In this lesson we help you to start thinking like a mechanical designer. We go through an example of designing in Sketchup and then building on a 3D printer of a simple mechanical device. For this lesson we will be making a simple case for eye glasses. This example has us think about dimensions and tolerances. We will design to design rules, and then fabricate.
Mechanical Design is a lot more than just drawing. It is about understanding your fabrication infrastructure and design rules. It is also important to understand and be mindful of tolerances when you design. Designing with your fabrication infrastructure in mind will ensure your success. For our case, we are designing for 3D printers. This video covers a simple test structure you can design and build to better understand slip and press fit tolerances.
One of the keys to success in mechanical design comes from understanding that you can draw things that you can not build. Just because you can make it in Sketchup does not mean your fabricator can make it. You must design being mindful of the capabilities of your fabrication infrastructure. This comes down to the concept of design rules. Design rules are a set of conditions. If you design your devices following the conditions in your design rules, your design will fabricate properly. Your design rules will depend on your fabrication infrastructure. In our case, we are building on our own 3D printer, but none the less, we still need to develop some design rules. In this video we show how to design a simple test device that will allow us to know how small of a line we can print, and how closely we can put two holes to each other. This simple set of two design rules is a good start of successful designing for a 3D printer.
In this lesson we continue to build our design skills by creating a 3D widget in sketchup to print on our 3D printer. Also, if you are following along, you really need to get a nice set of digital calipers for testing dimensions and tolerances of your design you can get a good pair here:
In this video lesson we describe how to print designs from Sketchup on a 3D printer. Key thing is you need to go to the sketchup Extension Warehouse, under the window tab in scketchup. Then you need to search for and install the .STL Export extension. With this extension, you can export your design file as an .stl file. Then you can load the .stl file into your slicer software to generate the gcode for the printer. I found that it is very straightforward to go from sketchup to the 3D printer.