How to: 3D printing from a business student’s perspective

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We are continuing our How To -series and today we looked printing from a business student’s perspective. I don’t have any experience of 3D printing or even to 3D modeling, so this is a totally new world for me. I have seen the printing process, but I haven’t ever done the 3D printing myself. So let’s get started!

Everything starts with modeling

We started by thinking about what we would want to print. I wanted something that is related to HDF and has meaning but also something easy enough for a beginner. So, we choose a train because of the ABT. We (and as we I mean me and Markku) found a ready to use 3D modeled train that we modified a bit.

We wanted to add some text to the train so we chose short and easy texts like ABT for Amazing Business Train and HDF for HAMK Design Factory. We did modifications to the train in Rhinoceros. We wrote the text and modified it to the 3D object for a thickness of 2mm. After that, we made the object into a mesh version which gave us a possibility to add it to the mesh of the train. We placed the text so that it came out for about a 1mm.

Starting the printing process

We chose the 3rd best quality for the train which estimated printing time was 4 hours when the timing for the second-best quality was 8 hours, so it made quite a difference. This was “only” a learning experience, so we stick for the 4 hours.

We used pink PLA filament for the project and we used a Sigma 3D printer with 0,4mm nozzle. With the printer, it’s important to start with the calibration to avoid any air between the layers. We transferred the file with the memory card and then we chose the best printing quality from the test pieces. Finally, we started printing. Printing itself doesn’t need that much attention but it’s good to check that everything is okay every hour.

First, the printer prints a platform for the piece so that it stays in place and won’t fall. The platform is easy to take off afterwards so don’t worry when there’s some extra material at first. Our printing took 4 hours and the result was what expected. We left the rails away this time so we only printed the train.

Thoughts at the and

I would say that the 3D printing process is more complex than the laser. If you don’t know how to model, like me, you can always take a ready to use model from the internet but then again if you do some changes it’s not that simple. 3D printing also takes time so it’s good to take into consideration when starting the printing.

I found it quite hard to notice if there was some extra material somewhere in the model and the Rhinoceros itself isn’t the easiest program to use. But if you use ready to go model and you have someone to help you through the way you will survive. Well, at least I did.

 

-Kristiina

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