Introduction to 3D Printers
- The NExT Lab provides access to;
- 30x Replicator+ 3D printers with a printable area of 295mm x 195mm x 165mm (LxWxH) and
- 2x Replicator Z18 3D printers with a printable area of 300mm x 300mm x 450mm (LxWxH).
Introduction to 3D Printing
- FDM 3D printing consist of four key elements:
- the shell
- infill structure
- support structure
What Geometry can be 3D Printed?
- 3D printable models need to be closed objects.
- In Rhino use the 'Properties' tab and check for a 'Closed Polysurface' or 'Closed Mesh'.
- Use the 'Shaded' display style, specifying a bright 'backface' colour via the display tab and add a custom colour for naked edges to highlight these objects further.
Object Scale for FDM 3D Printing
- For display models we recommend;
- minimum thickness of 2mm
- maximum width to span ratio of 1:4.
- For working parts we recommend prototyping your design to determine a suitable thickness based on the amount of force resistance required.
Display models: Massing vs Detailed
- It is important to consider the level of detail represented in your model.
- In digital models geometry can be infinitesimally small, however in manufacturing the level of detail able to be reproduced and the level of detail perceived by the human eye needs much larger allowances.
Modifying Detail for Massing Models
- Commands used in the video are;
- _Scale = 1/500
- _ZSA = Zoom Selected in All viewports
Modifying Detail for Detailed Display Models
- Commands used in the video are;
- _Scale = 1/100
- _ThicknessAnalysis = min:1mm max:2mm
- _ExtrudeSrf = 0.3
Fixing Open Objects
- Do not print open objects. They can cause errors in the 3D print preparation software which may result your model not being printed as you have intended, such as;
- Areas may be missing
- Artifacts may appear as the object is attempted to be reconciled
- Excessive material may be used as unnecessary amounts of support structure is generated causing higher costs and longer print times.
- Helpful commands are;
- If your model is classed as 'Open' use _ShowEdges = _NakedEdges.
- To fix these objects you can use;
- To check if objects are intersecting, select multiple objects and use the command _Intersect, or _MeshIntersect.
- In this example I have used the command _Move = Vertical, to fix this intersection issue.
- You may need to use the command _Scale1D or _DupFaceBorder and _ExtrudeCrv to fix your intersections
- You can use the command _Align = Bottom in the Left or Right viewport to ensure multiple objects are not located at different heights and will therefore require additional unnecessary support material to 3D print.
Meshing your Model
- Using the basic meshing slider accessed by using the _Mesh command
- The default 50% is a suitable compromise between file size and print quality. Use the command _Check to perform a diagnostic scan of your model, remember a 'BadMesh' is not always a problem just ensure your mesh contains no 'NakedEdges'.
- We strongly encourage you to learn more about mesh settings. Please start with the resources below.
- For more information on detailed meshing controls see here: Polygon Mesh Detailed
Fixing & Exporting a mesh from Rhino
- The command _MeshRepair will assist you to repair a 'badmesh', you should attempt to resolve any 'Degenerate Faces, Duplicate Faces and Inconsistent Normals'. Additionally you should 'Fill All Small Holes '
- The automatic mesh repair is a great for beginners and simple models. As you improve begin you modelling with mesh generation in mind to prevent issues like this.
Fixing a mesh online with NetFabb
- Use NetFabb online here
- Downloadable mesh repair tools including NetFabb Desktop, Autodesk Meshmixer or Blender.
Download and Install Makerbot Print
Adding Unconnected Printers
- The NExTLab has Replicator+ and Replicator Z18 printers available to use, these should be added as unconnected printers to your version of the Makerbot Print software
Importing and Orienting your Model
Print Modes and Basic Settings
- Learn more about custom settings in Makerbot Print here.
Custom Support Settings
Custom Infill Settings
- Read more about infill and shell settings here.
Print Preview and Cost Calculations
Makerbot Innovation Centre
Submitting a Print Request via the Innovation Centre
- Access the MSD Innovation Centre here: