Voxeljet: the 3D printed Starbug prop

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    I know most of you have probably seen this already, but it’s a nice little video.


    Paul Muller

    Interesting process – looks like the original one was handbuilt and then scanned to make a 3D replica. I’m quite happy with the redesign, would be interested to know why they chose to handpaint it though – would have thought they’d go for an acrylic spray finish – maybe the material is reactive?

    Just read that back – I’m such a nerd, it’s painful.



    Eight weeks painting the smegging ship?

    Not anymore!



    That has to be the most expensive way of doing that. 3D printing is expensive, especially this type. We had one of these machines a few years back at uni and it cost £75K and the build area was nowhere near as big. I bet one leg is easily £150 quids worth.

    Legs and engine bells 3D printing is fine, but if you’ve got a hand built one already, I’d say with almost 100% certainty it’d be better for your budget to get a good mold of it done and then cast it in resin, hollow, light, cheap parts. Also allows separation of various bits so if you can cast seperately and replace individual components.

    Still, looks cool.

    I’d suggest that they painted it with some kind of rubber based paint because that material looked porous and they didn’t seal it with anything, thinner stuff like airbrush paint would possibly soak in, make it soft.



    *Latex/ polymer/ elastomer paint rather than rubber. Wrong word.


    Paul Muller

    Interesting. I wonder if GNP went down the 3D Printing route with a mind towards a future Starbug based line of merchandising?


    Dollar Pound

    the long game is when they can perform in several locations simultaneously doing the live show with bioprintouts of the cast with their faces all over the tops of their heads. the whole of red dwarf but with the cast’s faces all over the tops of their heads.

    maybe duct soup would suddenly be the best episode



    Maybe timescale or availability. There are some cases where 3D printing would be obviously better, like if they’re changing scale and need an 4-8 inch Starbug, 3D printing is so much easier and you’ll probably end up with something very detailed and quick to make.

    There can’t be many model shops about nowadays, and the ones that are are probably tied up making stuff for films like Rogue One and other model loving directors projects.

    It makes me a bit sweaty to think how much that cost – I know that places like Shapeways have horrendous markups but that’s still a pricey beast.

    The various domes of the original Starbugs were made out of pre made hemispheres that you can still buy from model shops for about 20-40 quid, and the other stuff was fabricated on those, time consuming but the bill of materials was probably cheaper.

    Maybe in the future, some kind of hybrid can be done, bought in hemispheres, 3D printed greeblies and difficult to fabricate parts. 3D modelling is comparatively quick and painless for making symmetrical and intricate parts.

    Makes sense to scan it in though, but I imagine future CG is the point of that rather than any model for us lot.

    Hope they go back to airbrushing and whatnot though on any future series, nowhere near the depth and detail with a brush and a tin of hammerite haha



    I file it alongside Doug’s giddy, well meaning, ambitious but suicidally impractical indulgences, like semipro CGI, the RED camera, the forced perspective shot in BtE, a Jurassic Park dinosaur, Carbug, George Lucas style remastering, a professional monkey impersonator, the Dave-era model shoots etc. The novelties and toys that both help him cope with the stress of making the show and work as a nice hook for promotional interviews… but nearly always end up going very badly, eating too much time or wasting all the budget.

    It probably all traces back to Gunmen. The first and only time such a flash of boyish gambling ever went to plan.



    Doug’s just done a twitter and the comic relief one is apparently around 12,000 quids worth.

    What’s the budget for a series of Dwarf these days? That’s got to be a decent percentage gone on one model, and I think this one is slightly smaller than the one in the series.



    I can’t imagine the original models were cheap either. Bespoke model building is a pretty specialised industry.

    Even if these 12k models are more expensive than they used to be, by the sounds of it, the benefit of reducing build time from 6 weeks down to 1 must compensate for that dramatically.



    Bill of materials wise I’d estimate around a £1000 for a one of model of similar size, but yeah, it’s the cost of the labour that make it expensive, they already had one though, I still think it would have been cheaper to cast a copy and paint it up than that one 3D printed one, especially when you’re only crashing it. Unless they got a really good deal in return for some promotion.



    Time is money and all that jazz.


    Paul Muller

    Just read a thread on The Model Unit’s Facebook page and it seems as though that is the exact reason – the paint acted in place of a resin sealant.


    Paul Muller

    Fucked that up didn’t I. Bollocks. You get the idea.

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