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  1. #1
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    Your 3d Modeling Workflow: Idea to Print

    Hey guys! This doesn't technically apply only to flashforge owners, so I hope it's ok that I post this here.

    Now that I'm getting more comfortable with printing my own designs I'm looking at my workflow. Pretty sure there are faster ways to accomplish certain things and wanted to hear what others are using.

    For example:

    Design: As of now I do all my modeling in Blender, run it thru the basic checks in the blender 3d print addon, which include Non manifold checks, normals, triangulate faces (when applicable) and set the overall size, and rotation. Then I export the design at a STL and load it in Netfabb.

    Repair: I then run the repair checks in netfabb and fix any issues that show up there (I have the free netfabb basic version) and save as a new stl. I have also tried meshmixer but had trouble with its "repairs" being super obvious and ruining the model for me. I should probably state that my designs tend to be very detailed, high poly meshes so that may be why.

    Slice: I import the stl into Simplify3d. Scale or rotate if needed, adjust my print settings (speed, infill, layers, support) and save to SD card.

    Print: Load SD card into my printer and (ideally) get a great print. ;-)

    So I've got everything working well, but I'm not sure if the way I'm doing things is the best. Also, I've run into a few problems that seem like they should have a simple solution but I haven't found one yet. Like one of my designs apparently doesn't have a perfectly flat bottom. It passes all my usual checks, but the preview in S3D shows me that it isn't picking up the first layer of the entire object which causes it to print all wrong. In the past I was able to go back into blender and use Boolean modifiers to "slice" a few mm of the object and create a flat bottom. But this objects mesh is too dense for boolean to perform correctly in Blender. Netfabb has a cut or slice feature that may work but it's only available on the pro version. This doesn't seem to warrant spending $150 bucks on. Such a little thing, yet I'm kinda stumped as to how to fix it.

    I'd love to hear what is working for you guys and if anyone else is having snags in getting your models to print successfully maybe we can share ideas.

  2. #2
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    Can you move the bottom of the object to be under the build plate plane?

    Simplify 3d can also do a lot of that model repair however I have never used it. I'm not sure if it is better or worse than Blender/Netfabb repairs...

  3. #3
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    my workflow is somewhat specific to my field of work. I have solidworks to do all my design work in so I model my ideas as solids, export as .stl, import into makerware (though I hope to move to s3d soon) and slice/export to sd card from there.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfkansas View Post
    Can you move the bottom of the object to be under the build plate plane?

    Simplify 3d can also do a lot of that model repair however I have never used it. I'm not sure if it is better or worse than Blender/Netfabb repairs...
    Blender exports with an origin you set, so yes. You set the origin of the object somewhere higher, drag it below the Floor (ie then set it to location to 0,0,0 )

    You then press CTRL-A and RESET the Location. The model stays in place but its co-ordinates are now reset to 0,0,0

    When you export it, it will export it as 0,0,0 being the build plate and whatever below is below.
    Hex3D - 3D Printing and Design http://www.hex3d.com

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Generally model in openscad. Export stl.
    Import into s3d or makerware - s3d isn't working 100% yet so for certain models I still use makerware :-)
    And print.

    Usually i just print over usb. For longer or overnight prints I'll use the sd card. But mostly at the moment over usb.
    Plus as i'm still trouble shooting s3d - it's much quicker.

    Openscad only makes solids. I've never checked anything Ive designed. It's always worked and printed what I wanted it to.

    You have to adjust sizes for abs due to shrinkage after extrusion - but just enlarging the entire model by 1% in makerware or s3d takes care of that.
    With pla I don't have the same issue - the dimensions I design are exactly what gets printed.

    If I ever have to check a model for manifoldness - I'll use s3d's in house modules.

    But as I'm unlikely to suddenly develop artistic ability and start using a gui based cad program - it's doubtful I'll ever need to check anything I design.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 11-10-2014 at 04:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Blender exports with an origin you set, so yes. You set the origin of the object somewhere higher, drag it below the Floor (ie then set it to location to 0,0,0 )

    You then press CTRL-A and RESET the Location. The model stays in place but its co-ordinates are now reset to 0,0,0

    When you export it, it will export it as 0,0,0 being the build plate and whatever below is below.

    Yep, I tested this ins S3d after posting. The preview showed that it won't print what is below the build surface.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    the easier way is to just adjust the height of the model in s3d. Just double click the model and you can adjust everything from size to rotation to position on the build plate.
    You can do the same in makerware.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Silly question, but why do you want to put objects below the build platform anyway??
    Hex3D - 3D Printing and Design http://www.hex3d.com

  9. #9
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    A picture probably would have helped if she posted one. I gathered that the bottom of the object wasn't flat and it needed to be and it is too complex to make the bottom flat. So by placing it a little low on the platform will just make it flat.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfkansas View Post
    A picture probably would have helped if she posted one. I gathered that the bottom of the object wasn't flat and it needed to be and it is too complex to make the bottom flat. So by placing it a little low on the platform will just make it flat.
    It's actually really easy to make a model flat in Blender (any model) just put a cube below the object, covering all of the base of your model with the top of the cube, boolean operation the cube away, it will cut the bottom off your model clean.
    Hex3D - 3D Printing and Design http://www.hex3d.com

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