6. First 3D Printing

Hi! Today I will be showing you my first attempt at 3D printing my Raspberry Pi enclosure.

I started by exporting my CAD design into STL file, this way it will be possible for Cura to correctly display the design. Cura is a software owned by Ultimaker company that prepares an object to be 3D printed correctly. First thing when you open the software is to select a 3D printer that you own or the one that you are going to use to print an object, then you are going to upload an STL file of your design into the software either by dragging and dropping the file or by clicking the file button on the top left corner of the software. Once an object is uploaded into the software it automatically positions it onto the virtual 3D printing bed, from now on you can have a go and try different printing settings such as selecting a different material, selecting the layer height, changing the infill density and pattern, choosing if you want to add a support for your print and many more! On the top of the printer bed there are three different options: prepare, preview and monitor. To be able to see the changes that you have made you need to select the preview option, which allows you to see your object how it will be printed layer by layer. Once you are happy with your setting now you can slice an object by clicking the button placed on the down right corner called “slice”. This finalises all the settings allowing you to inspect the object layer by layer also giving you the estimated printing time. 

Figure 1. My Updated 3D Model in Cura Environment

When writing this post I realised that I haven’t captured the setting that I used to 3D print this enclosure and now I can’t show you how much time it took to print, furthermore I also haven’t save the STL file of this setup, just gcode, which doesn’t allow me to revise the settings. These are the flaws of using the software second time in your life, but I am learning every time I am using it. The screenshot above doesn’t show the original STL file used to print the first enclosure, it is the second version with updated design and probably slightly different settings. I used it here just to give you a brief idea of how it looked in the software environment and how the software looks. 

Above you can see my first print, which I called a semi success because I am quite happy with how it turned out, after a lot of cleaning of course. It worked as I planned however what I didn’t plan was sending the older version of my design, which didn’t contain the cylinder supports for the board, so it wouldn’t work because Raspberry Pi would float freerly around the case. Let’s hope that I won’t mess up again with the final print.

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