On Saturday 1st March, Maker Space gave a 3D Printing workshop at Gateshead Library which was funded by The Carnegie Trust. The aim of the workshop was to teach people how to get started in the world of 3D Printing.
After an introduction to the basics of 3D printers and the different types of additive manufacturing techniques, the main focus of the day was to try out a few different 3D CAD packages and turn the designs into finished prints.
Will demonstrated OpenSCAD, which is a script based CAD package. You can use it to design your object by describing it in your script and then rendering it as a 3D model. This makes it great for quickly creating geometric models and machine parts.
Glen demonstrated FreeCAD which is a parametric 3D modeller. This take a more graphical approach, allowing you to work directly on your model, adding parameters and constraints to clearly define your shape.
After the participants had tried out a few examples using both packages, Will demonstrated how Skeinforge can be used to slice up your models and generate the GCode with the correct settings for your printer.
All the software used during the day is free and can be downloaded from the following links:
OpenSCAD - http://www.openscad.org/about.html
FreeCAD - http://www.freecadweb.org/
Skeinforge - http://fabmetheus.crsndoo.com/
There are loads of other tools available, both free and licensed. These are just the ones we looked at during the day.
If you fancy having a go at the workshop yourself then please let us know. We might be looking to repeat it later in the year.
More information about Gateshead Libraries can be found on their website http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/libraries/