I then took the simple character sketch and began modelling it in 3D, everything I read about 3D printing stated that as long as the mesh is water tight (no holes) manifold (no open faces or shared edges) it should be fine, there was no mention to ngons or unquaded triangles (sorry for the tech talk, these are things to avoid when creating a model for animation)..
So I deliberately left both of these things in, I kept the model low polygon (it's under 2k polys) and did not equally space the polygons, again this is something not mentioned in any of the write ups I've read about 3D printing and so after an afternoon I had this:
I then took it to see the 3D printing researchers here at the NCCA (who are doing amazing things) and I printed it on desktop 3D printer they have in their lab:
This took 11 hours to print and is around 3 inches tall (i didn't have to be there the whole time, we left it printing over night) As you can see, the structure is there, but that's about it, most detail is lost, partly due to the printer used and the plastic not being hot enough at the start. an unusual wood like pattern appeared on the model too, though unexpected, it has a nice quality to it.
Convinced I could get petter results I sent the mesh to a commercial printing service, who produced this:
The detail is all there, even down to the un-smoothed polygons. this has opened my mind up to all kinds of possibilities. Many people have asked me about sculptures of my work and the main reason why I've never looked into it is because of the spindly nature of my characters, I didn't think they could stand up. when I'm finished with the MA, this will receive a lot of more of my attention. look out galleries!!