Part 2 of 3: Advanced Printing and Part Planning

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So, you think you’re a pro now? In our last post, we reviewed some of the basic printing decisions you can make using the MarkForged Mark One 3D printer Eiger software. Now, let’s take it one step further.

Using supports to create negative space or reinforcing your component with sandwich panels yields strong, usable results; but what if you want to create more complicated organic shapes, completely fill in your part, or embed components into your project?

PLANNING FOR ORGANIC SHAPES:

First, think about the orientation of your shape. If there is a reasonably flat surface on your part, orient that area to the printer bed to increase adhesion and stability. Remember, you don’t need supports if you’re printing at a 45-degree angle, so try to think about where your most dramatic curves are and slice accordingly. If you’re using an image or external output that might have a lot of noise in the design, clean up any unnecessary geometric intersections. MarkForged’s Eiger software will take care of the rest. Some organic parts may need finished, glued together, or sanded after creation, so check out our next post on some finishing tips and tricks.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH INFILL:

Your infill percentage shows how solid your part is. Mark One’s Eiger software uses a triangular print patter to fill in your part’s interior with a honeycomb rather than solid plastic. This increases printing speed, can save on material costs, and keeps your part lightweight. By leveraging the natural strength of the triangular form, this method ensures your part is extremely strong even though it isn’t completely solid. There aren’t a lot of use cases for turning up your infill above 20-30%. Typically, the default will do the trick. If you just like the idea of a solid part or have specific strength parameters for your project, you can opt for a 100% infill option (or anywhere in between) and use the rectangular fill pattern instead.

EMBEDDING COMPONENTS:

Now for the fun part: bringing YOUR part to life. The CFF™ printing method yields ready-to-use parts with few post-production limitations, so as soon as you print your piece, you’ll be able to put it to use. You can embed electronics or components into your part using four simple steps. Simply design a space for the desired component. Before you begin printing, use the Eiger software to place a “pause” in the printing process on the last layer of that empty space. Start printing. When you get to the pause, use our supplied glue stick to secure the top and bottom of the embedded component. Once the extra piece is flush with the print nozzle, continue printing (if your component is in the nozzle’s trajectory you could break the printer head, so be sure to design with that in mind). And that’s it. Now you can create curvaceous, bodacious, super strong, usable parts. See? Simple.

As promised, our next post will share a few finishing techniques like dying parts, wet sanding, and removing supports. With the Mark One, there is no messy post-production process, so we’re only sharing the good stuff.

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  • Dustin Heigl
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