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New Mimaki 3DUJ-553 printer and the end of the hobby.


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Mimaki (the company which prints those pre made instrument panels by Quinta studios) has a new printer can do large scale full colour resin 3D printing with photographic accuracy, much bigger build volume then anything we need in our hobby, and without the need for cutting away support material either, so internal and external volumes can be done in full colour, it even prints clear resin as well for transparent areas .  Been looking at some of the pictures and to be honest its unbelievable, but actually I'm really depressed over this.  I think finally they have us beat, I hope I'm wrong but it looks like all the craft and ingenuity that everyone has honed and appreciated is going to be replaced by pressing a button a receiving the pre made model.  Cant help but feel a little bit of magic has been taken out of the world, sad.

 

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3-D-PRINTED-LIZARD-COLOUR-MIMAKI-1030x68

 

Please tell me I'm wrong.🙁 

Edited by Stringbug
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Given that they currently start at $35,000 for an entry-level printer, and a one carton of "ink" is $132 (you need 4 + support, plus cleaner), I'll not be rushing at one just yet, but if they are the printers that Quinta use, they're good.

 

Seems an odd first post - any relation? :hmmm:

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13 minutes ago, Stringbug said:

I think finally they have us beat, I hope I'm wrong but it looks like all the craft and ingenuity that everyone has honed and appreciated is going to be replaced by pressing a button a receiving the pre made model.

 

TBH, I heard the same thing years ago when the first 3D printers "for modellers" were announced. The whole hobby industry was going to be destroyed because everyone was going to download model data for a few pounds and have it printed at home.

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Just now, Mike said:

Given that they currently start at $35,000 for an entry-level printer, and a one carton of "ink" is $132 (you need 4 + support, plus cleaner), I'll not be rushing at one just yet, but if they are the printers that Quinta use, they're good.

 

Seems an odd first post - any relation? :hmmm:

 

You don't need to own a printer to use it though, and I'm talking about the general projection of where things are going to go, look at how SLA printing went from being prohibitively expensive to cheap and widely adopted in only a few years, extrapolate out what the means for the traditional paint skills of the hobby a few years from now, a lot of the passion and magic of doing this stuff comes from the fact it couldn't be made any other way than with pure skill, when photoreal scale models become a commonplace item that's just being printed off like we would print off a jpeg?...I don't know maybe it's just me but I think its really sad.  I'm sure portrait painters felt the same way when colour film was being introduced.  As for the first post, I don't talk on any forums but after seeing this its been depressing me for a few days,  I just wondered if anyone here has any different take on this thing or something a I hadn't thought of.  Maybe I shouldn't care but scale modelling is one of the only things I find enjoyable and I'm not that old, so its a sad feeling that this is the way things are going to go from now on.

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1 minute ago, Stringbug said:

As for the first post, I don't talk on any forums but after seeing this its been depressing me for a few days

I wouldn't let it depress you.  We've had cars for over 100 years, and yet people still ride bikes (self-included when I was healthier).  A lot of people want all the mod-cons such as suspension, gears and recently, battery boost and automatic transmission, but then some people ride fixed gear bikes with no suspension.  Some even still ride Pennyfarthings.  It might reduce the hobby by a proportion, but I feel that one of the reasons we're in this hobby is for the creative aspect of it.  Using your analogy, no-one would paint anymore, but they do.  In fact, a great many people are now painting digitally too.  It's a long time since I've painted anything, but I've been tempted to go back recently, thanks to the new technology in that hobby.  My point is, that people will find ways to use these new technologies to benefit them.  The people that found model-making a chore might give up and turn to printing, but they were probably always tempted by diecasts anyway.

 

Modelling is a creative hobby.  That will stay the same.  It's up to us to support it and encourage new people into it though, and to take advantage of things like sexy 3D printed instrument panels without losing sight of why we build.  Why do we build again? :blink:

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So in the future you can send off and buy a prepainted assembled model?    You mean like now, with a die-cast?  What control is the individual going to have over the exact shape and colours?  "We are sure about the accuracy of our model in all ways, we based it on the published plans and colour schemes in the Dandy for 1957."

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I guess it depends why you model. If modelling for you is about having the best small version of a 1:1 prototype in a cabinet, then this seems like a way of getting a really nicely detailed and accurate one. If modelling is about the process of taking a box full of plastic, some paint and some tools and building something yourself with the application and improvement of some skills, then the expensive printer above is not going to help…

Me, I model to relax and do something constructive with my hands. The end result is a “nice to have”… if I do it right!

best,

M.

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13 minutes ago, Mike said:

I wouldn't let it depress you.  We've had cars for over 100 years, and yet people still ride bikes (self-included when I was healthier).  A lot of people want all the mod-cons such as suspension, gears and recently, battery boost and automatic transmission, but then some people ride fixed gear bikes with no suspension.  Some even still ride Pennyfarthings.  It might reduce the hobby by a proportion, but I feel that one of the reasons we're in this hobby is for the creative aspect of it.  Using your analogy, no-one would paint anymore, but they do.  In fact, a great many people are now painting digitally too.  It's a long time since I've painted anything, but I've been tempted to go back recently, thanks to the new technology in that hobby.  My point is, that people will find ways to use these new technologies to benefit them.  The people that found model-making a chore might give up and turn to printing, but they were probably always tempted by diecasts anyway.

 

Modelling is a creative hobby.  That will stay the same.  It's up to us to support it and encourage new people into it though, and to take advantage of things like sexy 3D printed instrument panels without losing sight of why we build.  Why do we build again? :blink:

Good way to look at it, hope you're right, I suppose a funny thought is that, yes people do still paint after the advent of the camera, but people don't bother with "old masters" skills of painting absolute photoreal oil paintings, that end of up just looking like a photograph that someone could make with no effort.  Painting became less realistic and more expressionistic as a consequence of photography.  Don't know if I could even start on what an expressionistic scale model would be, haha.

 

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to be honest i think 3d Printing is just kicking the can down the road a little, it is not the magic cure for any model at anytime , what if you want a 1/24th Grumman wildcat then you just can't print one, somebody has to design the files to be printed which is just a similar problem to having one available in kit form, the best advantage in 3D modelling to modellers is that it will allow faster prototyping and quicker cheaper kit development in the short term, printing off your kit of choice is decades away - remember in 1969 after the moon landing we all thought we'd be living on the moon now ....

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1 minute ago, gavingav said:

remember in 1969 after the moon landing we all thought we'd be living on the moon now ....

 

Did you not get the memo?  That certainly explains the satellite delay... 👾

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Why would it end the Hobby? Look at the work of Bandsaw Steve carving lumps of wood or Fozzy and his yogurt pots and scraps or Hunter Rose and his incredible clay creations. 

The building and making is the fun part. For others it is the painting. Another favourite of mine is JWM with his exquisitely researched Spanish Civil War and other obscure air forces.

A Star Trek style "replicator" changes nothing.

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I don't see how it replaces anything in terms of kit building: there's nothing to make after all. I think it's an interesting development but I'll keep buying kits for as long as I can apply glue to the living room carpet.

 

But thinking further, this kind of printer might allow some really cool aftermarket stuff, and for those who prefer models, well it just means you print your Spark model instead of buying a hand-assembled one. I wonder too if it means an end to out-of-production items?

 

Thus I think it promises some great opportunities.

 

 

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I have to agree with Mike, we had typewriters, and now word processors and printers but Calligraphy is still practiced and is a hobby so I don't see making models going away anytime soon.  I am actually excited about this.  As more folks get to understand what these machines can do we should see new products.  I know we are all used to painting but Quinta Studios is a great example of providing a product where there is a demand.  This could allow for a whole slew of new "pre-painted" products we would not have thought of.   How about pre-painted pilots,  I for one am no longer able to actually do that level of detail work.  How about WW1 aircraft with the wood parts all ready to go.  I know some will say it's not really modeling but we somehow have gotten over not having to carve the fuselage out of a block of wood so I think we will be fine.

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29 minutes ago, gavingav said:

 printing off your kit of choice is decades away 

Even the concept of a "kit" is rendered obsolete by this tech, the only reason for assembly kits is getting things out of a two part mold, internal volumes, the problems of support frameworks surrounding 3d printed parts, painting inside internal volumes etc. this gets printed in full colour within a mass of pva shell which then washes away, no supports, no need for anything to get assembled.  They've solved that, unfortunately, seriously have a look, a week ago I would have said the same thing, it'll never happen, its decades off etc.  If the only obstacle is making the files then that's what the industry will be, making the files and messing about in photoshop making the colours, and then selling those for people to print.  I'm not sure that, as niche as we are as an industry already, when the ONLY way of getting an exact 1 to 1 replica which perfect colour and weathering etc is to do it manually, that there will be any more kits being tooled up after everyone who would rather save their time and effort by just getting the exact same thing instantly is taken out of the market, obviously that's not a lot of people in this thread, but it is a lot of people who make kits.

 

2 minutes ago, Harold55 said:

 This could allow for a whole slew of new "pre-painted" products we would not have thought of.   How about pre-painted pilots,  I for one am no longer able to actually do that level of detail work.  How about WW1 aircraft with the wood parts all ready to go.  I know some will say it's not really modeling but we somehow have gotten over not having to carve the fuselage out of a block of wood so I think we will be fine.

 

This machine can print the entire aircraft full photoreal colour with the pilot standing next to it, and the ground in one go.  So what would we be adding these aftermarket products to?

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Same thing was said when injection moulding came out in the late 40's early 50's. (To emphasize)"ITS THE END of modelling, no more shaving, sanding wood and gluing bits of tissue paper to make a model, O the humanity". it didn't end it, it just enhanced what was being done. I've seen outstanding models being created in the "old" style by @AdrianMF, and @Marklo just to name a few. All the printer does is give you a new set of tools.

Of course, it also gives you, more headaches, ideas and whatif's too because now your creativity gets a super shot of what can I do with this? I'll get off my soapbox now :angrysoapbox.sml:and return you to your regularly scheduled programing

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I suspect the folks who will really appreciate this new technology will be those who collect models; i.e. don't want to build but will pay good money to have another new model in the collection. For those who have money in abundance, this will give them the opportunity to have that perfect model in the perfect markings and colors they want with little effort except to set up the printing and print. For the rest of us, though modeling can be aggravating as well as very satisfying, we'll stick with glue, paint, decals, some aftermarket, lots of talk (positive and negative) about kits and keep right on doing what we've been doing, building models. We diehard modelers are, after all, a unique breed and we tend to make huge changes very slowly. My two and three quarter cents worth.

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I would not stop building models from kits, coz the building process is the reason, not the finished model.

The journey is the reward.

 

But that "unlimited" printing of parts give us more posibility for upgrades like weapons, pods, ground support equipment, FOD covers, open panels ... such stuff, that is not available on the market.

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Looks great, hopefully this colour technology will reach desktop printers within the next few years! It will be interesting to see how it compares to other printers in terms of print quality though - some pictures of the output seem to suggest a slightly more grainy texture than we see with current resin printers, which could be a limitation of the technique they use for the colour.

 

And I really can't see the reason for all the complaints. As someone who has often bought pre-built models, I'm glad that there will potentially be more scope for them in the future, getting good ones of interesting subjects can be a right faff. Similarly, as someone who enjoys building kits, all that this technology means is that there are now more options - smaller manufacturers who maybe couldn't afford to injection mould are already starting to come on to the market with 3D printed goods, which means more kits available, not less! But perhaps most importantly, as someone who has at least started playing around with CAD in the hopes of one-day printing my own models, I can't stand this idea that 3D printing will take all the creativity out of the hobby - it just moves some of the creative input a stage upstream, for those of us who prefer screaming at our computers when they break things than we do our fingers!

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I think the reality may end up somewhere between the two positions outlined above. Assuming design costs are approximately equal whether injection moulded or 3D printed, the crux will be relative cost of production and distribution at whatever volumes manufacturers shift these days. I imagine the volume and unit cost curves are very different for each method and it would be interesting to see where a mainstream Airfix volume sits on that plot versus say an Eduard or a Dora, or a resin after market producer.

 

with injection moulding and cad design now mature technologies, and moulding offshored, I imagine their production costs won’t change much, and with the shift from LMS to online mostly already done, distribution costs won’t change much now either. However, 3D printing has a long way still to travel in driving theirs down...but it took many years for Microsoft’s vision of “a computer in every office and in every home” to come true...indeed, computing was already thirty years old when Microsoft coined it. 

 

I imagine there’s a window of opportunity for middle men manufacturers to license designs and run off copies to resell from their industrial quality 3D printers.i daresay that kind of market already exists if you know where to look. They might do it on spec to sell on eBay, or alternatively the designer could market the product with the 3D printers acting as gig economy suppliers given the tiny lead times and inventory involved.

 

I’m not convinced 3D printers will ever be standard household items the way computers became. Computers do things, most of which we were already doing in other ways every day.  3D printers make things, and how often do we actually buy the kind of things they can make? They’ll revolutionise production, but I suspect the analogy is not home computers, but the Cloud. The designer will click a button and their product will be printed all over the world and mailed direct to the customers and neither will know nor care where the printer was.

 

this might have been more of a threat decades ago when the bulk of the market’s income came from kids who wanted toy planes, and building them was a means to that end, but its many years since the bulk of the market shifted to adults who want to painstakingly construct models. Hell, there’s probably more people collecting kits they’ll never build than collecting ready made models these days!

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When I were a lad, I’d just finished a degree that it turned out I wasn’t really interested in (my fault) and fell into computer programming quite by accident/elimination.

 

Six months on we had a day out to a computer show in early 1981, where there was an exhibit called “The Last One”. This was going to make all programmers redundant overnight. After spending a few sleepless nights, I realised that it wasn’t - it simplified getting data out of a database and formatting it for printing, a chore at the best of times, but it wasn’t going to find Russian submarines in the Atlantic or any of the other things we had to do. 
 

That said, I think plastic modelling is going to either evolve radically or disappear when all us boomers have emptied our last sprue. None of my team now even knows what assembly code is, let alone writes it.

 

I will be quite happy working through the stash until I can’t do it any more. My wife has offered to buy me a printer for birthday/Xmas more than once, but I have declined, on the grounds that I’d rather be messing about with stuff than doing CAD/CAM at a computer all day. It’s building and, frankly, this forum that gives me the joy, not a perfectly realised product (with maybe rather overly emphasised panel lines)

 

Regards,

Adrian

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ChocolateCrisps said:

 It will be interesting to see how it compares to other printers in terms of print quality though - some pictures of the output seem to suggest a slightly more grainy texture than we see with current resin printers, which could be a limitation of the technique they use for the colour.

 

 

As far as I know it's 20nm, the same as the formlabs resin printers, but you have to think that the SLS technology is quite mature, whereas this UV ink material jetting technology is starting here with this quality, so in a couple of years Id expect it will be an order of magnitude better, I've been pouring over pictures aswell, I suppose its hard to tell unless its infront of you and in different lighting, but looking at this for example I cant see any flaw, as much as I wish there was -

fgfgfg.png

 

I remember at work a client using the stratasys printers a few years back and looking at the results and thinking, its alright, but itll never replace sculptors and painters in our thing because the quality isnt high enough, this time though I think it will.  Another depressing aspect is the creation of textures files themselves, its just a case of going with the photogrammetry camera and pressing a button, its not a case of, well in the old days I used to work with the paintbrush/airbrush, now I'm doing the same thing with a wacom tablet. :(

 

46 minutes ago, wombat said:

Assuming design costs are approximately equal whether injection moulded or 3D printed,

 

the design costs from this are a tiny fraction compared to injection, the design costs involved in injection come from working out how to get it to functionally work with the steel tool, splitting up assembly in the most optimal way etc. no one has to bother with that using this method. You just cad (or even cheaper, go to a museum and scan the original) the model as it is in real life with no splitting or parts breakdown and print it in one go, you dont even have to figure out the supports like on a resin printer.  Not to mention you also don't have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands on the steel tool.  Trust me, no one will be tooling new injection kits unless they want to throw a fortune away for no return.

 

46 minutes ago, wombat said:

They’ll revolutionise production, but I suspect the analogy is not home computers, but the Cloud. The designer will click a button and their product will be printed all over the world and mailed direct to the customers and neither will know nor care where the printer was.

 

This is exactly it, people get too hung up on the price of machines and whether they'll be in your home or not, it doesnt matter, like I say shapeways are offering this printer in the next month or so.

 

Positivity is good though even if I don't share it, I think it comes down to what you get from the hobby, for me it was the aspect of having a nice display piece around, that would genuinely make someone think, wow, how on earth was that made?  After this, in a world where the exact same quality of piece is shipped to anyones door from a print farm, and photoreal miniatures are buyable from any shop, that bit of magic and amazement gets taken away, of putting something into the world that could never be automated away.  It just puts artisan level builds on the same level as any disposable tat like funko pop toys or something. 

 

Maybe the positive way to look at it is this, we never lived at the time where you could experience the sheer amazement of seeing a painting in a world before photography.  But we did get a bit of time where browsing telford and gawping at peoples builds was analogous to that, people that come after now will never get that, they'll see the a build with the most master level paint job and think, oh yeah, you press and a button and a machine prints that. So maybe weve been lucky in that respect.

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