Sunday, November 17, 2013

Early Steps in 3D Printing

3D printed wasp parts
I purchased a used 3D Afinia printer last Wednesday (off of Craigslist) and got it set up yesterday. In January I will be teaching 3D printing workshops at a library in East San Jose and at the Mayfair Community Center using this printer. I am hopeful that these workshops will be the first steps in creating consistent programming and dedicated tinkering spaces. I will also be bringing this printer to the woodshop/science lab at Joseph George Middle School in Alum Rock, San Jose. In all the workshops I will be introducing Tinkercad and SketchUp to students.

It is one thing to design 3D objects in TinkerCad or SketchUp and it is another thing to really design objects for successful 3D printing. As I begin to print objects, I am learning how to modify designs for printing. Above is my first attempt at printing a wasp I designed using Sculptis, Illustrator and Tinkercad. The legs printed much thinner that I expected and the slots for their insertion into the body were too small. I will thicken the legs in TinkerCad and will widen the insertion slots in the body.

Currently we are printing with ABS, but I will be purchasing PLA to use with students. Seeing the amount of material wasted in the rafts and supports, I would prefer the waste to be recyclable.

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