3D Printing

I purchased my first 3D printer in 2013, but quickly became disillusioned with it. Although I had some success printing models I downloaded from Thingiverse, many of the projects I attempted were beyond the capabilities of the printer.

Because I understood that some of the more complex projects I wished to undertake would require dual extruders in order to print support material (to support overhanging features), I purchased a dual-extruder printer. Unfortunately, determining the correct settings (extrusion temperature, speed, retraction, etc.) was left as an exercise for the user, and properly aligning the two extruders was a complex process. (For a good introduction to 3D Printing, refer to Wikipedia.)

In late February of 2017, I attended a Portland 3D Printing Lab Meetup featuring a presentation by Ultimaker. I was so impressed that I purchased an Ultimaker 3 Extended from 3D Universe that same week. Here is my review. I have a separate review of Cura, the slicing software supplied by and recommended by Ultimaker.

3D models to be printed fall into two general categories: mechanical (CAD or industrial) parts (such as gears) and freeform (artistic or organic) objects (such as statues). I have successfully printed a few freeform object that I had professionally scanned by Digital Scan 3D or downloaded from Thingiverse. However, although software is available for creating and editing freeform 3D objects, I have neither the skill nor the interest in creating my own freeform 3D objects.

Most of the 3D objects I have created myself are mechanical parts. Although I have experimented with a few different software packages, my favorite is OpenSCAD. Here is my review.

Getting Started with 3D Printing in Portland is a booklet I created for the Portland 3D Printing Lab. It is also available as a Printable Booklet that can be folded and stapled.