I was first exposed to 3D printing when I worked at the National Laboratories in New Mexico. At the time 3D printers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were not toys, but serious tools which were used when you needed a quick plastic mockup of a mission critical design you were working on. Imagine my excitement several years ago, when I found you could buy a home or classroom 3D printer for a few thousand dollars. I took the plunge and got the Makerbot Replicator II, and it was a complete disaster. I tried for several years, but could never got the printer to work reliably, and in the end could not get it to work at all. Hence, I moved on to other projects. Well, there has been lots of progress in the last few years, and now there are some really great 3D printers that are affordable, reliable and precise. My favorite are the Raise 3D printers. I have their top of the line printer, which can be purchased here:
This is the printer I use for these lessons. They also make a great entry level printer, which you can get HERE, which would also work great for these lessons.
In order to effectively use these printers, you need to learn to use some simple 3D CAD programs. My initial set of lessons will teach you how to design things in Sketchup and then how to print those designs on a 3D printer. Hope you enjoy these Lessons!
SKETCHUP LESSON 1: This lesson introduces you to the sketchup design pallet and shows how to design simple 2D objects being mindful of deliberately setting position and dimension when objects are created.
SKETCHUP LESSON 2: In this lesson we look at making our first simple 3D objects in sketchup. We make simple cubes to demonstrate different conceptual ways that Sketchup allows 3D elements to be created.
SKETCHUP LESSON 3: In this lesson we show how to print 3D designs on a 3D printer from Sketchup. Really a simple and straightforward process. It is simple and works great.
SKETCHUP LESSON 4: In this lesson we design and print a simple test 3D Widget. The purpose of this lesson is to continue to build our design skills. For this lesson you will need a nice set of digital calipers, which you can get HERE.
SKETCHUP LESSON 5: In this lesson we learn how to evaluate our physical design printed on a 3D printer using a pair of digital calipers. To do this lesson you will need a nice set of calipers, which you can get HERE.
SKETCHUP LESSON 6: In this lesson we learn about the concept of Design Rules, and come up with a simple test device to determine some important design rules for our 3D printer.
SKETCHUP LESSON 7: This lesson shows the importance of thinking about tolerances when you are designing. In this lesson we design and build a simple test structure that will help us understand tolerance for slip or press fits.
SKETCHUP LESSON 8: In this lesson we show you how to think like a mechanical designer and to keep design rules and tolerances in mind as you design.
SKETCHUP LESSON 9: In this lesson we show how to design more complicated devices requiring extrusion in orthogonal planes.
SKETCHUP LESSON 10: In this lesson we learn how to go back and change dimensions if necessary.
SKETCHUP LESSON 11: In this lesson we learn how to use the Follow Me tool to allow more comlplex 3D designs in Sketchup.
REVIEW OF THE RAISE3D PRINTER: This lesson shares my experience so far with the Raise3D printer. In my mind, the best printer for the home or education market available today.