Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3D Printing

I wish this were a post celebrating my new 3D printer. It's not. This is a post discussing the 3D printing class I recently finished.

The class served as an introduction to 3d printing and modeling, utilizing SolidWorks. While I had never used SolidWorks, I was one of two that already had a solid grasp on 3d modeling so the tasks were easy. The first class, I assisted three other people in completing the in-class assignment. The class only had seven people total.

The final project.

As with all technology, the 3d printer utilized was no longer state of the art. It cost forty thousand dollars, utilizing ABS plastic filament.

In the class. we made a name plate, a vase, and then a model of our choosing.

These are not pieces you can necessarily use right out of the printer. This vase will not hold water. Since the printer prints in layers, the finished product does not have a glossy smooth finish. That would required additional work.

Since I finished exercises early, I began modeling a ghost trap. I would have liked more time modeling, but the class was over and I had to turn it in. I plan to add a few details after the print.

This is printed to half scale. It's around 7-8" long.

Unfortunately I must have missed scaling the knob on the far right.

I plan to add doors to it later.

One thing to note about 3d printing is that objects will require some finishing.

SolidWorks is geared for prototyping and complex assemblies. I still prefer Sketchup because I'm used to it and it's a bit more intuitive. I would guess most of the specialized features in SolidWorks could be achieved through Sketchup rubies.

It took me about two hours to model the ghost trap in Sketchup. I used Sean Bishop's plans. I used Sketchup to fine tune the model before making plans I could use in SolidWorks.

It took much longer to model in SolidWorks. Most of my time was spent knowing the what, but not the how. The final SolidWorks model is simplified and scaled to half size, as that's what would fit on the printer bed. Unfortunately SolidWorks will not let you scale a completed assembly, so I had to scale individual pieces. With time running out, I managed to include a few mistakes and mis-alignments.

I may make a full size replica, using wood and aluminum. A 3d printed trap would still require a lot of finishing and trial and error if I wanted moving parts.
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