3D printing models
How 3D models are created
If you want to have an object produced in 3D printing, you need a suitable 3D model. The design in the CAD program is one possible approach to generating the required datasets. However, most CAD programs require extensive user knowledge and are therefore often difficult for laypersons to use. To facilitate learning more about 3D printing models for beginners, the PROTIQ Marketplace team has assembled relevant information on construction, file formats, and templates on these pages.
Constructing 3D printing models
Newcomers to design should refrain from complicated functions when choosing a suitable program and should first focus on modeling the 3D object. Many beginner-friendly programs use the intuitive sculptor principle. A simple basic form is shaped according to one’s own ideas and supplemented on additional levels with more and more details.
Construct learning for beginners
A popular and free program based on this method is Sculptris. TinkerCAD is another program well suited for initial design attempts that can be used to put simple geometric shapes into more complex objects. Even Adobe Photoshop has some 3D modeling features in its current version and has its own repair tool for STL files.
Professional CAD programs
To construct tools or prototypes for industrial use, extensive software functions for object planning are necessary – for example, extensive documentation options, standard parts libraries, or a model simulation under realistic conditions. Professional CAD programs such as Creo Parametric, Siemens NX, SolidWorks, AutoCAD or Catia meet these requirements and are often extensible for specific applications (for example AutoCAD Mechanical for mechanical and plant engineering).
How do I create a 3D printing file?
Before a 3D model can be produced, the file must be checked for printability. Models should have no unwanted holes in the surface and should have sufficient wall thickness. How strong the walls of a 3D model must be to achieve the desired stability depends on the material used and the manufacturing process involved, as well as the intended application.
3D printing templates
At the PROTIQ Marketplace you can also print 3D models that you did not create yourself. Communities or databases created specifically for this purpose provide users with files for download both for purchase and freely available under a Creative Commons license.
Choose a 3D model and print
It is highly probable that your desired object already exists as a printable model.
3D scanning offers an additional opportunity to generate models for 3D printing as a reverse-engineering method. With this method, complex or large objects can be measured within a short time and processed into printable data records.
Scan 3D objects on-site or on-the-go
3D scanners are available in different technical versions. Compact handheld scanners are portable and therefore versatile. Their wide field of view allows them to scan small, detailed objects as well as large or distant objects. Mobile scanners do not need not be calibrated before use and are ready to use. Fixed 3D scanners typically produce higher quality and more accurate 3D models than hand-held devices, but are rigidly tied to a location and therefore more limited in their capabilities.
3D file formats
Additive manufacturing always requires a suitable 3D file that contains all information about the planned object, such as dimensions, volume, wall thickness, and resolution. The most common file format in 3D printing is STL (Standard Triangulation Language / Standard Tessellation Language). In an STL file, the shape of a 3D model is described as precisely as possible with a multitude of triangles. Before printing, the 3D model is sliced down into thin layers, which can be read out and printed by the 3D printer one after the other.
Benefit from the great flexibility of the PROTIQ Marketplace
STL files describe only the geometry of a 3D model and do not contain information about color or material. The OBJ format, which is one of the most common file formats in 3D printing besides STL, is suitable for this purpose. In addition to the STL and OBJ formats, the PROTIQ Marketplace can process many other file formats, for example: 3DM, 3DS, ACIS, VRML, ZPR, PLY, DXF, AMF, Sketch-Up, CATIA V4, CATIA V5, IGES, VDA, ProE, UG / Parasolid, STEP, ACIS SAT, SolidWorks, JT, VDA, FBX, and Collada.