Preparing a CAD model for 3D printing.
If the model has complex geometry and/or coordinate system not aligned with parts:
- transcribe the geometry of the major features of the part in full scale.
- recreate the part in full scale in a coordinate system chosen specifically for 3D printing. Front plane is the plane of the printer bed.
- Scale the part down, depending on the size of the original spacecraft and the size of the print you want.
- Check the geometry of the scaled part. No dimensions of the scaled part should be less than 1mm. If any are, distort the original geometry until the scaled part has all features 1mm in length or larger. Preserve as much of the original shape as is practical, to get the original intent of the part.
- Add a joint. See the section on joint design. General rule is add 0.25 mm to radial measurements and 0.5mm to diametral measurements, for a clearance fit.
- Add 0.5mm supports, for overhangs closer than 45º to horizontal, to be trimmed away, so that the supports do not have to be generated by the user before printing. The general approach is to make files that can be printed with whatever settings the user has already gotten working on their printer.
- Save As .STL for printing
- Test print the part.
- Test fit the part with the mating part.
- Adjust as needed.