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How to design and 3D print a ring using SolidWorks.

Step 1:

Start by Opening up a new file. File>New

Step 2:

Select “Part” and click OK.

Step 3:

Once the new file is open, it will bring you too a screen similar to this one. However it may be on the features tab. You’re going to want to select the tab in the upper left hand corner underneath the Features manager, labeled “Sketch” (look at the red circle). Then select the sketch option on the farthest left of the Sketch manager. This will bring up the three planes for you to select. Select the Top plane.

Step 4:

To start we will make the inner circle of the ring that fits over your finger. Select the center circle tool (look at the highlighted red circle) in the Sketch manager and click on the origin (the red arrows in the middle). It will snap to the origin which will be used as a reference point for further dimensioning. Once you have clicked on the origin, simply drag outwards to create the circle.

Step 5:

Now we need to dimension the circle. Select the “Smart Dimension” tool (look at the red circle) and then select the outer line of the circle. Simply pull the dimension outwards and click again to edit the number value. In this example I put in the value of 1.25 inches. However feel free to substitute that value for the width of one of your fingers. Just add .02 to the value for printing as the final product will shrink a little.

Step 6:

Once you have established the desired diameter select the drop down arrow next to the line tool (look at the highligted red circle), and click the option labeled “Centerline”. Create a horizontal line underneath the origin. Hold down shift while dragging the line to make it completely flat. This is a construction line and will not create any 3D geometries, however you can use these construction lines as reference points. Select the “Smart Dimension” tool again and click on the origin and the construction line you just made. Set the value to .25 inches.

Step 7:

Now it’s time to construct the outside shape of the ring. Start by selecting the “3-Point Arc” tool underneath the “circle” tool used in the beginning. If it is one of the different arc tools, select the drop down arrow and select the appropriate one. Place the first two points on so they are resting on the construction line, then pull down to create a curve similar to the one above. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly centered. Deselect the arc tool by clicking the button up top or by right clicking and selecting the red “X” icon from the menu. Then left click while holding down Ctrl on the circle and arc you have made so far. On the left menu bar select the concentric icon (look at the highlighted red circle). This will create an equal relation between the two.

Step 8:

Create two lines depicted above and use the dimension tool by clicking on the newly created line and the construction line. Do the same for the other. Deselect the dimension tool and Ctrl click on the two lines. On the Left sidebar select Equal. This will make it so the two lines are the same length.

Step 9:

Use the 3-point arc tool to connect the two lines. Then dimension it to your liking. In this case we gave it a radius of 1.10 inches. Now the first sketch is complete.

Step 10:

Finally we can make our sketch 3D. Click Exit Sketch in the Sketch manager. Click on the Features tab to bring up the Feature manager. Locate the Extruded Boss/Base option and select it. This should create a yellow preview of the new 3D part. Under the pull down tab where it says Blind, select Midplane instead. This will extrude the object equally on both sides of the Top plane we chose earlier, whereas Blind extrudes the object in one direction of the selected plane. Finally type the dimension of .40 and hit the green checkmark.

Step 11:

Now that we have a solid object you may want to rotate the view. Simply right click and select Rotate view. To exit this mode right click and select the same button.

Step 12:

Moving on, select the Sketch tab to bring up the Sketch manager. Select new sketch and this time click on the right plane. Notice how the plane views we saw in the beginning don’t show up. Select the text labeled “Right plane” on the left hand side. To orient the your view like the one above, locate the opaque buttons at the top of the workplace window. By holding your mouse over the buttons you can read what they say. Select the View Orientation button (located in the middle of the row) and click the “Right” view. Create the sketch above. Notice how the construction line passes through and is anchored to the origin.

Step 13:

Once the first sketch is done select “Mirror Entities” in the Sketch manager. In the box labeled “entities to mirror” select all lines of the sketch except for the construction line. Click the mirror about tab and select the construction line. You should now see a yellow preview of the mirrored entity. Hit the green check mark and exit the sketch.

Step 14:

Instead of extruding this time, locate the “Extrude cut” tool in the Feature manager. Instead of Blind select Through All and hit the green check mark.

Step 15:

While in the Feature manager select the “Fillet” tool. With this tool you can select all the sharp edges and round them. We set our radius .05 inches, but feel free to play around with the dimensions and edges. Just remember that most of the fillets are there for comfort, whereas the top can be more aesthetic. Also note that when using the fillet tool you can select lines/edges through the solid object, that way you don’t have to keep switching your views.

Step 16:

And now you’re done! Select the “rotate view” option by right clicking to make sure everything is to your liking, and save the file as an (stl.) file. Also feel free to play around with the overall shape and dimensions of the object by using the similar features demonstrated. You can make it as crazy or simple as you want.

Step 17: MakerBot Tutorial

For our 3D printer we will be using the Makerbot Replicator 2. To use this, download the MakerWare from Makerbots main website and it will bring you to the screen shown above. Or if you are using an outsourced manufacturer/ campus resources simply follow their guidelines. Continuing on, Select the “Prepare” tab highlighted in red at the top, and click on the “Add File” option just below it. Select the previously saved (stl.) file. Once the file is in the software you may need to rotate it so its flat like the image shows. Double click on the rotation button highlighted in red on the left hand side to bring up this menu. Select the +90 or -90 options to rotate it flat. Then press the “Lay Flat” button to get it close to the printing board in the software. If you mess up the rotation simply press the Reset Rotation button below it.

Step 18:

Once it’s all rotated click on settings and make sure the Raft and Supports check boxes are checked. Set the resolution to your desired setting. (Higher resolutions take longer to print)

Step 19:

Finally click Export file and check the print preview option. If it looks similar to this then save the file to the Replicator 2 SD card and then insert the SD card into the Makerbot printer.

Step 20: Setting Up the Makerbot

Start out my putting the spool of filament on the back of the machine. Make sure the end of the filament is on the back side of the spool to ensure proper feeding. Also make sure the end of the filament isnt deformed like the one in the picture is. If it is simply cut it off with a pair of scissors.

Step 21:

Once those steps are done, feed it through the guide tube in the back. The front menu will prompt you to load the filament. Remove the guide tube from the top and put the filament through the extruder head. WARNING: Do not touch the extruder head, as it will be heating up. Place the guide tube back in its original position.

Step 22:

Before starting your print it is a good rule of thumb to level your build plate (the plate is highlighted in red). Go to Utilities> Level Build Plate in the main menu. Follow the directions presented. You will need to adjust 3 knobs underneath the plate every time the the extruder head moves to a different position. The goal then is to pass a piece of card-stock paper (or similar thickness paper) in between the extruder head and the build plate without much effort, but to also get the extruder head as close as possible.

Step 23:

You are now ready to print! Simply navigate through the menu and select "Build from SD". Find your file and select it.

Step 24:

Watch as it prints your object! My print took only 15 minutes to create.

Step 25:

The last step then is to remove the ring off the build plate and remove the raft and support material. It is also recommended to lightly sand down the final print for a more finished look.

<p>Cool tutorial. Where can I get SolidWorks? </p>
<p>This is awesome! I love solidworks and I've always wanted to get into 3D printing. </p>

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