3D Print Learning Series: Design Basics
This is an entry in our 3D Print Learning Series, focusing on Design Basics for 3D Printing.
For other current entries in this series, please search for our tag, “learning series”, here. Search often, as we will be adding more periodically.
3D Print Design Basics
Many people unfamiliar with 3D printing have the mistaken impression that one can simply “print anything”. They seem to think that if you have I don't object of any geometry prepared as a 3D model, it could be printed.
This is utterly wrong, as anyone who's operated a 3D printer even ones can attest.
It turns out that every 3D printing process that resulted in best practices for design. In other words, you must design FOR 3D printing. If not, your printing project may fail miserably.
This is series of posts describes a number of aspects in proper design for 3D printing. Let's get started!
Each heading below is a link to relevant design discussion.
Perhaps the most basic understanding one must have to comprehend what's happening with the the 3D printing is the notion of a 3D model. This is a digital representation the item to be produced, and is a mandatory requirement for 3D printing.
Creating 3D models is done through software. But what kind of software? Most people have heard of the term “CAD”, but there's actually far more to it, and in reality a number of different 3D creation tools that fall into four categories.
Certain 3D model creation tools where never intended to create printable items. Thus it is possible to create invalid 3D models when using them. If you do this, then it's up to you to repair them before you can attempt printing.
A mistake I made for far too long was ignoring the geometry of the base of my 3D models. This mistake it is likely responsible for a great many print failures across the world, and this is surprising because it is quite straightforward to do this properly.
There're plenty of fascinating 3D models that big to be printed, but sometimes they just don't lend themselves very well to the printing process. This post describes a technique you can use to overcome this.
I now look at the 3D model with different eyes than I originally did. This is because after having suffered countless print failures I am now able to easily recognize certain pathological geometries that can mess up your day. This post will help you see them as I do, and take appropriate action.
A very common type of print is to produce and object that is in the shape of a word or name. At first you might think this is a straightforward design task, as you simply need to extrude some letters. But it turns out that words require the letters to be in specific order, who knew? Thus you must join the separate letters together before printing. It turns out there are at least four ways to do so.
Many 3D prints are actually of components for mechanical devices. These devices are essentially assemblies of several components and are often bound together with bolts. Although it's always possible to simply put a bolt and nut through a hole, sometimes you need to put threads into your 3D model to allow the bolt to hold without a nut.
For other currently entries in this series, please search for our tag, “learning series”, here. Search often, as we will be adding more periodically.