Contracting someone to make 3D models for printing: suggestions?


Hi all,

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:

  1. 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)?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?


Perhaps @Chentzilla would have some ideas after his 3d printed sphinx project he posted about here.


Since I was “pinged”, I’d just say that I’ll be mostly of no help here, since I designed the models by myself, and had them printed at a local (Moscow, Russia) service. By the way, maybe you should have a look if they do it at your city?
I used STL format – that’s pretty standard for most services, but I’m not even sure if it supports color (my prints were monochrome). As for the tools, I’d say Sculptris is free and pretty simple – some kind of digital clay – so if the toy is really not that elaborate, you may try to try your hand at it. Here’s what I made with no experience at all:

(Though I used Blender for those that look more angular – it’s also free, but much more complicated to work with.)


Can’t speak to the other questions but those are pretty standard 3D formats, easily created with pretty much any 3D software. Apart from, heh, VRML. That’s a blast from the past.


This topic was automatically closed after 1235 days. New replies are no longer allowed.