3D printing or additive making is a process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The development of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In such process an object is created by laying down layers one above the other of material until the object is created. These layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
The applications of 3D printing are widely varied, from 3D printed chocolates to houses to cars to perfectly fitted prosthetics. The possibilities for 3D printing are near to limitless.
One of the obstacles for users is how to use 3D CAD data to print a 3D part, as it can’t be simply send to the printer. CAD files need be converted to STL files, which in turn can be used by the printer. Problems become uglier when a file is converted to another file type.
As per the latest release of SpaceClaim 2014 SP1, the company is giving a solution to help with the obstacles being faced with 3D printing. The STL Prep for 3D Printing module creates models for 3D printing not only repairs the issues, but also modifies STL and CAD files.
The problems include:
*STL files need to be watertight i.e.no gaps between surfaces
* Shapes must be suitable for printing
*Models need to be resized to fit the envelop size
*Fixtures are added for exterior and interior supports
*Reduced complexity of model to reduce the data sent to the printer
* Additional considerations for material e.g. shrinkage
* Can’t use 2D drawings or scanned data
To resolve many of these problems, SpaceClaim’s new add-on tools help users prepare CAD models for 3D printing. In today’s multi-CAD design environments, an important tool is one that enables users to combine models from a variety of CAD packages. If the source file is a mesh, then the new 3D Print Prep tool cleans it up, remove gaps, holes and INTERSECTS meshes, which make them watertight.
Hendrickson explains a common situation in which the software’s modeling tools can help users print something derived from a model, such as a mouth guard obtained from a cast of someone’s teeth. The modeling tools can be used to develop a generic mouthguard, and then minus the mesh of the teeth from the mouthguard model.
Space Claim’s new 3D print prep module also handles the following tasks: converts any model to STL or AMF files; previews the solid to mesh export with adjustable settings; automatically reduces triangles.