onto the texture which was probably not a good idea... I always like that look-on screen but don't like it on this print.

The only other thing I don't like is that it's quite a rough surface and still has very small bits of the powder still on it... but maybe I'm just being picky.

I wanted to send a smaller model but Shapeways have a minimum order of $25 (£17)... so I had to up-scale him a bit.

All-in-all it was a worthwhile exercise as 3D printing is only going to improve and the possibilities for making custom stuff are infinite.

I've provided some images which show what it looks like on-screen and in the real world.