Assignment 3.1— First trail with 3D printer

Introduction: in this class we learned how to use 3D printer and preliminary try some Arduino.

1.Use a 3D modeling software to create a cube.

First of all, in oder to let everyone know briefly about the whole progress of 3D printing, we are going to print a cube made by ourselves as cubes are simple and efficient to spacing all of them in the printing platform. We can use different kinds of 3D modeling software. In this class I used 123D to create a cube who’s size is 20mm*20mm*7mm. I also wanted to add my name in the cube to make a distinguishing characteristic.

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I chose Text tool to print my last name. what makes me confused is that I could not directly type in on the surface of the cube, but only type it on the horizontal surface. After several times of try, I just give up and make a text “xia”. Joe told me that I can convert the text as object then I can change the size or shape of the text as I want. However this will make them separate, so I just use the default one in this time. As the text do not lay not the surface that I want, so I still need to use the rotate tool to make the text stand in parallel with the surface of the cube.

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Then I tried to move the text in front of the surface,( because it not easy to attach text on the surface in the 3D perspective , and the magnetic tool can not select text either.) First I used the extrude tool, but I found it’s just create a volume of the text. But what I need is to cut a shoe of my name on the cube, so I found a tool named “contract” in toolbar, and get the effect that I want. After that I saved my document as STL file.

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2.Check the cube.

In oder to print the cube in the right way, we also need to use software to check the model whether it is complete or  detecting the problem that human eye can not realize. Now we can use NetFabb to check the model.

the progress is :

import the stl file first then choose standard analyze to ensure the object is right.

However in my model , as the curved shape of “a”, there will be a small volume left, which do not have any support and will fall down. But as I just need to make a experience of 3D printing, So I just continue to see the result.

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3. Set printing parameters.

Although  I have already completed the model check, but the 3D printer still can not print our model. We need to set the print parameters with the Cura software, to convert our designed model to digital data that 3d printer can read. Usually we will set the parameters as following:

Layer Height: 0.2 mm

Shell thickness: 0.8 mm

Enabled Retraction: yes

Bottom/Top thickness: 0.6 mm

Fill density: 20%

Print speed (mm/s):50

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In this lesson, I was lucky to collect all the students’ models and set them together, I imported all the models to Cura, and do some arrangement (because the printing is bottom-up, so all the cubes (like the tables shaped one) need support). usually Cura will automatically arrange the fastest printing position, but we can also fine-tune it. The printing time is in the upper left of the screen.

4.Time to printing!

4.1 change material

choose change

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remove material: ready

the old material will be pumped out


insert new material: ready   then we can hear the special noise from the motor which is in the back of the machine.


then we can hang the material roller on the stand, and insert the head of the material into the pump


it’s better to cut some of the head which may decrease the possibility of blocking. Then the material will be “eaten” by the pump, and automatically be inhaled to the nozzle.

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then wait till the material comes out the nozzle. The squirted the material should be consistent and fluently. That means we change material successfully.

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Set the material as plastic .


4.2 We can print our object now.

choose print


find the document, and start to print.

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printing time!



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