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Getting and using 3D printing software

  1. Mar 14, 2017 #1


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    I have a design I want to 3D print. It's tiny, less than 1 inch, and has more than one fitted, moveable part.

    I'd like to figure out if it's feasible before I decide whether I buy in.

    I don't know what software is used to make the designs. (A friend told me his printer supports .stl files)

    I can probably find a service that will print my design(s), though I don't know how many iterations it might take to get it right.

    If anyone is of a mind I'd like to pick their brains about getting the software, using the software, even digitizing my design from sketch, and specs of what I can expect (in the way of tolerance and fit, etc.) or even printing it for me. Any of the above.

    I'll elaborate with a sketch shortly, but meanwhile, any takers?
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  3. Mar 14, 2017 #2


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    I can't help with your design personally but have you tried seeing if there is a Meetup group in your area that deals with 3D printing?

    I'm trying to find one in the Toronto area but the site is slow for me right now.
  4. Mar 15, 2017 #3


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  5. Mar 15, 2017 #4


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    This is one of the simplest 3d cad design tools there is but great fun to use and capable of real design work for 3D printing .

  6. Mar 15, 2017 #5


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    I currently use the free version of Google Sketchup for my 3d modeling and for a printer I am using a DaVinci XYZ. As for tolerances, I can usually get within ±0.003" when using the high precision / slow print setting when the print head is clean and the table is calibrated properly.

    The overall parts are relatively clean but can have a rough texture due to the layered nature of the process; this comes in the form of ridges that are anywhere from 0.002"-0.004" depending on how the layer falls in the geometry of the part. This can easily be smoothed out using an Acetone Vapor smoothing process, though this can change the geometry of your parts non-uniformly.

    As for the file type, my printer at home and at work both use .STL files, though there may be others out there that do not.
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