3D Printing

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0. Overview

A 3D printer is any machine that is used to create 3-dimentional objects. 3D printing technology has long existed in industries such as industrial design, but the advent of personalized printers have re-vitalized the industry and brought the technology to a larger audience. Furthermore, practitioners in fields such as biology are experimenting with new materials such as bone marrow and tissue that can change the face of science and medicine.

There are many types of 3D printing machines that utilize different processes to print different materials. The printers at IMA use the Extrusion 3D Printing method to print plastic (PLC). IMA has two DFRobot DreamMaker 3D Printers that are based on the open source Ultimaker (Original).

All students currently enrolled in courses in the IMA Lab can use the printers under the supervision of IMA faculty and staff, or with the assistance of IMA student workers.

To begin, you will need to either download or create 3D Models. The following sections will introduce tools that are available to you.

  1. Making a Model
  2. Printing
    2.1. DreamMaker 3D Printer | Make an appointment
    2.2. LulzBot Mini 3D Printer | Make an appointment | Check printer status
    2.3. LulzBot TAZ 3D Printer | Make an appointment | Check printer status
    2.4. UP! 3D Printer | Make an appointment
  3. Debugging and Maintenance
  4. Resources for Inspiration

1. Making a Model

Communities and Downloadable Models

Tools for Creating and Modifying 3D Models:

2. Printing

All of these programs will generate a 3D file that may be a .obj or .stl file.  To print to the 3D Printer you will need to convert that to GCode.

To do this, we recommend Cura (http://software.ultimaker.com/index.php), which is preconfigured to work with the Ultimaker printer and contains everything you need (see tutorials for Cura under Manuals and Guides section). At the lab, you will find a computer set up to 3D print in every 3D printer, and it has Cura installed already. When loading your model, just make sure that you select the right 3D printer.

 


2.1. DF Robot – DreamMaker PrinterMake an Appointment

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Step ONE:

Use the computer connected to the 3D printers in the LAB, and Open CURA Software, using the icon located on the menu at the bottom of the screen.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.58.19 AM

Step TWO:

Load your STL file in Cura Software clicking the icon “LOAD MODEL” located at the upper left of the window. Navigate and find your file on the computer and open it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.02.38 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.04 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.17 AM

Step THREE: 

Choose the machine that you are going to use, in this case DreamMaker 3D Printer. Go to the upper menu Machine and select Dreammaker

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.42 AM

Step FOUR: 

Choose one of the profiles for different layer heights located on the DESKTOP:

  • High Resolution(slow): Desktop/DreamMaker/DM-PLA-HIGH.ini
    Try this if you need to make joints, connection and small parts, it is going to be slow but strong
  • Normal Resolution: Desktop/DreamMaker/DM-PLA-NORMAL.ini
    Try this for your final models, it’s is going to be fast enough for a strong and good looking piece
  • Low Resolution(fast): Desktop/DreamMaker/DM-PLA-LOW.ini
    Try this if you need to prototype parts, it’s going to be faster that the other profiles

To find them go to the menu File/Open Profile at the top of the window

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.51 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.04.26 AM

Step FIVE:

check out whether or not you need to add support to your model

Usually you need support when you have horizontal surfaces, this means that there is no plastic on the previous layer to support the next one.

If  you think you need support, check one of the options for Support Type:

  • Everywhere(image below) that is going to make support  everywhere you need. 
  • Touching Buildplate(image below) that is going to make support  only for the layers facing the plate that need it. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.42 AM

Step SIX:

check out whether or not you need to add a surface on the base to help with bed adhesion. Usually you need it when your model have small parts touching the bed.
We recommend the Brim option, since this is easier to remove from your model.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.36 AM

Step SEVEN:

Save your file as GCode, that is the language the 3D printer reads. To do this, go to the top menu File/Save GCode, and save the file on the SD card of the 3D printer.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.04.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.06.48 AM

Step EIGHT:

Turn on the printer and insert the SD card into the machine.
Go to the 3D printer screen and click the orange nob to see the menu.
Turning the nob to navigate and clicking it to select, choose the option Print From SD, then search and choose your file to start 3D printing.

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You are done!

If you want to know more about this printer model, you can refer to Dream Maker 桌面式3D打印机用户使用手册 (Unfortunately, we were only able to find the Dream Maker Tutorial in Chinese).

Back to Printers

 


2.2. LULZbot Mini PrinterMake an Appointment

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Step ONE:

Use the computer connected to the 3D printers in the LAB, and Open CURA Software, using the icon located on the menu at the bottom of the screen.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.58.19 AM

Step TWO:

Load your STL file in Cura Software clicking the icon “LOAD MODEL” located at the upper left of the window. Navigate and find your file on the computer and open it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.02.38 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.04 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.17 AM

Step THREE:

Choose the machine that you are going to use, in this case LulzBot Mini 3D Printer. Go to the upper menu Machine and select Lulzbot Mini

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.23 AM

Step FOUR:

Choose one of the profiles for different layer heights located on the DESKTOP:

  • High Resolution(slow): Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBot-PLA-HIGH.ini
    Try this if you need to make joints, connection and small parts, it is going to be slow but strong
  • Normal Resolution: Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBotPLA-NORMAL.ini
    Try this for your final models, it’s is going to be fast enough for a strong and good looking piece
  • Low Resolution(fast): Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBotPLA-LOW.ini
    Try this if you need to prototype parts, it’s going to be faster that the other profiles

To find them go to the menu File/Open Profile at the top of the window

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.51 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.04.33 AM

Step FIVE:

check out whether or not you need to add support to your model

Usually you need support when you have horizontal surfaces, this means that there is no plastic on the previous layer to support the next one.

If  you think you need support, check one of the options for Support Type: 

  • Everywhere(image below) that is going to make support  everywhere you need. 
  • Touching Buildplate(image below) that is going to make support  only for the layers facing the plate that need it. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.42 AM

Step SIX:

Check out whether or not you need to add a surface on the base to help with bed adhesion. Usually you need it when your model have small parts touching the bed.
We recommend the Brim option, since this is easier to remove from your model.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.36 AM

Step Seven:

Send your model to 3D print!
To do this:

  • click on the icon CONTROL on the upper left side of the window.
  • Choose the right USB port, checking the numbers located on the 3D printers.
    Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.07.34 AM
  • Click on the button Connect if this didn’t automatically connect to the 3D printer
  • Click on the button Print (You don’t need to set up temperatures, just click “Print”)
    Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.07.52 AM
YOU ARE DONE!

More information about this printer model can be found here, Lulzbot Mini User Manual, Lulzbot Mini Quick Start Guide
Back to Printers


2.3. LULZbot TAZ PrinterMake an Appointment

IMG_3180 IMG_3187
Step ONE:

Use the computer connected to the 3D printers in the LAB, and Open CURA Software, using the icon located on the menu at the bottom of the screen.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.58.19 AM

Step TWO:

Load your STL file in Cura Software clicking the icon “LOAD MODEL” located at the upper left of the window. Navigate and find your file on the computer and open it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.02.38 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.04 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.17 AM

Step THREE:

Choose the machine that you are going to use, in this case LulzBot Mini 3D Printer. Go to the upper menu Machine and select Lulzbot Taz

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.36 AM

Step FOUR:

Choose one of the profiles for different layer heights located on the DESKTOP:

  • High Resolution(slow): Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBot-PLA-HIGH.ini
    Try this if you need to make joints, connection and small parts, it is going to be slow but strong
  • Normal Resolution: Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBotPLA-NORMAL.ini
    Try this for your final models, it’s is going to be fast enough for a strong and good looking piece
  • Low Resolution(fast): Desktop/LulzBot Mini and Taz/LulzBotPLA-LOW.ini
    Try this if you need to prototype parts, it’s going to be faster that the other profiles

To find them go to the menu File/Open Profile at the top of the window

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.03.51 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.04.33 AM

Step FIVE:

Check out whether or not you need to add support to your model

Usually you need support when you have horizontal surfaces, this means that there is no plastic on the previous layer to support the next one.

If  you think you need support, check one of the options for Support Type: 

  • Everywhere(image below) that is going to make support  everywhere you need. 
  • Touching Buildplate(image below) that is going to make support  only for the layers facing the plate that need it. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.42 AM

Step SIX:

Check out whether or not you need to add a surface on the base to help with bed adhesion. Usually you need it when your model have small parts touching the bed.
We recommend the Brim option, since this is easier to remove from your model.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.09.36 AM

Step SEVEN: 

Save your file as GCode, that is the language the 3D printer reads. To do this, go to the top menu File/Save GCode, and save the file on the SD card of the 3D printer.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.04.49 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.06.48 AM

Step EIGHT:

Turn on the printer and insert the SD card into the machine.
Go to the 3D printer screen and click the nob to see the menu.
Turning the nob to navigate and clicking it to select, choose the option Print From SD, then search and choose your file to start 3D printing.

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YOU ARE DONE!

More information about this printer model can be found here, Lulzbot Taz User Manual

Back to Printers

 


2.4. UP! PrinterMake an Appointment

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Step One: open up+

Use the computer connected to the 3D printers in the LAB, and Open UP+ Software, using the icon located on the menu at the bottom of the screen.

 

STEP TWO: Load model

Load your STL file in UP+ Software clicking the icon “LOAD” located at the down right of the window. Navigate and find your file on the computer and open it.

 

STEP THREE: position model

Position your model with “Move“, “Rotate” or “Scale” on the control panel if needed. If no adjustment is surely needed, just simply hit “Auto Placement”.

 

STEP FOUR: initialize machine

a.Turn on the machine with the power button on the back of the machine.

b.Click and hold the initialize button in front of the machine till you hear a sequence of continuous beeps and machine should restart itself.

c.When the restarting finishes, there will be one beep, check the signal light, it should turn to solid green now and it means the machine finishes initializing and ready to go.

 

STEP FIVE: initialize machine  in up+

The machine can be also initialized from up+ software in “3D Print”  –> “Initialize“, same as the previous initializing process, it will start with a sequence of continuous beeps and end with a single beep and solid green light.
It’s recommended to do initialize first with the physical button on the machine and then through up+ before starting every new print. Also, they are always the right moves when encounters weird occasions.

 

step six: Nozzle height detection

Go to tab “3D Print” –> “Nozzle Height Detection“, the machine will automatically start the height detection process, the printing platform will lift up till the detecting sensor touches the nozzle. And when the detecting process finished there will be a pop window like this:

This message shows you the height detected base on the specific setting and the machine will automatically record the data and update related settings.

 

step seven: table heating

To heat the table before starting print will help the model to stick to printing platform(especially for the first layers), there are two ways to do it in up+:
Method 01: go to tab “3D Print” –> “Table Heat 15 mins “, this will heat the table for 15 mins.

Or method 02: go to tab “3D Print” –> “Maintenance“,

there will be a popup window like this:

then hit “Table Heat 1 hr“.

 

step eight: print setup

After all previous preparations, the machine is finally ready to print. Before actually go and print, some printing details control needs to be set up.

Go to “3D Print” –> “Setup“, there will be a popup window like this:

while the default setting should work for most cases, the “Fill” setting could be adjusted based on different needs. If you have no idea which type of filling you want, go for “Hollow“.

 

Step Nine: Print

Go to “3D Print” –> “Print“, there will be a popup window like this:

Set the “Quality” to “Normal” for reasonable print quality and speed. After making sure everything is well ready, hit “Ok” to send the print to the machine:

After the file transfer is done, there will message window popup, hit “OK“. 

YOU ARE DONE!

More information about this printer model can be found here, Up Plus 2 User Manual
Back to Printers

 

2.5.Machine Manuals & Guides:

3. Debugging and Maintenance:

The maintenance gcode files are in the SD card of the 3D printer. In a folder called “SD Card V1.1”, there are a few useful files for leveling, filament replacement, etc.

Leveling is required before each print, especially when the platform has been taken off. If not leveled properly, the quality of the print can be greatly affected. However, as you become more experienced, you can do a rough leveling when it’s printing the brim.

While you are printing, the filament may get stuck in the end of the tube. If that happens, unscrew the tube and cut the distorted filament. However if this happens near the hot head, turn the printer off, contact IMA fellows (imafellows@nyu.edu) to disassemble and fix the printer. Please do not touch the hot head, because the temperature of the nozzle may be as high as over 200℃.

 

4. Resources for Inspiration:

4.1.Useful Tutorials

4.2.Links of Interest:

 

 

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