RapManUSA: Education & 3D Printing Blog
We just received word today that due to the success of the Cube and CubeX lines, 3D Systems will be ending production of the RapMan Kit and 3DTouch printer lines. However, they stated that, “We will continue to provide materials, spare parts and service support for the discontinued printers for years to come, so existing and new customers can rest assured 3D Systems will stand behind and support the 3DTouch and RapMan printers going forward.” So, while new sales are going to be directed towards the Cube and CubeX lines, you can still count on TEC, Inc. to support your RapMan Kit or 3DTouch printer as long as we are able!
We receive a lot of files from prospective customers for our 3D printers in schools and industry. Many have issues in their design that cause failed parts on a 3D Printer. Designing for Prototyping or Additive Manufacturing is a new sub set of 3D Design. Many students learn lessons in design class about manufacturability on CNC machines or injection molding machines. With the amount of 3D printers in classrooms today instructors and end users need to look at the same types of manufacturability issues as they relate to 3D printers. Though we in the 3D print community can produce some fantastic models, most of the best ones you may see are produced with specific design intent being focused on using a 3D printer as the production tool. BFB recently released Axon 2.1 software for their machines and updated the Axon manual as well. (You can download both at www.bitsfrombytes.com ).
The Axon manual contains some pages related to designing for 3D printing which should be viewed and used as instruction for 3D Design students with those machines. Also below I have reposted an excellent article from acleveland at QuickParts.com , a premier service bureau, who prints parts on demand for industries on a wide range of 3D printing equipment, including all the best processes available. His list of seven common issues that they see in customer files is very instructive. You can read it below or on their web page at:
Top 7 Common Mistakes in Designing Parts for Additive Manufacturing
Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is the general art of creating new designs in such a way that they are easy and inexpensive to manufacture. Anyone who has ever designed a product to be injection molded likely learned along the way that small changes to the design could significantly impact the cost, time frame, and overall success of the manufacturing project.
This is true for any additive manufacturing project as well. Being aware of a few common mistakes made throughout the design process can help minimize costs and delays, and help prevent the creation and delivery of unsatisfactory parts that require further changes and rebuilds in order to meet the needs of the customer.
Pay close attention to not only the native CAD design of what is to be produced via additive manufacturing, but also the converted .STL version which is often required. The .STL file format is the standard data interface between CAD software and most additive manufacturing machines. A .STL file approximates the shape of a part or assembly using triangular facets.
“Even well conceived designs with the best of intentions can present a potential problem when converted to .STL format and submitted for additive manufacturing”, says Patrick Hunter, VP & General Manager of Quickparts (www.Quickparts.com). “This is why we make a point to review the files our customers submit to us, and address any issues we find before parts are built, rather than after they are delivered”.
Before submitting a design for any additive manufacturing project, keep an eye out for these seven common mistakes concerning part design and file conversion.
1. The part design has thin features or walls that are less than .030” for standard resolution or .015” – .020” for high resolution machines.
Due to the “layer by layer” approach of the additive manufacturing process, anything smaller or thinner that this will often times not build and will not be present in the final model. Pay very close attention to raised or recessed logos and areas of small text, “knife edge” features which taper down to zero thickness, and curvy sections of any design where thickness can fluctuate.
2. The native CAD model is converted to .STL format with a very low resolution, resulting in heavy faceting in the model.
If the resolution of the .STL file is too low, the model will be faceted instead of having smooth surfaces and curves. This can be quite common and produces unattractive parts. Typically, to achieve a smooth finish on a model there should be an edge-to-edge distance of less than .020” between facets on the .STL file. Check the parameters on the native CAD program being used to determine the best method of exporting acceptable .STL files.
3. The original CAD data has numerous unstitched surfaces (rather than solids), resulting in errors when converting to .STL format.
Make sure that the surfaces in the original CAD model are “water tight”, in that only solids are modeled. The .STL file can also be inspected to ensure that all dimensions, part volume, and surface area all appear to be correct.
4. The part design has an enclosed hollow space from which support and build materials cannot be removed.
Any enclosed hollow void in the design will contain support materials which cannot be removed through the finishing process. This area may also be filled with unused resin or powder depending on the selected prototyping process. Consider filling in voids to be solid, building the design in halves to allow access to the enclosed space, or adding a hole of some kind in the model to allow for the removal of the support materials.
5. Assemblies, threads, and mating features are designed with improper clearance.
The standard tolerances for most additive manufacturing processes start at +/- .005” and compound from there as the design increases in size. It is not uncommon for first time customers to receive parts that, while within the published tolerances of the manufacturing process, do not “fit together” or mate up as intended. Typically, there should be a .015” – .020” clearance between mating parts, which is different from what is required for traditional injection molding. This is an important point to remember when the success of the project depends on how well different designs mate up or assemble with one another.
6. The design includes a living hinge which needs to function.
Living hinge designs on most parts produced via additive manufacturing don’t typically function as intended. The build material involved is often too rigid, especially in such a thin section, and will break. While there have been a few materials developed that look to address this need (the Duraform EX material using the SLS process can often work well), expect limited usage from a living hinge design produced via additive methods.
7. The units of measurement for the .STL file differ from what was intended.
Double check the .STL files properties to ensure that the correct unit of measurement is selected. This is especially true when there is more than one design with varying units of measurement being built together. Some CAD packages also have default settings where .STL files may be exported in a different unit of measurement from what was used during the design process. When there is a tight time line and the project is on the line, it can be difficult to see the comedy in dramatically oversized or undersized parts as they come out of the box.
Keep these seven common mistakes in mind when considering any additive manufacturing project. Be careful to confirm the integrity of the original CAD data, and be mindful of living hinge designs, enclosed or trapped hollow spaces, clearance between mating features, and any features or walls that are smaller or thinner than .030”. After exporting the .STL file from the native CAD file, take time to confirm that the overall resolution of the file is sufficient and that the selected units of measurement are correct.
Below is some information on some grants being made available for NH educators from the ISEE.org. Introduction to the new world of “makers” to students in middle or high school may be a program innovation that could excite some students about STEM careers….
IEEE NH Section Announces Fall 2012 Pre-University Grant Program
The IEEE, www.ieee.org, is the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology. It recognizes the importance of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to elementary and secondary grade students as a means of fostering interest and stimulating career path choices in these areas. The IEEE NH Section, www.ieee-nh.org, supports these goals by offering Pre-University Grants in two categories: (a) awards to schools and organizations for unique STEM projects and activities and (b) awards to individual teachers for developing or implementing novel cloud computing applications in the classroom. .
Schools, organizations and teachers are encouraged to apply for grants in either category. This year a single application period will be open from September 1st to October 15th. Application letters should address the items outlined in the table below and submitted to the IEEE NH Section Pre-University Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org and the IEEE NH Section Secretary at: email@example.com. Additional information on the IEEE NH Section Pre-University Grant Program is available on our website, www.ieee-nh.org.
|Pre-U Grant Category||STEM Activity||Cloud Computing|
|Objective||STEM grants are awarded to pre-university schools and organizations within the state to fund innovative projects that promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at the elementary, middle and high school grade levels.||Cloud Computing grants are awarded to individual teachers who use cloud computing in the classroom in novel and interactive ways to teach children – either about the cloud itself or to use it as a tool to educate the students
|Application letter to include:||1: School or organization
2: Contact name and address
3: Description of activity or project
4: Requested funding amount, $500 max. Include details on material and fees
5: Number of students participating in project
6: Date funding is needed, duration of project
7: Any opportunities that grant may be used to leverage to additional funding.
8: Additional information pertinent to the organization or project
|1: School or organization
2: Contact name and address
3: description of how the cloud is used in the classroom
4: Number of students or classes that are using it
5: Description of course topics
6: Reason for decision to develop application or implement use the cloud in classroom
7: Additional information pertinent to applicant, organization or project
|Award Amount||Up to $500||Up to $250|
|Selection Criteria||- First time applicants receive preference
- Project relevance toward STEM activities
- Number of participating students
- Financial need
|- Novelty of cloud program development
-Unique implementation in classroom setting
- Demonstration of teacher’s professional development
All applications received by the closing date will be reviewed by the IEEE NH Section Pre-University Committee. Winners will be announced by mid November.
Winners are required to submit a brief final report, with pictures, for publication in our monthly newsletter. Winners are also required to advertise or acknowledge the IEEE NH Section in an appropriate manner.
Questions can be sent to Don Sherwood, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss this!
New this Year…Come for One Session – or TWO!
• Session 1: July 18-20, 2012 (Wed. – Fri.)
• Session 2: July 23-25, 2012 (Mon. – Wed.)
at TEC Headquarters & Courtyard by Marriott, Concord, NH
Join Technology Education Concepts, Inc. for our Annual TEC Summer Institute: A series of Professional Hands-On Development for Instructors. Join us for 3-days of intensive, individualized, hands-on training instructed by certified professional instructors. Plus, don’t miss this affordable opportunity to earn two Graduate Credits made available through the University System of NH, Keene State College! Space is limited!
Accredited Courses Offered
• 401 – KeyCreator
Session 1 = Beginner | Session 2 = Advanced
• 501 – Envisioneer
Session 1 = Beginner | Session 2 = Advanced
• 601 – Laser Technologies
Session 1 = Beginner | Session 2 = Advanced
• 701 – Introduction to 3D Rapid Prototyping
Beginner Offered both Sessions
Visit our website for complete course descriptions or to register!
It is spring conference season here in the Northeast US and the 3D Touch is on the road in the capable hands of Mark Leonard, our road warrior. Come visit Mark at one of the shows below!
Mark will be showing the machine at the following locations:
NYSTEEA- New York State Technology & Engineering Educators Conference in Syracuse, NY Thursday April 19th.
ASEE Northeast Regional Conference- American Society of Engineering Educators regional conference at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Lowell, MA April 27 & 28.
We are having a Tech Fest Day (Open House) here at our TEC offices in Concord, NH on May 4th. We will have all of our machines in operation, the RapMan, 3D Touch, ProJet 1500, ZPrinter, Roland SRP machine and our GCC LaserPro engravers. Call us at 800-338-2238 to RSVP!
NJTEEA Conference- New Jersey Technology & Engineering Educators Conference Friday May 11, 2012 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.
CTEA- Connecticut Technology Education Association annual conference at Central Connecticut State University on May 24th.
We hope to see you there! Happy Printing!
Today I would like to share with you a link to a blog post by Dave White. Dave is a Design and Technology instructor in the UK. He has put his thoughts down on Why 3D Printing in the classroom. He has a lot of experience with the BFB equipment and his students have done some great designs. His insights on using 3D printer in an educational iterative design process, with other departments in cross-curricular projects and even the lessons of building a RapMan are worth reading.
His post is located at : http://rapman-education.posterous.com/developing-3d-printing
I received a note from Dan Caron, technology instructor at Bedford HS in Bedford, NH, sharing some of his student’s work produced in part on the RapMan 3D printer. Dan has been working on the RapMan for a while and produced some excellent standards based curriculum for the RapMan 3.1 kits.
In the project shown below Dan’s students had to produce a 3D Timeline on the evolution of a technological device. Ian and Rob chose a hammer and produced a stone club. a primitive hammer and then a nice print of a hammer on the RapMan kit. I think the guys did a good job with this and learned some hands on skills in addition to some rapid prototyping skills. Thanks to Dan for sharing.
If you have some student work you would like to share please email it in to email@example.com.
Though our web site here is focused on the personal 3D printers from BFB, I wanted to let those of you in the New England states (along with eastern New York state, NYC and Long Island) know about some exciting news regarding other 3D Systems printers. 3D Systems, in addition to being the parent of BFB, recently purchased Z Corporation. Since TEC was a long time Z Corporation academic reseller, TEC now has a full range of options to offer to educational users in this area when it comes to 3D printing. In addition to the low priced FDM technology of the BFB machines, we can now offer FTI (film transfer imaging) technology based printers, the ProJet 1000 & 1500, at prices starting at $10,900.00. These machines can produce some very nice parts for the price. Layer thickness at .004 inches and minimum feature size of .01 inches! In addition, we offer the full range of Z Corporation inkjet technology machines, including the only full color machines on the market. We also have extremely accurate ProJet Multi Jet modeling technology machines, like the SD3000, 5000 and 6000 available for those needing extremely high resolution and accuracy in durable parts.
The bottom line is we now have a choice of technologies and price points that will let us get you exactly the printer you need for your program. Let us know how we can help. If you are not in our immediate service area we can put you in touch with a reseller in your area who can offer this great line up.
Axon training videos now online
To access the full manual, hover over “Support” and then click “Technical Resources” in the menu on the Bits from Bytes web site www.bitsfrombytes.com. Then look for the “Axon 2 manual” button on the right.
There have been quite a few changes in the BFB family over the last several months so I just wanted to post an update of the current product status. TEC is shipping the RapManUSA Version 3.2 kits and the BFB 3D Touch machines. Both now feature Touch Screen interface for machine control, file transfer via included USB memory stick (instead of SD Card) and new Operations Manuals. These are the features you will be aware of. There are also some mechanical and, of course, firmware enhancements to increase machine effectiveness. Axon Version 2 B2 is the software being shipped with all units at this time. We expect a brand new manual for that very shortly. Users are doing some wonderful things with the machines. Take a look at our showcase and if you want your projects displayed, send a note to the email address on the showcase page, firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy Printing!