3D Printing

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3D Printing

Printing software and model files


Printbot JR.

Our newest printer: The Printbot JR.

The printbot Jr. uses PLA filament. This printer has a lower resolution and smaller bed. The advatage being the portability that the small frame affords. As it stands this is a good printer for knocking out small prints where detail is not a concern. This printer is perfect for small ugly pieces esspecially for use with casting.

Unlike the ultimaker the software needed for this printer is called Pronterface

Ultimaker 3D Printer

The Ultimaker 3D Printer prints using PLA. Printing with ADS will be possible in the future with a heated bed upgrade.

Assembling the 3D Printer

Heatsync has an Ultimaker Quickstart Guide posted on their wiki, though it might not fully apply to Xerocraft's Ultimaker.

We are using the Cura software to create Gcode from STL files and run the Ultimaker, because we cannot get ReplicatorG to work.

Cura only accepts STL files, but one can convert other 3D formats into STL by using the free Meshlab software. Large STL files may crash Cura, but they can be "decimated" first into smaller sizes (less polygons) in Meshlab (Filters> Remeshing, Simplification and Reconstruction-- then chose "Clustering decimation" or "Quadratic Edge Collaspe Decimation").

Heatsync used Repetier to preview how the Gcode sliced an STL file. They also uploaded the STL files to netfabb to fix them before printing them.

Now members need to create things to 3D print, if they do not like the readymade items on Thingiverse. They might create their own objects in Tinkercad online. Or they can download free 3D modeling software like Sketchup, or OpenSCAD, or Wings3D, or Sculptris, or Blender. They might use the free 123D Catch to 3D scan an object in the real world, for printing later.

Next year with the Leap Motion we might be computer sculpting by waving our hands in thin air.

For example, Karl 3D scanned his friend's sculpture, "decimated" it in Meshlab, and then uploaded it to Tinkercad -- so it is now ready to be altered or printed (admittedly, he did pay the local foundry, Metalphysic, to scan the cement figure).

He also used a different, and very small 3D image for an augmented reality project. Not all 3D objects have to be printed, after all.

3D printer is a good blog about 3D printing. Also Heatsync has a 3D printing blog.