Posts Tagged ‘3D printing

low-poly-tiger-with-support

We have already discussed what is the support material and what are rafts in 3D printing and why you need to use them and when, but it will be more clear for a lot of people to understand if we just show you. Here you can see a print of a low polygon 3D model of a tiger printed with support material under the body. The two most important and problematic zones if you do not use support material will be the head and the tail as they do not have anything under them as a part of the model and a 3D printer extruding thermoplastic material cannot simply print in thin air. That is why you need to print support material and not only for the head and tail, but for the body as well and when the 3D model is ready you can just remove the extra support material that you do not need.

The often observed problem with the use of support material however is that it may not always stick well to the print bed, so you may need to add Raft to fix this. Sometimes the support material could also be hard to remove from the 3D printed model, especially if your print bed is not properly leveled as normally you should be able to very easily remove the extra support material. One of the drawbacks that many of the 3D printing software solutions that come bundled with 3D printers is that they are designed to automatically generate support where they think it is required. So the user does not have control of where and how much support material to be used, but the good news is that there are alternative software packages that do provide extra functions such the ability for the user to add support material only where it is needed.

makerbot-digitizer

3D scanners are not that new as a technology, however with the increased interest in 3D printing in the last few years the interest in 3D scanners has also increased significantly, and that goes especially when talking about affordable 3D printers and 3D scanners. A 3D scanner should in theory allow you to scan a real world object into a 3D model that later on you will be able to print into a physical object again with the help of a 3D printer. This could be especially useful for people that are interested in 3D printing, however are not very keen on learning 3D modeling. You should however be very aware of the fact that 3D scanning, much like 3D printing, may be a bit overhyped and is not as easy as it may be represented by companies willing to sell you their products for 3D scanning. This is especially true when we are talking about more affordable 3D scanner solutions that are at a sub $1000 USD level, but can also be very true for models that going higher in terms of price at like $2000-$3000 USD that can still be considered as cheaper consumer oriented products. Nevertheless the concept of 3D scanning is something that we are also interested in with both its advantages and disadvantages at the consumer level of products as there are significantly better and more expensive professional models available, similar to such 3D printers, but our focus is on the more affordable solutions targeted at the normal users.

makerbot-digitizer-3d-scanner-results

The first thing about 3D scanners that is often not getting enough attention is the quality you can expect to get when you scan a real world object. You should be prepared not to expect a great level of detail of the 3D model that you will get as a result from a 3D scan, while the general shape and some of the detail will mostly be preserved, the finer details will most likely be lost. Also be prepared to spend some more time initially getting to know what the best conditions for scanning are and how to properly use your 3D scanner for best results. 3D scanning usually takes some time and this can greatly vary from one 3D scanner to another, and then you may also need some additional time to work on the scanned 3D model as well. The software that stiches all of the data that gets acquired during the scanning process that should create a solid three-dimensional model is not perfect and very often you may need to fine tune the model for the best results. Do note that most consumer oriented 3D scanners also do allow very limited size of the scanned objects and if they offer more freedom and larger scale scanning often the results are not as good as with smaller objects. Still 3D scanners are a fun thing to play and experiment with, just do not get unrealistic expectations on what the resulting 3D scanned models will look like. You should also be prepared that when you 3D print a 3D scanned object in a single color the final result may be even less detailed than what the 3D model you got.

On the images above you can see the MakerBot Digitizer along with an original Gnome figure that was created in a 3D modeling software and then printed in 3D and painted to make it look really nice. Then the figure has been scanned with the MakerBot Digitizer and printed again on a 3D printer from the scanned 3D resulting model. While the end result still looks quite good, you can clearly see that most of the finer details are gone and there are some differences in the larger details that no longer seem as distinguishable as on the original 3D print of the Gnome. Of course adding color might help in making the two Gnomes seem lore alike, however this is a good example that should bring your expectations from 3D scanners to a more reasonable level.

3d-printed-shuttle-transparent-pla

3D printing is something that a lot of people are interested in already or are just starting to and no wonder as there is simply a lot of hype surrounding it. In the last few years 3D Printing has become much more affordable and thus widespread with many devices and printing consumables (filaments) from various manufacturers available. So you can get yourself a 3D Printer quite easy and without having to pay a lot for it and there are many options, but the real question you should ask yourself first is if you really need a 3D printer or not. A lot of people fall victims of the hype, get a printer and quickly find out that it is just too hard for them to use, because the easy part is to just get some already available 3D model and print it on your device.

The harder thing however is when you get tired of printing already prepared stuff and you want to print something that you need, but first you need to design the 3D model yourself and then to print it. This is the harder part and it is hard for a reason – not everyone has the skills for 3D modeling already available, sure you can learn, but not everyone wants to or can get the hand of things. Even if you make the perfect model in the modeling software, then you still need to manage to print it the way you want it to and that sometimes is not an easy task as well. In short, 3D printing, while it may already be quite affordable for normal users, is still something that needs learning and if you want to get into it you should be prepared to spend a lot of time trying out different stuff, reading tips and tricks from other users and learning a lot of new stuff.

So be prepared and know what to expect before you start, otherwise you might end up disappointed victim of the hype surrounding 3D printing. We just recently started getting in the world of 3D Printing and are ready to learn, but moreover we are ready to share what we learn as we go with you – the people that are considering getting in or are already learning on the go as we do. This is precisely why this website was created, as a means to share information and help each other, so feel free to share something useful or interesting you have discovered as well.


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