View Full Version : 1966 Bus - 3D Print / Rapid Protoype

01 January 2010, 06:58 AM
I recently finished a gift I made for my grandfather; a 3D print/Rapid Prototype of his 1966 Bus we would go camping in every summer. Its actually a SLA - StereoLithography print, I don’t' recall the material they used, but it ended up being translucent.
1966 Bus model - LARGE IMAGE (

Some of the photo Reference that I had.
Render of 'air tight' or 'water tight' STL model
3D print as received from Forecast 3D. (
3D print, clear windows masked, white base sprayed and white masked off ready for blue paint.
Blue paint sprayed.
All masking off, details painted, cleared.

I need to take more pictures of the final painted model, but its at my grandpa's house now…so next time I'm there I will.

When the final model printed it was approximately 12" long. The mirrors and blinkers on the front had attachment points that were just to thin and didn't work out. I had tried to account for this before sending it off to be printed, but had originally planned for a model about 19" long. That was the largest build size of the first printer I had talked to…BEFORE a print qoute…which ended up being too much money, so I had to scale it down. Also, the interior of the model was quickly hollowed out, this saved on build time and made the model have a lot smaller volume. I could have done a much better job on hollowing it out, it was just a quick extrude from the middle, and pushed inward. Nose of model and tires are solid.

If I did it again I would have probably built the model in pieces and assembled the entire thing at the end, more like a scale model. I didn't know that you could actually glue this material easily. I found this out when they told me they had problems with the hitch, ladder, and racks on the top. Those parts were actually rebuilt and attached again by the printers. Also, if I had setup some of the parts to print separately I could have had the rack built horizontally instead of vertically and it wouldn't have needed any of the support structures they had to use to build it (see picture below)

I've done some 3D Prints before, but this time I wanted to try some different modeling techniques. The bus is a single mesh STL file( 341,804 triangles.) I modeled the large shapes first, then the smaller details, in separate parts which were welded together. Not a single mesh that got sub divided. Many parts were along large flat surfaces so I would cut in the more detailed parts into a single quad or other polygon. The mesh is REALLY REALLY messy but it works for the print, and I was running out of time for Christmas. ;)

You can see some the aspects of the model I really pushed out more, in hopes of getting a better print. I knew it wouldn't be able to hold all the detail (license plate for example) but I wanted to try. The "WARD" text on the rear end actually came out very nice on the final model. Many of the really small chamfers and rounded corners I had ended up being unnecessary at this scale though...

1966 3D Model - LARGE IMAGE (

This photo shows the global illumination renders and wireframes.

I have a couple questions for anyone else doing 3D prints or rapid prototyping:

I've heard some printers will accept multiple water tight meshes that are intersecting, and they'll come out as a single piece. Has anyone tried this?
I was told this material shouldn't be left in direct sunlight as its UV sensative, but painting it helps. What is the life of the prints you've made? (I have other prints unpainted that I've had for years, but they're a different material that is much more course)
Any ideas how to improve making models such as this?
Would like to hear anyone else's stories or information they might have on 3D prints.

Here is the printer's contact info if anyone is interested. I am not affiliated with the printer in any way, but thought they did a pretty good job.

Forecast 3D - contact info (
Carlsbad, CA

I'll put more pictures of the model and process up at my site: soon.

01 January 2010, 02:41 PM
thanks ! for the info.

how much did it cost for the bus model ?

01 January 2010, 06:14 PM
Now do what you really wanted to do...make some toys for yourself. Who needs a toystore anymore? ;) I hope 3d printers get cheap, easy and fast enough this decade!

01 January 2010, 07:38 PM
wwswimming - No problem, the model ended up being more than I'd hoped at about $500. You can send your STLs to the printers and get free qoutes. The first qoutes came in really really high, so I asked them at what scale they could make it at around the max. price I could pay.

Kevboy - There are some desktop printers for a few thousand, but it'll be awhile before the quality is as good...unless someone out there has different experience with them? Would love to hear it.

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01 January 2010, 07:38 PM
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