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Designing for 3D Printing

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Designing for 3D Printing
Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, August 12, 2017 7:39 AM

My son bought a 3D printer.  He pointed me to some free sites that supply free designs, but there is nothing there I would want.  Shapeways products have much more detail and look less toy like.

I have an idea for some custom building signs letters on a frame, sort of like this

What program do I need to learn to create my own 3D designs?

Henry

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By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:23 AM

Take a look at this 13 minute video.
 
 
 
 
Mel
 
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Posted by G Paine on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:32 AM

The Shapeways forum has a number of discussions about design software

https://www.shapeways.com/forum/search/45534/?q=3d+design+programs&t=post&o=date&c[node]=87

 

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by NittanyLion on Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:36 AM

Doing something like that is trivial, even with basic computer skills, not just for people with extensive CAD experience.  I can't give instructions because the specifics would be software dependent, but I could tell you how you'd make it and it will be easier than you'd think.

In a lot of software packages, the text you lay out can be extruded into a shape.  So, you write out your text, scale it to the right width and height, and extrude it to whatever thickness you want.  Then, you lay out a bunch of rectangles for the shape of your framework, extrude those, and then put the letters on top of the frame.  Done.  

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Posted by tbdanny on Saturday, August 12, 2017 2:36 PM

Hi,

I would suggest Blender.  It's quite powerful and can export to .stl format, which is used by 3D printers.  It's also free to download.  Given that it's quite popular, there are quite a few tutorials for it, as well as support forums.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 5:25 PM

I never thought about using a 3D printer site to make building signs. Great idea!

.

Now my creative gears are turning...

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by Steve Hunter on Saturday, August 12, 2017 7:25 PM

Shapeways has a "2D to 3D" app that might be useful. It's intended for jobs just like this. You can take a 2D image file and assign depth, creating a 3D model without using 3D CAD.

This image can be something as simple as a screen grab of a Word document. A sprue can be added in Paint or other graphics program before running it through the Shapeways app.

I've only tried it once to see if it worked (when giving another fellow advice). It's perfect for simple things like making 3D lettering for signs.

https://www.shapeways.com/creator/2dto3d#landing

Hope this helps a little...

Steve Hunter

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, August 13, 2017 8:27 AM

RR_Mel
Take a look at this 13 minute video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep0hjsFSSyU

 
His recommended program, 123D, is no longer available.  It has been replaced by https://www.tinkercad.com  It is also free but you have to register.  Once you do you can start lessons. 
 
If you make a serious mistake, or just start messing around seeing what this or that tool does, the program remembers it and you can't get all the way back to the start of the lesson.  For instance one of the lessons is to put numbers on a dice cube.  I accidentally deleted the cube and there was no way to backtrack to get it back.
NittanyLion
Doing something like that is trivial, even with basic computer skills,
That's what I really wanted to hear.  At my age I am not up for learning a new programming language.  I will try to other suggested programs and report back.
Thanks
 

Henry

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Posted by Eric White on Monday, August 14, 2017 2:01 PM

SketchUp Make at www.sketchup.com is another free program you can download.

I find it easier to use for rectilinear projects like architectural elements. There are multiple tutorials on the SketchUp site to get you started.

 

Eric

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Posted by TheGamp on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:51 PM

+1 for SketchUp Make. Some of the folks at the makerspace I belong to aren't fans, though, and recommend Autodesk's Fusion 360 (free for hobbyists). But I haven't had the chance to play with it yet.

If you do go the SketchUp route for 3D printing, be sure to read the tutorials about making and joining solid objects, and you'll want to install one of the plugin extensions that let you export the .STL files that the printer slicing software wants to see.


 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:26 PM

TheGamp
Autodesk's Fusion 360 (free for hobbyists).

That isn't a well adveritised option, but you are correct.

Henry

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 11:36 PM

This thread piqued my curiosity so I downloaded three programs; 1) Blender, 2) Sketchup Make, and 3) Fusion 360.  Initial reactions are run away as fast as you can from Blender.  When they say "professional grade" they mean it.  Sketchup Make seems the opposite.  Not sure it has enough options, and it's like they want you to immediately go to Sketchup Pro.  Haven't done anything with Fusion 360 yet, but hoping it's the happy medium.

Ray

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Posted by TheGamp on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 2:11 PM

I too found Blender intimidating. I looked at it briefly for DIY scale figures, as a means to adjust poses of figure models generated by another program called MakeHuman.

I look forward to hearing your and others' opinions on Fusion 360, and will probably try it for my next build. I went with Sketchup because it was free and I found it faster and more versatile than TinkerCad, and because I didn't know about 360 at the time.

I've found SketchUp can be a little finicky when you're trying to intersect curved surfaces, but I managed to design (and later print or have printed) a shell, details, chassis, and sideframes with it - and that's only the base free version. Certainly up to the OP's task of extruding lettering on a solid backing.

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