I am looking to realize a simple toy I have envisioned, and want to be able to print it out using one of the many online printing services. I have a few questions for anyone who has done this kind of thing before:
- I have no digital 3D artistic skills. I am planning on contracting someone to make the design for me. Has anyone had experience with this? Is there a best website for posting my job? Is there a pretty standard format for such a contract (e.g. one initial design plus two iterations based on feedback? Designs must pass acceptance tests on online service? Payment before/after successful printing)?
- I see that Shapeways accepts designs in STL, OBJ, X3D, DAE, Collada or VRML97/2 (WRL). I know nothing about the different formats. Is this list pretty standard, so if I decide that another site offers better quality/prices, the file that my artist makes for me in one of those formats should be pretty acceptable to the rest?
- And speaking of which, thoughts on good online services? I am hoping to print in metal, and I know Shapeways has a few different options for that.
Any other thoughts, tips, horror stories to recount, etc?