Robert Bowbridge used his MakerBot print his new designs for a replacement caster for his dining room table. One of the amazing things about having a 3D printer in your own home is that there’s no harm to trying a new crazy design or improvement. There’s also no harm in trying out a rough draft and refining the designs as you go along. Robert offers two great tips for designing and working with a MakerBot:
- Design a simple model, add the high-accuracy features, print, test for fit. Once the important sections of the replacement part have been dialed in, begin playing with and improving the design.
- If you’re using Google Sketchup, try the Rounded Corners plugin by Fredo6 to round or bevel edges. You can do this manually in several ways, but they are time consuming. Robert noted an issue with Sketchup not correctly handling intersections between “extruded” sections.
Google Sketchup is still my digital design program of choice for its gentle learning curve. I’ve noticed the same issue with Sketchup, namely that it will allow objects and geometries to collide with one another without actually intersecting. Basically, there’s no line between the colliding objects. This can cause all kinds of design and printing problems.
If you have this problem too, here’s a work around:
- Select those objects, lines, and surfaces you wish to have intersect.
- Right click
- Intersect -> Intersect Selected
(For more thoughts on designing with a 3D printer, I highly recommend Forrest Higgs’ recent blog post on the topic.)
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