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3D Printing
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3D Printing


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  • 1. 3D Printing Turning molten plastic into neat toys
  • 2. 3D Printing • Lots of different kinds of 3d printing • Some use powder, metal, etc. • Primary home/hobby printing is “FDM” – Fused Deposition Modelling – Basically: A glue gun controlled by a printer – Assembly is layer-by-layer
  • 3. Models: Makerbot • Consumer-targeted 3d printer • Designed to be ‘no setup’; easy for consumers • Costs about $2200
  • 4. Models: Printrbot • Originally kickstarter • Typically sold as kits (but can buy assembled for $100) • Varies in cost from $300-$800 • Targeted at hobbyists.
  • 5. Materials • PLA – Biodegradable – Produced from corn – Lower melting temperature (compared to ABS) • ABS – Higher temperature – Higher melting temperature • Can print in other things (teflon; nylon; wood filament) – much less common (and more expensive)
  • 6. Costs • “Filament” (plastic used as input to the printer) typically costs about $30/kg – Can be found as low as $20, but “you get what you pay for” • Many small items can be made for 50 cents or so worth of plastic
  • 7. What can you make? • Just about anything plastic with enough care • Limited by build volume (Printrbot Plus is 8” cube) and layering approach – You aren’t going to build a car with a 3d printer very quickly – You’re also not going to build a chandelier very easily – anything with overhangs can be difficult
  • 8. How it works: Software • Take a 3D model (STL file) • Use a ‘slicer’ to turn it into layered paths for the head of the printer • Slicer intelligently fills in solid spaces with material – Also tries to minimize plastic on the insides of pieces so as to not waste material
  • 9. How it works: G-Code • Slicer generates “G-Code” – a set of “move here, at this rate” instructions • G-Code was originally designed in the 1980s for driving other computerdriven manufacturing • G-Code can be interpreted by firmware on the electronics attached to the printer
  • 10. How it works: Repetier • Software to control overall interactions with the printer • Communicates over USB to printer • Has UI to control position, heat, fan, etc. • Repetier also has slicing and G-Code visualization
  • 11. How it works: Printing • Melts 3D plastic in a heated head (~200 degrees C) • Prints onto flat surface – important to get the first layer right so it sticks • Motor feeds material through the hot end, pushing plastic out the other side. • Motors move the bed and the print head in 3 dimensions to print
  • 12. How it works: Complex Prints • Some 3D models can’t be printed without overhangs • Two basic components: Bridges and support material • Bridges are connections between two existing pieces of plastic • Support material is thin layers designed to form a basis for bridges – temporary, intended to snap-away
  • 13. How it works: Complex Shapes • Not all complex shapes are complex prints though • Some shapes with lots of holes in them can still be printed (relatively) easily • Common style: Voronoi surface
  • 14. How it works: Bigger Shapes • 3d printing bigger shapes usually works via snap-fit or press-fit pieces • Push pieces together to get them to stay
  • 15. Coolest Items • Articulated excavator: “Little Digger”, thing:208315 • Prints as one piece • Wheels, cab, and arm move
  • 16. Coolest Items • • • • Fidget cubes Prints as one piece Hinged thing:230139
  • 17. Finding Models: Thingiverse • Thingiverse is a 3d model repository that offers lots of 3d models • Social – can also share 3d models, share ‘makes’, etc. • Supported by Makerware • Good to find first things to print – toys, puzzles, printer improvements…
  • 18. Designing Models: OpenSCAD • OpenSCAD is 3D Modeling for programmers • You write 3D models with code • Can import and export common formats
  • 19. Designing Models: Sketchup • Sketchup – formerly from Google – is another design tool • Free plugin to support export to STL • Can be used as a visual design tool (rather than code)
  • 20. Creating your own Filament • Filament extruders can be purchased as kits for a few hundred $ • Take in plastic pellets ($7-$10/kg instead of $30-$40) • No commonly available way to re-melt prints currently, but people are working on recyclers
  • 21. Other types of 3D Printing • • • • Powder bed 3d printing Laser sintering Laminated Light Polymerized
  • 22. Things to know • 3D Printers – at least, printrbot – is *not* a commercially ready tool – It requires a lot of tinkering and tweaking to get good prints – When the answer from support to a problem is “Pull out your multimeter and measure the resistance” you know you’re in a hobbyist market • If you buy a kit – expect it to take a while to build • Bed level is important: Bed level and belt tension are the two most important aspects of good prints
  • 23. FAQ • Have you printed a gun? – No. This is a silly use of 3d printing, there are lots of easy ways to build your own gun. • How long have you had it? – About two weeks • Is it made of wood? – Yep