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  • 1. 3D Printing Hacks Using Direct CAD
  • 2. Growth of 3D Printing in Manufacturing According to the Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide released by International Data Corporation (IDC) the 3D printing industry is going to be rapidly expanding in the next three years. The global market intelligence and advisory services provider is predicting that 3D printing will expand globally at a 27% compound annual growth rate. IDC says that the nearly $11 billion industry in 2015 will balloon to $26.7 billion by 2019.
  • 3. New Tech Takes Time Of course, as one of our Advocates Jason Brown of Cad/Cam Advantage says of 3D printing’s learning curve, there is certainly a “break in” period where your breaking yourself in, not the machine. There will be a lot of scrap. You don’t buy a stove and expect to be able to make an award winning lasagna, without figuring out how to first make a lasagna. Over the next 30 minutes or so, we’ll give you some tips for the recipe of success when considering and using 3d printers.
  • 4. What should I look for? We all have to start somewhere. If you haven’t purchased a 3D Printer yet, here’s what you need to consider.
  • 5. Hack 1 • Select a GOOD quality printer, prices vary, but commercially you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $20,000. There are 3 main processes: • FDM is an additive process, where a model is created by heating and extruding plastic, pieced together layer by layer. They are widely available and easy to find, but quality and adaptability vary widely. • Stereolithography also uses the additive process but instead of extruding plastics, the process utilizes an ultraviolet light beam to harden a model from a pool of photosensitive liquid. This allows for a higher quality printout. • SLS involves lasers and powders. A laser is used to melt the powder, creating a layer of the printed material. This allows some models to print metal objects, which is not possible in the other two processes.
  • 6. Print Bed It is very important that the first layer of your print is strongly connected to the printer’s build platform so that the remainder of your part can be built on this foundation. If the first layer is not sticking to the build platform, it will create problems later on. There are many different ways to cope with these first layer adhesion problems.
  • 7. Print Bed Hacks • The first thing you will want to verify is that your printer’s bed is flat and level. If the bed is not level, one side of your bed maybe too close to the nozzle, while the other side is too far away. • Strips of tape can be applied to the build platform surface. For example, PLA tends to stick well to blue painter’s tape while ABS tends to stick better to Kapton tape (Polyimide film). Many users have also had great success using a temporary glue or spray on the top of their build platforms. Avoid Hairspray. • Check your bed temperature. If your printer has a cooling fan, you may also want to try disabling that cooling fan for the first few layers of your printer so that the initial layers do not cool down too quickly.
  • 8. What Materials Should I Use? The two most common materials in 3D printing are Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). Both are thermoplastics that will become soft and malleable when heated, frozen when cooled. They are typically sold as 1kg (2.2lbs) spools of filament, priced in the $30 range. But each has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  • 9. Material Hack PLA • Biodegradable and environmentally sound • Cools quickly, which prevents problems with model warping • Available in both solid and translucent colors, gives printed objects a glossy look • Disadvantage: Its low melting point may cause models to deform under high heat • Disadvantage: It is difficult to work with if you require joints and interlocking parts ABS • Its flexibility makes creating interlocking pieces easier to create and work with. • It also has a higher melting point, so your creations will be less likely to deform under high heat. • Disadvantage: It takes longer to cool compared to PLA; models are susceptible to warping. • Disadvantage: It emits fumes during printing
  • 10. Bonus Hack Metal - Considered by many to be the “Holy Grail” of additive manufacturing processes, it is already being used to create custom metal parts for a wide variety of manufacturing applications ranging from custom race car parts to parts used by SpaceX. However, there are issues that may keep it from gaining wide-spread use: • Design for metal is very complex • Metal supports are difficult to remove/work with • Part density • Sagging due to weight
  • 11. Extruding the Problem The extruder is the heart and soul of your 3D printer and as such, close attention should be paid to its design, serviceability and ease of cleaning. Problems ranging from no material producing, to scarring, visible lines, gaps in top layers, and more can all be linked to the extruder.
  • 12. Extruder Hacks  Prime your extruder right before beginning a print so that the nozzle is full of plastic and ready to extrude.  Check for clogs. The “E” string on a guitar can unclog extruders by feeding it into the nozzle tip, however, your manufacturer should also be able to provide recommendations.  Make sure the nozzle isn’t too close to model; this can drag across making scars Other important features to consider are:  What drive system does it use?  Does it use a stepper motor or a dc motor to feed the filament?  Finally, you need to take into consideration what type of hot end it uses as some are more prone to failure than others. Many suggest a Bowden extruder; this is a higher dollar extruder then the cheap eBay or Amazon printers have.
  • 13. Design Designing for 3D printing isn’t all that different than designing for typical prototyping. But, there are some things you need to keep in mind when designing your model. Where Direct CAD can help keep the process smoother and easier.
  • 14. Design Hacks Make sure it fits. The build area depends on which printer will be printing the 3D object but the average build area for an FDM printer is somewhere in between 230mm × 225 × 205 and 200 × 200 × 200. Design with shrinkage in mine. ABS filament, especially, is more prone to shrinkage when the material cools down. If there are parts that are meant to fit together it’s important to keep shrinkage into account. Have you created supports where necessary? There are slicing software that create supports but it’s good to create them into the design if you know the maker will need them. Also, try not to
  • 15. Design Hacks Make sure your design works with you slicing software. KeyCreator customer and Advocate, Ken Harris, uses the Tools>Maintenance>Tolerize body command in KeyCreator, to check things like “Largest edge gap” and “Largest Vertex Gap” if those values are high then the slicer will run into problems. Depending on the errors the Tolerize Body command finds use the other tools to try to isolate the areas and fix the problems. There are slicing software that create supports but it’s good to create them into the design with your Direct CAD software to ensure consistency.
  • 16. Design Hacks • If the design requires a hole, it’s best to include this into the design instead of leaving it to drill the hole after as this can damage the model. • Wall thickness. 1mm is a starting point but if your design is for something durable then you can increase this. Anything less than 1mm and your design may be too fragile and easily breakable. • Adding a chamfer or fillet to your design can make it look more realistic and visually appealing, depending on what you are modeling. • For 3D objects that may go outside of the build area or are too detailed to print in one piece, you can break the model up into separate parts for printing.
  • 17. Design Hacks • Check the smallest details of your design: ensure they are printable at the size or resolution you are printing • Try to keep your file size under 50 MB. • If your design contains fragile parts, consider designing them thicket or attaching them to the body of the print to prevent breakage. • Ensure that interlocking parts and hinges have enough clearance • Clearance depends on what material you are using to print with but ABS needs a .4mm-.5mm clearance. • Ensure that there is enough tolerance for any parts that will be assembled after 3D printing • This is the maximum distance between the original shape and the STL file being exported. Most printing services recommend .01mm.
  • 18. Design Hacks • Avoid tall, thin features: Parts with small surfaces areas attached to the build surface are likely to become detached during printing due to the forces and moments exerted on them by the head. The taller the part, the larger the moments (or torques) it will experience at its base, which means the more likely it will detach while printing. • Also, avoid angles that go beyond 45-degrees as the stress load will be too much without support structures
  • 19. Design Hacks • When your model takes up a large surface area, the bottom parts of the model can cool down and shrink before the next layer goes down and causes warping. • Prints that have narrow parts (like the top of a triangle) can also cause warping. • Adding a raft to the design can help the bottom of your print adhere to the print bed.
  • 20. Hack 10 Post processing Just because your model is printed (well after anywhere from an hour to a day), it doesn’t signal the end of potential problems. The domain of finishing techniques for 3D printed objects (i.e., everything that takes place after printing) is the craftsman’s workshop, where patience, tools, skills, and experience can transform the raw products of these machines into fully realized models.
  • 21. Post Processing Hacks • Make sure to allow for a few extra layers in your design for sanding or an acetone. • Wet sanding paper and dry sanding paper, from 600 to 2000 grit, depending on the surface of the print. Don't use anything below 400 grit, you may damage the print. For sanding PLA its good to use wet sand paper. • Light body filler (car putty)for fixing the holes, little gaps between glued parts, any imperfections. • Mini grinder (for print imperfections, polishing details etc.) • Primer and paints. Be sure to check that they will work with your material.
  • 22. Sources Technology Education Concepts, Inc. Ken Harris, TK Jason Brown Cad/Cam Advantage engine-chamber-crewed34/skill-builder-finishing-and-post-processing-your-3d-printed-objects/
  • 23. If you would like to see how KeyCreator Direct CAD can help you work faster and smarter for 3D printing and more with a free trial or demo, visit us at:
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