Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hairspray, Bondo and other 3d printing basics

I have been working with the Office Solidoodle 3 for about 2 months now that there are lot of basics every 3d hobbyist should know. First there are a lot of online site that host 3d parts just ready to download and print the one i use the most is http://www.thingiverse.com/. you can search for just about anything you can think of and likely someone has made it or something like it. From there you just download it and open up your printing software and hit print right? well I wish it was that easy but its not like using a desktop printer. All parts need to be sliced into layers and not all printers use the same slicing software. So therefore many times models that where designed to run on a Makerbot will not print right on my Solidoodle. sometime just changing some setting can help. next is making sure that system is heated up to the right temps which once again is different for every printer. Thankfully Solidoodle has some good default setting for temps. Next step is heading the print Bed which once again has good default setting. Even with all this I soon learned that parts don't always stay in-place and if a part come loose from the print bed you might as well kill the hole job because it done. even if just the edges come up the part is warped and not usable. So when all the heating and other setting fail the trick is Hairspray. Yep good old aquanet hairspray its make the object stick much better if you coat the bed in it. You will not find this little tip on may of the basic user guides but if you as for help in the IRCs they will turn you on to it. Once your part is printed they don't always look perfect. The outside layers some time come out clean but other times come out with uneven melting. So now it bondo to the rescue to really clean up the edge and give it a more manufactured look. Now this just covers if you are using designs downloaded from a site like thingiverse. What if you want to make your own parts? well then you need to know who to use CAD or 3d modeling software. Thankfully there are a lot of free programs out there and if you sit down what a few how to videos you can learn them in just a few days, but it will take years to be a master. For the office I use Solidworks which i have been teach myself to use for over 7 years now. this is just a short write up to give you an idea of what you will need to know before you jump into 3d printing its not for everyone. However like any Job or Hobby its is a labor of love. for list of free 3d programs check this site http://www.3ders.org/3d-software/3d-software-list.html   

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