3D Printing With OpenScad and Cura

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3D Printing With OpenScad and Cura 3D printing is a revolutionary technology that has completely changed the manufacturing process. 3D printers are able to create three-dimensional objects from computer models in real-time, and this allows for more versatility than ever before! You can design anything you want with 3d modeling software such as OpenScad and Cura, but what do you need to know if you want your models to print correctly? This blog post will help guide you through the basics of 3d modeling so that designing an object becomes second nature. This entry will cover the basics of 3D design, 3D modeling software, and how to prepare your 3d models for printing. Part One: What is a 3D model? A three-dimensional (abbreviated as "3D") object can be defined as an object that has components of width, height, and depth, and can be rendered in plastic once it has been designed in software such as OpenScad. 3D models can also be created in software such as Blender, or SketchUp. Part Two: What is 3D modeling for? It's not just art! There are many practical applications of creating a 3D model and preparing it to print that you may want to explore. For example, if you need something small like a clip, bowl, box, or latch, you can quickly sketch up a design and print it to your specifications. I created a 3D printed door latch for my partner's freezer, and so far it has been a very useful 3D print. Art is also possible with 3D printing, and I have created several art pieces including a unicorn, owl, and bear. My partner and I also wear 3D printed rings we created for each other. Part Three: 3D Printing with OpenScad and Cura I'll be discussing how to create 3D designs with OpenScad, which is software for writing 3D objects with code. OpenScad is fairly simple to use, by googling "OpenScad cheatsheet" you can find all the code you need to know all in one page, and there are many examples available and code to use as a base. OpenScad also has a Wiki, so it should be easy to familiarize yourself with the software. You will have to take a few considerations when you create objects with OpenScad, in order to make them printable in Cura. For example, when I made my bear-shaped piggybank, I had to cut the print in half and print each half individually, attaching them together in order to build a comprehensive shape. I also had to remove support material from the center of the bear, as I printed it with support material enabled. This is necessary for shapes with overhangs, such as the hollow piggybank. I also printed the model with adhesion, to keep the first layers of the print adhered securely to the build plate. This is necessary in order to make a comprehensive shape with the software, as otherwise warping leads to the two halves being unable to fit together securely. Conclusion: OpenScad is software for writing 3D objects with code, which can be a powerful tool when generating all sorts of things, from art to practical items. Cura is a suite designed to make preparing files printable an easy task. OpenScad has a much more difficult learning curve than Cura, but for those willing to put forth the effort, it opens up endless possibilities of projects that you could make - especially if you are looking to retain some artistic control over 3D printing objects. While OpenScad may not be as intuitive or user-friendly as other programs out there on the market, it's also free so why not give it a shot? The main advantage of using another software over OpenSCAD is its usability; while both programs will allow users to create things from nothing with only their ideas in mind, OpenSCAD requires knowledge of coding to be able to create anything. Despite this, I highly recommend learning OpenScad because it allows the freedom to make shapes with math. The unicorn and owl I made were made using sine waves, and I also created a vase from several sine waves. The purpose of this post was not only about how I use both programs together but also the benefits of using each individually - as well as what they are good at/bad at. For example, while many might assume that you need Makerware or Repetier Host if you wish to do slicing on your own (these are professional and useful tools), in fact, slicing can be done in Cura quite easily. All you need to know for set up is the specifications of your printer. I hope this post was helpful in understanding how I use Cura and OpenScad for 3D printing. Attached is an image of my 3D printer printing a Mobius strip bracelet with lyrics from my song on it.

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