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May 28, 2005



Here is the link to Neil Gershenfeld's speech at ETech '05: http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail460.html


You're correct in that i used HijackGL. But where most people would have a problem is getting useful data for a rapid prototype part. What i don't get into is converting the data from a mesh (the triangle data captured by HijackGL) into "solid" geometry, which is what most CAD apps work with in order to create "real" products. One can RP triangle data - .stl is a mesh format - but additional operations on a mesh file are problematic. For example, one of the first things i'd do is "shell" the part, meaning create a wall-stock part instead of a solid hunk of material. This not only reduces the cost of RP (both by reducing time and material use) it allows for more complexity - as in making a working toy rocket launcher as opposed to only a statue.

btw, there's at least one other way of which i'm aware to go from videogame models to RP. Only a matter of time before people do it.


I saw your post via MAKE blog.
Depending on the size of the part you wish to make and your electronic fabrication skills you can get a desktop CNC mill for less than $3000. The Taig line (which I sell, but I don't mean to be spamming, so I'm not including my URL)of CNC mills starts at around $2000 and if you get their CNC ready mill for around $1000 and make your own controller/stepper setup you can get it done for around $1500.

There are even cheaper options. I highly recommend getting on the cad-cam-edm-dro yahoogroup and seeing what sort of home cnc projects are working today. There is a revolution going on in home CNC right now! I am sort of evangelical about home shop machining, so forgive my enthusiasm.

Here is the latest project I did, a perfect involute spur gear:
No more buying gears for my projects...
(cross posting comment to the MAKE blog as well...)


isu actually has a 3-d fabricator ... this intrigues me.


I wouldn't recommend using CNC.


"I wouldn't recommend using CNC."

did a CNC machine kill your dog?

Chris Anderson

In a post on reBang, cseven asks why one would screen capture videogame characters when so many games have file structures that let you extract the objects directly from the files.

This is a reasonable question, but the point is that there are plenty of games where you can't rip the object files and, even more to the point, an increasing amount of 3D data on our screens that aren't part of games. The cool thing about screen capturing is that it's application agnostic.

As for the fabbing part, for now that's just a cool project to do with the kids. I'm aware that the part won't look as good a real toy. But cast your mind forward and imagine what will be possible in a few years...


"and, even more to the point, an increasing amount of 3D data on our screens that aren't part of games."

Thank you.

I've gotten a few emails and have read a few posts by people who appear unable to get past the "make toys at home from videogame models" concept, which to them - after reading your entry - appears to be the whole idea. That particular element of my post was only demonstrating the increasingly permeable boundary between the real and the virtual (especially relevant now given the growth in virtual economies). It was within a much broader context - everything from DIY'ers to IP issues to concepts of "value" - that I was reacting to Seth Godin's entry. It goes well beyond simple "fabbing".


pretty cool stuff. i think make also has something on this. just buy a sieg x2 mini mill and do a cnc conversion on it. now you can make this thing in your garage! check it out: http://www.fignoggle.com/plans/cncplans.htm (cnc conversion plans)


Especially interesting if games companies are using real CAD specs on their side...either for realism or speed.


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Yeah I just created my own rocket launcher out of a pvc pipe a battery and a lot of wires and a ton of gaffe tape I wont to congratulate all of you out there who have done this before me.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

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