Equipment List & Facility
- Make a plastic object from a 3D model. See below for 3D design process
- Small printers with Bowden tubes have a print volume of 150 x 150 x 120mm.
- Set up to print PLA (a really awesome corn-based plastic with low toxicity and a low melting point) in various colors, depending on our stock.
- Geared extruder printers with no Bowden tube can print TPU, a flexible plastic good for phone cases, and all kinds of other uses. Safe for wearable use.
- We keep at least one printer set up for ABS and other high melting point plastics as they are more tricky to print with but these plastics are necessary for certain applications. They are more heat resistant and tougher than PLA.
- Cut a design out of various materials from a digital design. See other sections for more information on how to make your designs.
- Small CNC router can handle materials up to 20 x 30 inches. Materials it can cut are plywood, MDF, acrylic, foam, machining wax and aluminum (ask about other materials). These can be used for making small precise work, molds, etc.
- Large full-sheet CNC router can handle 4 x 8 foot sheets of plywood, MDF, acrylic, or foam. It is set up to make parts quickly.
- Cut a design out of various materials from a digital graphic. Can also engrave designs on a wide variety of materials, including some metals (if certain tricks are used), See other sections for more information on how to make your designs.
- Can handle 18 x 24 inch materials. It can cut paper, plywood up to 1/2inch, cardboard, acrylic, fabrics (test for efficacy!), leather, gasket material, and a variety of other materials. This type of laser cannot cut metal.
Make amazing stickers out of graphics, and fast!
(you probably already know what this is)
3D Design Process
- You have a lot of options here! We see people with all levels of experience. You may have some experience in industry using a CAD program, or you may have no experience at all. We favor the free and open source software for the simple reason that when we teach someone to use it, they will be able to continue using it on their own. Also, the free options are really great these days.
- When beginning a project, you often start with some initial image or plan, so this will determine which path you take. 2 dimensional graphics often become the beginning of a 3 dimensional project. Sometimes you will be starting with an open source plan and modifying it to fit your needs. When starting something from scratch, your choice of application will depend on how precise your object needs to be or how complicated it is.
3D applications we like
Browser based. Start using immediately. Surprisingly capable!
Not too hard to learn. It’s a serious CAD program with a smooth interface. Also makes tool paths for CNC routers. This is one of the ways to cut with the CNC.
Awesome, powerful, deep program with practically unlimited capabilities. Makes good meshes for 3D printing. Not the best for making precise parts, but really good for manipulating meshes.
Another awesome way to build 3D models.
For making organic shapes really fast. Like having a virtual blob of clay that you can do anything with.