Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Using 3D printing software, part of Rapid Prototyping for Product Design.
Once you have a completed design and you've generated an STL file for printing we now weed to do some preparation to set up the 3D printer. There are lots of different software packages that can run 3D printers. And most of them are going to do about the same thing. In this movie we're going to look at the MakerWare software by MakerBot. As well as repeater host which is popular with RepRap` style printers. The first one I have open here is the MakerBot software and I am going to go ahead and click on this Add button at the top. And under exercise files chapter two, I have the Lynda-GoProFrame which an STL file.
Go ahead and click on that and click on Open. And you can see it drops it right in here onto the build envelope. Now I can spin that around, I can zoom in on it, take a look at it. And I can place multiple items if I'd like. So I can click on add again. Just add that same part. And you can see that drops directly on top of each other. Now I can go up here to View. I can change the view of how I want to see it top side front. I can go over here to Edit, and I can say Auto Layout All. Now I had two parts that were directly on top of each other so if I'm adding multiple parts, notice these two parts here now are next to each other.
I can add in more parts if I'd like. And again it drops it here and go up to View < Auto Layout All. So that makes it a little more logical layout for the parts. Now you can click on individual parts themselves, and you can turn them if you like. You can spin it around, change to different angles. You don't really have any good reason to do that in this case, but that is available. Again, you can take apart and you can move it around just by dragging in X, Y, Z. Probably not too much in Z because most of the time you're going to have it on the bottom of the build plate. But sometimes you do have a circumstance that you need to add the part or it might be shoved below the surface of the build plate so you do have some options there.
You can scale parts. You can turn the part in. You can change the way you view them. All inside the MakerBot software. And when you're ready you can go ahead and click on Make or you an click on Save. Now cause I have these parts all kind of oriented in funny directions. I don't really want to start my print like that so let's just click on them and click on Delete, and I'm going to delete those out of there. Let's do it one more time, add that frame in, drop the part, grab that part and I can move it around so I can drag it here, and I can position it. I can center it. You can do a bunch of different things here. Close that out.
I can add another part in. So click again, click it in there. And I'm going to use that command called Auto Layout All. That looks good. Once you've got a part ready to go, I'm going to go ahead and slice the part and get it ready to send it to a printer. Now in this case I don't have a printer hooked up to this machine, but we are going to be doing that in some of the live action shots we're going to do further in the course. So we'll be using these files then, but right now I just need to make that file and save it out, so click on Make. And tell it what type of printer we're going to be saving out to, so if I had a printer hooked up here it would say make it now and send it right to that printer.
In this case here, I'm going to be exporting that file. I'm choosing what type of MakerBot I have. And bunch of different options here. And also the material I'm going to be using. So in this case, I'm going to be choosing the PLA material and just use the standard resolution. You can build support material if you'd like. It would put it directly below the part if you have a big overhangs. It makes it very simple without a lot of overly complicated options. Now, I can turn on the advanced options if I'd like to, and I can change the quality and the infill and the shells.
You know, things like this can go into how you want to set the printer. Most people probably aren't going to be starting with the advanced options right when they first get started, but I can adjust the temperature or the speed, and so on. When you're happy with that, click on Export. And save out that file, so in this case here I'm going to put it in the desktop and exercise files chapter two and go ahead and save that out. Over here you can see it's slicing them all which means it's taking very thin slices and cutting it in layers that the printer's actually going to be building when it goes ahead and actually produces the part.
Once it's done slicing it, you'll save that out and see me saving some type of a G code there over on the actual 3D printer. It's verifying the code and making sure everything is good and then that file will be ready to go and put right into the printer to generate the part. Let's give it a second to print the file and as soon as it's done, again, I'm just going to save that out. Now, the next software we're going to be taking a look at is going to do almost exactly the same thing as this software. It's going to be a little bit more complicated to use. It's going to have a little more options but it's also going to be a little more powerful.
So let's jump right over and go over to our peer host. So a similar environment here. I can zoom in, zoom out, here's my build environment. And depending on the type of printer you're going to be using. This build environment's going to change. You might have a circular build platform, you might have a square, rectangular, or it depends on what kind of printer you have. Now in this case here, if I did have a printer hooked up, I would click on connect and that would allow me to interact with the printer, as far as moving it around, adjusting it, turning the heated extruded on or the heated print bed. Bunch of different options I can play with on that printer to get it up and running.
Now most of the time here what I would do is I would go over to manual control in this case and I would turn on the heated print bed for a machine, if it had one, to get that up to temperature. A lot of times you're going to want to bring this up to about 90 degrees C and that can take about ten minutes. So I'd start that up ahead of time and watch that build. Then I go back, process the part, get it all ready, slice it and then get the code ready as soon as the heated print bed as well as the extruder are all up to temperature, then I can go ahead and actually run the part. So because we're disconnected from the printer at this point in time I'm not able to do that but that would be available.
I also want to point out that you have a temperature curve here. So if you did start these up, you'd see the temperatures rising here. So you can keep track of where you're at in that warm up process. Now, let's go back to the 3D view. And go back to object placement. And I'm going to click on either Load or this little plus right here. I'm going to add an object. Go back to the Desktop < Exercise Files < Chapter Two, and choose that frame. Click on Open. And there it is, just drops it right into my design. On the build envelope. And I've got one of those. Now I can do the same thing, just add another one.
Again, drop it in there and notice those two show up right next to each other. I can also just copy an object by clicking on the button here and copy and tell me how many I'd like of that object. And again it just puts, two more or four more in this case, so I actually have six. That's probably more than I want to do, but doesn't really matter, I'm just laying these out in the build envelope, getting them ready to be used. Now, I can click on individual objects themselves. I can rotate them around. I can adjust them. I can move them up or down. I can center an object.
I can use this thing called auto-position which lays them all out. So, as you start bringing in parts, they don't all have to be the same part. You can have multiple parts all in this build envelope. And auto position them so they're all in their correct place so when I start building them, they going to build all the parts at the same time. Once you have the layout the way you want it, go ahead and click on Slice here, in this case here, I got some options I can choose it first, how I want to slice it, this is the basic default installation so I don't have a lot of things set up, but choose the slicing program.
You can configure it depending on what type of machine you have and then click on Slice with Slicer. It's saying hey, you've got an object outside the printable area. Uh-oh. That's probably because I added six and I only really needed four, so this is good because it's giving you some information. So go back and say, abort this and say Yes. Let's go back to the object placement and I want to remove two of these. And then go back and autoposition them. That's looking pretty good. Go back to slicer, slice with slicer, and give it a few minutes here to go through and process that part.
So it's slicing the file and as soon as it's done, it's going to give us a preview of what's going to happen with the G code that's actually going to be running in the machine. I can click over here as far as the preview, it's going to show you how much time it's going to take to print the part, and some other data. Click back on slicer, here's our process. Okay. So that finished processing it. And I'm going to zoom in here, and take a look at what happened. So I can see individual layers of how this part is actually going to be made on the 3D printer. Each one of these little tubes is going to be, that little filament is going to be extruded out of the print head.
So, I really need to see how that all happens and then, when I am actually running the machine, you'll see the print head itself building this up one layer at a time. And I can look over at the code and this is the actual G-Code that's running behind the scene, inside of that 3D printer telling it where to go. So for instance, a G1 move is a feed move. it's going to be feeding that print head across the park. And this is its x position and its y position and all that's going to just go through and tell that printer all the different moves it needs to make to make that final part. So, when that's all ready, go up here and click on Start Print.
If you're hooked up to your printer, you'd be ready to go. Hit Start Print and it would warm up the print bed and warm up the extruder and let's start making the part. There are lots of options available in most software packages. And getting all these settings correct to build the perfect part can be challenging. If you send you parts out to a service bureau you won't have to deal with all this, however you'll get a better understanding of what goes into building a 3D part.
- 3D printing parts, using fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, and selective laser sintering (FDM, SLA, and SLS)
- Working with CNC mills and lathes
- Building a silicon mold and resin casting a part
- Injection molding a plastic part
- Creating quick 2D models
- Using laser and touch-probe scanners