Any 3D Printing for Dummies tutorials out there?

 From: paulrus 30 Nov 2012  (1 of 7)
 I'm mainly a 3D animator, so when it comes to real-world measurements & manufacturing, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm really interested in 3D printing, but I have no idea where to start. I've read that you need to make sure your object is seamless, and it's a good idea to make them hollow to cut down on materials used, but beyond that I have no idea where to start. For example, I've seen things like chains or rings linked together that were 3D printed. How can they "print" objects that aren't connected, yet are intertwined? Also, how do you figure out what size to make the object? I mainly work in Softimage for animation & there's no real-world measurement system in Softimage. I'd love any pointers or links to tutorials for people who know nothing about machining & manufacturing. Thanks, Paul

 From: Michael Gibson 30 Nov 2012  (2 of 7)

 From: blowlamp 30 Nov 2012  (3 of 7)
 5576.3 In reply to 5576.1 Well as usual, Michael is first out of the blocks and seems to have it covered, but here's my contribution anyway. These things seem to use a similar process to MRI Scanners seen in hospitals and suchlike. Whereby an item is 'printed' in a series of cross sections, which are stacked vertically, and eventually a replica is produced. The cross sections can be generated by a kind of 'waterline' process. So imagine your part is in a container that is filled with a small quantity of liquid - where the part and liquid meet is a waterline contour and is equivalent to the outline shape of the first pass of the print. Keep repeating the process by adding a small amount of liquid and recording the outline, and by the time your part is fully submerged you should have a complete image. To simulate this in MoI, you could draw your solid chain (leave a small gap between the links) and do a Boolean Isect with a planar surface. This would be equivalent to a layer in the printed stack. Obviously a planar surface has no thickness, but the principle is there. One way these printers work is to deposit layers of powder which are then solidified in the required areas by a laser. The remaining powder acts as a support for the item whilst it's being created, so the finished article is then 'dug out' and the powder is used again. Martin.

 From: paulrus 30 Nov 2012  (4 of 7)
 5576.4 In reply to 5576.3 Thanks guys! I saw recently that Staples is going to start offering 3D printing at their stores, so it's apparently going mainstream. In 10 years we'll just be emailing and 3D printing things to each other! Paul