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I Forge Iron

3D printed and cast bronze guard and pommel

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So my day job is as a 3D computer animation artist, and at one of the places I freelance they had 3D printed several 3D models I created in Maya. It turned out so amazing I talked a customer into letting me print his commission's guard through Shapeways.


Read this link - it's astonishing that they can cast a 3D printed mold in brass, bronze, "steel", precious metals, and ABS plastic.

The neatest part for me is the cavity in the pommel; no previous milling / fabrication technique could so this (that I know of).

Pricing was cheaper than expected, about $240 total. Anyone can 3D model, I feel it can be easier than drawing at times. There are a ton of free modelling programs, I highly recommend playing around with one if anyone has free time.

It's going on this three-sided dagger he commissioned, hence the square slot. I had left extra material on the tang just in case the scale was skewed (which it wasn't was sized perfectly), so it doesn't fit snugly yet.

I think this is flat-out cool. I've been offering it as an option to all my potential customers. One thing I want to note is that it has a minuscule "woodgrain" from the printing technique... I'm pretty neutral on it because it offers a somewhat weathered look.











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I remember seeing a program where one of the guys used 3 D printing to create the master that he used to create the pattern for doing a casting. At the time I was thinking about what a great and easy tool to use for doing prototypes and small runs of items.


I'd never seen this sort of 3D printing. I'll have to save the link for reference, Thanks.


Nice job as well  on your project.

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Nice!  I love that look.  I agree that 3D modeling is easy to get used to, but it takes some special skill to create swooping organic curves like that.  I'm impressed with your CAD skills.


We have relied heavily on 3D printers here at work since 2000.  The capabilities just keep getting better and our latest machine is amazing compared to the first SLS machine we had years ago.


I haven't done a lot with the direct to metal technologies.  Are the parts you got pretty robust?   Years ago, they were pretty pithy and brittle, but yours looks nice and solid.


One thing we have done in the past is print a plastic model, and then make a silicone mold of that.  We can then make wax positives from that mold to be used for investment castings.  We had one machine that used a material that you could just sit in a pan of melted wax.  The part would become impregnated with the wax, and could be used directly to create the investment casting without making an intermediate mold.

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Beautiful... My old teacher was a test engineer.  I remember one day be brought a bunch of servo's into the shop, left overs after testing and were no longer needed, none of them matched either.   He rigged up his mill with these, controled from a computer running auto-cad,  I know he would have loved to see this technology if he was still with us.  Thanks for pushing the limits on blade furniture.

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Thank you :)

It can take up to a month to print, so that changes my order of operations a little - I have to order it as soon as I can determine the slot size, underestimating slightly so there's material to file away need be.

I think one could do a whole handle in a mixture of ABS plastic for the grip/scales, and cast brass/bronze/steel/silver for the guard. Since handling is my weakest area, it is something I will be offering for all knives for sure.

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I think one could do a whole handle in a mixture of ABS plastic for the grip/scales, and cast brass/bronze/steel/silver for the guard. Since handling is my weakest area, it is something I will be offering for all knives for sure.



While not directly metal related, companies like Smooth-on and Polytek have a wide variety of 2 part silicone and urethane rubber casting compounds that can be used for making molds as well as plastic cold metal casting resins that could be easily used to make handle parts. I'll grant you they wouldn't be as nice as wood, but they offer someone with limited skills and resources another option on these sorts of things.

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Very nice. It's amazing what modern technology can accomplish, but being a traditionalist myself I prefer handmade and would rather have one of these -http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/if-only-i-could-see

hand carved the traditional way than something machine made. This is a friend of mine and he doesn't have a web page so the only link to his work is that one. The problem with 3D printing is where does it leave being handmade. A very touchy subject in the knife making world.

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Very cool Naz. I'm thinking that rather than print guards and pommels directly I'd print masters and cast the final product. Lost wax casting is older than blacksmithing so the "traditional" gang doesn't have a legitimate complaint. Computers and their peripherals are man made tools, using them is as traditionally human as it gets.


Well done. Go geittem Naz.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank-you for  posting TheoRockNazz, sincerely. I once had a 3D print made of a small cartoonish moose head, but only out of plastic, because it was too big for their metal printer. The plastic version disappointed me, because the fairly smooth curves that were in my 3D mesh, got resolution-reduced by the printer, and ended up looking very blocky, Your result looks awesome, which encourages me to not give up.  And as Frosty suggests, if they could print in a material that would vaporize like wax does, then maybe people wouldn't even need to make an investment wax model first.  I've only spoken to a few foundries, who didn't know anything about 3D printing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gave it an ebony handle. Not quite as dark as I'm used to, but still works for me.

I made it clear to the customer I expect this to be a home defense and display piece - by no means is he to wear it around town. The tip is wicked; made me uncomfortable to work with sometimes. I don't expect to do any more three sided daggers, although I am already working on the next 3D printed guard, pommel, and handle.










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