Welcome to Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing.
When you are designing for 3D printing there are two main factors that you really need to take into account before you start.
What application to design with
What material you are designing for
In this first introductory session, we are going to look at choosing the right type 3D modeling software.
There are now many 3D modeling applications you can use to 3D model your designs to 3D Print, ranging from very expensive professional engineering software to free online tools to get you started. Choosing the right software is an important first step in ensuring you can realize your ideas with 3D printing.
If you want to create organic, sculptural forms and characters to 3d Print, you may want to start with freeform surface modeling software. This modeling process represents the surface of the object, not its volume. With this method you will manipulate the surface of the model to create the form with points and curves. This gives you the freedom to do flowing forms, but can sometimes make it harder to achieve tight tolerances if your design is made to integrate an external object.
If you are looking to engineer a product (or robot) for 3D Printing, you are better off using Solid Modeling Software. This process defines the volume of the object you wish to model, by creating solid geometry, which you then modify by extruding or cutting away mass. The "Design for 3D Printing 101" image above was modeled using TinkerCad, a browser based 3D modeling application with drag and drop functionality to make it very easy to get started.
You can of course experiment with each to to find what works best for you, but often the tools within the application are designed for a specific kind of geometry. There is a relatively steep learning curve when you start to learn to 3D model, but once you hold your first design in your hand, it makes those challenges a pleasure.
There are a number of free applications in each type that you may want to download and play around with to get a feel, watch tutorial on YouTube and ask questions in the Shapeways forums as there is a wealth of knowledge within the Shapeways community.
In the next Design for 3D Printing 101, we will look a little closer at some of the 3D modeling software options available to get you started 3D printing.
TinkerCad is a perfect tool to get started designing for 3D Printing thanks to it's drag and drop capabilities. Because it is browser based you never need to download or update the software. You always have the latest version.
Thanks again to the team at TinkerCad for putting the video together...
We announced the contest to win $500 worth of Shapeways 3D Printing last week and have already seen a few designs for the iPhone 5 trickle in but we wanted to make it a little easier for you with a few 3D files to download that might help.
Please note we are waiting for the 3D Prints to come back and of course we have not yet tested them on an iPhone 5 yet.....
You can download the STL files to modify in your 3D software of choice as long as it supports STL import, we have also uploaded the case to TinkerCad along with the bumper and the dummy iPhone 5 so you can start customizing the design even if you do not have any 3D CAD skills, yet...
Continuing our series of Solidworks 3D modeling tutorials for 3D Printing by SolidWize, this week they explain Validating your Design with SimulationXpress:
You just received your bright new 3D printed part and the unthinkable happens; it breaks. With the right model prep, this can be avoided. Last week I did a post on creating a one handed bottle opener modeled after the Kebo from Rush Design. The last thing you would want to happen is to have your brand new bottle opener break the first time you use it. That's why in this week's tutorial by SolidWize, I'll be talking about validating your design using SolidWorks SimulationXpress. The most suitable Shapeways material for this use case would be Stainless Steel.
SimulationXpress is a fairly simple tool to use, and can allow you to quickly verify that your model will have adequate strength.
Watch the full tutorial below. If you'd like to follow along, you can download the SolidWorks file from my GrabCad Profile.
From time to time, you'll likely come across an image of something you
want to create a 3D model from. With SolidWorks, you can use the sketch
picture tool to import an image to build from. This Kebo bottle opener by Rush Product Design Studio makes for a great example, and we'll use it in this weeks tutorial from SolidWize.
By bringing the picture into a sketch, you can quickly reproduce the
desired geometry inside of SolidWorks using just a few lines, arcs, and
the fully define sketch tool.
Watch the full tutorial below. If you right click and save the picture
of the Kebo, you'll be able to follow along. You can also download the
completed model from the Solidwize Shapeways page.
Autodesk offer free 3 year software licenses under their assistance program for Students, Faculty and Displaced Workers.
This is an awesome program for students and/or the unemployed to get their hands on some professional tools (including 3D modeling software), hone their skills and knowledge of software to make them an asset to an employer or maybe even start your own business.
Tinkecad has been turning up the awesome dial on their WebGL browser based 3D modeling application over the past year but they just made it even better with the ability to import 3D STL files....
This will make it SUPER easy to customize an existing 3D model to 3D Print at Shapeways, whether it be your own file you have created in another software, or a downloadable file from Shapeways, or other 3D model repositories like Thingiverse and GrabCad. You can also grab multiples STL files and mash them together, add text, geometry, anything.... AWESOME.
One limitation is the STL import is currently limited to 25,000 triangles so don't go throwing zBrush madness at it just yet, and of course, make sure you have permission to use the 3D files, and if you modify them, be sure to adhere to the terms by which the original 3D model was shared..
Thanks to the Tinkercad crew for such a fantastic move.
3DMTP is a cloud-based software service, focused on making 3D architectural models 3D Printable. 3DMTP automatically transforms 3D designs, from BIM, 3D CAD, SketchUp software and other 3D visualization software into scalable and 3D printable model files.
3DMTP helps overcome the complex challenges sometimes faced in making 3D scaled models printable for architects, developers and designers. The innovation is based on algorithms which study-the geometric structure of the model, identify and AUTOMATICALLY fix problems that would have prevented it from being successfully printed. Sweet.
are ready to turn your design into a 3D printable model, upload your
design file and set your parameters: scale, profile, and desired 3D
printer. 3DMTP automatically processes the file without any additional
operator interface. 3DMTP also fixes holes between polygons and facets,
repairs reverse surfaces, changes the thickness of walls to minimum
print tolerance for the selected printer, fixes non-volumetric geometry
(making objects "watertight"), and fixes many other problems of
degenerated geometry that otherwise would prevent the model from
Check out some of their 3D Printable architectural models already in their Shapeways shop.
Another 3D printerview with a Shapeways team member to hit the internets courtesy of our favorite podcast EngineerVsDesigner. This time Josh Mings and Adam O'Hern had the questions coming from all directions, mostly, but not exclusively about Shapeways and 3D Printing. Listen, learn, laugh and subscribe to the hottest CAD related podcast on the block....
Here is the first in our series of 3D Printing tutorials we will be posting over the coming weeks, the first of which entitled How To Prep and Upload a 3D Model with SolidWorks for 3D Printing with Shapeways has been posted by Rohit Mitra of SolidWize.
Here we'll show how to prepare and upload a model to Shapeways using SolidWorks. Keep in mind that models should be exported as either STL files or VRML files (if using full color). Our final uploads can be found on the SolidWize Shapeways page.
Create Your Model
For those of you who are relatively new to SolidWorks, check out the video below to follow along with my thought process in creating a simple bone wrench. This assumes a basic working knowledge of the SolidWorks toolset, and I'll move through the process fairly quickly.
You'll want to keep in mind that SolidWorks exports only solid bodies to STL files, whereas anything visible is exported to VRML (full color). When working with small features or thin walls make sure to adhere to the limitations of the material that you want to print in. The material options page lists the parameter guidelines you
Possibly the most advanced 3D Print ever to hit Shapeways from browser based 3D modeling software Tinkercad is the Brewster Station by emmyceru AKA Emily AKA Cat Girl.... Simply amazing... And yes, this is a photograph....
Emily based her 3D Model on a photograph from the 1930's of Brewster station from a postcard from the collection of Steve Swirsky and also visited the site to get more of the details.
In what must have been an epic feat of 3D modeling endurance (especially for a first 3D modeling project) Emily assembled the model brick by brick in Tinkercad with amazing precision and stunning results.
Congratulations to Emily on what is a fantastic first effort at 3D modeling, we hope it inspires others to play with Tinkercad and other free 3D modeling tools and start 3D Printing their designs for real. You can see more images and get more info on her blog, I Ride the Harlem Line....
If you want to learn to Design for 3D Printing and you are in NYC then we have a range of classes to get you started over the next couple of weeks. Come along and try your hand at making your ideas for real with 3D printing in a relaxed, friendly environment..
We had a great time at the Solidworks User Group NYC thanks to Matt Rohr for inviting us to come along, drink beer, eat pizza and talk 3D modeling with engineers, artists and experts at the VERY cool Kingsland Design & Engineering Lab.. We talked a little about how good Solidworks is for outputting 3D models for 3D Printing with Shapeways. Some had already used Shapeways in the past such as Mary Wallis for her sculptural lighting works...
If you have a group you would like us to come and talk to please let us know, we are always happy to meet more people interested in making their ideas real with 3D Printing.