Our school has a 3D printer!

Yes! Our school just purchased a 3D printer for $20,000 USD, and apperenty the license to use the printer was around $17,000 USD. I know that I can export my blender models into DXF and then import the model into Inventor, where I can then print the model. If maybe, if we (as students) are allowed to print a lot on it, I could get your .blend files and get them printed, and mail them to you or something. For me it would be free to print on it, but I don’t know about anyone else. Anyway, just wanted to say that I’m excited, and I wanted to hear from anyone else who’s used one.

Nice! Too bad I haven’t made anything worth 3D-printing.

Why is a license needed to use a 3D printer? Didn’t know about that until now.

.STL files are also used for CAD/CAM - but there are LOTS of problems machining with polygons though - precision is tough. you really need a program like rhino ($150 student edition full version from academicsuperstore.com, usually it’s over $600)
that can make “watertight” NURBS surfaces. There are others here who know a lot more about it than me though…

What precision problems are you referring to? I ask because these guys seem to do pretty good work with poly based models:



Is it this kind of 3D printer?

that is the first thing I am going to buy when I win the lottery. and zarf, honestly, I’m don’t know that much yet about the details of rhino, nurbs vs. poly machining I just got into it. looks like they do a pretty damn good job. wonder how much a small model costs…

Those printers look like real fun to own, just think, combine one of those with LEP ( light emmiting polymers) and electronic conductive plastics, then print yer own circuits and electrical goods :smiley:

Imagine in the future what fun pirates could have, uploading the printing specs for the latest video cards etc:eek::smiley:


That’s really cool. You should print Emo and Proog. Try to get a good pose. You might have to apply the armature deformation before you export it, I don’t know.

those printers cost about $600 for a very small object (depending if its plastic or plaster) they are not cheap to run.

each refill canister for plastic is $1000

we have access to one through university, and its almost unafordable at 50% subsidy


Just a question, what do 3D Printers???
Never heard of something like that, so far…

Just make sure your model is manifolt and everthing will be okay.
(non-manifolt is an edge with more or less than 2 faces)

prices seem very reasonable at 3darttopart.

All that money for a coffe maker…

Yep, STL direct from blender should be the way to go (at least test it.) AFAIK, most of these units interperet stereolithography (STL) files directly. And this is not a “machining” process, so polys should do just fine (set high subsurf if you need smooth curved surfaces.) Likely, NURBs are converted to polys on export anyway. (Not sure, but I doubt most of these machines read them directly.)

Post some pix of your creations, maccam, when you run some! :slight_smile:

nobody here, who could answer my question?? :frowning:

it’s just like it sounds like. make your 3d model, then output it to this 3d printer and out pops a plastic model of your design. mzungu - thanks. I didn’t really understand the difference between machining and poly printing before now, I thought the nurbs rule applied to all 3d printers. I think it also depends on the material you are printing with

Basically they work by spraying down ABS plastic one layer at a time until you have a complete 3D model. There is usually also a second dissolvable material used to make support structures that are required by the model before it is finished. (Think of an arch before the capstone is placed.)


there are various 3d printers, plastic, powder, and wax printers.

wax printers are used for jewelry design to mass produce wax models to cast in small batches. other wise i create a rubber mold and inject the hot wax. layer by layer does the wax printer put wax dots into space where you 3d model says some volume is. this also means that all objects, not matter which printer has to solids and not a surface. even a leave has to have a surface and could not just be a flat mesh.

plastic printer put down layers and layers of plastic. those printers have to add special structures to be able to print objects. that means when you build a human with his arms pointing away somewhere at the hip the 3d software starts to attach a bridge which will go under the arm because printers can only print vertical and not left and right.


those plastic printer can be very precise and the models are very strong.

and than there is the powder based 3d printer like zCore.
you can use a starch, plaster like powder and today a friend works on a patent to use clay so you can model, print and burn your clay model.

this printer works in a way that in a pool of powder the printer puts down glue dots where you 3d model says a volume is. and than layer by layer glue dots are put down and powder gets put over it and and and …
because the model is in a pool of powder you do not need any support structures because the surrounding powder is already the support.

also with this printer you can have an object already printed into an object. all you need is to blow out the loose powder. but the models are not that strong and precise but great to play with.



and than there are also 3d milling machines which cut the model out of a block of material.


i hope that answers your questions.

regarding nurbs and polygons, STL or aiges are all three point polygon based file formats. in rhino, or cobalt you export your nurbs model into a high res polygon models which is so smooth that the polygon smoothing follows the curves of the math based nurbs curves. in cobalt for example as well as in rhino you have interactive converters which will show you in realtime the conversion result.

polygons work as good as nurbs, you will get what you model.
the output is the same. however next to trim surfaces etc., tools polygons cannot provide with at all, also the precision is better with nurbs because nurbs results are calculated and not modeled. you only model an outer cage similar to the subdiv cage with blender.

what you need to do with polygons is to smooth them a lot via subdivision to get smooth results

i hope that helps :wink:



here is one of the b=objects i created for example:
a head than i electro formed over it.

Like this.:wink: