Picture of 3D printing on the cheap
As some of you may know, 3D printing is getting cheaper, but it's still expensive. And most prices for prints are based on volume. So how do you cut the volume of your print to make it cheaper? You can make it hollow (if you don't know how, I'll show you my method) which can take a lot of price out. But I have an item that at it's cheapest was about $43. If you want to make an item that sells, that's a little pricey for an impulse buy. So how do you cut out even more volume without a lot of manual work? Well I used a tool in a way it's not exactly meant to be used. I'll show you how to use 123D Make to cut as much volume out of a model as you'd like.

What you'll need:

Computer with 123D Make (free!!)
Blender (the modeling program, not the smoothy maker. Also free!!) - optional
A 3D model (If you don't know how to make one, you can easily find one for free online)
A 3D printer or printing service. I'll be using Shapeways in my example as I'm most familiar with them.
Filler - Anything that you can fill your model with. I'm thinking colored wax would be awesome - optional

Please note, if you'd like to make an even cheaper prototype, check out my instructable on prototyping on the cheap.
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afhaque892 years ago
Seriously fantastic tutorial man. I can't tell you how much of a difference this little trick makes.... One thing I'd recommend others using this tactic is that if you're designing parts to fit into one another, just play around the parameters or your design. It's usually possible to get the right slicing so that the joints still fit perfectly.
Tomdf2 years ago
I bet you could fill that with foam filler, add a few layers of bondo and paint, and then polish it to a super clean finish. One could print skeletons for all kinds of sculpture with this technique! I'm getting tons of ideas on how to use this, ty :D
This is incredibly clever, especially for making test pieces!