General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Can 3-D model buildings, such as those by RenderHub and 3Dmodels.com, be printed out with a 3D printer? How is this done?

Asked by Yellowdog (10508points) 1 week ago

One of my hobbies as a teenager and young adult was model railroading. It eventually became too expensive for me, but I spent a lot of time building highly detailed craftsman model kits, and could build whole city skylines out of plexiglass and paper.

In more recent times, in need of ruined, abandoned buildings, I turned to gaming sites such as various wargames and Minecraft, in search of suitable structures, and stumbled upon the plethora of highly detailed 3D models that’s out there.

As many of you know, I’m dumb. But can these things be printed out with a 3-D printer?

I realize some of these buildings are extremely large and detailed, such as entire cities, rocket launch stations, and olympic stadiums. But what about the simpler houses, warehouses, apartment buildings—maybe even some of the skyscrapers?

I am a pretty good model builder, the old-fashioned way—but I am really excited about the possibilities if I could work with 3-D modeling and print them out, and assemble them if so required, and paint them if need be.

Can these 3D structures be printed out with a 3-D printer as scale models, or must they stay in the world of virtual gaming?

If so, how is printing such structures done?

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7 Answers

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elbanditoroso's avatar

3-D printing is just like any other sort of printing – if you have the ‘plans’ (in this case the 3-D measurements and shapes and similar, it can absolutely be done.

The trick for you would be designing the specification / plan for what you’re trying to accomplish . THat would take serious work and design, and then translating that to whatever the 3D-printer’s design language required.

So – Yes, it can be done, but it’s the design / rendering that’s the key, not the printing itself.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Protolabs is a good place. Also Shapeways

I like Shapeways for one or 2 items. They have an easy interface.
The charge is based upon how much material you will use, and the length, width and height of the object. Browse their site to get an idea of costs. They have a market where people can sell their designs. That will also give you an idea of pricing.

Here is the link to Shapeways Marketplace. It is a fun and instructive place to browse.

dabbler's avatar

To me this is at the heart of the question: “must they stay in the world of virtual gaming?”
What kind of extract of these designs can you get out of Minecraft etc? (I don’t know.)

Yellowdog's avatar

I don’t know fact from fiction about the capabilties of 3-D printing, but evidently some pretty good reproductions of solid 3-D objects can be made.

If something can be produced in the virtual world, and manipulated enough to be rearranged and used in a game setting or virtual world, can it be brought into the real word as an actual model.

Some of these 3-D virtual models are highly realistic and detailed. I surely don’t expect it would save costs, but my interests are primarily for model railroad purposes and there are more possibilities with these models than with commercial kits or scratchbuilding.

dabbler's avatar

It would totally save costs if you ahve your own 3-D printer and can jockey the design files around yourself. I would guess @Yellowdog would want to customize etc and he could do that with some work on the software skills.

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