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Thread: Should we all buy 3D Printers?

  1. #1
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    Should we all buy 3D Printers?

    Just been reading the Wikipedia article on 3D printing, and it got me thinking about some real opportunities for sword collectors. It's all quite new to me, but in essence the technology provides the ability to "print" (ie manufacture) 3-dimensional objects using data from either a scanned original or a "created by design" pattern. Given that many of the pieces we collect may be missing some small part (scabbard throat, pommel cap, backstrap) to make them complete, a 3D printer would seem to offer the chance to re-create a replacement with no need to go to a specialist restorer or hand-fashion the part yourself.

    It would even be possible to create a copy of an entire sword, if you wanted to access an exact replica of a particularly rare or valuable original, in the same way that natural history museums used to make plaster casts of their best dinosaur specimens to gift to other institutions.

    This technology could also be used to make bespoke brackets for displaying swords, and by removing the need for large manufacturing runs to make them cost effective would allow us to create brackets tailored for specific blade types. For example, in my home-made wooden sword racks, which use dowels with grooves cut in them to take the blades, I need quite different profile cutouts for the P1897 "dumbbell" blade compared with the P1821 cavalry type, which are in turn different again from the Scottish "claymore" blades, so I can't rearrange the display from time to time as easily as I'd like.

    3D printers are available now and getting cheaper all the time, and I can foresee huge impacts in many areas of life in the future.

    Be interested to hear others' thoughts on this! (But please keep on-topic with reference to swords, as there's a whole area of gun control raised in the article that isn't appropriate to the A&M Sword Forum),

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  2. #2
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    It is a very interesting subject and has crossed my mind. I at present would love to come across accurate replicas of Spanish swords used by the new world adventurous. Mainly the types used in 15th and 16th. Century. I do cast some parts from metal and plastic to bring the original appearance back to swords but find the plastic parts hard to color and weight odd. If I understand correctly 3d printing is all plastic and would be somewhat light? Still to have an exact replica for a display when an original is cost prohibitive would be a big plus. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  3. #3
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    Been toying with the idea of getting one myself for the purpose of recreating components...
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
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    In casting plastic, metal can be added for weight as can fake brass, silver or gold coloring. I am not that far advanced with the plastic type casting but know it is possible. Can the 3d printing also fake brass or steel look and add weigh to items? Do you have to have item in hand to scan and replicate or do you purchase program? What medium would be used to glue fabricated item in place, like the shell missing on my 1760 cutlass. It is the only missing part on an otherwise beautiful example. Can 3d items be made using 2d photos? Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  5. #5
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    I believe aluminum powder can be used in certain 3D printers in order to make a object out of aluminum. If so, then it can't be too far off that steel, bronze, etc. powder can be used to make an object out of those metals.
    "Courage is fear holding on a minute longer."--Gen. George S. Patton

  6. #6
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    Now I'm interested Mr. H
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  7. #7
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    Sword of Crota in Norway was 3d printed to provide a highly detailed but affordable museum replica
    http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/3d-print...century-sword/

  8. #8
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    For the most part, what is being done now is still making a master for a mold. There is currently a lot of work going on with stuff like liquid metal before we can "print" a gourmet pizza.

    Will, had posted a thread back in February with a neat piece of art.
    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/f...f-dc23edeca76b

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...useum-in-Paris

    Cheers

    Hotspur; curves and circles take a lot of work

  9. #9
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    Thanks, guys - shows the Forum is thinking along the same lines! To clarify, I was thinking of making replica parts to enhance the display qualities of an item, not making a craftsman-quality restoration. Such a change would also have the benefit of being clearly visible to any prospective purchaser and pass the "Andre Ducote" (tm) test of being easily reversible if required.

    I believe the part template could be an original component scanned in 3D by a suitable device (seem to be freely available), or designed from scratch using appropriate software (like the CAD software used in automotive and other industrial design). The latter might be more suitable for my sword rack idea than for individual parts, which for most our period of interest were hand-made by experienced craftsmen and tailored to fit the sword being made.

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  10. #10
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    http://www.shapeways.com/how-shapewa...efault-details

    They have been doing sword parts and assorted bits for a couple of years now.
    http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/inde...howtopic=30965

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