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 Post subject: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Hey, some of you may know me from YouTube. I have been really wanting to get into creating my own puzzles. I have recently downloaded a student version of the 2012-2013 SolidWorks software to start practicing modding. I think that in order to have the masters printed, I need the full version that will export the right file type, but I'm not sure. I want to get your opinion on where is the best place to get parts printed. What mold and resin should I purchase? Also, Where is best place to get the materials needed to mold and cast the pieces? I have the materials to create a mold-box but need I good suggestion on where to buy the mold material, mold release, and resin. I have heard good things about smoothcast. Thanks so much. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:28 pm 
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I can't help you with the mold questions but I do know the SW student version has everything you could ever need. Just press save as and you can switch the file to whatever you want. STL is the file type you probably will need. As for printing unless you can find something better Shapeways is a good way to go. They have a wide variety of materials and are relatively cheap.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Molding/casting is outdated. Printing the entire puzzle is the current norm and it is much more cost effective. I believe that you can somehow trick student edition in to exporting STL's, though I'm not sure how. Shapeways is the way to go for any 3D printing.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:00 pm 
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Student edition allows for stl export tom :)

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:27 pm 
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Rubikscuber1 wrote:
Hey, some of you may know me from YouTube. I have been really wanting to get into creating my own puzzles. I have recently downloaded a student version of the 2012-2013 SolidWorks software to start practicing modding. I think that in order to have the masters printed, I need the full version that will export the right file type, but I'm not sure. I want to get your opinion on where is the best place to get parts printed. What mold and resin should I purchase? Also, Where is best place to get the materials needed to mold and cast the pieces? I have the materials to create a mold-box but need I good suggestion on where to buy the mold material, mold release, and resin. I have heard good things about smoothcast. Thanks so much. :)

I'd agree with TomZ about full 3D-prints being time-efficient. But casting, in my opinion, is much more rewarding. Once you've bought your casting materials and sold one or two puzzles, you've paid off your material costs. From my experience, good quality cast puzzles will sell for enough money to account for the time spent making them, and give you a fair amount of profit.

If you do decide to cast, try Mold Star 15 for molding and a soft clay like Sculpey Mold Maker as your temporary clay base (just don't bake it!). Smoothcast 300 is the best white resin to use, and I'm undecided between Alumilite Black and Smoothcast Onyx as to which black is the best; they both aren't that great. I'd start with white before going to black; it's thinner and transparent before drying, making air bubbles easy to avoid.

Purchase a gallon of Smoothcast 300 and 2 trial bottles of Mold Star 15 directly from Smooth-On. Also, be sure to get some mold release like Mann Ease Release 205, also available from Smooth-On. I've found Sculpey Mold Maker at AC Moore, but have not found it there recently. If you can't find it from any craft stores, use the link in the above paragraph.

Purchase your masters from Shapeways in the Frosted Detail material. I recommend sanding and polishing them with a few grits of sandpaper before making molds.

Put lots of work into those molds. Dave Litwin has some nice molding tips somewhere around the forum. Be sure to use alignment pins, as well as edges to keep the resin from dripping out of the molds. It's often nice to have a casting partner (like my dad) to pour the resin while you watch out for air bubbles and flip the mold halves when ready. Be sure to use equal amounts of resin, and stir a good 25 seconds to avoid drying problems. It's nice to keep the resin in a cool, not cold room to have a good balance between drying time and the strength of the pieces. If you haven't yet watched Drewseph's casting video, it's very helpful.

And those are QuirkyCubes' words of advice. Good luck. I sincerely hope you decide to learn how to cast. Shapeways can be pretty profitable too, so don't forget to upload a few designs there.

Chandler

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:33 pm 
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More importantly, with casting a lot can go wrong. 3D printing is pretty much fail safe, apart from bad designs of course. If you want to get in to designing then you don't want to deal with all the casting hassle - at least for your first few designs. There are just so many variables, with fully printed puzzles the only variable is the design. So especially for a beginning designer it is wise to start with printing.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Ok, Thanks so much guys!! I'll definitely post my progress and designs :D

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:04 pm 
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PuzzleMaster6262 wrote:
I can't help you with the mold questions but I do know the SW student version has everything you could ever need. Just press save as and you can switch the file to whatever you want. STL is the file type you probably will need. As for printing unless you can find something better Shapeways is a good way to go. They have a wide variety of materials and are relatively cheap.

Good luck!


Thanks!! As far as materials go, two looked good to me. "The white strong and flexible" (but not good for molding) and "frosting an ultra detail" (which would be good for casting). So would the white strong and flexible be a better choice for printing the entire puzzle?

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Rubikscuber1 wrote:
PuzzleMaster6262 wrote:
I can't help you with the mold questions but I do know the SW student version has everything you could ever need. Just press save as and you can switch the file to whatever you want. STL is the file type you probably will need. As for printing unless you can find something better Shapeways is a good way to go. They have a wide variety of materials and are relatively cheap.

Good luck!


Thanks!! As far as materials go, two looked good to me. "The white strong and flexible" (but not good for molding) and "frosting an ultra detail" (which would be good for casting). So would the white strong and flexible be a better choice for printing the entire puzzle?

Definitely go for WSF if you want a full print. You should look into dyeing WSF (Nylon) black, or even polishing it in a tumbler. Bmenrigh could probably help you with that.

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 Post subject: Re: Need Tips For Creating Puzzle From Scratch
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:46 am 
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Quirky-Cubes wrote:
Purchase your masters from Shapeways in the Frosted Detail material. I recommend sanding and polishing them with a few grits of sandpaper before making molds.

Put lots of work into those molds. Dave Litwin has some nice molding tips somewhere around the forum.
Much of what I have posted regards master piece prep (here), but I talk a bit about mold making in this thread. Here are some thoughts about how to reproduce multiple contiguous molds from a single set of masters, but there is probably little call for that. Nonetheless, there are some good tips in that thread (e.g. parchment paper rather than waxed paper).

I think casting pieces is like hand builds of puzzles: Other methods may now be more common, but it will live on as its own style and art form.

Dave

P.S. Good luck which ever way you choose to try!

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