What type of equipment do you use? Tom and Tracy Hazzard talk about the type of equipment they use to print their desired designs in answer to this question from John of San Diego, California. Naming Rhinoceros as their preferred design software, they also discuss some other popular tools and apps such as Solidworks, Netfabb, Simplify3D, and many others. What might be right for them might not be right for you, thereby it is ideal to choose the right equipment that suits your designs.
Listen to the podcast here:
What’s In Our 3D Print Studio?
This is going to be our segment called Ask Us Anything.
We’re going to run this four days a week and it’s where you can call in and ask us a question. It’s simple. You go to our website HazzDesign.com and you go down to our Ask Us link and then go down to SpeakPipe and you can ask your question. You can even give us your website, your name, where you’re from and then ask us a question. Ask us anything about 3D printing.
It’s easy. As long as your computer has a microphone, click the button and ask away. Our question came in from John in San Diego.
Tom and Tracy, my name is John from San Diego, California. I’ve seen a few of your designs on Facebook and YouTube and I wanted to know what type of equipment do you use to print your designs?
That’s a big question because I’m not sure that what we use is ideal. Some of the stuff we use, I’d love to find a replacement for.
In terms of 3D printing, we create our own original designs and CAD models. I know some people download files that already exist on the internet but we create our own. The software we used to create those is Rhinoceros. I know a lot of people out there use SOLIDWORKS. There are a lot of great CAD programs out there. The reality is there’s no right or wrong answer as to which one you use. We have a lot of years of experience using Rhinoceros and it gives us a lot of creative ability for free forms and surfaces.
I saw the 3D Hubs report and it said that SOLIDWORKS was the number one design software used for anyone who was submitting things to 3D Hub services. Probably a lot of that is also an age thing. I hate to date us, but SOLIDWORKS is much more prevalent in design education. It’s come along because they’ve been giving it away for free to all the students. Back in our day, it was a little bit different.
That’s true but we’ve shown some people to use SOLIDWORKS, some of our 3D models and they’ve taken a look at it and said, “I don’t know how I would make that work in SOLIDWORKS.”
What we think is best about Rhino is when we use it, we’re creating it in an additive way, you’re creating the forms and structure organically. When you’re in SOLIDWORKS, you’re creating with solid forms and then taking things away, which is a subtractive design process for some of it, not all of it.
You can add things in SOLIDWORKS but that definitely is a different way.
What was that software we saw at the trade show in Burbank?
ZBrush is another one a lot of people are using to make 3D models, especially video game applications and that’s definitely a subtractive process.
We think it’s a little bit counteractive to making great designs that can only be 3D printed and that’s our goal. We want to make designs that you can’t make in any other technology because we have a lot of experience doing other types of manufacturing techniques and they’re great for what they do. We want to do something that’s fabulous and can only be 3D printed.
To try in a nutshell because this is a quicker segment and we’ll go into more depth on CAD softwares.
We’re going to explore all sorts of different CAD softwares in our regular podcast.
To try to finish this question for John, Rhinoceros is where we create our CAD models. We save an STL file out of there. Sometimes depending on the quality of that STL file, Rhino does have the ability for you to check your file and see if it has any errors or problems in it. That’s going to be another subject for a longer podcast. If I have any errors, we’ll use Netfabb, which is a free software out there where you can analyze and fix any errors easily.
You can go to our website at HazzDesign.com. You can go to the 3D printing podcast section and you can check that out. We’ll have them all in there so you have links to all of the things that we talk about in every segment.
Once you have a clean STL file, then we bring it into one of a couple of different softwares. For 3D printing internally, we have two different machines.
We have a MakerBot Fifth generation. It’s the one with the Smart Extruder. We’ve been through a few of the Smart Extruders but we’ve gotten well over 1,000 hours on our printer. We’re happy with it.
The MakerBot has its own software that you bring your model into to prepare to print. It’s easy and user-friendly. It lets you load your file, choose a few options and go ahead and print.
We use it with a USB drive. We don’t plug into it. We don’t do that. It’s easier to transfer the model.
We print standalone. Our other printer is a Leapfrog Creatr HS. It’s quite a bit more involved to use that printer and to prepare a file for it. The software we use to prepare those files and what’s considered the slicing software is Simplify3D. We’re happy with that. It works well.
Although there are lots to learn about it. It’s complex. We have a big criticism about any of the softwares that are out there, especially the slicing ones. That is the language of 3D printing is not the language of design. That’s one of the things we hope to cover too. We have a vocabulary adjustment so we’re talking apples to apples.
If you’re using a closed system like a MakerBot, it’s much quicker and easier to use but a lot more limited. We have the Creatr HS because that has a lot more capabilities. It can print two colors and multiple materials but is a much steeper learning curve and a lot more high maintenance to use.
We did have an Airwolf for a short period of time. It didn’t have the resolution we wanted for what we were doing. It didn’t fit our needs. There’s nothing wrong with the machine. It’s just wasn’t us.
It’s a fine printer but it’s intended for different types of products than we do and different levels of detail. That didn’t work for us. In a nutshell, those are the software.
MakerBot, Leapfrog, Netfabb, Rhino, Simplify3D and USB drives.
That’s how we do it.
We do have Mac and PC and we do both.
I wish that I could use one computer system for everything we do. Our Rhino CAD software is developed for PC first and I find it works better there. We use a PC for CAD and then Mac for a lot of other things.
John, we hope this answers your question about what to use. Please don’t take it as a, “You should use this.” You’ve got to decide what you’re going to print. For what we print, it makes the most sense for us, although we’re always looking for the next thing.
We’re always open to change. If we find something better that works for us, we’ll use it and we’re happy to discuss and look into all products and softwares out there. We don’t discriminate. We’re happy to use whatever makes the most sense.
Please call in with more questions for our Ask Us segments. We’d love you to comment and give us suggestions on things that you’ve tried that you think we might want to check out.
We’re looking forward to receiving many more questions from you. Thanks and we’ll see you next time on WTFFF?!.
- 3D Startpoint Facebook
- 3D Startpoint LinkedIn
- Hazz Design Twitter
- 3D Startpoint YouTube