Part 1 of 3: How To Get Started with MarkedForge Mark One 3D Printer

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You have a vision. You have a Mark One 3D printer. You created a CAD model of your design. Now what?

Eiger is MarkForged’s web-based printing software that lets you upload, clone and manipulate your STL files before wirelessly sending them to your printer. All your designs live in a secure, cloud-based digital library so your work is available anytime, anywhere. The lightweight slicing software allows you to group designs together to print entire projects with ease or share and edit your work with colleagues.

Once you’ve engineered a functional part in CAD and uploaded the design to Eiger, you can begin customizing how to print your project layer by layer. Here are some basics choices you’ll want to think about before you begin:

STEP 1: BUILD SHAPE WITH SMART SUPPORTS

First things first. Use supports to print parts that have negative space like arches or flanges. If possible, orient your designs to lay flat on the printer bed to limit the need for supports. Any overhang beyond 45 degrees will need a support to keep the printing material from losing its intended shape. Don’t worry; the supports can be peeled off the part after printing. Eiger will help you place supports where they are necessary so you don’t waste material building extra supports or watch your part collapse and burn (literally) without them.

STEP 2: BRING ON THE FIBER

You've heard that two heads are better than one. Now, find out why two materials are better than one. Composite parts harness the best features of two chemically different materials for stronger, more durable parts. MarkForged's Eiger software automatically layers continuous fiber strands into your design as part of the signature CFF™ printing process. Although discontinuous (chopped) fibers can also be combined, continuous reinforcing fibers achieve a much greater strength to weight (and cost) ratio. Two birds. One stone. With the click of a button, you'll be able to customize the number of fiber layers and how they're embedded into your part. For added control, you can also choose between carbon fiber, fiberglass or Kevlar® reinforcing strands. Eiger will help you decide whether you want to make your part stronger while maintaining flexibility by adding a reinforced core or turn your part into a sandwich panel by layering fibers on the top and bottom of your project for added stability and support.

EXTRA CREDIT: ADVANCED USERS ONLY

Eiger sends all printing projects to your Mark One using a default setting that balances strength and precision. For those control freaks out there, you can opt out of Eiger’s recommendations and specify each layer composition, filament direction, and density yourself. Between us, we recommend using this option after you’ve got a few successful projects under your belt – and always keep an eye on your printer to look for sagging, burning and unintentional errors. Of course, don’t get so excited about editing each layer that you forget the basics: supports and sandwich panels.

Those are the basics for creating a successful part. Once you’ve mastered the rules, we’ll show you how to break them. In our next post, we’ll explain how to design organic shapes, use infill, and embed components in your part.

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  • Dustin Heigl
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