Getting and using 3D printing software

In summary, the designer is trying to find a way to 3D print a design that is less than 1 inch in size and has more than one fitted, moveable part. He or she is unsure of the software used to create the design, but can probably find a service to print it. The design may have a rough texture due to its layered nature, but can be smoothed out using a process known as acetone vapor. The file type used by the printer may not be the same as the designer's.
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DaveC426913
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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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  • #2
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.
 
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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 .

TinkerCad
 
  • #5
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.
 

Related to Getting and using 3D printing software

1. What is 3D printing software and how does it work?

3D printing software is a computer program that allows users to create and manipulate 3D models. It works by taking a digital design or blueprint and slicing it into layers, which are then printed one on top of the other until a physical object is created.

2. What are the different types of 3D printing software available?

There are various types of 3D printing software available, including open-source software, commercial software, and browser-based software. Some popular options include Ultimaker Cura, Autodesk Fusion 360, and Tinkercad.

3. Do I need to have any prior knowledge or experience to use 3D printing software?

While prior experience with 3D modeling may be helpful, it is not necessary to use 3D printing software. Many programs have user-friendly interfaces and tutorials to help beginners get started. However, having a basic understanding of computer-aided design (CAD) principles can be beneficial.

4. Can I use any 3D printer with any 3D printing software?

No, not all 3D printers are compatible with all 3D printing software. It is important to check the software's specifications and ensure that it is compatible with your specific 3D printer before purchasing or using it.

5. Are there any free options for 3D printing software?

Yes, there are many free 3D printing software options available, such as Ultimaker Cura, Blender, and Meshmixer. These programs can provide a great starting point for beginners or those on a budget.

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