CAD and 3D Printing

CAD and 3D Printing

*** You will need to bring your own PC or laptop and a 3 button mouse with a scroll wheel for this course. (see below)***

This course aims to de-mystify the process of producing your own 3D printed models in plastic. You will learn how to use a free CAD package ‘Sketchup’ to draw simple 3D objects and then print them on a ‘home’ 3D printer.

You will learn how to do 3D drawings and save them in the correct format for 3D printers, or for professional printing bureaus like Shapeways and imaterialise. Two or more 3D printers will be available to use costing from £400 (a Makerbot Replicator2 and a Printrbot Simple), and you will be shown how to set them up and configure them ready for printing. You will then send your drawing(s) to be printed as objects to take away with you at the end of the weekend.

We will concentrate on producing small items such as barrels, crates, chimneys etc., which can all add to the railway scene on your layout. Examples of 3D printed items will be on hand, including the files from which they were printed, for you to look at and handle. Some items will have been produced by a professional 3D printing Bureau so you can compare the quality with those produced on the domestic 3D printers from the same computer files.

You will also have the opportunity to see a 3D scanner (Makerbot 3D Scanner) in operation. This scans an existing object and converts it into a computer file which can then be modified and printed.

This is a practical ‘hands on’ course. To fully participate you will need a Windows XP/7/8/Apple Mac computer or laptop. The bigger the screen the better! We will transfer the files to the printer using SD cards, but a USB port taking USB sticks can also be used to transfer the files. You will need to have the following installed:

Sketchup Make
free download off the internet. This is the preferred choice of program which allows you to draw 3D objects. Choose ‘personal use’ before downloading.

.stl file export ‘plugin’ for Sketchup – installs from within Sketchup – from top menu choose Window > Extension Warehouse then find the ‘stl plugin file and install it. This should bring up option to export .stl files (look under FILE or TOOLS).

(This plugin allows Sketchup to export your drawings in the format required by 3D printers)

**IMPORTANT** A three button mouse (one with a scroll wheel) is ESSENTIAL for 3D drawing. To turn, zoom in and out you need the scroll wheel; it cannot be done with the touchpad. Both wireless and USB mice are available for laptops.

Netfabbanother free download from the internet. This program examines your drawing for faults which may affect the printing and corrects them.