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Assemble Before Saving as STL?
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* April 12, 2019, 09:16:00 AM
Hey, guys.  Continuing my education on 3d printing.  I have designed a part (actually, a corner reinforcement for my Anet A8) that is currently composed of three separate components.  I prefer to retain the separate components since I'll be making "lefty/righty" print-outs and it will be easy to rearrange things before saving each version.

My question is, can I save the drawing of the part as an STL file while it is still composed of three separate components and have a printable file?  Or, do I need to use the "Assemble" function to join the components?

I tried saving as STL, using the three separate components, and when I open in Cura everything looks like it should.  However, before I begin a multi-hour printing process I'd like to know if I'm on the right track.

I'm using TC 2018 and Cura 14.07 to drive an Anet A8.

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* April 12, 2019, 12:51:09 PM
#1
My question is, can I save the drawing of the part as an STL file while it is still composed of three separate components and have a printable file?

Yes.  BUT.

Its tough to comment properly without seeing an image of the part/s.   There may be limitations depending on what your part / parts look like.   Any chance you can post an image of the parts.  the image does not need to be a rendered view, just each part as a separate colour so one can tell them apart.  Basically it depends on whether the parts are separate, like an open bird case, separate budgie and branch.  or like a budgie and branch printed inside a sealed bird cage.

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* April 12, 2019, 03:05:10 PM
#2
Haven't tried uploading anything before, but, here goes.  Here are the components in blue, black and red.

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* April 12, 2019, 05:03:01 PM
#3
The good news is that saving-as an stl, will treat the all the parts as a single object, because they all of the 'butt' up against each other.

However.  because of the six 3mm cubes, (three above and three below), the three below lift the bottom 3mm off the printer build plate.  so you would need to ensure that 'Supports' is ticked in Cura.  Otherwise you will end up with a total mess.  It does mean that you will have quite a bit of support material to break away after the part is printed.  which will also mean the surface won't look as smooth. 

If you wished to reduce or eliminate the need for supports. I'd have a think about whether the three boxes below the bottom could be done differently I guess it depends on what role the three boxes play. 

I did look at rotating everything 90 degrees so the Red part was on the build plate.  It still needed supports just not a much,  but it may also be slightly weaker, its difficult to tell for sure. 


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April 12, 2019, 05:25:27 PM
#4
As drawn, there should be no problem (so long as you do include the supports that Andy mentioned).

I disagree that the structure would be 'weaker' if rotated to put the red object on the floor (I was going to suggest that until I saw Andy's comment).  It would certainly need far fewer support struts.

The only real problem with separate STL structures is if they overlap.  This can confuse the software.


Jeff

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TC Pro Platinum 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015 (all with LightWorks & RedSDK) & V21
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* April 12, 2019, 06:08:27 PM
#5
The 3mm cubes are designed to bear against the bottom edge of the top cross-piece, to provide support 90 degrees to the piece shown in red.  Not essential, but, I'd like to have them if it will print out (looks not important).

I was assuming I'd have to rotate so the part shown in red would be on the build platform.

Sounds like I've got at least a 50/50 shot - which is about my track record so far in successfully printing things http://forums.turbocad.com/Smileys/default/smiley.gif

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* April 15, 2019, 07:08:45 PM
#6
Well, here's what I'll call "Proof of Concept."  Printed it out flat side (the side with the little projections) down - and, as noted, had a lot of support structure to peel off.  Nevertheless, it is totally functional in present form (with a bit of light sanding).

I thought I could flip it 90 degrees in Cura, but that was a no-go.  Now that I know it will function as intended, I will do the "flip" in TC, so the "flange" is flat against the bed, and I'm pretty sure I'll get a usable, and cleaner, product.  I added little wedges on the bottom side of the little nubs to, hopefully, make it print with less support structure.

First shot shows finished product, second shows it temporarily clamped on place (upper left corner).
Appreciate the advice.

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* April 16, 2019, 10:31:56 PM
#7
Flipped the piece to vertical and re-printed.  Big difference in print quality.  Almost no cleanup needed.  Geometry also worked out well - no support structure was needed.  Now to do the mirror image for the other side.

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* April 17, 2019, 04:05:45 PM
#8
I thought I could flip it 90 degrees in Cura, but that was a no-go.

I added little wedges on the bottom side of the little nubs to, hopefully, make it print with less support structure.

Glad you got it sorted.   You should have been able to flip in Cura,  but that said, I do try to get the orientation correct in TC before saving to stl.  The added wedges were a good idea, reducing the need for support on the little cubes.

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