Category Archives: 3D Printing

3D Printing with Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor is a 3D CAD software program focused on product development processes, and is often used for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization and documentation. Inventor is the Autodesk solution for prototyping and it offers the possibility to design and build models in less time. This software is widely used for professionals who use 3D printing and it’s constantly improved and updated with new features. Today we would like to introduce you to this 3D program, explain how to prepare your 3D files to 3D print them with Autodesk Inventor and highlight some of its main features.  How to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor There are three different methods to 3D print your files with Autodesk Inventor, depending on the printer technology that you are using. Option 1: Export your files for 3D printing If you print your models with a professional 3D printing service like i.materialise, you need to export your files to a supported 3D file format. This is the best option if you are looking for a professional and high-quality finish for your models. When you have your 3D designs ready, you can export them to an .STL file and upload it to the i.materialise online platform. These are the 3D file formats supported by our platform for uploading your designs. How to export your files to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor: Click the I button Select Export Select CAD format How to save the files to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor: Select STL as the file type in the Save As dialog box Click on the options button Select the type of file (Binary or ASCII 3) Select units Choose the resolution (number of triangles describing the geometry) Click OK Click Preview to verify your selection Toggle mesh view to see vertices and ensure that they match the expectations for resolution Option2: Use Inventor’s 3D printing environment Since its 2016 version, Inventor includes a 3D printing environment that allows designers to 3D print their models easily, as part of the creation process. This option is more suitable for those who print at home or at work with small FDM 3D printers The 3D printing environment of Autodesk Inventor provides more control over the export process of the 3D files and allows functions like editing, orientation changes and scaling without affecting the native file. The main advantage of this environment is that it includes preset printers and it’s also possible to add new customized ones. The build spaces will give the users a sense of scale and allow them to optimize the orientation of the parts inside a specific build volume, before exporting the STL format. The Autodesk 3D Printing environment also allows other functions: edit, move, set orientation, direct edit and export to STL. Option 3:  Use Autodesk Print Studio Another option to 3D print your files with Autodesk Inventor is the Autodesk Print Studio, a print preparation software that heals, prepares and prints 3D models. It is linked to Autodesk cloud storage and file sharing A360. Once the Print Studio is installed, Inventor will launch it from the 3D print environment and place the model into the build space. The software will show the necessary steps to verify and print the model, shown in a timeline progression to intuitively prepare the files to 3D print: Import, Layout, Repair, Support, Preview and Export. As mentioned, the first option is the best if you are looking for a professional finish for your models and prototypes. 3D printing from the 3D printing environment or the 3D Print Studio is an easier approach, and more suitable if you are printing with small home printers. Main Features of Autodesk Inventor Design and Validate Products Digitally Autodesk Inventor software products include a parametric design environment that allows the development of initial concept sketches and  models. Inventor software automates the advanced geometry creation of intelligent components so users can rapidly build and refine digital prototypes. The Inventor product line includes easy-to-use and integrated part and assembly-level motion simulation and stress analysis functionality. By simulating stress, deflection, and motion, you can optimize and validate your design under real-world conditions, before the product or part is ever printed. Design Communication in Workgroups With Inventor it is possible to associate engineering change orders before manufacturing by generating documentation directly from a 3D digital prototype. Inventor offers an accurate output of production-ready drawings directly from the 3D model. Inventor product bundles also include software for 2D mechanical drafting tools. This software is tightly integrated with Autodesk data management applications, making it a good option for an easy and secure exchange of design data. It facilitates collaboration between designs and manufacturing workgroups: different teams can manage and track all components of a digital prototype with the Design Review software. The product configurations will offer specific levels of functionality to fit different design needs. What’s more, Inventors AnyCAD technology allows data to be brought in from different sources and native formats maintaining the links to the original data at the same time. Digital prototyping With Autodesk Inventor software it’s possible and easy to integrate AutoCAD® and 3D data into a single digital model to create a virtual representation of the final product. The software will provide direct reading and writing of native DWG™ files, so there’s no risk of inaccurate translations. Autodesk Illustrator works with a subscription system but you can get a free trial for 30 days to start designing and printing your models. This software is used by professional 3D designers and engineers but there are many different options for 3D design and 3D printing software, for beginners and advanced users: discover them in our 3D printing tutorials. When you have exported your 3D files from Autodesk Inventor, it’s possible to print them with i.materialise by uploading them onto our platform. Sources: Autodesk Inventor Autodesk 3D Printing Autodesk University © All images belong to Autodesk  

The Leapfrog Bolt Pro 3D printer review

The Bolt Pro is the latest FFF 3D printer from Netherlands-based machine manufacturer Leapfrog. Fitted with independent dual extruders and an interchangeable print bed, the Bolt Pro is designed for user-friendly, professional 3D printing. Recently, 3D Printing Industry put the Leapfrog Bolt Pro 3D printer through its paces in house. Designed with the end user […]

DyeMansion und EOS gehen eine strategische Partnerschaft ein und vereinen damit Produktion und Veredelung für additiv gefertigte Produkte

Während EOS ihr Kunststoff AM Produktportfolio sowie das neues Polymer-System EOS P 500 auf der Formnext 2017 vorführen, stellt DyeMansion zum ersten Mal ihren kompletten dreistufigen ‘Print-to-Product’ Workflow zur Entpulverung, Oberflächenbearbeitung und Einfärbung additiv gefertigter Teile dem Fachpublikum vor. Von nun an wird EOS diese beiden Portfolios kombinieren und somit AM Kunden weltweit eine vollständige […]

Der Beitrag erschien bei 3Druck.com unter der URL DyeMansion und EOS gehen eine strategische Partnerschaft ein und vereinen damit Produktion und Veredelung für additiv gefertigte Produkte

3D Printing with the Windows Mixed Reality Viewer

Last month, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update arrived for many creative users, with improvements on the existing features and an exciting addition: the Windows Mixed Reality Viewer. With this new app, it’s possible to put your 3D creations and characters in a real environment to see how they merge. When we heard about the new Mixed Reality Viewer we got very intrigued and we couldn’t wait to try it for ourselves. As the Holidays season is approaching, we decided to give our Piguin a Christmas makeover and test the new app in the real world. The results were awe-inspiring and very Christmassy! Windows and 3D printing The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and 3D printing are a match made in heaven. To start with, 3D designers can create their 3D models on 3D Builder and print them directly from the app through i.materialise. Learn how to 3D print with 3D Builder on our blog. The other steps towards 3D from Windows is Paint 3D, a new version of the Microsoft classic that now has a 3D twist. 3D Paint is very user-friendly and makes it easier to turn a 2D sketch into a 3D image. The Mixed Reality Viewer is the icing on the cake of Microsoft’s efforts to make 3D design and augmented reality more accessible. Trying the new Windows Mixed Reality Viewer The Windows Mixed Reality Viewer is a new feature that offers an entirely new experience on augmented reality. In this case, we used the camera on our tablet with great results but you can use immersive headsets for a complete experience. Mixed Reality is great to unleash your 3D printing creativity and it was a blast to see our Piguin in the real world, changing its size and position in every scenario. 3D printing Christmas decorations As you can see, we dressed Piguin up as Santa Claus. Are you dreaming of a white 3D-printed Christmas too?  Remember to print your presents and decorations as soon as possible to receive them on time for the holidays. Once you have your model ready, you can upload it to our online platform and you will get an estimated shipment date. With Windows Mixed Reality, it is possible to see your Christmas decoration or your presents interacting with reality before printing them; so it’s a good way to know beforehand if they match the surroundings or if the colors and size are right. Find inspiration for your 3D-printed presents on our blog and shop, and print them just in time by following these tips.

Trends in Additive Manufacturing for end-use production with Carbon

3D Printing Industry is taking an in depth look at how additive manufacturing is moving to production. Over the coming weeks the results of interviews with industry leading practitioners will be published. This article is part of a series examining Trends in Additive Manufacturing for End-Use Production. Gurjeev Chadha is Head of Product Marketing at […]

3D Printing for Beginners: A Dictionary

3D printing is fascinating and intricate at the same time, and understanding every 3D printing concept can be overwhelming when you are just starting out. Learning the different materials and technologies gets even more complicated with the often complex 3D printing terminology. You might have asked yourself if SLS is the same as SLA, or if PA is similar to PLA. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We want to make it easier for you to start 3D printing with this 3D printing vocabulary list: it explains the most common acronyms for 3D printing in just one place. Don’t let the 3D printing jargon get in your way to becoming the next 3D expert. AM – Additive Manufacturing Additive Manufacturing is frequently used as a synonym of 3D printing. Additive technologies are defined as the process of joining materials to make 3D objects. AM is the opposite to subtractive manufacturing technologies, which remove material to form an object. ABS – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene You don’t have to learn its complicated name by heart to become a 3D printing master. But you do have to know that ABS is a plastic from the thermoplastic polymers family. This material, in the form of a filament, is used on FDM printers that heat it up until it melts to create the desired models. What is an FDM printer, you ask? Keep reading to know more about this 3D printing technology. CAD – Computer Aided Design This term describes all the design software used in the process of creating, modifying, analyzing or optimizing a design. CAD programs are used by engineers and 3D designers to create and modify the models they want to 3D print. You can learn more about CAD software for 3D printing on this article. DMLS – Direct Metal Laser Sintering There are different techniques for 3D printing metals. When laser-based 3D printing technologies use powdered metals, we talk about Direct Metal Laser Sintering. The principle here is the same as with SLS: The 3D printing machine distributes a thin layer of metallic powder while a high-powered laser binds the selected parts together. We use DMLS technology to print in aluminum and titanium.   FDM – Fused Deposition Modeling This is a very popular 3D printing technology among starters. FDM machines build the 3D models layer by layer by heating and extruding thermoplastic material filaments such as ABS. This technology was created in 1988 and patented the next year by S.Scott and Lisa Crump, the founders of Stratasys Crump. Until 2009, the term FFF or Fused Filament Fabrication was used to avoid the legally constrained term. Most home 3D printers use this technology, but you can use FDM industrial 3D printers to create high-quality models and finishes. Read more about FDM technology on our blog. FFF – Fused Filament Fabrication This term is a synonym of FDM. It was coined by members of the RepRap Project to be used instead of FDM, a concept that was under legal patent restrictions until 2009. MJF – Multi Jet Fusion (HP) This HP technology for 3D printing is similar to Selective Laser Sintering, but instead of lasers it jets a fusing agent to melt together very fine grains of powder, resulting in a strong but flexible material. MJF is available on i.materialise and is the best option for sturdy polyamide models with detailed surfaces or thinner walls. PA – Polyamide Polyamide (SLS) is a fine, white granular powder used on SLS 3D printing technologies. The natural finish for Polyamide feels slightly sandy and granular to the touch but the material allows a wide range of finishes and colors, as well as nearly unlimited freedom of design. That’s why this material, also known as nylon plastic, is the favorite of many 3D artists and designers. PLA – Polylactic Acid This 3D printing material, sometimes known as biopolymer, is also used in the form of a filament on FDM 3D printing machines. This thermoplastic is made from renewable raw materials such as plants, e.g. sugarcane, soya, corn or potatoes, and it can have a sweet smell when burned. PLA is a very popular material for home printers because it’s easy to use and cost-efficient, but it’s more brittle than ABS. SL/SLA – Stereolithography SL or SLA stands for Stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses liquid resins. Stereolithography is used on big printers, like our Mammoth machines, which can print models of up to 2.1 meters. This process takes place in large tanks where a layer of liquid polymer is spread over a platform. Some areas are hardened by a UV laser to become the layers which make up the 3D-printed model. One layer of liquid is spread on top of another until the model is complete and the excess liquid flows away. Watch this video to see Stereolithography in action. SLS – Selective Laser Sintering Selective Laser Sintering is a 3D printing technology based on powder. The printer is heated up until below the melting point and a fine layer of powder is spread. After that, a laser beam heats up the parts that need to be sintered together above the melting point. The powder particles reached by the laser are fused together while the rest remains loose powder. The main advantage of this technology is that no supporting structure is needed, so it allows very complex designs and even interlocking and moving parts. .STL STL is the name of a very common 3D printing file format. The files generated by CAD programs usually have the extension .STL. It’s supported by most 3D design and printing software, and is probably the most common file format used for 3D printing. Where the word comes from remains confusing: while it’s commonly seen as an abbreviation of STereoLithography, sometimes it is also thought to be an acronym for “Standard Triangle Language” or “Standard Tessellation Language”. TPU – Thermoplastic Polyurethane Our rubber-like prints are made with a material called TPU 92A-1. The complete technical name comes from the combination

Message in a Key: A 3D Printing Kickstarter Campaign

What has been the most important sound of your life? Which sentence do you want to remember forever? Maybe the heartbeat of your children or a beloved person saying “I love you”? With this idea in mind, 3D designer Lisa Kläver created Miaw, a Kickstarter project focused on designing unique jewelry pieces. Miaw means “Message in a Wave” and the idea behind it is to transform a sound or a voice into a unique gift that you can take everywhere with you: a key. To do that, Lisa Kläver joined her 3D design skills with the potential of Kickstarter and the 3D printing services of i.materialise. How does Miaw work? Send a four-second recording of a voice or sound The message is transformed into a sound wave and used to design a key Choose the material you prefer for your key: stainless steel, bronze, 14k gold plating, silver or 18k gold Choose the size of the ring: 46 mm, 65mm or 75mm Add up to 5 characters which can be embossed on the top of the key The designed key will be printed and delivered by i.materialise A special 3D-printed gift for your loved ones Lisa got introduced to 3D printing while studying product design in Amsterdam, where she learned that “every design should represent you as a person”. Nowadays, she works as a 3D designer and helps many customers to get their ideas onto the market, staying true to herself but without losing the original idea of the client at the same time. She has also created many personal gifts for the loved ones of her customers and she was intrigued by their motivation to create a personalized present. Inspired by the notion that every person is unique and every gift should be as well, she decided to create jewelry that represents a bond or situation in someone’s life. Lisa tells us more about the inspiration behind the project: “Everybody has this moment they wish to last forever, to be reminded of and carry with them every day. It can be the first cry or heartbeat of a baby. A special giggle or the way someone says ‘I love you’”. According to Kläver, sound waves in a key are the best way of using and transforming information to achieve a beautiful outcome. What is more, with the characters placed at the top of the key, the outcome is always special and relevant. The perfect partnership for a creative project Kläver is also not new to Kickstarter, as she has helped many customers start campaigns on the platform with new product ideas. When Kickstarter recently launched Commissions, she knew it was her moment to present a project. The idea behind Commissions is to involve the backers in the creative process of the creators and use their input for inspiration. Lisa chose 3D printing because it’s the best way to make one-offs and it enables her to create a project that can both use different metals and allow her to design the keys efficiently. The outcome is reliable and perfect for her design idea. “The setup of Local Makers, Kickstarter and a company like Materialise, offers great opportunities to scale up amazing ideas quickly. It’s exactly what we strive for: great ideas, amazing design, quick, efficient rapid prototyping and reliable production. It helps us a lot in our product development process to have a reliable partner we can go to and get high-quality prints in metals”, explains Lisa about this cooperation. A 3D designer at work For her creations, the German designer uses mostly 3D software program Rhinoceros because it suits her way of designing best. She also uses 2D design programs like Illustrator and InDesign as part of the creation process, although she is very clear in her approach to design and creative thinking: “Nothing beats pen and paper and a hands-on approach to test, research and get a real feel for form and function. So still, every day I get my hands dirty. I sketch, I paint, I sculpt, I 3D print, I laser cut and most of all: I question. I think that is the most important tool to design. My tool in every project is my questioning mind and the need to always be better.” 3D printing enables Lisa to test and very quickly realize all her ideas, as well as helping her to design better and faster. She uses 3D printing as a quick rapid prototyping tool as well as an actual production method. “I think 3D printers are my third creative, very precise arm!” Read more about the Miaw campaign and back it on the Kickstarter website. The Commissions on Kickstarter are only on until the 30th of November. Lisa Kläver is not the only designer creating extraordinary pieces with 3D printing. Read more profiles about 3D creators on our blog. Discover the possibilities of 3D printing with i.materialise for yourself by uploading your models to our online platform. Note: This project is a creative approach to 3D design and it has an artistic purpose. However, it is completely prohibited to 3D print functional keys on i.materialise.  

How to Improve Your Creative Business with 3D Printing

If you are a designer, jeweler or creative mind starting your own company, you’ll probably have heard about 3D printing. You might even have thought about introducing it to your company or creative project but you still don’t know where to start or how it can actually improve your business. If that is the case, we have some good news for you: it’s easier than you think and well worth your while! To start with, you don’t even need to own a 3D printer or be an expert in 3D design to discover and enjoy the many advantages that this technology can offer for your business. 3D printing can be a game-changer for creative businesses and we have listed all the aspects in which it can benefit creative companies. Easier prototyping and product development Businesses focused on design and product development can greatly benefit from 3D printing during their prototyping process. Turning your design into a tangible object to see how it looks and feels is the best way to detect problems and decide if it needs improvement. As you can read in this interview, prototyping is very important in the first stages of product development and it’s the best way to improve your design ideas. 3D printing can be a cost-effective alternative to external prototyping services. What’s more, using a cutting-edge technology like 3D printing can help you achieve the highest precision for your models. Cost savings We can’t repeat this enough: to 3D print you don’t have to own the technology. You can easily upload your orders on our platform and get professional 3D prints delivered to your door. This process will save you from making big investments in technology. What is more, you can print short runs of a product without needing to set up a whole process for it, which can be a great way to economize. When you produce with 3D printing there is no surplus or scrap, which means less material waste and therefore less costs. You can follow our tips to make your 3D designs even more affordable to get the best price-quality ratio for your 3D print. 3D printing is also a good way to avoid dormant stock because you can print on demand, depending on your needs and orders, so you don’t end up with an excess amount of products to sell. Another advantage when printing with i.materialise is that you can upload your model and get an instant quote for your 3D-printed models, which is a great way to calculate costs beforehand. Another costly moment for creative businesses can be opening your own shop to sell your products. Did you know that with i.materialise you can open an online shop on our platform and sell your 3D-printed products from our website? It’s an easy way to put yourself on the map and make your designs more accessible to customers. Original business promotion 3D printing can be a creative way to advertise your company. Even when you don’t use 3D printing technology to make your products or their prototypes, you can use 3D design to make your business stand out from the crowd. If you sell your project as a creative solution, the best way to show how innovative and inspiring your brand can be is by being original with your advertising and branding. For example, you can think of original promotion items to distribute, print your very own signage and merchandise, personalize the packaging or even think of original business cards. You can also print cabinets, supports and other displays to adapt your product for your shop or markets. Saving time When you have a small creative business, you have to look after many things besides the creation of your products: marketing, accounting, logistics, etc. 3D printing won’t do your taxes for you, but it can help you save some time so you can use your extra hours to do what really matters. For example, 3D printing has a shorter lead time than other technologies. It’s much easier and faster to use a 3D printing bureau than to set up a production line to manufacture your designs. 3D design is also a very good way of speeding things up when you are working on your creations. As with many creative processes, 3D design can seem intricate at first, but there are some crucial points you should be aware of which can help you avoid mistakes in your designs. Once you have detected and mastered these concepts, your 3D files will be ready to print even faster: read more on this article about preparing files for 3D printing. In the event that your files contain errors or aren’t ready to print, we detect these errors before printing and let you know you need to correct the file so you don’t waste time and money. In this way, you can easily get high-quality and professional 3D prints while investing more time on your creative projects and growing your company. Watch how 3D printing is helping designer Elise Luttik save time. Creative freedom As you can see, 3D printing has many practical advantages but the foundation of an artistic business is the originality and quality of the designs. 3D printing can fuel creativity to a great extent and help entrepreneurs get even more creative with their projects. 3D design can be the key to differentiate your business from other companies. You can experiment with many different materials, finishes and colors to make your creations more appealing and original. You’ll be sure to learn quickly about the different 3D printing technologies and have fun playing around with so many possibilities! 3D design is also the best option to create complex designs, allowing you to go even further with your creations. Another great option that 3D printing offers is to easily customize your products to meet the needs and taste of different customers: go from the concept to the printed object in the blink of an eye. Even if you have never used 3D technologies