Lumafield helped Adam Savage unlock a piece of history from his own career, recovering his designs for a Star Wars Y-wing Starfighter from a 23-year-old set of silicone molds—molds that are now too fragile to use again. To revive his old models, we started by scanning Adam’s molds in our Neptune industrial CT scanner, then used Voyager to extract detailed STL meshes of their cavities that could be inverted and 3D printed to resurrect his designs.
You can explore our scans of Adam's molds in Voyager; just create a free account when prompted.
The internal details of these molds are treasures. CT scanning captures every feature of the models—even the flash where the two halves of the silicone come together—while 3D printing brings them back to life. In this video, Adam illuminates the esoteric art of model making and the high level of craftsmanship involved in each step of the process. 3D printing software and hardware now save time and labor, allowing a freedom in design and fabrication that was out of reach when Adam worked as a modelmaker in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The way we reconstructed these models—by translating freely between negative molds and positive models—is similar to several methods that are now ubiquitous in large-scale production applications of 3D printing. In investment casting, a 3D printed positive pattern can be dipped in a liquid ceramic slurry before the pattern is burned out and the void in the ceramic is filled with molten end-use material. Dental aligners and nightguards are likewise customized by scanning dentition impressions, inverting the mesh, 3D printing a positive model of teeth, and then vacuum-forming a plastic sheet over the printed model. We explored both of these processes in Scan of the Month, and an in-depth guide to the dental workflow is available here.
Industrial CT is an ideal companion to additive manufacturing. Learn what industrial CT reveals inside 3D printed parts.