3D Printing and Modeling

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Techniques

Other sites

Best Practices at 3D Hub.

PLA

On the TechShop MP MakerBot (dual) I set the temperature at 230 degrees. (This is what my notes say, but Max pointed out that this seems too hot for PLA, which you would expect to extrude a bit cooler. Did I confuse PLA and ABS in my notes?)

Ceilings in your model

The MakerBot software defaults do NOT do a good job at putting roofs over some parts. To correct this you need to modify your device settings. Look for the "create a profile" button. First select the correct device, material, etc. Now click Create A Profile. Give it a name. It will now open in Notepad. Look for the setting of "roofThickness". Set it to 3.

You could try changing "roofLayerCount_disabled" to "roofLayerCount_enabled". I have not tried that.

Find a Model

Thingiverse - Good source of models

http://www.thingiverse.com

Has a wide variety of .STL files to download and use. A great source of ideas.

Get Your Model Printed

Own Your Own 3d Printer

Having your own printer gives you unlimited time. But you also must be willing to care for the machine. We have some members who are doing just that. Read about it here.

The UPS Store - that's right

Some UPS Stores are now offering 3D printing. I used the UPS Store in Menlo Park. I exchanged email with them, sent them an STL, got a price, and picked up my part the next day.

The part was extrusion printed, but in a very good quality. Their price was a bit more than Shapeways for the same part.

Treofab - more expensive but faster delivery

http://www.treofab.com

I met them at TechShop San Jose. According to the CEO they are more expensive than Shapeways, but will deliver in two days. They also do high quality and color objects.

Shapeways - excellent, moderate price, two weeks

http://www.shapeways.com

I have printed lots of stuff with Shapeways. Their print quality is very high. They offer a number of different materials. Their web site is easy to use and powerful. The only downside is that it takes 2-3 weeks to get your stuff.

They also allow you to have your own store. They let other people buy your parts and you decide how much of a markup you want to add.

Software

MeshMixer for creating and editing stl files

http://www.123dapp.com/meshmixer

I have really enjoyed using the new MeshMixer. There are a number of YouTube videos that do a great job of explaining the user interface. The downside is that more documentation is needed. Many of the tools have a number of options and it isn't clear what all the options do.

123D Catch

[1]

This software is both brilliant and crap. And FREE. You can take a series of photos of an object and this software will create an STL model of the object. A head or a house. Brilliant!!!

9 times out of 10 (maybe more often) the software will fail on the upload of the photos to the cloud. Or it will appear to upload and then say it can't reach the server. Or who knows what other errors will pop up. Crap.