- Nov 04, 2016
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HOW TO GET A 3D PRINTABLE MODEL OR FILE?
Imagine that you have ordered a 3D printer online, and finally after ten days of shipping, it has arrived at your house. You will think of testing it to ensure that it is working well. You then begin googling about how to make a model to test your new 3D printer (Article: How to print a calibration cube?) and how this magical machine will help you produce your products. That is what we will discuss in this article, how to get or make yourself a 3D printable model either for testing or just as a product that you want to manufacture.
The 3D object model is encapsulated using standard file formats such as STL, OBJ, STP and DXF; these formats are according to the software which produces these data. In the coming we will show most of the possible solutions and the technologies available to make a printable model:
The vendor of your 3D printer wants to make sure that you can download a sample model and test your 3D printer. So you can discover the online repositories of design provided by the 3D printer vendor. You can find a lot of 3D printable objects such as a child toy, a phone case, a decorative and or functional item, and many others. Also, you can modify this model in a way that satisfies you and then print it.
In addition to free objects provided, some vendors allow designers to upload their 3D models so that you can download by paying a copy of it.
Community repositories: another source of 3D printable objects is the community repositories on the internet. Users upload models for many purposes such as educational use, artistic purpose, or even functional parts like the components used to build a 3D printer. Some examples of these communities are Thingiverse open-source repository, Grabcad, Sketchfab, Autodesk 123D, and others.
In these communities, you find many upgrades for off-the-shelf 3D printers and may find a whole design of a 3D printer, that is if their designers decided to share the files.
Designing in the Computer:
Until a few years ago, designing a 3D model through computer-aided drafting (CAD) software such as Autodesk required a powerful computer and its specialized software leaving aside the user’s capabilities of using the software to produce 3D models. But the CAD tools were not sufficient for the 3D printing as additive manufacturing required a creation of complex internal structures rather than a solid model. That was why several new tools were developed and made available for many 3D printing fields according to the requirements of the associated designs. For example, a specific instrument for the medical implants was developed, as this area required models which were highly customized to an individual.
These newly developed tools are much more user-friendly, even for home users. One of these available tools is the SketchUp (3D modeling software) which is developed by Google, and it can be used for little or free of charge. Also, the simple and easy to understand user interface is the browser-based ThinkerCAD program, which is free and does not require users to install on their computers.
One of the standard user-friendly tools is the 123D Design which is released by Autodesk. This free software is for tablet devices and requires no powerful processor as all the calculations are done in the cloud. So you can get an excellent model in a short amount of time.
When you have an idea about some objects to print, you can Google the internet and find a suitable software tool which can help you build your model.
We always see nice objects that we would like to have as an antique in our homes or even objects required for other professions. However, building such objects are not that easy, and it may need a professional design to get the whole object like it. That is why scanning an existing object is the most suitable solution in this case. There are many technologies available for this purpose such as the usage of commercial 3D scanners, laser scan, CT scan, and capturing and build any 3D object using ordinary photos (ex., 123D catch, ReCap360, or other free photogrammetry apps).
Several ways are available for you to start creating your 3D printable model. But we must keep in mind that not all object designs are intended to be captured, shared or even produced without the original designer permission. So, before you create an object or sell a model, make sure it is completely yours. It is easy to find free designs that you can use, so always keep in mind that it is not ethical to use the others work without consent.
Source: 3D Printing Industry
Main cover image via www.3dprintpulse.com