Friday, May 15, 2009

How My Digital Sculpting Process Works...And Remembering Carlos Saenz, My Friend 3 Years Gone.

I've been getting a number of inquiries and new clients lately, which is great, so I wanted to share with you all (y'all?) how the process generally works...I've also included a few Youtube links to show how 3d printing works, as well as spincasting production.
Click On The Thumbnail above for an unimpressive flowchart, or read the text that follows. This isn't an iron guide to how I do things, and I'm always open to options a client would wish to offer.

How The Process Works
1. You have the Idea and the Capital. Money makes the work go ‘round, and you get what you pay for. I’m pretty experienced at this, having been in the biz since 2001, and won’t rip you off, nor do I want to squeeze you for every penny you’re worth. You and I both benefit from an agreed-upon price where you are happy with the product, and I’m happy with the compensation.

2. You contact me at for a free consultation.
If I can’t help you, or have a full schedule, I’ll point you where someone can help you.

3. You and I work out terms and concepts. I prefer to work on original concepts, and won’t infringe on copyrighted IPs.

4. You provide a concept, or I sketch one up until you approve. I can work off written descriptions (like this current modern-day tank, but with a sci-fi twist, and antigravity modules and a laser cannon), a sketch on a napkin, or full-blown blueprints or sketches. If necessary, I suggest changes to make your piece more production-ready.

5. Upon your approval, I begin to sculpt.
6. I provide you with the basic, preliminary screen captures of what I’m sculpting on the computer. You make changes as necessary until I get the basic shapes right.

7. Upon approval of the basics, I begin to detail out the work, putting in intricacies, panels and panel lines, and other cool details.

8. Upon final approval of the detailed model, I send the digital sculpt to the 3d printer service bureau, the folks with the real expensive machine that I rent time on.

9. They print out the prototype in a plastic-like resin, and send it back to me. I perform quality checks on the prototype, and tell you it’s good to go.

10. I send you the prototype.

11. You then make arrangements with your own casting facilities to put the piece into mass production. Some extra steps might be necessary on your caster’s part to make the piece sturdy enough for mass production, but those folks are usually pros, and know how to make vulcanizable masters and what not.

12. You then sell millions of copies of the work, and retire to a life of idle luxury. Perhaps you’ll send a few hundred thousand dollars my way, from time to time, and I’ll create new masterworks for you, my exclusive patron.

13. Well, probably not, but we’re in this for the love of making things, right? Selling things isn’t easy, but if it was easy, anyone could do it.

Want to see how an Objet 3d Printer works? Here’s a few Youtube links… is an explanation (kinda dry) by the CEO of the Objet company. is a video showing an Objet at work. The music’s a bit wacky, but at 1:50 you can see the final product emerge from the build table. is what you do once you’ve got your rapid-prototyped model master in hand. This is best left to the pros. I’ve tried it at home, and quickly realized it’s not for me. I know of several folks that can handle this for you. is a great explanation of the spincasting method of production. I’ve never used the video author’s services, though, and can’t vouch for them either way. is the short version if you’re into the whole brevity thing.

In More Serious News, if I may...

May 5th was the third anniversary of the death of my friend, Carlos Saenz, who laid down his life in Iraq during some of the bloodiest days (2006) of that campaign. There is still work to be done in that Godforsaken place, and there are still people dying, despite the latest Congressional or budget scandals that have pushed it off the front page. Please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of our Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors, and the families they've left behind, this Memorial Day.

John Bear Ross
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