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Thread: LW for manufacturing?

  1. #1
    Registered User sami's Avatar
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    Question LW for manufacturing?

    Hey does anyone use LW for manufacturing or part generation for industrial design, tooling etc? Beyond just local 3D-printing - I mean for things like LSR injection molding or anything like that?

    If so, what plugins, scripts, workflow do you tend to use? LWCAD precision and stuff seems necessary, but what else do you use and what tips/gotchas should I look out for? Or should I go with another modeler for this?

    thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    The question is more about what you are comfortable with.

    There are those of us that have used it for precision tasks of manufacturing, like milling and other cnc machinations, and have found it satisfactory.
    Others have adopted other tools that have, in whatever manner, a more direct path to the machinery.
    What does the manufacturer need, file-wise, to do its job? You can get a lot of useful files out of LW.
    Forget the opinions; go out and try it.

    Remember:
    - Working in SubD is GREAT;
    - Save iterations on many layers with proper naming of your layers;
    - When ready to manufacture, make sure to FREEZE (ctrl-D) your SubD on another layer than the original;
    - Export the frozen file to your needed format.

    With control of mesh density with options on pressing o, you can get a really file for any cnc process.

    Good luck

  3. #3


    Depends, for injection molding they might have to convert the model.
    unfortunately i couldn't find much info on the format. wouldn't surprise me if you could use an .obj format though.
    even if not ideal.

    also check >
    https://www.3dhubs.com/knowledge-bas...ection-molding
    https://community.ultimaker.com/topi...***-production
    https://www.3dhubs.com/guides/injection-molding
    https://www.google.no/search?&q=how+...ction+moulding

    p.s.  if you want to do professional injection molding, expect a start price of $50,000.


    side-note, Some of the parts for this bike, were done in LightWave, however, probably not injection molding.

    Last edited by erikals; 07-23-2019 at 05:53 AM.
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  4. #4
    www.Digitawn.co.uk rustythe1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post

    Depends, for injection molding they might have to convert the model.
    unfortunately i couldn't find much info on the format. wouldn't surprise me if you could use an .obj format though.
    even if not ideal.

    also check >
    https://www.3dhubs.com/knowledge-bas...ection-molding
    https://community.ultimaker.com/topi...***-production
    https://www.3dhubs.com/guides/injection-molding
    https://www.google.no/search?&q=how+...ction+moulding

    p.s.  if you want to do professional injection molding, expect a start price of $50,000.


    side-note, Some of the parts for this bike, were done in LightWave, however, probably not injection molding.

    online firms can often take obj and stl for moulding, but that is more your one off cheap rapid prototype moulding, proper moulding usually requires STEP or IGS as many of the drill tooling requires vector information, which lightwave cant do, its almost impossible to accurately change between the two as coming from step,igs requires the model to be faceted, which loses the curve accuracy,
    the reason the cheaper moulding works is that they usually 3d print the mould first then make the solid mould from that, much cheaper and easier, but less accurate,
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  5. #5
    www.Digitawn.co.uk rustythe1's Avatar
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    actually, you could maybe use LWcad as I think that had a DFX exporter that could handle curves etc and as far as I remember, you could then send that to Freecad or something then to step or IGS
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  6. #6
    Dreamer Ztreem's Avatar
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    Is it possible? Yes.
    Is it best practice? No.
    Is it gonna come back later an bite you in the ***? Probably.

    Using Lw for tool making is like printing a book with a bitmap font instead of a vector font.

    Use the right tool for the job. Examples of cheap tools better suited for the job.
    FreeCAD, MOI, Fusion360, Rhino3D etc...

  7. #7

    Using Lw for tool making is like printing a book with a bitmap font instead of a vector font.
    i've worked with the biggest companies, and you have no idea how often we did that!    


    but totally agree, there is a Huge "might come back at you" factor here.  

    so i wouldn't make it the default "pipeline" if going about it more than a few times. and even then...


    Use the right tool for the job. Examples of cheap tools better suited for the job.
    FreeCAD, MOI, Fusion360, Rhino3D etc...
    yes definitely consider these, + ViaCAD.

    Sami, it really depends though, what parts, what materials, the quantity, etc, etc... ?
    Last edited by erikals; 07-23-2019 at 11:18 AM.
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  8. #8
    AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Inventor and other solid parametric design tools are the way to go IMHO. Most can talk to the CNC machines and just make the part or can easily be sent to a 3D printer as well. I work for a manufacture, but we are using LW on the very front end of product development so that we can visualize and sell the concept, from there the concept goes through an engineering department for CAD work using industry standard tools. We will however 3D print many components to get a hands on feel and for that we go right out LW to the 3D printer as an STL file.
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  9. #9
    I don't know much about the stuff but I think this guy designing guns and accessories in Lightwave at T.REX ARMS is related and I find it interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXvqFnr7FtU
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  10. #10





    forgot that one.

    also see Repo Men 2008 >





    https://www.lightwave3d.com/news/art...cs-of-repo-man

    edit; i guess that was a 3D print... still, some of it might apply.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by erikals; 07-23-2019 at 01:14 PM.
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  11. #11
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    I would also take a look at designsparks mechanical, free but you have to register.

    You can save out a concept draft model made in lightwave as obj, which designsparks read, once opened in designsparks, under structure and where you have an icon for your mesh..right mouseklick and choose convert to solid, you have the option of merging faces or not, then you can continue re-edit holes or edges, by rezising..either enter numeric values or move with the pull tool, you can also fillet edges and surfaces by the same method, and it will also be parametric.
    You an further on just save the model to a 3dpdf showcase.

    Designsparks saves out to stl, dxf.

    by the way..stl export from lightwave then to Designsparks may be better for things with holes in i, especially just planar surfaces.

  12. #12


    cool, i'll take a look, the chamfer options are very important to me (and some others)

    here, ViaCAD, does it Beautifully >



    and - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDZQSC744iQ
    Last edited by erikals; 07-23-2019 at 02:03 PM.
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  13. #13


    injection molding option >




    more on Youtube > https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...th+3d+printing
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  14. #14
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post

    cool, i'll take a look, the chamfer options are very important to me (and some others)

    here, ViaCAD, does it Beautifully >
    You won´t find any fillet chamfer "named" tool in Designsparks, it is sort of a bit hidden in one tool called pull, with the selection just hover an edge or surface and it will highligh automaticly, double click to select loop, or ctrl click to add edges, then go to the pull tool ant that is where you do the fillet chamfering, various fillets can be set on the opposite side of the filleted edge, also parametrical so you can highlight it and adjust by entering new exact values, it doesn´t have as many tools perhaps as freecad..but is more for rapid construction.

    And you can always use it to put some of your models from lightwave in to a pdf file with that model fully rotational inside the pdf.


  15. #15
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    For any types of molds, I strongly recommend a mechanical CAD package. One of the key tools are draft angles and analysis, without it you can brake the mold at a cost of 5k to 50k$. Yes Lightwave and other 3D apps can help with the styling surfaces, but once the styling has to be re-worked for manufacturing, again a mechanical CAD package supports with tailor made functions for sheet metal, molding, CNC machining and so on.

    A free CAD (cloud) package for hobbyists, startups (<100k$ income) is Fusion 360.
    https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/f...-for-hobbyists

    Cheapest perpetual CAD package in traditional boxed DVD: ViaCAD 9-11 Pro.
    FreeCAD is decent for being free, but lacks a few features that risks the tool/project.

    Then there is CATIA, starts at 10k/year and does not end at 100k/year for the fanciest modules (boat and airplane design). Dassault is probably the inspiration for Autodesk astronomical rental fees.

    Give us more examples about the type of products you are considering.

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