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3D PRINT

While we are operating under social distancing and with a need to keep equipment clean, we will be operating a bureau service for 3D printing. You can submit 3D prints just as you would for 2D, with collection from the Lab Shop.

ASKING FOR HELP

Mon - Fri 12:00 - 13:00*

If you have read the guide below and you need help please join us in the Open forum to answer any questions you may have about preparing your files. Feel free to listen in so you can pick up some tips from us helping others. Usual rules apply: microphones off unless your speaking; put your 'hand' up if you want to say something. See you there!

*We are closed from the 11th December to 4th January

1. Read through the Quick Start Guide

01

It is useful to understand the limitations of the printer before your start creating your model. It is strongly recommended that you read this guide before submitting a print.

2. Create your geometry

02

You can model in any 3D modelling software but we advise you to use Rhino and the template file provided. Export each part as an .stl file.

3. Process in Prusa Slicer

03

You can download Prusa Slicer for free. Process your stl file, make a note of the time the object takes to print. Save the Prusa project.

4. Submit

04

Submit and pay for your file to be printed we aim to have this done in 24 hours.

5. Pick up

05

Once you have recieved confirmation, come in and pick up your print.

QUICK START GUIDE

We recommend using rhino to model your geometry. However, you can use any CAD program you are familiar with. Above is a template file with build volumes and some useful help built in.

1. IS YOUR GEOMETRY PRINTABLE?

When designing your model geometry, it is very important to consider that 3D printers have limitations and your model should be designed around them.

The maximum build volume is 250x210x210mm

Good Geometry

A good geometry is a geometry that has been designed considering the 3D printers limitations.

Bad Geometry

A bad  geometry is a geometry that has been designed without taking into consideration the 3D printers limitations, resulting in an  unprintable model. This is common when you have a very complex geometry.

2. ARE YOUR GEOMETRY PARTS TOO THIN?

Each element of your model should not have a thickness less than 0.4mm for them to be possible to be printed. For best results a minimum of 0.8mm is recommended.

3. IS YOUR GEOMETRY WATERTIGHT?

When creating a 3D file for printing, it is important to remember that in order for the machine to be able to process what is on the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of your object, the object needs to be ‘water tight’. This is done by making sure your geometry is free of any gaps in its surfaces. To ensure that your geometry is completely watertight, and has no gaps or issues, you must run the Rhino command ‘ShowEdges’, this will check for ‘Naked Edges’ and ‘Non-Manifold Edges’. This will highlight the problem edges in Rhino (usually with a purple line). These need to be fixed before you export your object as an .stl file. Download the guide for guidance on fixing these problems.

4. DOES YOUR MODEL NEED SUPPORTS?

When your model has an overhang or bridge which is not supported by anything below, you might need to use 3D printing support structures to be able to print it, these ones are generated by the Prusa Slicer software.

Consider that adding support will greatly increase your printing time.

Overhangs that don't need support

For tilted overhangs with an angle less than 45º you may be able to print them without using support.

Bridges that don't need support

Just like overhangs, not all bridges require support. The rule of thumb is: if a bridge is less than 5mm in length, the printer may be able to print it without requiring 3D printing support structures. 

CREATE A MESH.

When using Rhino you model with NURBS Surfaces, an .stl file is a MESH file type which is what is needed for 3D Printing, getting from one to the other translates free-form NURBS into triangulated meshes.

To create a mesh from your Rhino NURBS, select your object and use the ‘Mesh’ command. You will be given options for the number of polygons that your mesh will be made from, more polygons = better translation but bigger file sizes.

Once you have your mesh, export it as an .stl file from Rhino. If you have multiple parts or components, each MUST be saved as a separate file, as groups of objects cannot separately be edited later on. To save your object, select it, use the ‘Export Selected’ command, and then on the filetype drop-down, select the stereolithography option (.stl)

To print on the Prusas, you must process your .stl file through downloadable freeware called ‘Prusa Slicer’. In here you are able to rotate and arrange your pieces for printing, it is always recommended you rescale in Rhino, to avoid any parts becoming too small to print correctly.Prusa Slicer is free to download from Prusa’s website.

SETUP THE MACHINE

  • The Machine is Prusa i3 MK3S, 0.4mm Nozzle
  • The Material is ColourFABB PLA-PHA

SETUP THE PRINT

1. Print Settings

  • Import the Configuration
  • Import your .stl file.

 

  • Rotate to position the largest flattest part is on the bed. it must be level and flush to the bed.

 

  • Edit the settings, use only the FabricationLab User Preset setting
  • Slice your model

2. Print Settings_ Set Layer Distance

Find below an example of the same model printed at 3 different distance settings and with the same infill percentage. The distance between layers can affect greatly the print time.

Once you have tried and experimented with the basics you might want to try some of the more advanced settings below:

Advanced Settings

1. Advanced Print Settings_Variable Layer Height

Once you have tried the standard settings on Prusa you might want to try a more advanced technique.

The Variable Layer Height function allows you to set different levels of layer height and detail on the same object. This function is recommended for models that have a mixture of curved and flat walls and using it can decrease greatly the printing time.

Below you can find how to configure this option.

When happy with the setup of your print, preview it by clicking on the “Slice” button on the right hand side of the screen.This will generate a preview of your job, allowing you to review the print layer by layer, see how the supports and brim look as well as tell you exactly how long it will take to print (this is also the price £1 per hour). You are able to zoom in and see how the details of your model look, you can easily change any of the settings before you save the project by going back to the settings panel and updating whatever settings need to be changed and re-slicing.

Once you are happy with your model. Go to File and save your project. you need to name it in a very specific convention. DSxx_w1234567_DavidScott_3D1_3MF .

DSxx = your course, for example if you are BA Interiors it would be BAIAY3, or BA architecture could be BA_DS3.2.

w1234567 = your student number

DavidScott = your name

3D1 = type of file and the number of files, sequentially. if you have 3 file you will have 3D1, 3D2, 3D3

3MF = the file format. Prusa exports as a 3MF.

WE WILL EXPORT THE G-CODE FROM YOU PRUSA FILE.

We are in the process of developing an online submission. Until that is operational please drop off your g-code on a USB at the Lab Shop.

PRINT REQUIREMENTS

  • Model or work in the template file. Make sure it fits within the bounding box (250 x 210 x 210).
  • Only use Prusa Slicer to slice your model. (download here).
  • The only material we have is ColourFABb PLA-PHA
  • Once processed in Prusa slicer take a note of the time taken. It is £1 per hour with a minimum charge or £1 and  maximum print time of 8 hours.
  • We want the prusa's 3mf file not the gcode. Go to File - Save Project As..
  • Save your project DSxx_w1234567_JoeBloggs_3D1_3MF (your studio or course_student number_name_type of file and number in a series_file format. For example DS23_w1234567_DavidScott_3D1_3MF)

DISCLAIMERS

  • We will try to print within 24 hours of submission. As this is a new service we do not know how popular it will be. We may occasionally miss this deadline or we may need to extend it in the future.
  • The minimum charge for a print is £1, if you are printing something that is less than 1 hour you can put more on the bed.
  • Prusa Slicer gives a visual preview of your model prior to printing. Check this preview to see any potential failings. We will print what you submit. If it fails it is your responsiblity. We have a Digital Fabrication Clinic Via teams if you would like to discuss your model before you submit.

REM

Roland Modela MDX-40
MAX MATERIAL SIZE 290 x 390 x 50 mm

ADVANTAGES

A fast, easy to use CNC Mill. Will machine medium and high density foam to be uses as component parts or molds. Also good for flipping the stock for machining both sides.

DISADVANTAGES

Smaller bed size than the CNC routers. Only machines foam.

£3/h

PETER & BERNARD

Roland SRM-20s
MAX MATERIAL SIZE 200 x 150 x 40 mm

ADVANTAGES

Our lowest price CNC.  Will machine medium density foam (Blue and Cream, not Orange foam). Good for machining highly detailed designs. Fitted with our smallest tool (2mm Flat Mill)

DISADVANTAGES

Will only machine Blue and Cream foam. A small bed.

£2/h

RENZO

AXYZ 4008 - ROUTER
MAX MATERIAL SIZE 1220 x 1200 x 50 mm

ADVANTAGES

A Powerful CNC Router capable of cutting foam up to 1220 x 1200 x 50. Good for machining context models.

DISADVANTAGES

There are few disadvantages when cutting foam. Unlike normal it has a manual tool change.So jobs that require lots of tool changes can be slow.

£5/h

TO BOOK, EMAIL e.lancaster1@westminster.ac.uk YOUR RHINO FILE AND NC CODE FOR CHECKING. WE WILL BOOK YOU IN.

NORMAN

AXYZ 4008 - ROUTER
MAX MATERIAL SIZE 1220 x 2440 x 50 mm

ADVANTAGES

Our largest CNC. Capable of cutting Plywood, MDF, foam and Acrylic.

DISADVANTAGES

A popular choice of with a que.

£5/h

TO BOOK, EMAIL e.lancaster1@westminster.ac.uk YOUR RHINO FILE AND NC CODE FOR CHECKING. WE WILL BOOK YOU IN.

PRUSA i3 MK3S

MATERIAL: PLA
BUILD VOLUME: 250 X 210 X 210

ADVANTAGES

Cheap fast and we have 12. The parts that come out are strong with a good resolution.

DISADVANTAGES

No support material so all overhangs will have support that will need to be broken off.

£1/h

ZCORP 250

MATERIAL: Plaster
BUILD VOLUME: 185 x 236 x 132

ADVANTAGES

Can print in full colour (the file submitted must be a .zcorp or .VRML file). Complex forms can be printed as it is all self supporting.

DISADVANTAGES

The material is very brittle and breaks easily. This means it is not suitable for delicate models such as small scale trusses and space-frame structures. Can be expensive (it can also be cheap if you model correctly) we recommend you start printing with the Prusa's.

£0.50 per cm3

ZCORP 450

MATERIAL: Plaster
BUILD VOLUME: 203 x 254 x 203

ADVANTAGES

Can print in full colour (the file submitted must be a .zcorp or .VRML file). Complex forms can be printed as it is all self supporting. Larger volume than the Zcorp 250.

DISADVANTAGES

The material is very brittle and breaks easily. This means it is not suitable for delicate models such as small scale trusses and space-frame structures. Can be expensive (it can also be cheap if you model correctly) we recommend you start printing with the Prusa's.

£0.50 per cm3

DIMENSIONS ELITE

MATERIAL: ABS
BUILD VOLUME: 203 x 203 x 305

ADVANTAGES

Prints with a soluble support so complex parts can be printed. No time limit, can print over night.

DISADVANTAGES

Considerably more expensive and slower than the Prusa.

£0.30 cm3

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