Help support TMP

"What steps to turn a 3D render into metal castings?" Topic

11 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please avoid recent politics on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Sculpting Message Board

Back to the 3DPrinting Message Board

Back to the Moldmaking and Casting Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

Transporting the Simians

How to store and transport an army of giant apes?

Current Poll

Featured Book Review

1,897 hits since 10 Mar 2018
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

JSears10 Mar 2018 9:50 p.m. PST

Hi all. A few questions about turning a Zbrush model into a horde of metal miniatures.

1) After a 3D model is printed, is there a finishing step to remove stairstepping, graininess, etc. before it can be used to create a mould?

I see lots of figures that must have been created in a 3D program, but none of the telltale signs of 3D printing.

2) Is the 3D print used to create the mould directly, or is it used to create a resin master, which is then used to create the mould for casting metal figs?

Thanks for any insight you can offer!

Zagloba10 Mar 2018 9:56 p.m. PST

For step 1, it depends on the printer- a hobbyist $300 USD printer is very different from a commercial printer. Use the cheap printer while tweaking the design, then send to a commercial printer for the final master.

striker810 Mar 2018 11:59 p.m. PST

On the first question, any 3d print will need cleaned up and processed post printing no matter what is used to print it with the current tech. The amount of post processing will depend on the quality of the printer and the skill of the operator. Currently, as I know it, for mold making that processing would be cutting/scraping of major print defects followed by coating in resin to fill layer lines and finally filin/sanding and re-coating to desired finish is achieved. The better the finish the better the end casting.

On the 2nd question. With most of the current tech The 3d print would be used to create a resin casting that will act as a master from here on.

altfritz11 Mar 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

IIRC Statuesque Miniatures uses this process. He blogged once about the perils of using a cheap service versus an expensive one. There is also a thread on LAF devoted to 3d printing.

altfritz11 Mar 2018 7:14 a.m. PST
altfritz11 Mar 2018 7:18 a.m. PST

Read the comments also.

JSears11 Mar 2018 7:21 a.m. PST

This is great info. Thank you. A few follow up questions:

3) I'm familiar with Shapeways. Would they be able to generate a print suitable for hand refining into a resin master, or are there other recommended commercial 3D print shops?

4) If I were to cast a sculpt I'd outsource the mold making and casting to professional casters. Is it possible to hire a third party to take a 3D print to one ready to cast (ie; doing the sanding, resin coating, etc.)?

I've toyed with sculpting and casting for years, but I'm more comfortable with digital tools. My first experiments with Zbrush have been encouraging, but I know I have a lot to learn. I'm happy to pay professionals who know what they're doing to handle aspects I'm not familiar with. Just trying to figure out who those people would need to be to see if this is something I could pursue.

JSears11 Mar 2018 7:31 a.m. PST

alfritz, you posted while I was typing my reply. Lots of great info in that link. Thank you!

bjporter11 Mar 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

Check with Forrest Harris of Knuckleduster Miniatures. He uses 3d sculpting and printing to make his masters. His work is fantastic!

Bryan at 50 Paces12 Mar 2018 5:13 p.m. PST

Resin printers have a much higher resolution than fdm printers(the cheaper more popular ones).
Also there are castable resins available that can be burned out of a mould like a traditional lost wax master.

Master Caster15 Mar 2018 5:30 a.m. PST

Answers to your number 1, 2 & 4 bullet questions are all 'yes'. Transitioning masters made from any material and 3D prints is my specialty. If you are serious about discussing this please contact me off this thread at:
An answer to your #3 is yes, but from my experiments with them a few years ago I'd advise ordering more than one 3D print.
Toby Barrett

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.