Free 3D design training explores the freedoms and restrictions of design for 3D printing

As 3D printing grows in popularity and many new owners of 3D printers are taking their first steps with 3D printing, we’ve taken a look at several of the resources available to learn 3D printing. These free resources include a look at the popular 3D Benchy to calibrate and test 3D printers and free courses available to learn about 3D printing.

As we continue with our look at the free resources available to learn 3D printing, we visited another free class: How to Enhance Your Design with 3D Printing.

The iMakr store's urban manufacturing center in London. Photo by Beau Jackson
The iMakr store’s urban manufacturing center in London. Photo by Beau Jackson.

The course takes place at iMakr’s London store. Store manager Julien De Muyter opens the 3D Design seminar saying,“There’s a difference between design and designing for 3D printing.” Two of the in-house designers then take over the presentation, breaking down the things that need to be kept in mind when making something digital for a physical print.

Freedoms and restrictions

It is a common misconception that any 3D model can be 3D printed, just like any Word document, photograph or spreadsheet can be 2D printed, the fact is, even in 2D typical printing, an act of translation needs to happen.

Schematic of the 3D design to print process on the wall of the iMakr store in London. Photo by Beau Jackson
Schematic of the 3D design process. Photo by Beau Jackson.

The 3D designers explain that though an object may appear 3D on a computer, if it hasn’t been designed for 3D printing it will be all surface, i.e. there is no inner geometry to give it support if it is to become a physical 3D object.

Incorporating limits into 3D design

The presentation goes into the freedoms and restrictions of 3D printing, particularly for fused filament fabrication (FFF) that most people are already familiar with, i.e. the layering of molten plastic.

  • The volume of production involved.
  • FFF 3D printing of a single large object (without multiple parts) – which is technically possible with 3D printers like BigRep and the Delta Wasp, but isn’t readily available outside of industrial use.

To optimise a design for 3D printing, it is important to take these into consideration. By doing this the benefits of 3D printing can be harnessed, these include

  • The creation of bespoke objects
  • Re-engineering objects in multiple parts to improve an object’s functionality

Freedoms of 3D Printing

In comparison to other processes for making 3D objects, like injection molding and CNC milling, the advantages of 3D printing are explained as,

The 3D designers then give examples of how these ideas can be manipulated in a 3D design, and give an introduction to the WeDesignLive platform as a good way for first timers to get to grips with the technology.

The classes are ideal for anyone wanting a hands-on introduction to the technology. The presenters were well-prepared to answer questions on the subject, and illustrated their responses to the audiences questions with examples at hand from around the store. One visitor was particularly interested in using 3D design to 3D print tooth models, to which the team explained how a more organic design method, i.e. digital sculpting, might be best suited for this idea.

3D printed medical models in the iMakr store in London. Photo by: Beau Jackson
3D printed medical models at the iMakr store in London. Photo by Beau Jackson.

When can I check it out?

Anyone interested to learn more can head down to the iMakr store in Farringdon, London on Thursdays. The 3D Design classes are currently held once a month and can be booked through iMakr on Eventbrite.

The first tip they give however is to “Stay close to the technology” and that’s one thing readers of 3D Printing Industry will certainly be equipped for already!

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Don’t forget, nominations for the first annual 3D Printing Industry awards are now open.

Featured image shows 3D designed and printed trophies by iMakr for the ophies by iMakr for the London Lift Off Film Festival. Photo via: iMakrStore on Facebook