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3D printing

Tuesday 3rd February 2015

For our President's Evening this year, Malcolm van den Bergh, president of Ipswich Engineering Society gave a talk and demonstration of 3D printing. Additive manufacturing is fast gaining pace in industry as both an evaluation/prototyping tool and a technique for producing production parts without investing in expensive tooling or for difficult/impossible to manufacture parts by traditional methods in metals and plastics. Malcolm demonstrated a kit built 3D printer for printing in plastic, capable of producing parts in either ABS or PLA. The printer was set to work at the beginning of the talk so that it could produce a part in PLA by the end. While the printer was creating the part Malcolm demonstrated how the part was modelled using ViaCAD, a 3D modelling and 2D drafting package easily affordable for the home user to purchase. Within ViaCAD Malcolm demonstrated basic 3D functionality of producing a 2D sketch and revolving this around an axis to form a 3 dimensional computer generated shape. Malcolm demonstrated the shell command to produce a thin walled vessel and the cut command to make holes in it. Once satisfied with the results, Malcolm demonstrated generating an STL file of this model, the STL file is used to directly communicate with the printer.

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