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3-d Printing In The Taxidermy Industry

Discussion in 'Molding and Casting' started by jake7719, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    I have a background in fine art as well as taxidermy. One of my sons is into D&D and asked if I would paint a figurine he had custom 3-D printed on the internet, so I did. This lead to all of his D&D friends wanting things printed, and got me interested in 3-D printing and its use in the taxidermy industry.

    You can get a printing setup and scanner for under $750.00. You would be able to print just about anything around the size of a milk crate. Scan and print your fish heads, duck heads, habitat, ear liners and jaw sets, tools and hangers, custom name plates, reproduction fish parts like fins, noses and the list goes on. You could even make and sell files of all this stuff.

    With out a scanner you would need to get files by buying or for free on the net., and you can make all kinds of stuff like hunting and fishing gear.

    I'm looking into a leasing option as of now of around $75 a month, with the option of upgrading as new, bigger and faster printers and new tech comes out. And supplies at all most cost. This would be a resin printer able to print in all types of harnesses and flexibilities even clear for eyes and fins. Cost of printing is from 90% of cost some things like a set of WTD ear liners would cost about $.30 and 4 hours to print. I don't think it would take much time to get that back and start saving and making money on 3-D printing.
    Jay Turney and Megan :) like this.
  2. antlermike

    antlermike Active Member

    I had thought about that also but dont know much about 3D printing
    Jay Turney likes this.

  3. Westcoast

    Westcoast Well-Known Member

    I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but what is the end game? Use a computer to make a perfect copy of something in nature? That’s way to easy in my opinion, That would completely take out the artistic ability and craftsmanship involved. Have a computer that can sew and then we will have something. I’m sorry dude, but I just can’t get on board with the idea, it feels like cheating to me.
    rogerswildlife likes this.
  4. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    No different then casting a fish or duck head, yes cheating, but no. To me it is an aid to get the best mount you can create. If you can't draw a straight line would you not use a ruler ? More of an advancement, some old timers thought wrapped duck bodies with real heads or skin mounted cooled and salt water fish, now your a "HACKADERMIST" if you don't do reproductions for them.
    It would be great to push a button and print a hanger or name plate as needed. No more rush shipping if you need stuff. I looked at the BIG #45 Cat. of Mckenzie and stop counting at 1000 + items. You all ways have the right size by clicking and dragging to make bigger or smaller.
    drob, Megan :) and Wally Gator like this.
  5. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    You Tube has all kinds of info. I got a Tablet for drawing, WOW ! never having to buy paint or supplies, paper or ink, one of the best investments ever. INSTRUCTABLES and free Webinars from the manufacturers. Check it out.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Tablets are awesome for drawing (and other tasks) .. but .. if you intend to share your art in the real world, you still need to invest in a quality printer, art quality paper and inks to print with. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of files that no one can see to appreciate.

    As for investing in 3D scanners. I remember seeing home made scanners that did a good job using a cell phone if I remember correctly. Might even be better home made ways to build scanners now as this was several years ago. As for taxidermy? Most of your raw materials are right there with your specimen. Unless something was damaged or missing, would there be any real need to take the time needed to scan something (and you need the item to scan) and set up the files and equipment to print something? Things like skulls and skeletons are already being printed out. Considering the actual cost, I don't think many folks would be using 3D printed skulls in their mounts or bones in their armatures.
  7. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    The Printing of digital art is on of the benefits, cheep sights like Fed Ex print places. Get it on Quality paper to even glass. Sights that will print for you or drop ship your printed art for you. Not real cost effective for larger formats to home print, but 8x11 not to bad.
    It would be based on what your needs are, on a WTD, ear liners, ear butts, flehming nose set, and a custom name plate cost about $90.00, if you printed it, about $8.00 (not the cost of a file, most free or $1.00). Easy up charge your mount for $200.00.
  8. Robert Baker

    Robert Baker Well-Known Member

    I have a 3D printer and print often. Its not as simple as you think. You say scanning, there is no way unless your using one of the free options that basically sews 1000s of pictures together to get a workable 3d object (that you still need to tweak in a 3D modelling program) that you are doing that with a $750 setup. It sounds easy at first but you really need a good understanding of 3D modelling to do your own designs. You can get a ton of printable objects from thingiverse but those are posted free of charge by end users and some of those have flaws that -- again, if you do not understand 3D modelling, you will not be able to fix.

    You can find 3D modelling courses online and blender is a free 3D modelling software that is about as good as any paid software out there. I'm not in the traditional is the only way to go crowd -- instead, I'm in the use what technology is available to keep costs down and produce a better product crowd. If 3D printing is the way you want to go then you should pursue it. Just understand that you should do your homework before hand. $750 will get you started but you will not get the outcome your looking for with a $750 starting setup. The scanning is what will hold you back -- not the printing.

  9. Kate Lacour

    Kate Lacour Member

    I occasionally work with an engineering lab, which also had me wondering about the applications of 3D printing for taxidermy. I’d love to see what people with expertise in both areas are able to produce.
    In my understanding, you can “sculpt” and manipulate your digital model, so there’s still the plenty of room for artistry, not just slavish reproduction, in building forms.
    Megan :) and Robert Baker like this.
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    This! and so much more. I fully agree that trying to edit and manipulate multiple layers of slices is just mind boggling. I have a couple of 3D printed skeletons I have purchased. The time and skill that went into making them is the reason that they were not cheap. If it was an easy thing to set up and do, everyone would be doing this. I'm more tempted by the 3D pen that is out. That looks like fun. :)
    Robert Baker likes this.
  11. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    Some BIG supplier like McKenzie could scan all the stuff they have and offer a subscription of files or pay as you need them. Then you can print them in house. Even if you just made name plates, hangers and beer bottle openers with your shops phone number on it, would pay for its self. I'm talking to some 3-D printing and scanning companies this week (free in house demo, and lunch ) to look more in to exact money numbers, the company that I talked to was more into the printing end and not a scanner manufacturer. The sales rep/tech is into hunting and fishing, gun stuff and is really excited to make something besides D&D figures as samples.

    FUN 3-D printing sight HERO FORGE, you can make and design custom figures and have them printed, (CHEEP) made some custom monopoly game pieces for my monopoly game.
  12. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    3D printing is not so cheap,
    And not finite to the detail needed for example repo fish,
    Figurines bottle openers - works great
    I do tons of 3 D modeling in my full time job
    We now do 3D modeling with powder steel for major corporations
    And they still need to grind and polish these parts to use
    A deer form will never be printed as cheap as a two part foam in a mold
    3D printing has its place in manufacturing to reduce stock on parts needed for production, houses are actually being made with 3D printing using cement but it’s not cheap
    Mudbat and Robert Baker like this.
  13. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    I definitely think there could be some benefit to having access to a 3D printer for some things. In the end, the cost justification has to be balanced to each person and their business. I don't know enough about 3D printing to give any advice, nor had I ever thought of using one for something like this, but now I'm curious as heck.
    Robert Baker likes this.
  14. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    It is very interesting for sure
    Especially printing a full size house with cement
  15. Museum Man

    Museum Man Well-Known Member

    i have seen one in action and it is a very slow process
  16. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    A projected 4 hours for a pair of earliners as mentioned earlier. I don't care how "cool" and novel the equipment is, I wouldn't waste any time with it.

    I can have a pair of earliners made in a few minutes the old fashioned way.
    John C likes this.
  17. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    That's print time, your doing other things when the printer is running, eat, sleep, mount stuff. Some people have issues with moving forwards, out of the dark and towards the light of progress. 30 years ago I graduated with a BA in Art, I asked my Professors if a computer could ever replace a Artist, "never" they said. Just got my XP-PEN tablet and teaching my self how to do art and design digitally. Working on an ear liner and butt, it is mesh and takes 2 hours to print, it holds the shape and you increase the gluing surface by over 600%. Got to evolve or become extinct, T-REX.
  18. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    I used Hero Forge to design and print a custom mini. Super reasonable price for that, and cool to have something unique.
    Robert Baker likes this.
  19. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    You ain't kidding about the difficulty of 3D modeling. Difficult to visualize for many, including myself. And I was a CADD Draftsman/Designer for 30+ years and eventually head of the department! There were only two designers/draftsman where I worked among 25+ that grasped the 3D concept and were able to learn Finite Element Analysis and 3D modeling. Granted, I'm sure my scenario was far more complex than tweaking a 3D model of a bird head. But, my point still stands. You need to not only be able to visualize in 3D, but also learn the software to manipulate things. I'm sure Robert is correct. It isn't quite as simple as you think. Quite the opposite!
  20. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    All the tech is out on the market. Just think, one day printing your taxidermy manikins like that. Pick your size and type of fish and pose, press the "PRINT" button . My sons got me interested in D&D and painting the minis, they turn out really nice. The paints used for minis work great in taxidermy, hand painting reproduction's. All the paints used for this is a bit pricy $3-$5 per ounce range, but coverage is exceptional, because of the fine detail you CAN NOT build the color in layers, it will fill in the detail. This paint works well in an air brush as well as hand painting.