3D printing utilizes CAD and CAM processes. In this video, learn about the difference between them, so you can optimize your designs from start to finish.
- [Narrator] To create a 3D printable design, we need to utilize both computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. Let's look at how these intersect so we can understand how to optimize a design from start to finish. Your design process starts in a computer-aided design program, often abbreviated CAD. We'll use Fusion 360 for the exercises in this course, but the design strategies that we'll be talking about can be used in any CAD program. In your CAD program, design your form in three dimensions.
You'll make most of your design decisions here: form and function, size and shape, dimensions and thicknesses. When you're finished, you'll export a digital file. Common choices are STL files and other 3D printing formats like a 3MF or VRML. Then we move on to computer-aided manufacturing, or CAM portion of our process. You'll open your digital file in your 3D printing software sometimes called a slicer. This is your second opportunity to make your design decisions.
Some software programs provide fine-tuned control, while others allow you to make a few basic choices. For example, you might change the density of the infill to create a stronger part, change the extruder temperature to print in a different material, or choose to print your design as a hollow part instead. Your slicer software exports machine code, which is sometimes called G-code. This is what it looks like when you open G-code in a text editor. G-code is simply a set of instructions for the 3D printer to follow, how hot to heat the extruder and build plate, and an extensive list of coordinates to follow to draw the 3D design.
Sometimes the CAM portion of the process is straightforward, a basic translation of your design into the language of your 3D printer. In other situations, you may make important design decisions in your CAM software itself. For example, these prints all originated from the same digital STL file. The source file is the same but the output is different because of the choices made during the CAM process. CAD versus CAM. As we move through the course, keep in mind that you have the opportunity for design choices in both aspects of this process.
When you understand how to use both, you'll have the most control of your final 3D printed products.
- What is FDM?
- Thermoplastics and FDM
- CAD and CAM
- Creating supportless designs
- Optimizing for orientation
- Achieving accuracy and fit
- Visualizing your design with Cura and MakerBot Print
- Designing assemblies
- Working with Fusion 360
- 3D printing your design