Computational thermoforming is fun to watch


Originally published at:


It IS!

I didn’t expect this to be such good nerd porn! :slight_smile:



To be fair, I can’t actually have sex at work.

I sure can surf and explore though…I sometimes have to because I hit the point where another script would just make it harder for SAS or Greenplum to finish what I’m already waiting on.

Extra-especially today since it’s my last day on site (it would be my last day, but the boss doesn’t want to let me escape so he’s offering to keep me on as a remote consultant).


Wow that is indeed very cool. So much possibility for the gaming table.


Would’ve been great to have when I decided not to get into Warhammer 40K because I didn’t like painting tiny things!


That was what I was thinking, Achem too.

[note uncomfortableness with this]


What that’s tiny? Have you not seen the micro armor scale stuff? I played a Civil War game with 5mm minis though 15mm is the smallest I will happily work with.


For me any detail under a square foot or so is just too much work to get to the point where I feel like I’m as good as an average person. I’m pretty lopsided skill-wise.

The people who can paint those tiny minis and dry brush them so they look fantastic amaze me.


It is a lot of practice and while I by no means suck at it I also play with guys who are just amazing at it and I play with guys who are worse than me. We all only offer constructive things to say and never dis a paint job. If you are making the effort to do your best it is all good. To be fair to GW their painting guides as far as the processes and techniques listed in them are really good. Not everyone is gonna have 'Eavy Metal quality with a little bit of practice but you will have a good looking army on the table.

Simple things can make all the difference as for years I never drilled out the gun barrels and when I finally started it was a whole new level oh that does look much better without a change in my actual painting skills.


Doesn’t look like you could possibly get satisfactory character figures out of this. It’s good for scenery with absolutely no overhangs–hills, some buildings, maybe bunkers with slanted walls.

Looks like it’d be really fragile, too, but you could fill it with some kind of plaster or foam or something to make it sturdier.


Actually, that green goop he made with the heat gun was the best part. “You done with that?”


TBH at first I thought it was some sort of plastic sheet that deformed according to injected ink trails/etching/what-have-you when softened by heat.

This is a molding technique, which is still cool, but not quite what I was hoping for.


Depends on the plastic you use but yes vacuforms are not as sturdy as injection mold plastics.


one of the up-sides of working from home.


I volunteer to be their full time goop peeler…for free


“Total Warhammer,” no painting required.


Actually, it’s not even that - at least the breakthrough part was a printing technique that allows for printed sheets to be properly deformed when thermoforming them. (Which then allows the thermoforming to be used to create novel objects.) 3D printing the mold was just in aid of that.

Disney seems to be involved in a lot of different kinds of research - drones, 3D printing and other manufacturing techniques, 3D modeling and animation… some have obvious uses, but others are a little bit harder to figure out what their interest would be.


I used to do the same things when I was 14 (I am now 57) using a Mattel Vacu-form system. The plastic plattens were solid colors…I bought only the white ones. Then drew on them with magic markers before placing and heating the plastic on the heater side. Of course, it was mostly experimental…since I used ordinary solid objects placed on the vacuum side.

Later I used the Vacu-form to create edible black spiders and bugs by mating Creepy-crawlers molds with Incredible Edibles flavored liquids. Both use the Vacu-form machine as their base.

Of course, my Father was a Manufacturing Foreman for Mattel’s for 13 years and I got all my toys for free. I wished I had asked for 2 of each instead of destroying them through playing with them! (sniff, tear)



Not with that attitude.