Anim8or Community

General Category => General Anim8or Forum => Topic started by: davdud101 on June 29, 2011, 05:01:00 pm

Title: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: davdud101 on June 29, 2011, 05:01:00 pm
Hi, everyone. I made this quick model of a sword I call the 'Hell Blade'. I'm not planning to use it for any animation purposes as of now, but I want to know if there a way to build it using a UV un-wrapper to create a net, or maybe export it to .obj and CNC mill it? If anyone has any ideas, please tell me! Thanks!
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: ADSohr on June 30, 2011, 02:30:06 am
Most CNC machines that your going to be able to afford to hire are going to use something old school like G-code, which is not so much a file type as it is a written code.  I'm definitely not an expert though.  Here's a tip for you though, take your object into a software like AutoCAD or Solidworks and save it out as a .DWG.  Then go to the engineering department of your local community college and give them the file and a hunk of metal (Stainless steel 440 is probably your the best bet for CNC milling a sword and shaping the blade afterwards, but it'll be about as sharp and durable as a butter knife).  The engineering students will generally eat up your file and make your part for you.  Don't expect it to come back in good quality though, students are by no means experts.  But hey, you get what you pay for right?  :D

This will probably get you a basic shape of your blade, but it will not have a sharp edge, a hilt, or any other features; just a flat piece of metal.  You will need to make your own hilt or handle out of wood or something.

I looked into a bit of knife making but never quite got around to actually doing it.  :'(

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: davdud101 on June 30, 2011, 03:54:18 am
wow, thanks, ADSohr. I'd definitely do this, but now that I really think about it, the cost of materials and such would put it way over the top of any budget I could even ever wish for... However, I was wondering about how you said there would be no hilt; If the blade and hilt are modeled into one object/piece, and the model has thickness, is it possible for the hilt to be milled along with the blade, all in one product? Also, couldn't thickness be done if the object is modeled with varying thicknesses? I'm thinking I might go ahead and papercraft it, but I would then I would need Pepakura (a $35 program that helps with papercraft)... Too many choice for stuff I cant do!
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: Navek on June 30, 2011, 11:19:18 pm
Another option out there is Shapeways (, it's a website that lets you send in your model and they'll 3d print it and mail it back to you, but it can get pretty expensive depending on what size/material you you want to print.
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: ADSohr on July 02, 2011, 07:00:03 pm
For the fact that it won't have a hilt if you use a CNC machine is becuae then you would be more than doubling the cost of both materials and cutting equipment.  You would have to buy a bar of metal that is as thick as the hilt and then cut the width of the blade out of that.  That is a lot of wasted metal and extra cutting that you would not have needed had you used a bar of metal the width of the blade.  If you research how knives are made, you will find that almost all blades are made with the same thickness of metal from tip to pomel and then have two halves of the handle added on top, either by glue or rivets.  Old swords used wire or leather to tie the grip onto the blade.

You could make the blade and handle all one piece like this one: One-piece knife (,r:5,s:0)The reason I didn't mention doing this is due to the cost.  $222 for a knife is a bit excessive, but to make a sword like this...  :o  Like I said, more than double to the cost of manufacture.

Here's about the cheapest option I can think of:  Print out the side view of your model onto paper in 1 to 1 scale.  1 inch for the model = 1 inch on the paper.  You can send the side view render of your model to GIMP and enlarge it. Then buy a hunk of metal that is the same dimensions as the bounding box of your model.  If your sword is 2 feet from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle, then get a 2 foot long slab of steel.  Since this blade is probably for show, you can make it thinner than the model. 1/8th inch might work for the blade, but it will be pretty flimsy.  Glue the paper print of your model to the steel.  Now get out your jig saw, clamp the steel to something, and cut out out the outline of your sword.  You might go through several metal saws in this way.  Once you have cut out your sword, grab a metal rasp and carefully shape the edge of the sword.  Do some research on what the proper angle should be for the edges.  Once the edges are done, refine them with a whetting stone or sand paper.  For a shiny finish, polish the steel.  Now grab a nice stick off the ground and split it in half.  Glue one half of the stick to each side of the steel.  Now take a knife and sand paper and shape the wood into a handle.  Wrap it up with wire or leather and show it off.

I know, manual labor.  But it saves you the cost.
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: Water Music on July 03, 2011, 12:17:04 am
Or you could just go to www [dot] darkwoodarmory [dot] com or www [dot] deltin [dot] it .  Oh, and if you are going to do it by hand (which, being an amateur sword/armour maker myself, I don't really recommend) I'd at least use an angle grinder rather than a jigsaw - they're relatively cheap and would save you an awful lot of time.  Hilts are tricky unless you have some rudimentary welding skill.  Plain crossbars can be fairly easy, but if you are planning any sort of swept hilt then I hope you know a good blacksmith.  Regardless, it is a lot of fun but takes an awful lot of time.  There is reason why I don't have the time to be more involved in 3d animation :).
Title: Re: 3d model to real life prop?
Post by: AnimalCrosser5 on August 06, 2011, 03:50:18 am
There are a couple of programs that can unfold a 3d model into a papercraft pattern. Then you can print it out and fold it into a paper model. You could probably take that and with a little modification turn it into some sort of woodworking pattern or whatever you need.

I've used pepakura in the past, and it's pretty easy to get the hang of.