Powder 3D Printing
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.The object is created using an additive process where successive layers of material are laid down until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
The Melbourne School of Design offer two different types of 3D printing, each in a different material: PLA plastic and powder. The NExT Lab specialise in PLA plastics and the FabLab in powder.
Our 3D printer
Projet 660 Pro
We have a Projet 660 Pro powder printer, by 3D Systems, able to create the largest full-colour 3D prints of its class. It is fast, accurate and capable of producing highly detailed outcomes, ideal for final projects and exhibitions. The Projet prints in any colour by injecting inks into the powder layers during printing.
- Print Material: Proprietary Powder
- Print Area:254mm W x 381mm D x 203mm H
Why use Powder Printing?
3D printing enables you to produce functional complex shapes without needing a detailed understanding of manufacturing. 3D Printers can use a wide range of materials and processes to create objects with different qualities and characteristics.
The Projet 660 Pro uses a liquid adhesive to bind powder in successive layers. A thin layer of powder is first laid across the print area before the print head applies a liquid adhesive on the areas of the print object. The print bed is then lowered slightly and the process is repeated until the object is fully printed.
When the model has completed printing the loose support powder, surrounding the print, from each layer that has not been bound together is then removed using compressed air and vacuum units. The print object is left to dry following an infiltration process where the object is coated with an epoxy solidifying solution to give it extra strength.
The FabLab offers a range of training to help you learn how 3D printing works, how to setup a file for 3D printing and how to submit it for processing. This training includes:
The Introduction to 3D printing playlist, found in the Training Center provides a comprehensive introduction to the technology, file preparation and submission process required for the FabLab. This is an excellent resource to start with.
3D Printing Introductory Sessions
If you prefer to learn about the fundamentals in person, each week a range of sessions are scheduled. For a full list of sessions, check the events page.
3D Printing Expansion Sessions
If you want to learn advanced techniques with the 3D printers, these are the sessions for you. Over the semester a range of sessions will be scheduled - each focusing on a particular technique or skill. You can come to one session or all to get a detailed understanding of the tech. For a full list of sessions, check the events page.
You can book a consultation with the FabLab’s experienced staff to get help with complex technical challenges specific to your project. Before making a booking, it is expected that you have completed the Introductory and Expansion sessions and attempted to resolve the problem independently. For a full list of consultation sessions, check the events page.
For a full explanation of the training available visit the Training Page.
ABP students and staff are welcome to submit jobs to be processed by FabLab staff using the Projet 660 3D printer. If you are new to the FabLab simply follow the instructions below to submit a job. If you are an old hand at 3D printing through the FabLab simply submit a job.
Students are not permitted to enter the 3D printing room, unless escorted by a staff member. For any enquiries please ask the Guru or an available staff member. Please do not disturb staff members in the Laser Cutting room.
How to submit
You can submit a 3D printing job at any time, day or night, and it will be processed by FabLab staff during open hours on weekdays.
To 3D print on the FabLab Projet 660 machine you must create a 3D file setup in accordance with the requirements set out below and submit it to the FabLab job centre.
Create a 3D file
In order to 3D print, you must have a 3D file. Here are a few ways to get a file:
- Find a file online from websites like thingiverse.com
- Design an object to print in a 3D modelling or CAD program
- Scan an existing object with a 3D scanner.
For help creating your 3D file please visit the training centre.
Prepare your model for print and download the 3D Printing Template File
Before sending a 3D file to the FabLab, you must prepare the file for 3D printing. This includes checking the size and thickness of the object.
- Preparing your 3D file for a successful print can be easy if you follow the tutorials in the Training Center.
- You may also book 3D printing Technology Introductory Sessions and Technology Expansion Sessions via the Training Center.
Submit model to the FabLab
When you are confident your model has been set up in accordance with FabLab requirements you can submit it to the FabLab.
Collect from FabLab
You will be notified by email when your job is complete. Please come to the FabLab during opening hours to pay for and collect your print.
To further enhance your project there are many post production techniques found in our Training Centre you can use to improve the quality of your print.
The cost of a 3D print using the Projet 660Pro is calculated by the amount, or weight, of powder that is used to print the object. Printing with Projet 660 Pro costs $0.60 per cm3 .
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a general term that describes the process of creating a physical model from a 3D digital model using a 3D printer. There are many types of 3D printers that are able to create the digital model, the common two at the MSD are MakerBots that use Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Projet 660 Pro that uses Binder Jetting (BJ), the NExT Lab has only Makerbots.
What materials can I 3D print with at the FabLab?
The Projet 660 Pro uses a liquid adhesive to bind powder in successive layers. The result is a high resolution finalized sculptural outcome. Alternatively, projects may be printed in PLA plastic at the NExT Lab.
How long does a 3D print take?
The printing times can greatly vary depending on the size and complexity of the print. Times can range from a couple of minutes to up to well over 36 hours, so to find out a time estimate of your print you should consult with the FabLab staff. You should also take into consideration the preparation time of the file before printing. If a 3D model has errors it can take considerable time to find the errors and correct them.
How much does a 3D print cost?
The cost of printing a 3D model at FabLab is calculated by the amount of powder used, at a rate of $0.60 per cm3. You are able to get a cost estimate of their print by using the cost calculator above before submitting your file.
Does the FabLab only accept Rhino files for Projet 660 Pro (powder 3D print) jobs?
The FabLab will accept Rhino files and .stl (stereolithography) files for 3D printing.
Can I sand a 3D print once it is dry?
Yes, you can gently manually sand a 3D print provided it is completely clean and dry.
Can I spray paint a 3D print once it is dry?
Yes, you can carefully spray paint a 3D print following the instructions on the canister. Your print must be completely clean and dry before doing this. It is recommended you sand and prime surfaces before spray painting.