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Friday, April 4, 2014

CAD to Print; Changing the Way I Detail Models

For many years I have wanted to make my own detail parts for my model kits. I have always wanted more detail than is molded into the kit, but never wanted to buy the existing items.

I guess you could call me a maker, a person that wants the detail but wants to do it myself.

This year I made many goals, one of which was to learn a 3D CAD software package to utilize the ever changing world of 3D Printing. I am happy to say I have learned how to use Solidworks, a very powerful CAD package that lets me build most any household item or vehicle parts.

The results have been beyond my expectations!


A current project I have been working on is the old Tamiya M41 Walker Bulldog. Its a cool looking tank, however, the kit is lacking in the way of details. What details are there are poorly executed and barely resemble the real parts.

This is were CAD to Print comes in. In solid works I have drawn two parts that need the most attention; the .50 Cal MG mount and the main gun. The MG mount is severely lacking in detail and the shape is wrong. The main gun is in two halves and when joined is far from being round. The fit is a bit off all around causing more issues.

Here are the renderings from Solidworks on the parts I will have printed for this model:

New .50 Cal Mount

New Main Gun

These are the first of many model detail pieces I hope to create, for this model and many others as well. The finish on the parts is fantastic and the barrel cost to be printed comes in cheaper than a metal barrel. Another advantage for not using a metal barrel is I will not have to counter weight this one as I would a metal counterpart.