I'm very excited to announce that we have put yet another designing mechanical parts tutorial live. The third tutorial follows the first one that deals with material properties and the second that shows you the design issues of an actual project. This third installment is extra special. This is some of the most in depth information ever published online with regards to Selective Laser Sintering(SLS). Furthermore it is not some marketing blurb that you can find all around. This is actual testing information that if you understand & use it will let you know more about 3D printing than most everyone.
SLS is the process behind our White, Strong & Flexible material. This tutorial is nothing less than initial design rules & in depth information on the detail resolution of the SLS process. This information is based on research conducted by Dominik Sippel for EOS GmbH. EOS one of the world's largest rapid manufacturing machine manufacturers. They have decided to share the accuracy and technical information behind their technology, with you.
Detailed graphs and tables show you gap sizes, gap deviation, wall thickness, hole accuracy, etc. This is huge. An engineering driven company in the very competitive rapid manufacturing business wants to give you, the Shapeways community, accurate hereto internal data so you can use this information to design and make things.
With online and open source we have been coddled with documentation, API's and outreach by the people who make a product to the people who use that product. We think nothing of downloading some source code here, messing about in someone else's Bugzilla or reading release notes. Good luck though in trying to get detailed information on the limitations of your toaster or the schematics of your LCD TV.
In manufacturing it is virtually unheard of to let people in on your own research and to reach out to them as EOS is doing here. A lot of people are talking about opening up R&D, co-creation, reaching out to inventors and consumers alike. But, very few are actually doing it. So, once again, this is huge. It might seem a bit boring and a bit nerdy, but it is huge. On to the design rules tutorial.
We've just put the second designing mechanical parts for 3D printing tutorial live. We would like to thank Dick Tiekink very much for his work and knowledge. If you would like to learn from this we recommend that you first have a look at part one of the Designing Mechanical parts tutorials.
The second tutorial walks you through some of the design decisions, considerations and issues that he encountered when making the Whoosh Machine. This is a gift for a departing colleague that has lots of mechanical parts such as a turning drum, coil springs and buttons.
This is not for everyone, it might be complex at times. We hope to give you guys real understanding of the process and technicalities behind designing for 3D printing. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time a anyone has undertaken such an effort to help people look under the hood in 3D printing and learn to understand the limitations of the process. We know that such an effort is atypical. We are supposed to just chant over and over that 3D printing will conquer the world and that anyone can do it. But, whereas anyone can use our Creator tools and most anyone with 3D modeling or CAD experience can make a design and have it printed out with Shapeways, there are precious few people that can really design for 3D printing. What I mean with that is, "people that understand the process to such a degree that the things that they make make optimal use of the technology." Most of those precious few are Shapeways community members. We hope that with these tutorials we can help 'make' more of these people and give a deeper understanding to those that already get it. Their creations will inspire more people and then we will conquer the world. On to the tutorial.
Did you ever get the dreaded 'Your model has too many polygons for us to process it' message after uploading your model? Then check out our new tutorial in which we explain how to reduce the polygon count of your design using the free open source tool MeshLab.
In the coming weeks we will be putting a series of tutorials live on designing mechanical parts for 3D printing. We have been amazed will all the things our community has produced so far and in order to help you amaze us and your fellow community members more we will be giving you a lot of information.
The information will deal with our White, Strong & Flexible material. This flexible and strong material has a high accuracy and is well suited to making mechanical 3D printed parts. Today we have put live a tutorial giving you some background information on the process limitations and technical background that you will need.
This is not for everyone, it is kind of dry and might be complex at times. We do feel however that there are a lot of people out there that would benefit from experimenting with the data we give you. We want to arm the people that want to push the envelope of what 3D printing is and what is possible with it.
The first tutorial will give you the background information, later we will be giving you information by EOS the machine manufacturer of the SLS(Selective Laser Sintering) machines we use to make our White, Strong & Flexible parts. We will also have a tutorial showing you the results of our tests on the material itself. Furthermore we will give you some gears, axles and other mechanical parts that you can use along with formulas on how to make good gears and springs for 3D printing.
These tutorials came about based on extensive tests and work by Dick Tiekink, a Shapeways community member and talented mechanical engineer. Others are based on information and testing by EOS, the manufacturer. We hope you will join us in thanking both profusely for making this big step in 3D printing possible.