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New to 3D printing

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As my topic states I am new to 3D printing, but I am not new to 3D CAD. I have been designing in Pro E and Solidworks for years. As a mechanical engineer I can't wait to order one of these puppies. It seems top me that the Ultimaker is the best for what I want to do, which I can't say right now. but bere I pull the trigger I thought that maybe I could get some insight to the following:

For a single pc model:

1. I design something in solidworks, what do I have to learn to make a 3D print?

2. I want to work with ABS and read about the need for a heated bed plate. Does the heat get controlled by an external source and is it controlled by the machine or by the operator?

3. If I want to build an assembly doe it have to be done in pcs and then assembled?

4. What software is needed, if any, to add suppot webing to a model?

5. Can I switch colors in the middle of a print by stopping/ pausing it and switching to continue?

6. Finally, although I'll think of more, if I wanted to scan say my hand then print it, what is the best way?

Any and all responses are welcome.


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Hi, I don't have all your answers. :)

2. You may want to consider a heated chamber, not just a platform, in order to reduce warp from the ABS cooling. This is based on the results of an associate with a rep-rap who reports that the heated platform has limited effect on larger models.

3. Not really understanding your question. Assembly of the Ultimaker is done in pieces, the instructions are now quite thorough. Assembly of an individual part may or may not require different pieces. The limitations of the print process require that some overhangs must be printed upside-down then mated with another piece.

4. Skeinforge has a built-in setting to add support, it can be adjusted to some degree. Many of the users here also use Netfabb. I am not familiar with Netfabb but I am quite sure it has a similar setting. These are the standard programs used to slice a model (.stl) into a toolpath that the printer can understand. (g-code). You may also find some other alternatives in various stages of development.

Skeinforge is free but slow, while Netfabb is fast but requires payment.

5. See this topic. Developments are being made with multiple print heads, although there are still technical hurdles. There is currently no "off-the-shelf" solution for the Ultimaker.

6. I have seen some interesting youtube videos using Microsoft Kinect for 3d mapping. I have not had the time to get into this further, but it would be my first start.

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