3D Printing- Overview

Official Rules:
  1. You must have a Tutor or Chris approve your print before you start the print.
  2. You must monitor the printer until the first layer has fully adhered to the build platform.
  3. The combined volume of all 3D printed parts used on the robot may not exceed 50 cubic inches. Do not confuse this with the volume of the plastic used. The volume of each part can be determined in CAD and should be recorded on the team log.
  4. Each team should maintain an ongoing 3D Printing LogPrinted parts that are not used on the robot will not count towards the team's total.
  5. Each individual part must fit within a 4x4x4in (10x10x10cm) cube.
  6. You cannot use outside CAD. MAE3 is a CAD and design class and therefore students are expected to design and create their own CAD models. Exceptions include the parts posted on the MAE3 CAD library page: which includes gears, timing belt pulleys, etc [link].
3D Printing Safety:
  1. Do not touch the printer while it is printing! There are many hot moving parts and gears.
  2. If something goes wrong, pause the print and notify a Tutor or Chris. Do not attempt to print again.
Overflow 3D Printing in the EnVision Maker Studio:

Makerbots are available for use in the MAE Design Studio. However, MAE3 students are also welcome to use the EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio that opening in January 2016. Resources include 3D Printers and a Laser cutter. To use the EnVision Maker Studio:
  1. Go to: www.envision.ucsd.edu
  2. Click on Access => Scroll to the bottom to go to Safety Training
  3. Login with your UCSD Active Directory Account and Complete the Training
  4. Access is available in during the Yellow Open Access Hours under the Access menu.

Exporting as .STL for 3D printing:

In order for the 3D printer to recognize your part, you must export your model as a .STL file in millimeters.
  1. To export: File>Export>Cad Format
  2. Select .stl for your file type. Then click Options and change the units to millimeters.

  3. Save your file to a flashdrive to bring to the Design Studio to print.

How to Print a Part on the Makerbot 3D Printers:

To print using the Makerbot Replicator 3D printers, you need to use the makerbot software. Please review the excellent resources on the makerbot page: https://support.makerbot.com/learn/makerbot-print-software/using-makerbot-print/using-makerbot-print_13586
  1. Create a part, using the guidelines listed above.
  2. Save your .stl file in Millimeters, not Centimeters or Inches! Or else you will have a major scaling issue... You can scale up in the program but for an inexperienced user, the incorrect size may not be noticeable in the program.
  3. Move the file onto a flashdrive if transferring to a different computer (if you created your .stl outside of the 3D Space).
  4. Open up MakerBot Print, the proprietary software created by MakerBot (it can be downloaded for free to experiment with at home from here. Please create your finished product in the Design Studio, such that we can check your settings).
  5. Click the folder icon in the top left corner (the project panel). Once it expands, click add model and select your part.  You can click the icon again to minimize the panel
  6. Click the Orient tool on the right (the twin arrows) and orient your part with the given rotation buttons.
  7. Once properly oriented, click Place Face on Build Plate. You can click the icon again to minimize the panel.
  8. Click on the Settings tool and make sure the right print quality is selected ("MakerBot PLA," "Standard," and "Raft" are you usually good choices Make sure you choose the Smart Extruder Plus extruder). Enable support if necessary.
  9. In the bottom right corner, there should be a panel listing the available printers. If there is a Replicator 5th gen printer in the listing, then you can simply export for that printer. If there is no replicator 5th gen listed, you will need to add one ("Add a Printer">"Add an Unconnected Printer">"Replicator 5th Gen")
  10. When the print exports, it will give you a time and material estimate on the print.
  11. If the print time and material sounds reasonable to you, ask a Tutor or Chris to come check it and confirm that it is good to go.
  12. Once your file has been confirmed, save the file to your usb drive (either by copy-pasting, or by re-exporting straight to usb).
  13. Bring the flashdrive over to the MakerBot, and plug it in the front face.
  14. Replace the Blue Tape after every print. Never overlap the tape. Overlapping the tape will cause the Printer Head to jam and ruin the Printer Head. Small gaps between the Blue Tape are OK.
  15. Using the Selection Wheel of the MakerBot, select Print, Storage Drive, and then find your part. Have one of the Tutors or Chris check the printing bed to make sure it's ready, and once you have confirmation from them, Start your 3D print! Once your parts starts to print you can remove your USB.
  16. Never walk away from the 3D Printer until the first layer of the part raft has printed. Most Printer Head jams, that ruin the Printer Head, occur during this time.

Nate Delson,
Apr 25, 2016, 1:50 PM