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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New pattern for my library. Just playing and making random patterns. No plans on carving it at the moment. I have had a mental block for the last few weeks for making patterns.

Made a 3d model of an MQ-9A UAV (quick modeling, so close, but not perfect) and then rendered some depth map images for the patterns.
 

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That's cool, I'm an aviation buff and and a woodworker so what's NOT to like.

A question about your process - you build a model, render as depth map and then use that for the 3D carving? I've been simply importing the actual model (STL), orienting it and then scaling in Z so it fits in the carving envelope. Seems to work OK. Hadn't thought about making a depth map. I get a bit fuzzy trying to come up with advantage/disadvantages for either way. I guess you can add more easily scene elements in the depth map approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is better if you can get a good pattern from an STL, but like you mention you have to scale in the Z direction sometimes and that can wash out detail. I use STL ports about 98% of the time. Most times I build the models so they can be easily ported as STLs to my cnc software. Its just some 3d models are not suited to making them relatively flat.

The depth map rendering is a work around to that limitation, for those specific instances, but the patterns are not as crisp in my opinion. But they generate some interesting results that I think make them look better than the clean STL ports (sometimes).

Generating depth maps are also kind of an art. I use a custom node setup in blender (free) that gives you a lot of control over the render. Zbrush ($$$) also does a good job for depth map rendering. I also use ShaderMap Pro 4 ($) as well.
 

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It is better if you can get a good pattern from an STL, but like you mention you have to scale in the Z direction sometimes and that can wash out detail. I use STL ports about 98% of the time. Most times I build the models so they can be easily ported as STLs to my cnc software. Its just some 3d models are not suited to making them relatively flat.

The depth map rendering is a work around to that limitation, for those specific instances, but the patterns are not as crisp in my opinion. But they generate some interesting results that I think make them look better than the clean STL ports (sometimes).

Generating depth maps are also kind of an art. I use a custom node setup in blender (free) that gives you a lot of control over the render. Zbrush ($$$) also does a good job for depth map rendering. I also use ShaderMap Pro 4 ($) as well.
How do you do that in blender? I've started using it and like it a lot. I'd heard people complaining that it's hard to learn. Guess that says something about them because I was making models within about 10 minutes. It's actually surprisingly intuitive. Much more so than F360. Though the talking-head aussie tutorial guy is incredibly annoying...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Blender is not an easy program to master. I've been using it for about 7 years and I feel like I am just an advanced beginner. But it does make some pretty models.

I use a custom compositor node group developed by Jacob (DevilsDJ on blenderartists). He makes custom jewelry with it. The node group is here: https://blenderartists.org/t/two-cents/654804/153

If you can't get it for some reason, PM me your email, I'll send you a copy of the node group.

Using filmic color management gives you a lot of control over the brightness and contrast of the render so you no longer have to tweak the node setup as much.
 

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Thanks, Oscar. Filed it away for when I get a little time.

My Dad was a lifer in the USAF - 32 years - and I grew up around aircraft and airmen. Pretty much in my blood. Wanted to be an aeronautic engineer growing up but wound up in Comp Sci instead. That worked out pretty well for me, no regrets but I still love aircraft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Phil, 32 years in the military is two lifetimes. I thank your father for his service.

Joe, I don't but give me a day or two and should be able to whip something up. Busy tomorrow but should have some time on Saturday to build a model. I only saw C-17s fly twice. They are honking big.
 

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Wow, I didn't mean for you to make me one. He did fuel systems on them in Charleston SC. I've been looking for one to add to a waving flag and the Air Force logo for his Auto repair shop. Thanks!
 

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Joe, whipped up a quick model but I always find it difficult to get a good pattern from long objects looking lengthwise. I did a few poses hoping one will work for you.
Hey thats neat Oscar! How/where are you finding that model?
You 'sculpted' that from a pic/drawing? Is sculpting the word?

I downloaded a free .obj model of a chevy pickup into Carveco... lol, have no clue what im doing.
I tried but couldnt get the angle proper. Close... i go back later to play some more.

but back to the good pattern.

I find having the models on on an angular perspective to look best
if they're going on a flat surface, like for a sign of some sort.



You seem to get the overall view opposed to front, side, top blah look.
I guess it depends on the subject.

How come your models have that xray look whereas others out there
show a gold/bronze look?

Nice! you have pickups? lol 0:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Ronnie, I try to find a picture (or a bunch) and I model it in 3d using 3d software. There are different techniques to do that.

In this case I used polygonal modeling. That is moving points and simple shapes in virtual 3d to create the model.

There is also digital sculpting. You start with a primitive shape and give it enough geometry that you can move the surface in different ways just like clay. Best way to get organic look in my opinion. It can be a lot of fun.

There is also curve modeling but I don't use this method so not familiar with it.

The question on the color of the final render is the based on the software/method they used to render their depth map. The picture is based on the depth parameter from the camera in 3d space. The render uses different software and techniques (math algorithms) to calculate the bright and dark portions of the image. The cnc software converts the different colors to grayscale first before converting to g-code so it really doesn't matter what the color starts as, as long as the converted grayscale is properly associated with the correct height. Scale 0 to1 equating floor of cnc to highest portion of the pattern.

I can make my depth maps any color I want but that is an additional step for my software that is not needed.

There are also other ways to get geometry into virtual 3d without modeling: Laser 3d mapping, photogrammetry, voxel clouds, and probably a bunch more.

Sorry for all the boring stuff.

I have this old truck model I've shared before so you may already have it. Here are some of my other patterns I have shared previously with the community. https://www.pinterest.com/oscarluis32/gray-scale-depth-map-images/
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I should mention there are alternate (better???) ways to model for cnc patterns than this method I used. You create the geometry exactly as it will be carved.

That way you can deal with issues of perspective and detail needed for the model. You also don't have to try to compensate with the depth of the model. The downside is you only get one look. So a few pros and cons.

You have to have a clear vision of the final render that you are going for to use this but the patterns come out just like the model.

I believe most cnc modeling software does it this way (at least mine does). I like using 3rd party 3d art software because I believe it gives me more control and flexibility in creation of models and patterns.
 

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Joe, whipped up a quick model but I always find it difficult to get a good pattern from long objects looking lengthwise. I did a few poses hoping one will work for you.
Those are great Oscar! Thanks a bunch. I've tried modeling a few times but it always turns out looking like something a 3rd grader did if he wasn't trying very hard. 🙂
Maybe I'll give it another try or two.
 

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... Sorry for all the boring stuff.

Boring? You've summed ALOT in a nutshell. It's mindblowing with all
that goes into it. I mean I condemned 3D stuff for years, especially in the
early days. I didnt have a need for it, wasnt into gaming etc so I just had no interest.
Now that I have my own cnc at home..... you can guess what im after now.
I have no time at work to play around to give it a try.

The softwares seem complicated & intimidating at times, especially now you mention
years to master. Yikes! But I still can try at it at least. Sure seems fun but takes a bit of time.


Im currently cross-eyed looking at those screen shot softwares... I need a few more minutes... :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Ronnie, it takes practice to get faster but you can start modeling in just a few minutes of learning the 3d software's user interface.

I say that slight jokingly because the 3d software user interface is usually a beast. That is true in almost all the 3d modeling programs.

It took me 3 separate attempts during a year to finally start modeling. My brain had to make a switch from thinking in 2d and start thinking in 3d. For me it was not a natural transition.

Blender 3d is a good entry software because it is free. It is total overkill for cnc pattern creation and fairly complicated but it is free. lol. It is not the best at anything but it is really solid at 3d modeling and okay at digital sculpting. The 3d modeling software packages that are industry standards are all in the thousands of dollars for annual subscriptions. A lot like Aspire. But any software that you can use to make good patterns is good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Those are great Oscar! Thanks a bunch. I've tried modeling a few times but it always turns out looking like something a 3rd grader did if he wasn't trying very hard. 🙂
Maybe I'll give it another try or two.
Good and you are welcome. I hope one them works and I doubt that about your modeling.
 
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