Autocad 3D printing

by Design Workshop Sydney

Exporting from the Autocad 3D environment to a 3D Printer is a simple process and a subject which we discuss in our Autocad 3D training courses.autocad-3d-printing
Firstly, make sure there are no extra lines or objects in your 3D model. We obviously don’t need lighting or materials on models destined to be printed in 3D, but these details will be left out when we export to the 3D printing file format.
There are a few points to keep in mind when creating the model. The first is size, depending on the size and precision of the 3D printer you’ll be exporting to. If in doubt it’s best to get some advice from the 3D printing service you’re using, or the manual if you own the 3D printer.
Broadly speaking it’s best not to make the model too small. On consumer 3D printers the base plate is sometimes only 300 x 300mm. If the thickness of the model is too thin the base plate can heat up and warp the model itself. Also fragile parts may break off, so be careful with small details. This is especially true of architectural models; possibly not so important in mechanical engineering models where the object is more likely to be chunkier.
There are basically three methods for converting the Autocad model to a format which will be read by the 3D printer. The first is to simply type STLOut into the Command Line and follow the prompts. The second method is to go to the Output tab and choose the 3D Print option – this is new in Autocad version 2015. And the third method is to go to Application > Export > 3D Model, and follow the prompts in the Command line. The AutoDesk Help menu also provides some useful guidelines for 3D printing.
The file is usually relatively small and can then be emailed to your 3D printing provider. A choice of colours is usually available for the model, and the cost of the finished product is usually only a few dollars!
The 3d interface in Autocad is user-friendly and easy to learn, and we take time to teach a broad range of applications in our classes including modeling, materials, lighting and animation. See many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page. For more information there are lots of resources on the web, but try the Autodesk site to begin with: Support options and user forums are also available from the home page.
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