To help you getting started with printing of your 3D model, we have included some tips for providing your STL object:

File format

At 3D Prontoprint we support only the STL format. This is the most common 3D print format and can be exported from any CAD software.
If you do not have CAD software or no experience with this, you can make a quick start at:

  • Thingiverse: A website with a collection of hundreds of thousands of 3D objects that you can download for free and print via 3D Prontoprint.
  • TinkerCAD, 123Design and Sketchup: free simple CAD programs to speed quickly and to design your own 3D model.

Filesize

If your STL file is very large (3D Prontoprint supports files up to 100MB and up to 1 million polygons) you can try to mitigate this by reducing the number of polygons or ‘triangles’. This is a measure of the resolution of the 3D model STL file.
This can for example be done with the program Meshlab (free download via http://meshlab.sourceforge.net/).

Step by step instruction:

  • In the Filters menu -> Remeshing, Simplification and construction> Quadratic Edge Collapse Detection.
  • In the screen that displays the following settings are optimal for reducing your item:
  • Target number of faces: the number of polygons in which you want to come out
  • Quality threshold: measure the quality (0 to 1). Closer to 1 indicates that the software tries to remain closer to the original.
  • Preserve Boundary of the Mesh: Yes.
  • Preserve Normal: Yes.
  • Optimal positioning or oversimplified vertices: Yes.
  • Planar Simplification: Yes
  • Post-cleaning Simplification: Yes

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Support material

FDM 3D printing can’t print in ‘thin air’. Depending on the shape of the object and the provided orientation it can, therefore, be necessary that so-called “support material” is printed. At 3D Prontoprint we print this support material in the same type and color material (ABS) as your object.
Try to provide your STL object with an orientation so that no (or minimal) support material is required.

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Strength

With FDM 3D printing, the vertical direction (the z-axis, ie the height) the least strong dimension. Therefore try to provide your object with an orientation so that the direction in which the maximum strength is required, it is not the z-axis.
Keep in mind that orientation also affects the required support material during printing.

Tips was last modified: March 15th, 2015 by CoenLauwerijssen