3D printing blocks

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by evouga, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. evouga
    evouga New Member
    Dear Shapeways,

    I am a researcher who recently finished a project in computational architecture that lets users interactively design stable structures made out of rigid blocks (http://www.cs.columbia.edu/cg/ss/).

    I now want to get one of these structures 3D printed. I've finally written some code to generate the block geometry. There will be one large base piece (ground.obj), and on top of that I will lay down individual blocks (attached to the next message).

    The ground is just an example: I know there are problems right now where some blocks are "missing" causing the connection to be too thin; the final .obj will not have these problems.

    Each block is a hexahedron, with the faces triangulated so that they are planar.

    Can Shapeways print these blocks? Also, there are many blocks and they are similar, and I need a way of knowing which block goes where. Is there a way for the blocks (blocksRotated.obj) to come with some easily-removed support material between the blocks, so that they arrive in a grid configuration like in .obj file (so that I know which printed block corresponds to which piece of geometry in the .obj file)?


    Attached Files:

  2. evouga
    evouga New Member
    Here is the other file.

    Attached Files:

  3. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Okay.. "can" they print it.. yes.. WILL they print it.. unlikely.
    You've got 1000 separate peices that each are VERY tiny.
    That is going to be a massive trouble for the operators to remove from the printer.

    In other forum threads you will find notes about "spruing items together",
    but I don't think that will be effective in your case.

    To accomplish what you're trying to do, I would re-arrange all the peices into layers and then
    build a "bounding box" or "cage" around them such that the operator doesn't have to handle each one of 1000 peices.

    Contain them in a box together and then open it up when you receive it.
    For such a box, your items can be packed much closer together, reducing the size of the container.

    Make sure the container has some drain holes to let out the support material,
    but not large enough to let any of your parts out.

    Look at the 3d view of this model: http://shpws.me/nEs2
  4. evouga
    evouga New Member
    For the size of the blocks, I want to uniformly scale both .objs so that base.obj is just under the size limits of the printer. So the blocks may end up being larger than the current scale.

    Rearranging the layout of the pieces is no problem. Is it possible to keep some support material between the pieces, instead of building cages around them? What I have in mind is the way plastic toys were sometimes packaged when I was a boy: there was one large sheet of plastic, consisting of some toy pieces connected by support material, and the first step of building the toy was to snap off the pieces from the sheet.

    If necessary, the number of blocks could also be reduced (i.e. 250 blocks twice the size).
  5. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    That's exactly the topic.. those plastic support arms are properly called "sprues".