Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Same 3D Printer....Better Design Software.....Better Results!

It pays sometimes to try different things and this definitely is true when it comes to making things on a 3D printer.  I had updated the software that makes my Makerbot 3D printer work faster and smoother weeks back. I thought this actually made my parts better.  What it actually did was make my 3D printer project work load quieter and shorter.  So why had my parts started looking better too?  I found out today while starting work on a project that has been in my computer for a long time.  I dusted off the design and decided to start making parts for it.  Here is what I had it mind before I go further with my discovery.

The images above are what I call the Lego Jet Man project.  I modeled it in software called Pro-Engineering (ProE) quite some time ago and the original idea was to build this guy to the scale you see in the images above.  The taller figure would be me in full scale.  All five foot eight inches of me.  The little Jet Man was originally planned to be made in fiberglass and would stand 40 inches tall when completed.  Until I figure out what to do with such a large figure and how to make the propeller actually move I will settle for a smaller desk version of this little guy.  
  This brings us back to what happened today while starting this little desk top version.  I printed the helmet for Jet Man using the ProE model first.  It turned out ok but was confused as to why after upgrading the software to run my 3D printer I now was getting faceted parts again. Then I used the same file but this time created the file I needed using Inventor software.  This was the reason for the better 3D prints. Here is what the two different models looked like after using my 3D printer. 

The ProE created model on the left and the Inventor 2013 design software model was created on the right. What an amazing difference to say the least. Well worth the little effort to make the better model. So for those of you designing parts for your 3D printer who want to make better parts there are a lot of differences in design software.  So if you can get your hands on a student version of Inventor 2013 (which I own) it will do what you see here and then some and be well worth your time to learn this incredible design software. I use it in all of my projects from 3D printing to fiber glassing projects. 

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