Anim8or Community

General Category => General Anim8or Forum => Topic started by: Old Codger on September 14, 2021, 05:24:34 pm

Title: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Old Codger on September 14, 2021, 05:24:34 pm
I have decided to get into 3D printing and intend to do the basic 3D model in Anim8or. Now, is anyone here already doing 3D printing? I think I understand the basic steps: create the 3D model - save/export it in a format the next software understands (.obj most likely) - send the result to a "slicer" to turn the 3D model into a series of layers - send the output of the slicer to the printer for printing.

Now I got a great deal on a used 3D printer ($89 vs $250) with a print area roughly 8 inches on a side (210mm X 210mm X 205mm) that uses PLA plastic line as print stock. What I would LIKE to be able to do is break a model into components smaller than 8 inches with an eye towards assembling the pieces into models LARGER THAN 8 inches. From what I have been able to gather, turning a single 3D object into multiple pieces requires some sort of CAD software. If so, can anyone here suggest a good - hopefully free - CAD suite to do the conversion? I figure somebody here has already gone where I am going and so can point me in the correct direction.

 Here goes. {crossing fingers}
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: davdud101 on September 14, 2021, 07:10:27 pm
I'll tell ya - I have a small desktop CNC which is the closest I personally own to a 3d printer. I have had some parts that I modeled ion Anim8or 3d printed by a guy and they came out great. I've been trying to get into 3d carving with my CNC (even downloaded Fusion 360) but I haven't even opened the program yet. I'm going to buy a 3d printer soon, probably within the next year or so and perhaps we can learn together.

That said, I'm *thinking* Fusion 360 or SketchUp **miiiight** have tools for that in them. Not sure about generating gcode directly in the programs as I haven't tried.
Also Anim8or isn't the most dead-nuts precise tool out there so just be aware of that. I like it for rough dimensions and it can definitely work for less intricate stuff, but for things like boolean operations and extremely precise operations it's a bit tough to get clean results that would be useful on something like a 3d printer or CNC router.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 05:27:10 am
I've done 3D printing using Anim8or. The way to do it is to export to a .stl file. To do this, in Object view, select Object->Export ...
This opens the "Pick a File:" dialogue. At the bottome of this dialogue  there is a drop down selection "Save as type" for the file type. Select "STL (Binary)(*.stl)", (or "STL (ASCII)(*.stl)" should also work , but the files will be bigger - theoretically you can tweak these in a text editor, but I've never felt the need to do this.)

Once you have your STL file you can import them into a slicer of your choice - you can pretty much use any slicer for any printer as printers all take gcode files. However if you want to do something printer specific like two colour printing, you are best sticking to the slicer the printer maker recommends. My go to slicer is Raise3D IdeaMaker.

You can also create gcode for CNC machines from the STL files - but that gcode has instructions for a cutter - so passing 3D printer gcode to a CNC machine is a bad idea. For starters there won't be a code to spin the cutter. (Obviously you need to use the appropriate software to convert your .stl file to a CNC cutting path.)
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 05:47:14 am
If you are lucky you may be close to a FabLab. They are almost guaranteed to have 3D printers available (at my local FabLab they charge for usage time). And if you are lucky they will also have a CNC machine. My local FabLab has two: a small one (Roland MDX40), and one big enough to make large furnature (ShopBot).

Here is a map of FabLab locations:
https://www.fablabs.io/labs/map (https://www.fablabs.io/labs/map)

There will be people there who can give you help and advice too.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 07:45:36 am
I've used - or at least played with Fusion 360. My biggest problem with it is the free licence for people with revenue of less than 10,000 per year (or however it is worded). They have now reduced functionality twice for the free version while I've had it installed. Personally I think any company using it need their heads examined, because they are putting their entire business at the mercy of a license that can be changed at any time. And they keep changing the interface, so the workflow that worked yesterday won't necessarily work today.

I keep meaning to look at FreeCad. But I've seen a video saying that it has a fundamental design flaw in it, and you are better off using a development branch that addresses this problem. I suggest you listen to the video, and read some of the comments:
&ab_channel=MakerTales

Under the video there is a link to the RealThunders Branch: https://bit.ly/3iBzQly I've not looked at it, but I think that it is probably the version to learn with.

I noted to myself that this FreeCAD course looked like it may be worth watching:
&ab_channel=FreeCADAcademy
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 08:25:00 am
...
Also Anim8or isn't the most dead-nuts precise tool out there so just be aware of that. I like it for rough dimensions and it can definitely work for less intricate stuff, but for things like boolean operations and extremely precise operations it's a bit tough to get clean results that would be useful on something like a 3d printer or CNC router.

The other week I wanted to print a simple roller. I created the .stl with Anim8or using the boolean operations script. My first attempt failed, because I tried to subtract one cylinder from a wider one, but made the "mistake" of having them both the same length. When I made the small diameter cylinder poke out both ends of the large diameter cylinder it worked. (Although the choice of how to divide the ends up into triangles was a bit eccentric.)
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 15, 2021, 08:45:29 am
A simple roller solid can be created in Anim8or without booleans by lathing a rectangle.  The object is limited to 32 facets around the circumference but this can be improved with smoothing and the topology of the ends is tidy.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 09:26:04 am
A simple roller solid can be created in Anim8or without booleans by lathing a rectangle.  The object is limited to 32 facets around the circumference but this can be improved with smoothing and the topology of the ends is tidy.

Would smoothing have a toasted cheese effect on the precision of the corners? The end caps the binary operation produced fit perfectly (once I made the inner cylinder longer) - the surface just isn't divided like I would have done it by hand - but I shouldn't care about that.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Old Codger on September 15, 2021, 03:18:40 pm
A simple roller solid can be created in Anim8or without booleans by lathing a rectangle.  The object is limited to 32 facets around the circumference but this can be improved with smoothing and the topology of the ends is tidy.
If I were going to create something round with a round hole in the middle lathing would seem to be the way to go to me. I use lathing so much these days I have my own name for it. I call it "spinning" the shape.

But wouldn't smoothing screw up the end caps?

Have to try that out and see what happens.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Old Codger on September 15, 2021, 03:53:27 pm
A simple roller solid can be created in Anim8or without booleans by lathing a rectangle.  The object is limited to 32 facets around the circumference but this can be improved with smoothing and the topology of the ends is tidy.
While the topology of the ends does stay tidy, my experiments would tend to indicate that you don't actually get more than 32 segments in your circle.

Here's what I did:
1. Generated a square spline offset from zero and lathed it in y for 32 segments.
2. Then I smoothed it with a tension of 1. (By inspection I determined that tension much than 1 starts messing with the topology of the ends) This produced something with what looked like 64 sections around but it also double to geometry across the radius and across the outside.
3. Then I smoothed a 2nd time again with tension of 1.

At first glance it looked like I had a wheel with 128 segments. But then I looked closer. What I discovered was that my original 32 facets radially were preserved but were merely broken up into (now) 4 segments each. I've attached a couple of graphics to illustrate. The first one is a render zoomed in to show a quarter of the circumference. The 2nd is a screen cap of the same model in the same amount of zoom but in wire frame mode. You can see the original 8 segments (per quarter turn) as were there after lathing. Look at it and tell me what you think. Did I mess up?
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 04:46:42 pm
Thanks Old Coger.
I've just had a try on build 1.01.1402 and got the same result.

Is there a reason for limiting lathe to 32 segments? I suppose it makes rendering faster, but isn't so useful for 3D printing.

Anyway I feel we are digressing from the point I was trying to make about using the boolean operations scripts:

You wanted to break down a large print in to smaller prints to fit on your printer's build plate. The boolean operations seem like they should be usable for that purpose. But davdud101 seemed to be indicating that boolean operations introduce inaccuracies. I wondered if he was talking about where a plane on both shapes the boolean operation take are coincident (I mean same position in space and parallel - like the opening to the hole through the roller when both cylinders were the same length)? Or is there another problem?

How are you intending to assemble the parts? Glue? Or nut and bolt? Or some other way?
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Old Codger on September 15, 2021, 05:37:53 pm
2020 Hindsight asked, "How are you intending to assemble the parts? Glue? Or nut and bolt? Or some other way?"

If I had my "druthers" I druther engineer the pieces to snap together but I can see using glue. I'm thinking about making my granddaughter a Minnie Mouse toy or something like that. I was also thinking about taking some of the things I've made in Anim8or and turning them into real objects. If I used different color material for the different parts I can see how I could make the detail using paint or even printed custom decal material. I really don't know what I'm going to do considering I have never done 3D printing and that is a whole other ball of wax from crafting machines in Anim8or. I am anticipating a good bit of teething problems. I know just setting up my regular dot matrix printer/scanner took a while when I had to replace the older one. I have spent too much time with microcomputers since 1983 to expect the setup on the 3D printer to go smoothly. But I'm old and retired and what else do I have to do?

Oh and if you look at Steven's answer to my question about lathing you'll see that 32 segments is a limitation built into the software itself. I accept his answer that it had to do with computing resources. I'm just going to be interested to see how my normally fairly simple shapes come out as physical objects. 
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 15, 2021, 06:44:13 pm
It is satisfying watching your objects being printed. I'm sure you will have fun!

Tweaking is required to get good prints. A lot of people try to print objects using the fastest settings, but the best way to get a good looking print is to print slowly (or at least not too quickly). You often see echos of corners in printed objects because they have been flinging the print head around too fast.

The biggest problem I have with printing, is printing large objects. The wider an object is, the more it contracts as it cools, and tries to peel itself off the build plate. But I tend to keep to small components anyway. The printers at the FabLab have transparent enclosures to keep the ambient temperature up. They seem to have success printing large objects.

One guy at the FabLab printed a violin he downloaded from ThingiVerse for his daughter. So it is possible to print large objects

It might have been this one:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1533229 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1533229)
or possibly this one:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2752036 (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2752036)

I've seen youtubers get good finishes on prints by painting them with primer, and then sanding with wet and dry to get rid of print layer ridges.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 16, 2021, 05:29:43 am
Smoothing with a tension of 1 just places edges and points between existing edges and points without actually smoothing anything, whereas a tension of 0 would give 64 smooth facets.  Your point about the end caps is valid but this can be addressed with 'edge reinforcing' prior to smoothing.  There are a few ways to do this but the goal is to double- or triple-up any edges you want to keep sharp before smoothing.  The roller below was lathed from a rectangle with 32 facets (first image - note the tripled edges around the inner and outer rim) before being subdivided (second image).
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 16, 2021, 05:37:43 am
There is also another way to create a 'roller' object with 100 facets by creating 2 concentric 100-sided N-gons (or create one and duplicate/resize it), selecting them both and selecting Build > Join splines, then extrude with start and end caps both ticked in the extrude dialog.  100 sides is the max for the N-gon and the end cap triangulation means smoothing probably isn't an option, but it's something to consider.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 16, 2021, 05:46:33 am
Screenshots of the extrude method:
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Old Codger on September 17, 2021, 05:59:46 pm
Ensoniq5 wrote "this can be addressed with 'edge reinforcing' prior to smoothing."

Okay, man, you totally lost me there. How do I go about "reinforcing: the edges? I can see WHAT you did, I just have no earthly idea HOW you did it. Care to share?

Oh my new (used) 3D printer came in yesterday and the assembly and setup weren't nearly the hassle I was expecting. It even printed okay when I printed the test articles. But I had the devil's own time getting the printed pieces off of the print surface. I had to attack the result with a very sharp knife and wound up breaking one of the two pieces. Then I saw where it left a residue of PLA filament material behind where one of the two pieces (the broken one) which I tried cleaning up but now seem to have messed something else up. I might have made the surface too slick. Whatever is going on I know it's all my fault. Unfortunately I'm running low on print filament (there was a small amount included with the machine) and have to wait on the wonderful U.S. Postal Service to deliver the spool of filament I ordered when I bought the printer. Got questions on cleaning the print surface and what might have caused it to be so hard to remove the printed articles. I'm hoping that they're not going to tell me I have to snatch the printed pieces of the print table as soon as the piece is printed. Two little 1.5" high figurines took almost an hour and a half to print. I'd hate to have to watch the printer to catch it quick when it's finished. I was kind of thinking that if I had something of substantial size I'd start it printing near bedtime and get the results in the morning. I hope like the dickens that method is viable. Watching that thing print was cool at first but then it came to be almost as much fun as watching paint dry. You with me?
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 17, 2021, 06:37:12 pm
The usual problem is getting the print to stick - so you are sort of ahead of the game there! The tool I use for getting prints off is an artist's palette knife. Another popular tool is a decorator's scraper tool. Try not to damage your print bed! My print bed isn't so good for adhesion, so I put packing tape on it (PLA sticks to the plastic tape better than to stainless steel). Some recommend rubbing a pritt stick over the bed to help adhesion, or spray it with cheap hair spray - I expect that will reduce adhesion in your case.

It is a pain to come back to a bird's nest if something goes wrong part way through a long print. And if you are leaving it unattended you need confidence that it will detect an overheating hot end, and not catch fire. (e.g. if the temperature sensor connection breaks, and the software isn't smart enough to realise that if the sensor is reading cold, the sensor is probably faulty.)
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 17, 2021, 06:55:04 pm
"...Then I saw where it left a residue of PLA filament material behind where one of the two pieces (the broken one) which I tried cleaning up but now seem to have messed something else up. ..."

The print head will probably just re-melt any residue PLA on the bed when you print there again.


BTW what make and model printer have you bought?
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 17, 2021, 07:05:13 pm
Another option is to get a flexible print bed like this (expensive example - but shows the idea):
https://www.3djake.uk/buildtak/flexplate-system?sai=3853&gclid=CjwKCAjw-ZCKBhBkEiwAM4qfF7VpH2VNJXKUUGBp16rEHz-1Ae94d48gJWNd-2t8IRyld3Puga1RDxoCRSIQAvD_BwE (https://www.3djake.uk/buildtak/flexplate-system?sai=3853&gclid=CjwKCAjw-ZCKBhBkEiwAM4qfF7VpH2VNJXKUUGBp16rEHz-1Ae94d48gJWNd-2t8IRyld3Puga1RDxoCRSIQAvD_BwE)

The print will pop off when you flex the bed. Prusa introduced them, theirs is held on by magnets.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 18, 2021, 12:10:47 am
Okay, man, you totally lost me there. How do I go about "reinforcing: the edges? I can see WHAT you did, I just have no earthly idea HOW you did it. Care to share?

As with most things in Anim8or there are a few ways to skin this particular cat.  One way is to include a few extra points in the initial rectangle before it's lathed (An8-roller-6a).  They don't need to be close to the top and bottom edges yet so if you are using 'snap to grid' you don't need to fiddle it down to a superfine setting or anything, just whack them in anywhere but keep them on the same level on each side of the rectangle.  After the rectangle is lathed, switch off any grid-snapping and select all the nodes in the horizontal lines created by the extra nodes ('Point Edit > Drag Select'), then drag them up close to the top edge (An8-roller-6b).  Repeat the process for the bottom edge.

If you forget to add the extra nodes before lathing you can add them to the cylinder by dragging the 'Point Edit > Cut Faces' tool across the cylinder (tip: disable the axes you don't want the knife to move in).  Or you could select all the faces in the roller ends and use the 'Point Edit > Extrude Faces Connected' tool to pull the faces outwards slightly, which has the same effect of doubling-up the edges around the inner and outer rims.

An alternative method that gives a neater, slightly rounded edge is to bevel the edges that you want to reinforce (An8-roller-7a & An8-roller-7b).  It can be pretty tedious carefully selecting only the edges to bevel, especially if you want to further reinforce the edge with another bevel, but it's an option.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: 2020 Hindsight on September 18, 2021, 05:25:21 am
Old Codger

Talking about print beds, Maker's Muse uploaded a good video on the topic today:
&ab_channel=Maker%27sMuse

If your bed adhesion is too high, you could try lowering the bed temperature for the print.

You were complaining about how long the print took. You might be able to slice with fewer shells, and lower % infill.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: selden on September 18, 2021, 12:39:38 pm
WRT rollers, long ago I found a Torus .a8s plugin by Tyson Collins. I modified it to be able to generate a 4-sided cylinder (3-60 sides) with up to 2000 rings. You can specify inner and outer diameters, too. I've attached an example of it in use, along with a zip of the plugin.




Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: ENSONIQ5 on September 19, 2021, 01:01:37 am
WRT rollers, long ago I found a Torus .a8s plugin by Tyson Collins. I modified it to be able to generate a 4-sided cylinder (3-60 sides) with up to 2000 rings. You can specify inner and outer diameters, too. I've attached an example of it in use, along with a zip of the plugin.

Very cool!
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: Steve on September 19, 2021, 10:32:43 am
Regarding helping your 3D model stick to the platform, I have some thin plastic film that sticks to the platform. I don't remember what it's called. It came with my Makerbot printer. I also spray a little bit of my wife hair spray on the platform before printing. The models stick well and usually pop off with the first little twist.
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: R3dknight on November 09, 2021, 11:36:06 am
Nice, I was able to import some a Pickachu into Anim8or and export it back to STL and then in Cura.

Also found a bug in Linux.
Will have to post this in the bug dept of it
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: davdud101 on December 17, 2021, 09:20:10 pm
Excited... I got a Photon S 3d printer this Monday and I've been messing around with it - finally about to start printing stuff from Anim8or! I have'nt used Anim8or in a month or two as I've been learning Fusion 360. I think for mocking up quick parts that don't need extra-tight dimensions, as well as making more organic models, Anim8or is perfect. Let's see how this goes!
Title: Re: 3D Printing Using Anim8or
Post by: kreator on January 07, 2022, 12:48:43 pm
Great to see members using 3D printing with anim8or lets see your finished items perhaps we could have a comp with 3d printed stuff.