3D Printing

Form2 3D Printer from FormLabs

Process

Design in 3D software >> Slice in PreForm >> Make Payment >> Send to Print >> Clean & Remove Supports

Design

Before even designing your model, refer to the Tech Specs and Design Specs on the Form 2 website so you know what can and can’t be printed.

Design your model. Check in Rhino (or similar) that it is water-tight, and has no naked edges. Export as a .stl file.

Slicing & Supports

Open your .stl file in PreForm, the free Formlabs software. (Also known as ‘the slicer’ because it calculates the shape of each layer of resin)

In Pre-Form, make the supports. Supports are made from the same material as your model, and can be auto-generated by PreForm, or you can add them manually. You can also try rotating your model in relation to the base to get a design with the fewest supports.

While in PreForm, check the mL and the time to print, and make sure the model is printable. 

Payment

The price per mL is 30 cents for regular resin, and 40 cents for flexible resin. PreForm will tell you how many mL your model is.

The TA who gives you access will record the mL, print time, and resin in a spreadsheet of print records, and can give you the total price for your mode. Make your payment to Carolyn during her office hours. 

If you are choosing to attempt a risky model (one for which PreForm shows warnings) if the event of model failure, you are still responsible for payment. Print at your own risk.

Printing

After you have paid for your model, make an appointment with a TA or Carolyn for access to the printer. PreForm will tell you how long it will take to print, and be sure to allow extra time for sending the model, and cleaning it afterwards.

The model is built upside-down on the build platform. Each layer is formed by a laser that solidifies the resin. 

Finishing

When planning to print, you need to budget time for finishing your model as well as setting it up. It takes 20 minutes to soak the model in the IPA, and time to trim all the supports. 

Tool and Build Specifications

Build Volume: 5.7 x 5.7 x 6 inches

Cost: 30 cents/mL for regular resin, 40 cents/mL for flexible resin

Process Notes

  1. Due to the high cost of printing, students must acquire a price (from Digital Printing Technician) and pay first before printing.
  2. Consider the uniqueness, size, and replicability of your geometry.  A single simple box is not an appropriate use of the tool.
  3. For better results, scale the 3D model to fit the build volume before generating the STL file.
  4. Consider that the object will be built vertically.  Proper orientation (minimize support) will save time.  Also, the object will have a ‘grain’ parallel to the horizontal surface.
  5. For best results, build the 3D model within the dimensions of the build volume. After scaling a large 3D model to fit the size of the build volume, sometime part of the building structures may be too small to print, results in lost of support in some areas.
  6. Always test a smaller version first.
  7. TIME, TIME, TIME….in many occasions each print will take up to 24 hours.
  8. If you see there is something wrong, press pause, and contact Digital Printing Technician. DO NOT attempt to fix the machine.
  9. If the machine runs out of material during a print job (sometimes it happens in the middle of the night), DO NOT attempt to change the cartridge. Contact Digital Printing Technician the next morning.
  10. Files must be WATERTIGHT.  Think ‘Chocolate Bunny.’  No Naked Edges.

When It Is Finished Printing

After printing, put on gloves. Carefully remove the build plate and pry the model off of it with the pry tool. 

Place your model in the first tank (the dirtier one) for 10 minutes, making sure it is completely covered. Then take it out and place it in the second tank (the cleaner one). 

Break off, or use the clippers to remove the supports. 

If you had any problems, please let Carolyn or a TA know so we can all learn, and prevent similar problems in the future. 

 

UPrint 3D Printer (older one)

Support material is chipped away by hand and dissolved in chemical bath

Material: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic polymer

Support: (soluble and removable)

Process: Layered deposition (‘Resolution’ is the thickness of each layer.  smaller resolution = finer detail/slower build) from 2 print heads (Material and Support)

Tool and Build Specifications

Bed Volume: 6D x 8W x 6H IN

Minimum Thickness: 0.254 MM

Cost: $3 per cubic inch

Students can prepare .stl files in CAD software (tutorial link) and submit to Digital Printing Technician (Ken email) for printing.

Process Notes

  1. Due to the high cost of printing, students must acquire a price (from Digital Printing Technician) and pay first before printing.
  2. Consider the uniqueness, size, and replicability of your geometry.  A single simple box is not an appropriate use of the tool.
  3. For better results, scale the 3D model to fit the build volume before generating the STL file.
  4. Consider that the object will be built vertically.  Proper orientation (minimize support) will save time.  Also, the object will have a ‘grain’ parallel to the horizontal surface.
  5. For best results, build the 3D model within the dimensions of the build volume. After scaling a large 3D model to fit the size of the build volume, sometime part of the building structures may be too small to print, results in lost of support in some areas.
  6. Always test a smaller version first.
  7. TIME, TIME, TIME….in many occasions each print will take up to 24 hours.
  8. The machine has to be constantly checked at the beginning of a print job to ensure there is no lost of extraction of material.
  9. If you see there is something wrong, switch off the machine (on the back left) and contact Digital Printing Technician. DO NOT attempt to fix the machine.
  10. If the machine runs out of material during a print job (sometimes it happens in the middle of the night), DO NOT attempt to change the cartridge. Contact Digital Printing Technician the next morning.
  11. Files must be WATERTIGHT.  Think ‘Chocolate Bunny.’  No Naked Edges.

When it is finished printing….

This 3D printer consist of two types of material. Model (white) and Support (dark brown). After printing, you must dip the 3D print in a solution (beside the printer) to dissolve the support material. It is a good idea to chip out as much support material as possible before you dip it into the bath. This will prolong the longevity and the strength of the solution.

After the support material is dissolved, take the 3D model from the bath solution and wash it off over tap water.

ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND RUBBER GLOVES WHILE CLEANING YOUR MODEL (You can find both items around the area of the printer)