While I was struggling with sculpting my Eldar Aegis Defense Line, I had the idea that if I could make a 3D model of it, I could just print out as many copies as I needed. The best part was that it would be symmetrical and not suffer from my poor clay and greenstuff sculpting skills. To that end, I took a course at the community college on Computer Aided Design or CAD and learned how to use Autodesk Inventor with a fair degree of skill. As a bonus, I got access to a Dimension 3D Printer.
My final project.
I have bitten the bullet so to speak and ordered a few test prints of my "Space Elf Defense Line" pylon from 3 different 3D Printers. I have also chosen a variety of materials that I think will work best. I used Shapeways, Ponoko, and Sculpteo. All three offer a variety of materials, and easily accepted my uploaded .stl file that I exported from Autodesk Inventor. They all offer a variety of 3d design tools or services to help young designers get their concepts into a 3d file and printed.
Edit: As it turns out I also ordered a print from i.materialise. So that makes 4 different 3d Printers.
Expect excited posting when they come in (near the end of the month). Based on the price of printing each individual item, trying to sell a set of twelve pylons may not be feasible. At close to $20 per pylon, a full 3d printed set would be over $200, but at least you'd get free shipping! However, if I like the quality, I will put them up for sale.
So what will I do with my newly 3D printed goodness? Well, assuming I have one pylon that is in excellent condition, I may re-attempt casting it with more care this time. If there are more than a few orders, I will make additional molds to speed my casting process. If interest continues in "Space Elf" fortifications, I would continue to design various terrain items to be printed then cast and sold.
You can see the more angled back and non-curved front design of the pylon 2.0 in evidence in the CAD design of the pylon 3.0. These design changes were made after the first set was built/cast and then used in a few games. The no-curve front allows for a straight cut on the powerfield (plexiglass) making production much simpler, while the increased angle reduces the gap seen in the last photo when two pylons are placed next to each other.
Keep coming back to see how this project turns out!