3D Printing
Turning molten plastic into neat toys
3D Printing
• Lots of different kinds of 3d printing
• Some use powder, metal, etc.
• Primary home/hobby printing is “FDM”...
Models: Makerbot
• Consumer-targeted 3d
printer
• Designed to be ‘no
setup’; easy for
consumers
• Costs about $2200
Models: Printrbot
• Originally kickstarter
• Typically sold as kits
(but can buy assembled
for $100)
• Varies in cost from...
Materials
• PLA
– Biodegradable
– Produced from corn
– Lower melting temperature (compared to ABS)

• ABS
– Higher tempera...
Costs
• “Filament” (plastic used as input to the
printer) typically costs about $30/kg
– Can be found as low as $20, but “...
What can you make?
• Just about anything plastic with enough care
• Limited by build volume (Printrbot Plus is 8”
cube) an...
How it works: Software
• Take a 3D model (STL file)
• Use a ‘slicer’ to turn it into layered paths for
the head of the pri...
How it works: G-Code
• Slicer generates “G-Code”
– a set of “move here, at
this rate” instructions
• G-Code was originally...
How it works: Repetier
• Software to control
overall interactions with
the printer
• Communicates over
USB to printer
• Ha...
How it works: Printing
• Melts 3D plastic in a heated head (~200
degrees C)
• Prints onto flat surface – important to get ...
How it works: Complex Prints
• Some 3D models can’t be printed without
overhangs
• Two basic components: Bridges and suppo...
How it works: Complex Shapes
• Not all complex shapes
are complex prints
though
• Some shapes with lots
of holes in them c...
How it works: Bigger Shapes
• 3d printing bigger
shapes usually works
via snap-fit or press-fit
pieces
• Push pieces toget...
Coolest Items
• Articulated excavator:
“Little Digger”,
thing:208315
• Prints as one piece
• Wheels, cab, and arm
move
Coolest Items
•
•
•
•

Fidget cubes
Prints as one piece
Hinged
thing:230139
Finding Models: Thingiverse
• Thingiverse is a 3d model repository that
offers lots of 3d models
• Social – can also share...
Designing Models: OpenSCAD
• OpenSCAD is 3D
Modeling for
programmers
• You write 3D models
with code
• Can import and expo...
Designing Models: Sketchup
• Sketchup – formerly from Google – is another
design tool
• Free plugin to support export to S...
Creating your own Filament
• Filament extruders can be purchased as kits
for a few hundred $
• Take in plastic pellets ($7...
Other types of 3D Printing
•
•
•
•

Powder bed 3d printing
Laser sintering
Laminated
Light Polymerized
Things to know
• 3D Printers – at least, printrbot – is *not* a
commercially ready tool

– It requires a lot of tinkering ...
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....
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3D Printing

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3D Printing

  1. 1. 3D Printing Turning molten plastic into neat toys
  2. 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. 3. Models: Makerbot • Consumer-targeted 3d printer • Designed to be ‘no setup’; easy for consumers • Costs about $2200
  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 15. Coolest Items • Articulated excavator: “Little Digger”, thing:208315 • Prints as one piece • Wheels, cab, and arm move
  16. 16. Coolest Items • • • • Fidget cubes Prints as one piece Hinged thing:230139
  17. 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. 18. Designing Models: OpenSCAD • OpenSCAD is 3D Modeling for programmers • You write 3D models with code • Can import and export common formats
  19. 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. 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. 21. Other types of 3D Printing • • • • Powder bed 3d printing Laser sintering Laminated Light Polymerized
  22. 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. 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

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