In case you have not been following this in the Facebook “Garden of Epicurus” group, my second generation 3d mesh has now produced its first output. Follow this link to review. In the photo accompanying this post, the one you will order is on the RIGHT. The smaller one, and the one on the left, are earlier generations of the 3d mesh for comparison. (Update 10/5/13: Here is a direct link for downloading the mesh. I thought there was a download link on the Shapeways page, but apparently not.)
Resolution is still not what I would like it to be, but I don’t expect to be able to take the project further myself, and I think the results so far are probably acceptable for most needs. The features are still not as sharp as on my original, but the version I received today, printed in the Shapeways “white and strong and flexible” plastic material, does not immediately appear “out of focus” as did the first generation.
I have larger sizes on order and will announce the results when I receive them, but I have now produced a 3.2 inch hollow model for what seems to be a reasonable price. You should be able to order one for $15.00 direct from Shapeways at this link. Keep in mind that the model is hollow, and really little more than a thin shell, but if you fill it with sand and seal the bottom, or even if you just stand it up as is, I think you’ll not be able to tell that this is not a “real” piece of hard sculpture. The 3.2 inch size is much more acceptable than before as well. My goal here is to make Epicurus available to the widest possible number of people at the lowest possible cost. By filling your Epicurus with your own copy with sand and sealing the bottom yourself, you individualize it in a way I bet he would approve!
Please keep in mind that if you decide to order your transaction is direct between you and Shapeways. I get no “cut” of your payment, and I am making the 3d file available freely. If you have your own 3d printer, you can download the file from the same link and use it any way you like.
I intend to experiment with other printing materials, but each material seems to have its own requirements in terms of shell thickness, and I have found that attempts to print in Alumide and other heavier materials have been rejected by the Shapeways approval process. There are parts of the “base” that are very thin, and I have been unable to figure out how to “extrude” them satisfactorily. If price is no object to you, the same model which is at least partly solid can be ordered here. The solid version is considerably more expensive, however, due to the additional materials that are used. Again, let me recommend that you order one of the hollow ones first to be sure the results are acceptable to you. Once you see what you’re getting, you are in a much better position to experiment with the material options.
I hope you find this project useful!
One more tip: If you are at all a do-it-yourselfer, you can go to Shapeways, download the model, and then play with it using the free program MESHMIXER: http://www.meshmixer.com/ That is how I hollowed out the model, extruded it to produce a shell, and then altered the base. Someone who is more adept than I can take the model and Meshmixer and improve the appearance of the base, and also perhaps add additional detail to the eyes, but I think I have reached the point where I have to know my limitations, leave the 3d work to others, and get back to my work on the Epicurean texts!;-)