3D drawing and printing [part 1]

Cinema4D interface 

In anticipation of my visit of the East Penn Traction Meet early May 2013, and of the "clinic" I will hold there, I will try to explain some details of 3D drawing and modeling. I will explain my personal way. There are many ways to execute a printable 3D drawing.

First of all, you have to chose the software. Maybe, in many cases, your employer makes this choice for you. If you have to use a 3D drawing software at work, using it also for your hobby would be always be a good choice. For my profesionnal work, I have had to learn Cinema4D. This was very painful, but for me it was the question about to stay in my job or to leave it. Many modelers also work on 3ds Max or a CAD software. But even a "low end" 3D software as SketchUp can be used.

Beside Cinema4D for the 3D drawings, I use Adobe Illustrator for for "flat" (2D) drawings. Each of my 3D models are based on a detailed 2D drawing of all main elevations. The making of the first "flat" drawing constitutes often a considerable amount of time, specially when blueprints are not complete or even not available.
Illustrator drawing scale 1:72
But this pays later. Illustrator interfaces easily with Cinema4D, when exporting in AI8 format. So you can prepare complex vector pathes in Illustrator before using them as parts of 3D elements.

But before drawing, you must fix an essential point: in what scale you want to draw? After trials in H0 scale (1:87) and 1:100, I switched to a basic scale of 1:72 for my flat drawings.

This scale makes it easy to handle imperial measures as 1 pixel represents 1 inch. To simplify a little, all measures are calculated in decimal inch, rounded to half an inch, somtimes a quarter of an inch.

Setting export scale to 87

And when exported to Cinema4D, this scale of 1:72 is easy to transform to full scale. Yes, my 3D drawings have no scale.

They are drawn in 1:1. Only the exported print files are downscaled to 87 and converted to millimeters.

1 comment:

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