COOL! I printed my own object.
As mentioned in earlier post, I want to print a couple of pool grates to replace the old broken grates. I had entered the design into sketchup yesterday.
Today I reviewed the design and found some very tiny mistakes which I corrected. It’s always good to let something new sit for a day or two and look at it with new eyes. I had a face backwards and some tiny overhangs where I created the rounded corners. Got that cleaned up to produce the final object:
It occurred to me that I might not have got the corners right. If the radius is too small, it wouldn’t fit. So I figured out how to print the object onto paper at 100% scale.
Note to future self: to print an object at 100% scale: turn on parallel projection, then display a standard view (top, front, etc).
Now select the object, File | print, turn off Fit to Page, and set the scale to 1″ = 1″.
With a print out I could line the part up and verify the corners would fit into the actual drain:
Now I’m ready to print. I found the extension to sketchup that allows it to export the object to an STL file which is what the 3D printer software (Repetier) requires.
I loaded the STL file into Repetier and sliced it. Slicing is the act of examining the solid object and creating the commands that will drive the printer. Slicing literally slices the object into .3mm slices and then figures out the fastest way to print that slice.
I found a few more mistakes during slicing. Fixed those and fired up the printer. An hour and a half later I had a copy of my pool grate:
This process actually went smoother than I had anticipated. Absolutely nothing ever goes right for me (as I think of the 1/2 bucket of water I knocked over in the bathroom yesterday as I was working on the grout).
In this case, it went very smoothly. But I admit that was helped by having a simple object to design, and having spent quite a lot of time learning how to get the printer to print.
I expected the grate to not be very accurate since I have not calibrated the printer myself. Happily it was off very little (the original grate was 101mm, the new was 100.6mm). I may need to do a bit of sanding for the final fit, but I expect it will fit fine.