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# Printing orientation for multiple small objects in a single file

Printing orientation for multiple small objects in a single file [message #57851] Sun, 02 December 2012 02:54 UTC
So we don't currently have the ability to specify the printing orientation for our models. However, I'm wondering if there are ways to play the probabilities to get the correct orientation.

Specifically, I'm planning to print many copies of a small object, and I can choose the orientation of each of them in my model. I could put a third of them with 'up' pointing along the x axis of my model, a third pointing along the y axis and a third pointing along the z axis. If I did this, I know that two thirds of my models would come out correctly. Alternatively, I can have all of my models pointing the same direction, and hope that it is printed in the correct orientation. For both of these plans, the expected proportion of good models would be 2/3 of them.

Here's another thought: What if I arrange the objects in a way to maximise the chance that it will be printed in the correct orientation? Suppose for example that I arrange the models so that they are lined up as a long stick, rather than being in a cube. In fact, suppose that my stick is so long that it won't fit into the machine other than in exactly one orientation. Then knowing which way this has to appear in the machine, I can choose the orientation of each of my objects in the stick so that they will definitely be printed correctly.

Would that be evil?

[Updated on: Sun, 02 December 2012 02:54 UTC]

Re: Printing orientation for multiple small objects in a single file [message #57857 is a reply to message #57851 ] Sun, 02 December 2012 05:23 UTC
Here's a related question:

Suppose I have a model whose bounding box is a regular cube, with the same length, height and width. Then, presumably (?), it couldn't possibly help Shapeways to rotate the object before printing. So in this case, could I assume that the printing orientation would be the same as it appears on the model's page?
Re: Printing orientation for multiple small objects in a single file [message #57872 is a reply to message #57857 ] Sun, 02 December 2012 16:26 UTC
Is it an "actual" box, or is there open space to it?

Take a look at this picture... the object on the left is rather plain but it doesn't fill the entire bounding box. When the packing software goes to assemble a job, it may very well setup two of them stacked as you see on the right. This way, even if the bounding box was a certain size, the top copy still would get flipped over to make them "fit".

This is to say, you don't get the whole bounding box volume "to yourself".. I know that I've seen small items stacked INSIDE a Ring Poem Candle Holder during a build.

Be aware: if we impose on Shapeways the requirement that things be printed in our specified orientation, it will reduce the number of items they can put in a single build job and will (to a degree) add to their cost to print the things.

• Attachment: packing.jpg