I've done a few 3D designs in Sketchup and Fusion 360. Prints were done in PLA on an FDM and an SLA machine that I have access to. Generally I am quite happy with the results. Now the description of my question.

I would like to create a 3D model of the house and yard that my wife grew up in, print it in miniature then assemble it into a snow globe to be given as a Christmas present. Quite a challenge I expect. The final thing does not have to be exact but a fair representation so that she can actually tell that it's her house. Some specific questions:

  1. The house is brick, would the brick texture actually be noticeable on the printed model if it is say only 1 to 1.5" on a side with either SLA or FDM?
  2. Same for roof shingles?
  3. Or should I just rely on adding these details artistically in the painting process ( I will have to find an artist to do all that )
  4. Thought on trees/ bushes? Again I hope to rely on artistic license when designing these parts.
  5. Thoughts on software: "Which would be best to design in?" It has to be free (or not expensive) since I am not doing this professionally and don't have the money to buy expensive 3D software? Someone suggested Blender. Fusion 360, Sketchup. Others?
  6. Thoughts on best printing method ?

A lot of questions I know and I truly appreciate any feedback on any of this.

  • $\begingroup$ I voted to close this question as too broad. Please ask only a single question per question. Asking for suggestions that are opinion-based (best printing method, suitable 3D software) is discouraged. Please visit the help center to learn about how this site works, and how to ask a good question. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2017 at 6:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ there are really only two questions in here, "Is the accuracy and repeatability of SLA printer sufficient to print this" and "What is best for modeling something of this size" $\endgroup$
    – Diesel
    Mar 30, 2017 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ Well said. I appreciate your distilling all that I said into these succinct questions. $\endgroup$
    – Vince
    Mar 31, 2017 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you could edit your question and add a TL;DR summary, using Diesel's distillation...? Otherwise your question may be closed as being too broad... $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    Apr 9, 2017 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


Answering your questions in turn:

  1. On the scale you're trying for, printing brick with FDM won't show up - you'd have much better results, and could be possible, with SLA. You won't see every brick, but you will see the texture at least.

  2. Same as for brick, You wont see shingles, but you can differentiate that there is a texture difference. If you were to paint it after the fact the color plus the texture will make it clear.

  3. Yup, but both won't hurt.

  4. Doable if they're big enough. SLA would be required I think to make them look good.

  5. For something like this I'd suggest Blender, if your modelling skills are pretty solid. If not, Fusion-360 would work really well. But that's purely opinion based.

  6. SLA if that wasn't clear as of yet.

Sounds awesome. I think the hardest part on this is going to be the modelling, the structure I'm picturing isn't all that complex so it should be doable.

  • $\begingroup$ all depending on the scale and details. DLP and SLA or SLS all work nicely, but you can also use FDM to get all the details if the scale is right. 25.4 mm is not enough, but at 254 mm you might get away with FDM. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Sep 14, 2018 at 6:49

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