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Fixed Orientation Option for FD & FUD

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Fixed Orientation Option for FD & FUD [message #38895] Sat, 19 November 2011 18:45 UTC Go to previous message
avatar TomBurns  is currently offline TomBurns
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Registered: March 2010
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How Important is Print Orientation for FD & FUD?[ 32 vote(s) ]
1.Critically Important 22 / 69%
2.Very Important 7 / 22%
3.Somewhat Important 3 / 9%
4.Not Very Important 0 / 0%
5.Not at All Important 0 / 0%
6.Don't Care 0 / 0%

I believe this issue has been discussed before, but I would like to raise it again with the hope of generating enough interest to make it happen.

As I understand it, the lack of an option to specify printing orientation for Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra Detail is not based on any technical issues. It is rather a question of the production staff trying to maximize printing efficiency. FD and FUD models are printed in a single layer, so they prefer that each batch of parts have roughly the same "height" above the printing surface. Printing jobs can take many hours, so any wasted space above parts reduces the average efficiency of the printers. Reserving the option to rotate models as needed gives the production crew the flexibility to reduce such wasted volume. For models where orientation is not particularly important, this is a good thing because it helps make printing less expensive, and probably helps reduce average production time.

However, as some here are no doubt keenly aware, for some models the orientation is critical to ensuring that details and interlocking parts print correctly. Controlling the surface marring that occurs due to contact with the support material can also be an important consideration. Not being able to predict the print orientation also adds uncertainty to the quality of repeat prints of a given part. Given that orientation can be so important in many cases, I would like to request that Shapeways add an option to specify a fixed orientation when printing a part in FD or FUD. Some possible ways to facilitate this would be:

1) Add a small additional start-up fee for parts using the fixed orientation option to compensate for the slight decrease in printing efficiency

2) Extend the delivery time of orders using the fixed orientation option to allow the production crew more flexibility in gathering enough other part orders of similar height

3) Both of the above

Can we at least get some kind of short-term pilot program to test this out? If anyone else considers this a priority, please speak up!

[Updated on: Sun, 20 November 2011 00:11 UTC]

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