Monday, February 11, 2013

The Future is Coming!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Future is Coming!


I wrote about an exceptional person and model maker on Saturday February 9, 2013. He's  Mr. Marshall L. Buck . He's a master at making limited edition fine outstanding models for display. He also produces unique 1 of a kind models for people who'd like a scale model of their own unique "Real Cars". The fine detail was exceptional, and there were parts on some cars that I didn't know. 
His company is CMA Models, Inc.

    I decided to venture into areas that I had heard about but never really explored - 3D printers. I has briefly asked Marshall about 3D printing. He had said that it's fine, but for his quality, he still had had to do fine refinements, so there was still work on top of what he had done. 

    My dentist has a machine that is computer-driven. The machine had fine cutting heads or blades that spin at extremely high speed and cut ceramic or some other material to the shape of a crown. My dentist, has to first take several photographs,then enter them into a 3D program, and do some work to get the final 3D design. From there, a solid square or round shape is placed in the machine, and after a time, the crown is produced. It too still has to have several steps to  go through before it is finally ready for the replacement of the tooth.

   My journey on the weekend had me looking at all kinds of 3D printers, and searching for toys produced from these 3D printers. However,  I couldn't find  anything that met the quality that Marshall had produced. I looked and looked, and couldn't find what I wanted. Then I found a photo of a bus, with an interesting story, and  tracked down the owner of the photo - Nate Clowar
His bus is very nice, but that was his first model,and so I'm sure he'll get even better. However, I liked the story (below),and Nate took lots of time to help me out. And as I mentioned, it was very hard to find really great photos of 3D Printer toys.

Mr. Nate Clowar

(please click on the above address to be redirected to Nate Clowar's site)

     As I mentioned, I saw Nate's photo through a Google search >> Large Images. Sometimes it's hard to find large images, and I wonder why people don't use large photos. I have large photos on Flickr and Picasa, and most people respect the rights of the owner and will not "borrow" ( to put the word politely) a photo without asking for permission. I have seen several of my photos on Pinterest, but decided to let it go. I must be getting softer in my old age! I have asked people to take down my photos, especially on those "sub-sites' that eventually lead you to E-Bay!

    Anyway, from Nate's photo, I was able through Google to be redirected to a site where he is part of many other artists, professionals, and model makers.   Nate's site on the net is

     That site is on a larger site called  Industria Mechanika, and it has many collaborators  who have sub-sites to present their work and narratives. 

    Nate has worked for the major American car manufacturers, as well as art director and head artist for several gaming companies. His interest had carried him into 3D printing. I don't know much about 3D printers, but programs that Nate works with are quite complex for me.  3D programs that  take photographs from  different camera angles and then combine to create a #D image are called photogrammy programs. However Nate  created his grandfather's bus entirely by computing from his photos! That's a lot of work and skill needed to translate a 2D (Photograph) into a 3D program, and then use a 3D printer to create the final end result.

I've edited this post, because I had made some errors, and Nate most gratiously helped me out. I always ask the people who help me out with posts and photos to proofread the article once I post it.
I did correct what I incorrectly wrote and here's even more material that Nate Collar sent me:

"3DS Max is used for games, architecture, hollywood, etc. It is one of the premier 3D software programs out there. Its also capable of creating .STL files used for 3D printing. There are programs used by engineers and auto companies that create different types of geometry that are for use in creating real word objects that would be a 'step-up' or maybe a step in a different direction...they are for a different purpose. Catia, Solidworks, Pro Engineer, Alias Automotive, etc."

  If you've never seem examples of what these programs do, then  you should take a look at any of the software titles that Nate mentioned! They are unbelievable!

    I had used a 3D program called "Poser" when I taught pro photography. Poser allowed you to take a 3D model of a person, and pose him/her. You could move all parts of the body, and you could light the model with many different lights. I used Poser to show examples of lighting techniques for portraiture.  The program then was exemplary, and today it must be even better!

Here's how I think these 3D programs work:

  A series of photographs from different camera angles are used. From there, the program takes the photographs and create a 3D rendering as you see above. I'm sure there are some instructions as to how the photographs need to be taken in order to extrapolate the 2D photos into a 3D view on the computer monitor. Another criteria that I'm sure of is that you probably need a fast computer, with lots of memory, and a very fast video card for the graphics. 

     Nate made the bus for his grandfather, whom has had a special  fondness for. Above you can see the original bus, the beige/gray 3D image, the actual result (top right photo), and the painting stages.
It's best of you go to Nates' website so that you get larger images.

The photos represent the finished model. I'll have to ask Nate what the windows are made of or of they were part of the original 3D result. They appear to have tape  on them to prevent paint from going on them. The bus from my interpretation appears to have been made in 1 step. In other words, there are no moving parts. Nate mentioned that in the future, he'd produce parts separately. Fomr that, I interpreted, that  them be able to assemble the parts in order to have them move, spin, open and close.
Above are other examples of Nate's designs.

Above is yet another project that he's designing in a 3D software program.

     I did check out several 3D Printer companies, but they seem to work mostly with larger-sized items. However, the 3D software programs, and the 3D Printers, and 3D cutters, such as what my dentist has, are being used right now. NASA is working with a company to create 3D structures in a vacuum with the materials that are available on either the moon or Mars. If you do a search with a few words, you'll come across the project. I've also seen a site that uses microscopic materials to print on.  

Maybe I should have changed today's title to "The Future is now here". However, in terms of Marshall L. Buck's unique creations, I'm  not worried. The 3D industry has a long, long way to go before the craftsmanship, and small parts are able to be made with those  3D printers -  even with those $ 5,000,000.00 ones!

    (please go the above website to see a more-thorough write-up as to how Nate  made his 3D bus)

Thanks for dropping by,
and have a great part of the day, wherever you may be.



Trudi Sevi said...

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toysearcher said...

Hi Trudi,

Thanks for the nice comment.

I see from the "contact you" that you're in India. Are the toys that you sell made in India? If so, you're always welcome to help me out by writing something for a theme, and allowing me to use your photos (with credits of course).