From 3D to Fabrication:
Occasionally, 3D projects I'm working on are destined for some sort of fabrication. Maybe I'll simply provide orthographic images, cross-sections, and measurements, rather than machine-ready files. Other times, I provide the actual 3D file, machine-ready or not. For the last few years, most of the machine-ready work I've done has been for stereolithography. ("3D printing") But for certain kinds of work, there have been times when I had to refer customers elsewhere, because I couldn't deliver some of the specific file formats designed for machining.
For those of you who don't work in 3D, here's why:
Traditionally, there have been two broad approaches to working in 3D. While there are exceptions, it's generally true that the polygonal modelers (like MODO) are faster, more intuitive, and produce nicer-quality renders, while the much more expensive and complex engineering software, while not so easy or pretty, produces precise, machine-ready files. The result is that the file type between these two kinds of software is a MAJOR issue. Often, the files simply aren't convertible, so a modeler-type may not be able to even view the model. The few large companies that control these file formats keep a tight, proprietary lid on them, and they're typically expensive to license. Some of that is changing...
There have been some major breakthroughs in the last few years, which finally allows all of us who work in 3D to share files. I've just begun using the "Power SubD-NURBS kit" for MODO, and It provides some new possibilities. I'm preparing an article with some samples of the process, to reveal this spring, so stay tuned.
(Wing tip tanks with fairings, exported as an .igs file for a customer)
Over the next few months, I'll be converting some of the existing models in my 3D Catalog to machine-ready formats, which may interest some of you. It also means that I can model your project with the final output being machinable parts, which can be used in creating plugs for molds, or for creating display models. Exciting!
The first project completed using this method (shown at right) is destined for fabrication as a large-scale, turbine-powered, radio-controlled jet, for competition at the 2014 Jet World Masters... The Aermacchi MB-326G.
Click here to see the article.
(This movie, which may take a few moments to load, loops.)
More print publications:
This Illustration, from my GEnx (turbofan engine) project is published in a new German book written by Andreas Fecker, called "Jet engines: Development - Application - Future" published by Motobuch Verlag in Stuttgart. (Amazon link) (Book images below)
This is a high-quality, hardcover book, presenting a thorough history of turbine power, and I'm happy to have an image of mine included. Thank you, Andreas!
"The Man In 18C" Project.
I'm happy to be involved in this new project, which began for me in late 2012. It's the story of the infamous "D.B. Cooper" incident, in which a hijacker succeeded in getting $200,000 in cash ransom, and escaped by parachuting from the rear exit airstairs on a Boeing 727. This happened in 1971, and the hijacker has never been found, either dead or alive, making it the FBI's only unsolved hijacking case
I'm doing the aircraft-related CG work for this movie, using an updated version of my previous Boeing 727-100 model.
Sharing is caring!
I've been given permission to share an article on my work for this movie, which is very cool. While I'm not going to spoil any surprises in the movie, I am doing a follow-along article, to share with 3D modelers and others.
Below - I've been having some fun compositing this model.
Below - Just for fun...
New 3D model of Lockheed Martin's F-22 "Raptor" in progress.
I built my first 3D model of this amazing aircraft in 2007, using "Carrara", and then updated it in 2008, when I switched to Luxology's "MODO" application. That's the model currently in my 3D Catalog. Now, I've nearly finished an entirely new model of this amazing aircraft, aided by MODO 701's great new tools. Click here for a preview movie.
Thanks to better modeling tools and better documentation, this model will be far superior to my original version. If you enjoy the follow-along articles I often post for these things, you can view it here. The article is lagging behind the actual model, due to other obligations, but I'll be updating it regularly.
Cessna T-50 model renders to be published in aircraft design book:
Cutaway views of my Cessna T-50 model will be featured in a new book called "Fundamentals of Aircraft and Airship Design: Volume II - Airship Design", published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
This is another project that deserves a makeover, and is getting one. I did it several years ago, and now have better tools for improving on the realism of the materials, as well as the animation rig. I've posted updates to the article here, and to the feature page in my 3D Catalog, and have started to do some new animations, like the one below.
Boeing 747-8 "Intercontinental" model:
Boeing's newest (and still largest) airplane:
In 2010, I built the Boeing 787-8 "Dreamliner" so this aircraft seemed appropriate to do next, adding to the fleet. The Boeing 747-8 "Intercontinental" is larger, faster, and more efficient than previous 747 models, and includes, among other things, a redesigned wing and flap system, as well as the new General Electric "GEnx" engines.
The 3D model includes a large amount of detail, and also quite a few rigging features, to be used in both still images and animation, in both day and night shots. The follow-along article starts here, and the model is also available in my 3D Catalog.
More British TV
Those of you who follow developments by Apple, and in particular, the iPad, may have seen the British "N2k" show, an iPad-related special in February, 2012. Here's the segment with my design. (about 18 MB QuickTime) One of my (fictional) iPad images appears at the end. (See my original article here.)
Low-poly aircraft now in the catalog.
I've now added 36 LOW-POLY models to my 3D catalog, for use in games and other real-time applications.
(This movie, which may take a few moments to load, loops.)
A little friendly networking really helps everybody.
in early 2012, I was contacted by Schuyler Greenawalt, who is a great 3D modeler, deeply involved in the CNC process. He was curious about a workflow involving both MODO (the 3D software I use) and Rhino. After some emails between us, and a Skype call, so we could discuss more details, Schulyer downloaded the trial version of MODO, and has discovered a way to convert MODO sub-d models to NURBS in Rhino. That helps people on both ends of that pipeline, and helps to expand what users of both pieces of software can do. Schuyler has written a nice entry in his blog regarding the process, which you can find at Better Living Through CNC. Check out the article, as well as the rest of his very interesting site. It may help your workflow too!
Some of my Cessna 310K images appeared on UK TV:
On January 12th, 2012, some of my Cessna 310K images were included as part of an aviation-related show on Channel 5, in the UK. ("World's Scariest Plane Landings") The images were only on screen for a few seconds, but I'm quite happy to have them there. My thanks to Channel 5 for also including me in the credits, as promised.
Below - The model's various layers (This model available in my 3D Catalog)