53 Slices
Medium 9781457182938

1. Getting Started with a 3D Printer

Anna Kaziunas France Maker Media, Inc ePub

An introduction to 3D printer hardware and software.

Bill Bumgarner

Early in 2012, I picked up an Ultimaker, put it together, and joined the growing ranks of 3D printing households. It has been an adventure both filled with reward and rife with frustration. The goal of this article is to share what I’ve learned while studying the DIY portion of the 3D printing realm. The focus is on budgets less than $2,500, with a goal of producing parts out of various kinds of plastic.

Plastic parts are wonderful for prototyping. You can print that engine part in plastic, make sure it fits perfectly, and then send the 3D model off to a company like Shapeways to have your prototype turned into a production piece in the metal of your choice.

Most of the printers discussed here are hackable. Their designs are amenable to being modified and tuned to fit your needs. The software used to drive these printers is almost all open source, though there are commercial slicers and modelers commonly used in the 3D printing community.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781457182938

4. Getting Started with Slic3r

Anna Kaziunas France Maker Media, Inc ePub

Slic3r is a free program that prepares STL files for printing.

Eric Weinhoffer

So you have a 3D printer and a 3D file, but now what? Well, you have to slice it up into layers and create a G-code file, which you’ll then send to your 3D printer. There are many software options for slicing 3D models in preparation for 3D printing including: Slic3r, KISSlicer, CuraEngine, MakerBot Slicer, and Skeinforge. (See Slicing Software for more on each of these options). Some of these “slicers” are integrated into printer control software and some, like Slic3r and KISSlicer can be used independently of control software.

Slic3r has become a popular option because it’s open source, cross-platform, free to use, relatively quick, and extremely customizable.

I’ll describe how each of the many settings relates to the actions of your 3D printer, and how to correctly adjust them to optimize your machine for your application. I don’t have experience with tweaking all of these settings (there are a lot), but I’ll do my best to describe what they do.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781457182938

13. Post-Processing Your Prints

Anna Kaziunas France Maker Media, Inc ePub

Friction weld, rivet, sand, paint—arm yourself with simple tools and finishing techniques to take your 3D prints to the next level.

Matthew Griffin

Andrew Baker

People often claim 3D printers can “make you anything you can imagine.” Dial up the digital model you want, hit “Go,” and the machine hums to work, producing an object accurately and repeatably. But as an astute eight-year-old pointed out to me when I handed her two of my favorite printed models at Maker Faire Bay Area last year, the results don’t always match your intentions.

“That octopus is red! A TARDIS is not supposed to be yellow!” she wailed, and knocked my offerings away.

While overall shape and mechanical fit are valued more highly than surface treatment in today’s desktop 3D printing, it’s sometimes worth judging a print by its cover.

I’m reminded of advice I got from a pair of industrial design professors at Pratt, after I showed them my print of a fluorescent-green clockwork mechanism: “It is worth enormous effort to make prototypes look like they were created from real-world materials.” Even the most creative engineers and business people will have difficulty seeing your prototype as a machine when it looks like a toy.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781449338657

5. Meet the MakerBot Replicator 2

Bre Pettis Maker Media, Inc ePub

Wherein the reader is informed of the mechanisms that imbue common and readily available tools and building materials with the raw power of making and imagination.

For many people, the very idea of a MakerBot is still something entirely new-a machine that can make anything still seems like science fiction. As MakerBot and other low-cost printer vendors work to bring 3D printing to the masses, science fiction is becoming everyday fact. Still, only a few people have seen one in person, and even fewer know how they works. Though the underlying engineering principles behind a MakerBot are quite complex, in a nutshell, a MakerBot is a very precise, robotic hot glue gun mounted to a very precise, robotic positioning system. Lets take a look under the hood.

The MakerBot Replicator 2 is a state-of-the-art desktop 3D printer, with capabilities above and beyond the previous generations of MakerBots. It has a huge build platform which gives you the superpower to print things BIG! It has advanced software and improved hardware that makes print resolution finer than ever. Every one was assembled with love in Brooklyn by skilled technicians. Best of all, it was designed with a focus on ease of use so you can have your MakerBot Replicator 2 replicating within minutes of taking it out of the box.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781457182938

4. Getting Started with Slic3r

Anna Kaziunas France Maker Media, Inc ePub

Slic3r is a free program that prepares STL files for printing.

Eric Weinhoffer

So you have a 3D printer and a 3D file, but now what? Well, you have to slice it up into layers and create a G-code file, which you’ll then send to your 3D printer. There are many software options for slicing 3D models in preparation for 3D printing including: Slic3r, KISSlicer, CuraEngine, MakerBot Slicer, and Skeinforge. (See Slicing Software for more on each of these options). Some of these “slicers” are integrated into printer control software and some, like Slic3r and KISSlicer can be used independently of control software.

Slic3r has become a popular option because it’s open source, cross-platform, free to use, relatively quick, and extremely customizable.

I’ll describe how each of the many settings relates to the actions of your 3D printer, and how to correctly adjust them to optimize your machine for your application. I don’t have experience with tweaking all of these settings (there are a lot), but I’ll do my best to describe what they do.

See All Chapters

See All Slices