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74Sprint

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Alibre doesn't have a built-in slicer, which is the program that tells your 3D printer how to lay down the "slices" that will render your model to a a solid form.

Export your 3D Alibre model to an STL file and then read that file into the slicer of your choice.
Yah Alibre says that it can produce STL files for 3D printing but I'm not sure how well that would work out. Everyone seems to use a 3rd party slicer. I'm use to working with G-code myself and I'm not familiar with the STL protocol. I did download SuperSlicer and PrusaSlicer but haven't had time to look at them yet.

thanks
Ray
 

Jasonb

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Atom Produces the STL files with no problem from what I have seen being done. Or if producing G-Code I export as a STP file into F360 or you could use MeshCAM if using the Alibre Workshop"

Back to positioning the circle in Atom3D

I assume you have been able to sketch and extrude the "D" shape OK and then started a second sketch and randomly placed the second 1" circle.

You then need to go upto the top bar and click the concentric constraint which is the two green circles, then click the edge of the half circle that forms the "D" shape followed by clicking somewhere on the edge of the smaller circle and as you click it it should move into the required position concentric to the half circle and you will get the little double green circle to show that it has been constrained. As you select the concentric constraint at the top you will get a prompt at the bottom left of the screen telling you to select the first and then the second item to constrain .

The only thing that I can think of which may be stopping it happening is if when you draw the small circle you are placing it on a fixed point such as where the X and Y axis cross which will automatically constrain it to that point so you can't constrain it again.( well not easily)

If that does not work then ask again and I'll video me doing it.
 
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stanstocker

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Yah Alibre says that it can produce STL files for 3D printing but I'm not sure how well that would work out. Everyone seems to use a 3rd party slicer. I'm use to working with G-code myself and I'm not familiar with the STL protocol. I did download SuperSlicer and PrusaSlicer but haven't had time to look at them yet.

thanks
Ray
Greetings,

STL is just a 3d CAD file format, not code. Just as 2D CAD packages produce DXF files to feed into a CAM package for conversion to G code, 3D CAD packages produce some 3d model format (OBJ and STL are two common file types in the 3d printer world) to feed to CAM. The slicer produces the G Code that is fed to the printer FROM the stl file.

A slicer is just a CAM program that works in layers for additive "machining" while a CAM for subtractive 3D machining produces G code for machining away unwanted material. Build an object up from a plane vs machine away everything that isn't the wanted object working downwards. At least for most conventional 2D, 2.5D, and 3D milling operations...

To avoid unpleasant surprises for those new to this, STL models are made up of triangles. They are not smooth surface models. In most cases, the triangle count is high enough and the created object is small enough this is irrelevant. The model detail is higher than the process resolution. Watch out for low polygon count models, they are sort of trendy in a minimalist fashion, rather in the way the Tesla pick up is a very planar looking vehicle.

If you scale a tiny low resolution model up to a large size and 3D print it, you may see uneven surfaces and the triangular surface structure can become visible. Similar to a subtractive machining post processor/CAM package that processes arcs as a series of straight lines connecting the points of an arc, you can end up with faceted curves. This may or may not matter or even be readily visible depending on how close the connected points are along the curve.

If you want a quick overview of various 3D file format standards, have a peek at:


Some of these file formats are not typically used in the small hobby shop sort of world, but it's always interesting to know what's out there as you may find a model in several formats your software can import and each format has strengths or weaknesses.

Cheers,
Stan
 

74Sprint

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Ok, I deleted the part and started the part again and it went ok until I saved it. I then had to restart the program and it's working ok again. This is not good for a commercial program, one that is not free.

Ray
 

74Sprint

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Atom Produces the STL files with no problem from what I have seen being done. Or if producing G-Code I export as a STP file into F360 or you could use MeshCAM if using the Alibre Workshop"

Back to positioning the circle in Atom3D

I assume you have been able to sketch and extrude the "D" shape OK and then started a second sketch and randomly placed the second 1" circle.

You then need to go upto the top bar and click the concentric constraint which is the two green circles, then click the edge of the half circle that forms the "D" shape followed by clicking somewhere on the edge of the smaller circle and as you click it it should move into the required position concentric to the half circle and you will get the little double green circle to show that it has been constrained. As you select the concentric constraint at the top you will get a prompt at the bottom left of the screen telling you to select the first and then the second item to constrain .

The only thing that I can think of which may be stopping it happening is if when you draw the small circle you are placing it on a fixed point such as where the X and Y axis cross which will automatically constrain it to that point so you can't constrain it again.( well not easily)

If that does not work then ask again and I'll video me doing it.
I knew something was up when I had problems installing Alibre but I was hoping it was just the install program having problems. I know Alibre is a low cost program but it should still run properly at least most of the time. The tutorial could be better by being updated to the latest program version. Jason thanks for offering to help but I think this is a problem more to do with the latest Alibre version 23 build 23055. I don't know what language Alibre is written in but I suspect that is where my problem lies. I've seen problems like this before and it is usually because of how the computer memory is used.

Greetings,

STL is just a 3d CAD file format, not code. Just as 2D CAD packages produce DXF files to feed into a CAM package for conversion to G code, 3D CAD packages produce some 3d model format (OBJ and STL are two common file types in the 3d printer world) to feed to CAM. The slicer produces the G Code that is fed to the printer FROM the stl file.

A slicer is just a CAM program that works in layers for additive "machining" while a CAM for subtractive 3D machining produces G code for machining away unwanted material. Build an object up from a plane vs machine away everything that isn't the wanted object working downwards. At least for most conventional 2D, 2.5D, and 3D milling operations...

To avoid unpleasant surprises for those new to this, STL models are made up of triangles. They are not smooth surface models. In most cases, the triangle count is high enough and the created object is small enough this is irrelevant. The model detail is higher than the process resolution. Watch out for low polygon count models, they are sort of trendy in a minimalist fashion, rather in the way the Tesla pick up is a very planar looking vehicle.

If you scale a tiny low resolution model up to a large size and 3D print it, you may see uneven surfaces and the triangular surface structure can become visible. Similar to a subtractive machining post processor/CAM package that processes arcs as a series of straight lines connecting the points of an arc, you can end up with faceted curves. This may or may not matter or even be readily visible depending on how close the connected points are along the curve.

If you want a quick overview of various 3D file format standards, have a peek at:


Some of these file formats are not typically used in the small hobby shop sort of world, but it's always interesting to know what's out there as you may find a model in several formats your software can import and each format has strengths or weaknesses.

Cheers,
Stan
Yup I'm use to removing material and not adding it, LOL. But I will learn to 3D print in time. I imagine I'll be making use of 'learn by mistake'. I ordered a reel of cheap PLA just for learning. I am amazed at how fast 3D printing has taken hold and much it has progressed over the years. Lots to read and learn.

Thanks
Ray
 

Jasonb

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Working fine on my V23 and 23055 though I do use Pro but Atom will be using the same program files as it just limits what you can access and has the simplified top bar.

Alibre forum would be the place to raise any problems they are helpful.
 

CFLBob

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I noticed this thread today, but should have chimed in before. I bought an Ender 3 V2 just after the first of the year as a belated Christmas gift. It's my first 3D printer, but I've been playing with and learning G-code and CNC tools for quite a while, about 2005. Other than some minor "growing pains" as I learn to use it, it has been great.

I'm also telling myself to move from my "obsolete" old version of Rhino3D over to something else. Rhino has some bugs, but I largely know them. Learning new SW means learning an entirely new set of bugs.
 

stanstocker

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Joe and Stan,

Would you be interested in working through a "real example" together? Not entirely sure how to do it - at the very least would want to start a new thread - maybe we set up something we agree to try to model, and then each of us describes the steps we take up until the point that we run into a problem. I am interested because, even though I certainly had a learning curve, I am not clearly understanding exactly what is not working for you, and why. It may be that I have drunk too much of the Koolade and just don't remember ... but I would very much like to understand so that I can offer more help than simply saying, "it works for me"!

Disclaimer: I am not a developer, have no vested interest, receive no compensation, etc.; just a mostly satisfied FreeCAD user who likes to help others in this hobby.
Unfortunately all of my time is being used on renovation and updating of buildings at our place. The last three years have been pretty busy. My inclination is to grab freecad and give a few simple examples a try, probably using the Atom tutorial examples as a framework. If all goes nicely then I'm a happy camper, if not them I still have Atom.

This weeks entertainment is planting around 20 trees and replacing 3 X 12 foot badly deteriorated windows with pairs of thermal windows and some framing to make up the 2 foot of space in between them. My main wood/small machine/music studio is in an 1897 rural church building that was on the verge of falling down due to failed footers and rotted sills. It finally is all insulated, has HVAC, and is done on the interior to a workable level. At least my smaller machine shop building is complete so repair work and occasional machining projects can get done. Have to take a break from working on shops and occasionally get to work IN a shop just to keep up the spirits.

Hopefully all the major work will be done before the cold wet weather gets here and my winter will be spent playing in the shops/studio.

I do appreciate your generous offer to help a few of us figure out why freecad has been a problem to us. When the wet winter comes I will give it another try.

Stan
 

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I've made multi part patterns from parts drawn in Alibre pro and the mor ebasic Atom should still have all the functions you need. Mine were CNC cut but I should think you could join the printed parts OK depending on what material was used.
what "CNC" program did you use with Alibre?
 

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I'm also telling myself to move from my "obsolete" old version of Rhino3D over to something else. Rhino has some bugs, but I largely know them. Learning new SW means learning an entirely new set of bugs.
I've been using Rhino 7 + Grasshopper and really like it as a replacement to F360. I haven't had a single crash, but as you know the surface modeling requires knowing all the b-surface theory (which I'm guessing is what you are referring to). People still use it for aerospace tooling work that has to be dead-on accurate. I was surfacing on an NX /Mach 3 license today and it just flies in comparison, but it also costs 30x more.
Solidworks is super buggy. If I had some cash I'd jump on it, just because you can get similar results a lot faster. I'm guessing if you're creating tooling paths with older CAM you'd be stuck with a solid/surface modeler.

For 3D printers, CAD applications often export really bad STL topology (super long, high density, often self-intersecting triangles). I'll often throw the STL in Zbrush or Blender to make repairs. Blender comes with an excellent 3D printing toolkit for troubleshooting and fixing meshes. I haven't had issues with scaling or accuracy beyond the limits of my machines. So many tools available. I just can't learn them all. ha
 

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I'm still using Rhino V5. When they were pushing the upgrade to 6, the emphasis seemed to be on pretty rendering and Grasshopper as programming language. Rendering is nice, but I'm not designing jewelry or pretty stuff for consumers, and in the last five years I've never done something that I wanted or needed a pretty rendering. Grasshopper never really seemed like something I needed either. I might be making a dumb mistake, but I just don't know.

When they announced V7, there were some things that appealed to me, but I never got around to it. I'm honestly still considering it. Rhino is cheap. I could go to a school around here and get a student discount, but add the student price to the what I'd spend on the tuition, and it's pretty much back to the upgrade price for 7.

The handful of things I've created to print and exported .STL files came out with no issues that I could see. Possibly one stick I was printing for sanding and polishing a crankshaft that ended up printing very weirdly.
 
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Zeb

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Grasshopper is neat in that any parameter (thickness, length, hole count, etc) can be reused elsewhere. Similar to "expressions" in CAD (SW, NX, CATIA) you could, say, have a slider with a target horsepower that controls all other parameters like size and circular pattern steps. The main difference is that in GH you can use the nodes visually/interactively. I'd much rather have a model history as in the pricy stuff, but with a little hard work, similar nondestructive results can be had.
Attached is an example of a collective head I made where I got a little out of control with features. If fillets start getting stacked too high, the STL will suffer a bit. Most slicers will handle those and fill. Surprisingly, this one came out manifold, but I've had occasions where there were overlapping faces and so on.Collective.PNG
 

Jasonb

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what "CNC" program did you use with Alibre?
I export a STEP file to F360 and use their CAM. I've not found the restrictions on the free version much of an issue for the amount that I do and if the feed rates are kept high and non engaged feed set higher still the lack of rapids is not too much of an problem. Machine runs on Mach3

I looked at the MeshCAM that Alibre do as part of "workshop" but it looked more like it was aimed at the hobby router user and far more basic than F360. Alibre's professional CAM is too pricy for my hobby needs.
 

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I've been doing some research and I've pretty much settled on buying a Ender-3 V2 3D Printer and use Alibre Atom 3D. Since this will be my first 3D printer and 3D software I don't want to spend too much to learn 3D design and printing. I know I can get upgrades for the printer to extend it's usefulness and from what I've seen on Youtube it has good quality. Alibre has a learning curve as with any software but, seems manageable and has what I need, I think. All of my experience with drafting is either with paper or 2D software, Visio and QCad/Cam. Most of my work is for prototyping so that's low volume but, I would like to make a intake manifold for my Olds 455 engine or at least a mold for one and use carbon fiber. Problem with that is the manifold is bigger than the printer bed/hot plate, so is it possible to split the part into 4 and then epoxy the pieces together?

Thanks for any thoughts
Ray
Ray

I understand your question, the biggest hurdle you face is learning to produce a decent 3D model of what you desire to print. Once you have a simple 3D model it is much quicker to get a 3D print than it was to learn the 3D CAD.

There are a heap of low cost or free 3D cad and most of them are decent, the Alibre products are good but have a small cost associated, MOI 3D is very clean and intuitive and I pretty well guarantee that you would get simple but printable models within a couple of hours, also consider Fusion 360 because it is very capable and has a huge user base. Solid Edge have a top line offering that is absolutely free for hobby use.

Regarding the size of the model versus the print bed, just break the model down into printable sections and join them up.

At the end of the series of photo's you can see the yellow model on the left that is made from the pattern and moulds shown in the first photo's, the model also has 3D printed wingtips with the upswept features.

The patterns were printed on a Dremel 3D20 bought second hand for £200 on Ebay, I like the Dremel and Flash Forge Dreamers which the Dremel is derived from because they are fully enclosed machines.

Use either Cura or Simplify 3D but both have a heap of settings behind the basic settings which will get you a part out.

Basic 3D printing is as simple as selecting a model and pressing print, complicated or demanding 3D printing is as tricky as 3D machining.

Any questions then just ask.

Barrie

DSC_1251.JPG


DSC_1272.JPG


moulds.jpg
Tracer 3D printed tips.jpg
 

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74Sprint

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Ray

I understand your question, the biggest hurdle you face is learning to produce a decent 3D model of what you desire to print. Once you have a simple 3D model it is much quicker to get a 3D print than it was to learn the 3D CAD.

There are a heap of low cost or free 3D cad and most of them are decent, the Alibre products are good but have a small cost associated, MOI 3D is very clean and intuitive and I pretty well guarantee that you would get simple but printable models within a couple of hours, also consider Fusion 360 because it is very capable and has a huge user base. Solid Edge have a top line offering that is absolutely free for hobby use.

Regarding the size of the model versus the print bed, just break the model down into printable sections and join them up.

At the end of the series of photo's you can see the yellow model on the left that is made from the pattern and moulds shown in the first photo's, the model also has 3D printed wingtips with the upswept features.

The patterns were printed on a Dremel 3D20 bought second hand for £200 on Ebay, I like the Dremel and Flash Forge Dreamers which the Dremel is derived from because they are fully enclosed machines.

Use either Cura or Simplify 3D but both have a heap of settings behind the basic settings which will get you a part out.

Basic 3D printing is as simple as selecting a model and pressing print, complicated or demanding 3D printing is as tricky as 3D machining.

Any questions then just ask.

Barrie
That is pretty much what I need to do for a couple of projects. Nice work Barrie. I believe the Ender 3 printer I have coming comes with Cura.

Well I just learned to crawl by completing the Alibre tutorial and was impressed with my results. I'm still nowhere near what I want to do but winter is coming so I'll have time to learn. Problem with the 3D software I find is I don't really know how much advanced features I need because I don't know what they can do and how hard is it to do. So I guess the best thing to do is to tell everyone what I need to do and go from there.

1. Either print an intake manifold or make a mold of one. I will be using 3/8" or 1/2" aluminum plates that bolt to the heads. The runners will be cemented to the the plates. The plenum will be epoxied to the runners and the throttle body will be epoxied to the plenum. The intake manifold will need to handle upto 20 PSI boost. The nice part is I only have to make 4 identical runners of 1 type and 4 runners of a different design. Also each runner will have 2 fuel injector bungs either printed in or epoxied onto the runners.

2. I need to make at first prototypes of clamps similar to plastic battery booster clamps but with a compartment for a removable battery pack and a compartment for the electronics. So 2 halves plus the pieces to make the compartments which are epoxied into the halves. To speed up production and to keep costs down I want to use a clamshell mold that can make several fiberglass clamp parts at once. Because of the industrial use, the clamps need to have different bolt in jaw 'teeth'.

3. Later on I want to make aluminum/brass investment casts of engine parts.

So I need software that can do those things, not cost an arm and a leg, and hopefully a short learning curve, if there is such a thing. One thing I noticed while doing the tutorial is that making 3D parts is a lot like computer programming in that there is a lot of prep work to making an assembly or finished product.

I finally was able to order a Ender 3 V2, a long story:
- a BLTouch Auto Bed Leveling Sensor Kit.
- 1 spool of IMPERIAL BRAND PLA+ TRANSPARENT for learning to make mistakes.
- and 1 spool of IMPERIAL BRAND PLA+ CARBON FIBER for when I make good stuff.

Should be here either Friday or Monday, going to have to make room for it.

Well I have to get back to work, thanks again everybody.

Ray
 

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Alibre has been under the radar for me until now, but it looks really good for the price -particularly the CAM addon too. I'll have to give the demo a whirl this weekend. A huge plus is the perpetual license.
At work I'll sometimes take a model with 30 operations that someone else made, and challenge myself to reduce it to four or five. There's nothing wrong with "carving" a model if it still prints or machines the way you want though. The folks here should be able to help if you get stuck along the way.
 

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Well I just learned to crawl by completing the Alibre tutorial ... I guess the best thing to do is to tell everyone what I need to do and go from there.

1. Either print an intake manifold or make a mold of one ...
Ray, thinking about the first need you identify ... the type of intake manifold you have in mind could drastically affect 1) the difficulty of modeling it in CAD and 2) the possibility of successfully printing on a 3d printer.

For example, here is a very simple intake manifold - very easy and quick to model, and (assuming the "pipes" are printed separately and then glued in place) generally easy to 3d print without supports:

manifold1.png

Here is a not-so-simple intake manifold, one which is much harder to model and potentially more challenging to 3d print without supports ... though doable if the flanges are printed separately and glued on:
manifold2.png

Probably obvious, but I'll say it anyway: if someone tries to jump straight from starting to learn 3d CAD to modeling manifold # 2, one is likely to get very frustrated and conclude that the software is extremely unfriendly. But if one starts out crawling, working towards manifold # 1, one is likely to gain some confidence along with early success.
 

Zeb

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Because you'll be working in carbon fiber (prepreg?), you shouldn't have to model anything complicated if you're going for 2 plugs. These are some of my random thoughts (using any CAD):
1. Find locations in space for your intake ports by using planes and sketches.
2. Draw 3D splines to show the center of airflow path and connect the ends to your sketches done previously. Extrude a solid along those paths and join.
3. Extrude a box that completely encapsulates your model with some margin on the edges. Run a subtract boolean between your pipe model and your box "block".
4. Split the box in half using a plane. These two halves will make your plugs. If your parting lines are complex, your software will need to support non-planar cutting surface. If you can pull off step 2 with all splines on a single plane, it will make it easier.
5. Use planes to cut your plugs in chunks so they can be printed on your printer bed, then joined later.
6. After printing and joining, filler putty, beemans bubble gum, or your choice can be used to clean up seams. Spray on your favorite epoxy mold release agent.
7. Joining the halves, adding the intake flanges, etc. could be done later or incorporated into the mold.

This video is really cool, but the vacuum setup is more complex (3:58). Plugs don't need to be aluminum and aren't for larger work, but you probably already know that.


Below needs work but might illustrate the general idea.
Plugs.PNG
 
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