Welcome to the world of 3D Printing!
While there are seemingly endless options of things to choose from in the Thingiverse 3D printing opensource database, if you want to make full use of a local 3D printer, you will need to know how to design your own products.
Starting from Scratch:
Essential tools for creating your own 3D print will include some extra software on your computer. If you have a Windows 10 operating system, you will have a 3D printing software available automatically on your home computer. This is not to be disregarded and you should take a look at some of the capability it offers. What I am going to discuss here are the free options available to everyone with an internet connection.
Safe link to download: http://www.getpaint.net/index.html
Before you start with 3D modelling, try brushing up on your photo editing skills with this free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. This will help you get used to using a mouse to orient and select items. It will also be very important for translating photographs to 3D printable objects.
Safe link: http://app.selva3d.com/
This in-browser application’s only purpose is to change photographs (.png or .jpg) into the right format for editing in 3D printing software (.stl).
Safe link: https://www.tinkercad.com/
This in-browser 3D Print editing software allows you to create from scratch, splice from a free design, and more. Since it is directly connected with Thingiverse, anything you make in this site can be uploaded to the database for others to use. All photos must be put through Selva3D if you want to edit them in this database. Downloading your object from this site as an .stl object and bringing it to the library is an easy way to see it come to life!
This downloadable software is how we manage the print settings on our Ultimaker 2+. If you want to have your item printed a certain way, this is offers a lot of flexibility on control and heating. To save your settings and keep them the way you want, you will need to save your completed project as a .gcode file.
Some Quick Tips Before Getting Started:
- A photograph (.jpg) will translate best into a 3D print (.stl) if it has high contrast and is grayscale.
- Join an online community. Whether it is through Reddit or Thingiverse or Instructables or through the Ultimaker site, there are a lot of training videos and active helpers available to answer all of your 3D Printing questions. A community-answered question is always the best type of answer.
- Not sure how to do something? Watch a tutorial on Youtube!
Some other free design options beyond Thingiverse are the following:
Submit Your Design:
Before your print your design, you will have to submit it for approval. To do this, download your file from Tinkercad in an .stl file format and email it as an attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Type “3D Print Design” in your title and submit your email.
Once your design is approved, you will receive a reply with comments about whether or not your design is able to be printed. Submit a completed 3D Printing Form (http://wcplnj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/3DPrintingForm.pdf) and your $5.00 co-pay to the 3D Printing Specialist at West Caldwell Public Library to start the print.
Your 3D Printing Specialist will contact you as soon as it is ready!