3D Printing for Beginners

This will be a step by step instructional on designing and testing objects through the medium of 3D printing.

Step 1: Supplies

For this project, you will need a 3D printer (sometimes found in libraries or makerspaces), the relevant software for your printer, and a computer to create your object with.

Step 2: Creating Your Object

To design your object, I recommend making an account on the tinkercad website. There you will find tutorials for design as well as ready to use shapes. the pictures added to this step sere as examples of things you could create. If you feel that your object is too complex for your abilities, go to the thingiverse website and browse through thousands of objects that have already been created. After you feel that you are done working on your object, download its STL file to your computer.

Step 3: Using Your Printer's Software

Now that you have downloaded your STL file, you will need to upload it to your printer's software and prepare to print. With your printer's software, you may scale your object up or down, and rotate it if necessary. once your object is sized, you may want to rotate it. 3D printers, from my experience, print the lowest quality towards the base of your object. Now you may choose to print your object. In the printing window, look for a section that allows you to add raft, supports, or print without raft or supports. I recommend adding supports, as this will minimize the possibility of the printer messing up your print. Printers often malfunction, and you may need to adjust the position of your object and try printing again. Have patience, and you will get a print that is adequate.

Step 4: Preparing Your Print for Testing

After you get a print that is of decent quality, you will need to remove the support material. Once this is done, use a file or sandpaper to perfect your print. As you can see above, I was attempting to print guitar picks. the first picture is the object straight from the printer. As I tested my guitar picks, I found that they were too flimsy, and were prone to snapping. To fix this, I changed the dimensions in tinkercad and re-printed until the picks stopped snapping. I have added a timelapse of this process in the photos section above.

Step 5: Final Product

After trial and error, you will have a design that is functional and aesthetically pleasing. Good luck, and happy printing!

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