Your 3D-Printed Model
How to Get a 3D-Printed Model
To print a 3D object, you first need a 3D model. There are four main possibilities for creating a 3D model:
- Your own 3D Design: create your own model with 3D design or CAD programs (for example SketchUp, Blender, SolidWorks or 3DS Max)
- 3Faktur modeling service: we will gladly create a model for you to your specifications.
- 3D scan: you can create your model using a 3D scanner.
- Download a 3D model: existing models can be easily downloaded.
More information is provided below; click on the subject you are interested in.
Create your own 3D model
Creating a 3D model is a very complex process, but the feeling of having a self-made object can be worthwhile, e.g. for decorating your own house. However, if you don’t have experience with these modeling programs, the time required to learn them should not be underestimated, since most people aren’t used to working with three-dimensional objects on their computer and due to the complexity of the programs.
The cost of the software can vary from free of charge (e.g., Blender) to more expensive programs used by architects or engineers, for example. We recommend starting with a simpler program in which you can learn the basics.
3D Model Downloading
As for most other topics, you can find help with 3D printing on the internet. There are many people for whom 3D printing is a hobby or even their job, and who upload their models. You can find a wide spectrum of models, for example popular buildings or historical figures.
Generally, there are two types of online models: free and fee-based. In general, the fee-based models are of a higher grade than the free ones, for example, with a higher level of detail and a higher resolution, but of course this is not always true. Attention needs to be paid to the license terms regarding the allowed use of the models.
Leave the work to us
From a finished model which needs little work to an idea which is only on paper, we will gladly take on this work for you.
Read more about modeling here.
3D Scan of Objects and Persons
3D scanners are receiving geometrical data of objects and persons. By now some scanners are also able to take over the colors. So, you can a colored model after scanning. For average consumers, such scanners aren’t affordable yet. The prices start from a couple of hundred euros and go up to 100.000 EUR for professional devices.
Depending on detail resolution and object/person to scan, you can simplified say:
- Smaller objects: e.g. technical devices, decoration objects etc. can be scanned in original size at a service provider.
- Lager objects: e.g. vehicles or complete machines are more complex, special solutions can be necessary.
- Persons can be scanned in two ways: mobile 3D scanner or scanning cabins. The advantage of a cabin is that it takes just a few seconds whereas with mobile scanners you have to keep still for 2-5 minutes.
We have 3D scanner for persons but also high-resolution technical scanners. Just get in touch with us for a scan service.
Demands on a model
Not all 3D models are the same and some cannot be printed without changes. An architectural model, for example, even though all important information (e.g. colors) can be visualized on your computer, cannot be printed without additional information like wall thicknesses.
Below is some information on the important rules of design.
Walls or details must have certain sizes in order to be stable. Thicknesses may vary depending on technology and material; however, in general the material should be thicker for a larger area. For many thin structures, it is advisable to use supporting structures to get more stability. You can find the minimum wall thicknesses on our “3D Printing Materials” page.
The 3D print uses what is known as a bounding box, and the size of your model must not be larger than this bounding box. If you want to print your model at its original size, it may therefore have to be printed in separated pieces, and the separate pieces put together afterwards, or at a smaller scale. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.
If you want to print several pieces at once, there must be a minimum distance between them to prevent the structures fusing. The same must be observed for moving pieces, to ensure that they can be moved after printing.
The main cost factor in 3D printing is the material used, and to minimize costs, you need to minimize material. It can be therefore useful to hollow out your figure if it has too much volume. It is important to consider that:
- The wall thickness must be sufficient; especially if you use a program to automatically hollow out your model, wall thicknesses should be checked afterwards.
- For some materials (e.g., full-color plaster) it is important to leave a hole large enough for hollowing and to remove material from the hole.
You can read more details about our materials here.
Many printers are able to represent fine detail; however, stability must be considered, and all details must be clearly visible. For smaller surface details (e.g., wall structures of architectural models) resolutions of 0.1–0.3 mm are possible. For more exterior details (e.g., letters or engravings) more space is necessary to ensure stability and visibility.