Tinker Meeting November: 3-D Printing

ImageThis month I half our Tinker meeting was focused on 3-D design and printing basics.  Here’s a recap of what we covered:

I: Getting started

    • Open Sketchup Make or Sketchup 2013
    • Go to Window->Extension Warehouse
    • Sign in with a Google account
    • In the search bar enter TT_Lib
    • Click on TT_Lib2
    • Click on “Install”
    • On the pop up box click “Yes”
    • Now search for Solid Inspector and Sketchup STL and repeat steps 3 for each.

II: Design

  • Open Sketchup and select a template, scroll down and pick Design and Woodworking Inches
  • Go to View on the toolbar, click on toolbars and make sure Large Tool Set box is checked
  • The pencil tool allows you to draw free hand in straight lines, the shapes allow you to start with shapes, the squiggly line lets you draw totally free hand however you want.
  • Starting with a shape can be easier because there are fewer issues with making sure an object is solid before printing.
  • To make something 3 dimensional click on the Push/Pull tool then click on your sketch, you can make it go up or down as much as you want.
  • If you want to delete any part of your design, click on the arrow tool and then click on the line or piece you want to delete and hit the delete button (on the keyboard).

ImageIII: Getting Your Design Ready to Print

  • Using the arrow button triple click on your design to select all parts of it.
  • Then right click on your object and select make group
  • Then right click again and click on entity info, if your object doesn’t have a volume then you have problem
  • To see where the problem on your object use solid inspector which is under tools, red circles will appear where there are issues, use the hand tool to rotate the picture and see where the issue is
  • Next we’re going to scale our designs to make sure they aren’t too big for the printer ideally you want them to be 1-2.5 inches because things bigger than that take a long time to print.
  • Select the tape measure tool from the tool bar, click on one edge or end point of your object then click again on another edge/endpoint across from the first one.  Now look at the length box in the lower corner of your screen.  The distance shown it the space between to two points you just measured.  Just type in the size that you want and hit enter.  (You don’t need to click in the box, just type -If it seems like it’s not working trying doing it on a diagonal)
  • Once your design is solid and the right size, you just need to make sure it’s the right file type for the 3-D printer.  We’re using a Makerbot Replicator and Makerware software for our printing.
  • Click on file and then export STL, export in Millimeters, for the file name you might have to type name.stl (especially if you’re using a PC) because it won’t automatically assign the file type.  Save file to a thumb drive then bring over to 3-D printer open file in Makerware and then print it!

-Renee Neumeier, YA Librarian Supervisor, Evanston Public Library

If you have questions I’ll try my best to answer them- email me at rneumeier@cityofevanston.org

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