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Our amazing sponsors from Ownage - a manufacturing company specializing in digital production of high quality collectible art - collaborated with Maximilian Gordon Vogt to create this amazing trophy for the winners of the 2013 CG Student Awards.
We run multiple types of machines here at Ownage and string them together into a type of hybrid 3d print. This takes the best aspect of different manufacturing technologies (cost, detail, accuracy, size, etc) and lets us the best possible thing while keeping costs down for users. When we made last years trophy, the organic body parts were printed using two different high resolution light curing printers to get all those skin wrinkles out. The weapons were made using a laser based 3d printing process to maintain sharp edges and the crisp hard surface look. The base was made using a subtractive CNC process (cut out of a solid block of ABS plastic), same process used to manufacture Apple's unibody cases). Lastly, the nameplates were made using laser cutting into brass, electroplating the gold finish, and silk screening the names onto the metal backing. It takes a lot of work and we staff about 30 people in our main facility to take care of prepping people's prints for different technologies and a team of experienced craftsmen to assemble the pieces back from the various workflows.
For the awards, after assembly of the print, in order to make a durable final art piece, the many sections of the 3d print master copy were moulded in silicone rubber. Our casting department then cast multiple copies of the trophy in solid resin. Typically for the community we make kits in a nice grey kit resin or a white marble-like alabaster finish. For painted copies, we start with grey resin and our in-house artists paint on top of these to achieve the final look which is often a grueling process of research, design and aesthetics.
3d prints are often made from multiple parts.. but we ship only assembled 3d prints with a nice grey primer to make them presentable for photos. We can make castings of your prints in grey kit resin or white alabaster. For production retail copies.. we can make your designs in materials ranging from cast resin, injection moulded PVC (for vinyl toys), and diecast metal.
Shipping is the toughest part of this job sometimes.. cause it's completely out of our hands. So to make sure things arrive without breaking, we often have to cut pieces into separate parts, package them individually and make them assemble-on-delivery. Magnets make this easier so people don't have to mess with glue.
In actual time worked, it probably took about 3 days to recut, prep, the 3d files for mass production. 5 days to print. 3 days to assemble. 5-7 days to mould and cast the initial copies to test the paint (the original piece is about 40-50 different parts before assembly). 2-3 weeks to find a suitable paint look to match the sculptural details. A week to cast the extra 6 copies. And took about 2-3 weeks to paint, assemble, pack, test drop, and finally ship out the finished design for international shipping across to the winners in Europe, North America, and Asia.
It’s really tempting to rush things and find shortcuts, but for production quality items, its hard to fully automate because the quality of final piece is directly related to the amount of design time spent on it. Having the design staff and production staff all under one roof lets us refine processes with time.
Ownage Trick #1: always check to make sure the details you are sculpting are suitable for the scale you plan to make your final sculpture. Size the sculpt on your monitor to the same size its going to be made in real life. 6 inches on your screen if 6 inches in real life. 12 inch scale on your screen if 12 inch in real life. If you can't see the details clearly on due figure at this screen scale due to DPI limitations of your monitor, then it probably won't print properly.
Ownage Trick #2: When sculpting likenesses for 3d print, FOV plays a huge role in whether the print will resemble the real person. But FOV in zbrush can be hard to match to real life proportions. Changing the FOV on your 3d program doesn’t change what comes out of the 3d printer, it’s just an optical illusion… like changing the lens on your camera for fisheye. To help with this, we'll be offering very low cost 3d prints of ZBrush's built in Super Average Man's head as well as different sized plastic cubes so artists
Our 3d department handles this. They work in coordination with the casting department. Besides cutting the trophy into pieces for different machines, the main challenge is making sure that each piece can be mass produced later. The main thing we look at is undercuts and fragility. The main types of moulds we use are glove moulds, cut moulds, and metal injection moulds. Glove moulds wrap your original model like a glove. This means that the copies can be reproduced without any seam lines. This only works if the figure is roughly convex. A cut mould is similar to the typical type of mould you often see where one half the mould is made, then the other. The cut mould is made in two halves and can be used for more complicated shapes because the parting line can be exactly controlled. Some small hooking geometry and finger type stuff can be cast in this manner because the silicone has some flex and we can manually wriggle pieces free from the mould. We still have to separate things like bent arms or wheel assemblies into separate pieces because the hollow around the wheel axle would get locked in the mould if left assembled to the car chassis. Creating metal injection moulds (“tooling” in industry parlance) are a lot like 2 part silicone moulds and cut moulds except that the metal has no give so you really have pay attention to the geometry and make sure they are all convex along the planar parting line.
I feel this is really a “to each their own kind” of preference. I personally prefer to use Lacquers and Enamels because of their durability. Lacquers have a lot of bite and make a lot of sense for production paints. Enamels don't react with lacquers, so you can use them on top of lacquer basecoats to do detailing. Tamiya and Gunze Sangyo (Mr Color) have a good product line that is used by most people here in Asia.
Thanks all... gogo CGSA 2014.
Police Girl - Steve Jubinville