3D printing · Hardware

3D Printing and prototypes


January 6th, 2014

For a small hobby project, I am looking for cheap way to print some models. Also, I don't have experience with designing the same so, wondering if there are good resources that can help me build models as well. 

Do you have recommendation on 3D printing and helping with models?

Scott Harris Co-Founder & CEO - ShutterCal.com

January 6th, 2014

shapeways - http://www.shapeways.com/create?li=nav

Veronica Allen Attorney at Self

January 6th, 2014

Looks like you're based in SF. I'd check out Techshop to see if you can do some hands-on learning about 3D printing. 

David Lynch Firmware and Python Automation Engineer

January 6th, 2014

By the way, I used craigslist to find people who said that they could do the printing, but the end result looked like a bad experiment with a cake decorator.  The reason why I suggested printivity is that the results are what you expect from a professional printer.

Leena MBA Content & Publication Manager at NetApp

January 6th, 2014

If you are just prototyping right now, I'd check your local libraries to see if they have a free 3-D Printer you can use. I'm in Mesa, AZ currently and the library down the street from me just got a new 3D printer which is free to use for anyone with a library card. 

Robert Strojan Owner, Blackout Labs

January 6th, 2014

I should provide more details on my recommendation for 123D and the FlashForge 3D Printer.  I recommend these tools for prototyping.  I currently don't need a high quality finish on my prints or precise details on my models.  123D is an affordable tool for simple designs.  If you need a lot of complex curvature, that can be difficult.  You might also find yourself doing strange work arounds to create the exact shape you want if there's no tool to do it directly.  If you want a real pro tool, SolidWords is great, but very expensive.

The 3D Printer will give 0.2mm accuracy on models and is fine for building functional prototypes.  It doesn't produce a high quality finish and the printers do require occasional maintenance (re-leveling and kapton tape replacement).

Eric Sexton Game Desginer at Crate Entertainment

January 15th, 2014

Hi Apurva,

I am going through this process for the first time as well making 28mm scale models for a table top game.  For model building you will want to find a 3D Modeler who knows how to create what is called a "Water Tight" model.  Im not 100% sure but I think that means the 3d model has no seams or cracks.  This tells the 3D Printer the object is solid and not hollow. 

Then you take that 3D model to a 3D printer service like many of the excellent ones named by many of the founders who have commented here.  I am looking at using Light Beam 3D myself mainly because they have experienced building miniatures like the ones I am making.  But I am sure most will do fine.

The next step is the part I am still investigating. That is taking your 3D Printed model/ prototype and getting it turned into a mold for mass production.

Sara Frankel Entrepreneur, Consultant, Angel Investor

January 6th, 2014

Hi, There is a company called Sculpteo that does 3D printing to order. I haven't used it but I saw some work at a trade show and it looked really good. Best of luck! Sara sara_frankel@mac.com Sent from my iPad

Bill Kelley

January 6th, 2014

Some of my Meetup peers go to events at 


where they have instruction and access to 3D printers, laser cutters, etc. I have no direct experience but it looks like a decent resource for you to try.

Jenda Michl Owner at Vertu Studio and Founder of UndergroundArchitecture

January 6th, 2014

Hi, I'd recommend contacting http://www.1028designs.com/ The owner, Mike, is a good guy. If they can't directly help you, I'm sure they can point you in a better direction. They do all kinds of advanced fabrication. Cheers! Jenda Michl Principal, Vertu Studio Inc 323.523.5533 vertustudio.com facebook.com/vertustudio flexsitbench.com linkedin.com/in/jendamichl

Gaurav Chawla Founder

January 6th, 2014

I have been working with - http://www.fictivmade.com/
Great guys to work with!