This Powder based 3D printer produces highly accurate but delicate objects. Post processing maybe required to stabilize the objects for a longer life. Please speak with a TA or tech before preparing a digital model for print. Students versed in digital modelling are encouraged to be trained on the machine for ease of rapid prototyping and formal exploration.
Max part size = 8" x 10" x 8" (203x254x203mm)
Layer thickness = (.006" / 15mm)
Cost for Printing = 0.30 cents/gram
This Plastic (ABS) based 3D printer produces parts that are inherently stronger than the powder based Projet 360, with a relatively high resolution of the parts. Parts being printed can be produced as a solid or have a hollow interior with 2 types of densities. This type of printer requires support material for complex forms which cantilever into free space. This support material is dissolved after prtiner, though is part of the charge for printing. Speak with a FABLab tech about which printer is appropriate for your 3D model.
Max part size = 8" x 6" x 6" (203x152x152mm)
Layer thickness = (.01" / 0.254mm)
Cost for Printing = 0.35 cents/gram
This Micro Resin based 3D printer produces the highest detail available in 3D printing technology. Though the parts produced are very small with this printer, the resulting geometry is a strong functional part after post curing is complete. If individuals are interested in printing in colours other than the standard emerald greeen, they will have to purchase a whole material package. Please speak with a FABLab tech for more information.
Max part size = 1.69" x 1.06" x 5.9" (42.92x26.92x149.86mm)
Layer thickness = (.0012" / 0.03 mm)
Cost for Printing = 0.35 cents/gram
This Highly accurate 3D scanner digitizes real world artifacts, while creating a digital mesh in real time. By 'painting' over surfaces with this tools projected light grid, one is able to capture most materialized forms as a refined digital mesh. This mesh can then be exported as multiple file types for individuals to work on, in their desired CAD software.
Please speak with a TECH about using this specialized piece of equipment
1. Have an Idea
The first step is to have an idea in mind of what you would like to produce. How large does it need to be? How thin are the members? What does the geometry look like?
2. Become Familiar with Equipment
It is important to be at least loosely familiar with the equipment. This will be informative in how the file is created, if it is feasible to print, and how much the print will approximately cost. Contacting a TECH is a good start. It is best to do this early on, so as not to spend a lot of time working on a file, only to find out that it is incapable of being printed.
3. Create the File
Often times the most challenging part of the 3D printing process is creating the actual file. If the file is not "watertight" when submitted, there is a good chance it won't be able to be printed. The FabLab TECH’s may be capable of repairing an erroneous stl mesh, but it is best to submit a clean file. Many CAD based programs have the ability to produce a watertight .stl, though Rhino is the program most familiar and used by FABLab TECH's and for 3D modelling. For help preparing and verifying a file for 3D printing please see the file preparation section.
4. Submitting the File/Form
After you have spoken with a FABLab TECH and completed a watertight .stl file, the file can be brought down to the FABLab for printing. Students with proper training can send the file to print once the machine is open. All others will be put in a queue for next available printing time.
5. Pay for Print
Once the file is complete and ready for pick-up, you will get an email from the FABLab letting you know the part is ready for pick up. Payment is to be completed beforethe objects can be removed from the FABLab. All payment is completed through the UofM's Papercut declining account system.
Models can be printed in sections and adhered together after printing. ABS and PLA prints can be glued (if in pieces) with acrylic cement, and can then be primed or finished further. Powder models hardened by inoculating with epsom salt water or a hardening agent availbe through the FABlab.
One of the most difficult tasks when it comes to 3D printing is creating a clean file. Here we will go over different techniques in creating proper geometry, checking meshes and repairing meshes. While the methods described below will aid in creating a printable model, sometimes a file is too difficult to overcome. If you are unable to successfully create a proper file, contact a TA to seek further advice. They may be able to correct the file, but please note that this is not always the case. Sometimes the only way to make a file printable is to recreate it altogether.
Note: These methods primarily apply to the 3D modeling software Rhino.
Checking Nurbs File
If you have a polysurface in Rhino and you would like to know if it could be printed there are a few things one can do in order to check. First, before converting the file to a mesh (.stl), check to see if the file is a closed polysurface or an open polysurface. If it is an open polysurface, your geometry is not "watertight". One simple way to check if it is a solid (closed polysurface) is to go to properties -> details (F3 brings up the properties dialog box). If the file is closed, then proceed to export it as an .stl (mesh).
Trouble Creating a Solid
If you find that your object is not a closed polysurface, there are many different ways to proceed. It is best to fix the geometry here, rather than converting it to a mesh and then trying to repair it. The first step would be to turn on "naked edges" to find where the geometry is open. For further information on how to close an open polysurface please visit this link.
Exporting to STL
If you have a closed polysurface, the next step is to export the geometry as an stl file. Select the geometry you wish to export and go to "File", "Export Selected." Select "Stereolithography (.stl) and click "save." A new dialog box should appear. Usually the default is sufficient, but if you wish to adjust the tolerance of the object (number of polygons) it can be done here. Select "Ok." A new dialog box appears. You don't need to change anything here, binary is fine, just hit "Ok." You can also convert an object directly to a mesh in Rhino by the command "mesh," but remember to do a "save as," so as not to overwrite your nurbs based file.
Checking STL Mesh
Once you have created an stl, even if the original geometry was a closed polysurface, it is a good idea to verify that the mesh is a good mesh. To do this open the stl file, select the geometry and type in "CheckMesh." It should read, "This is a Good Mesh" at the top and contain no naked edges. If this is the case, your file should be suitable for 3D printing. If this is not the case, it often times is best to go back to the Nurbs file and fix the problem area there as oppose to the mesh file.