Fab Lab San Francisco is equipped with a very good open source 3D Printer – the ORD Bot Hadron. We are currently working towards acquiring a larger scale 3D printer that uses plaster powder fused together by a liquid binder for increased productivity in rapid prototyping. Also sanding and painting for a seamless final product is possible with the ZCorp 3D printers. We will update this page as funding comes close to making this a reality.
In the mean time the ORD Bot Hadron is a great open source 3D printer mechanical platform. The kit is designed for people who want to build their own machine. We therefore also offer assistance to anyone who has trouble calibrating and assembling their own. The Fab Lab can assist in the creation and assembly of other 3D printers as well. Just contact us for more information.
It provides a scalable, rigid and square 3 axis platform to build a 3D printer. It does not include the other parts needed for a 3D printer, like the electronics, extrusion head or heated build surface. We want everyone to understand that the ORD Bot currently is just a mechatronics platform for a 3D printer. That means it provides the 3 axis motion. You still need to add the electronics yourself. If you don’t understand what this means, the ORD Bot is probably not for you.
The ORD Bot uses MakerSlide extrusions for the linear bearings and for most of the frame. Check out the wiki for all the technical details and assembly instructions.
This is an excellent three-dimensional printer
Typical 3-D Workflow
Create your 3D model file to specifications. STL format is the most universally compatible. If you want a colored model from the ZPrinter, use VRML format following these steps to export from Maya (or we can apply a single solid color to an STL model by request). The production of a project model file is your responsibility. Though we are happy to help and answer questions, fab lab staff will not create your project file for you.
Bring the final, error-free version of your project file to the fab lab during regular help hours on a USB flash drive. It’s a good idea to email us first so we know you’re coming. Your job will be assessed for feasibility (adherence to machine-specific guidelines, polygon count, size, holes or defects, etc). You will be informed if you must make corrections before proceeding. You must complete and sign a form confirming the desired size of your object and a cost estimate provided by fab lab staff. Without signing off, your job will not be printed.
Fabrication of objects occurs in batches, usually once per week. You will be notified when your project is ready for pickup from the lab.
We anticipate high demand for lab resources toward the end of each semester. Turnaround times will vary, and job queues may advance at the staff’s discretion. Please plan ahead.
Tips for Printing
“Water-tightness”: The printers can only print solid objects. Holes or open edges will cause the file to be unresolved, and thus unprintable. Prior to exporting your file to print, you should check for holes, open edges or other problems in the file that will cause problems. The method for checking will depend on the software you use – for example, Rhino has a command called “show edges” which will show open edges in the model.
Thickness: The estimates for any 3D print will be based on volume of materials used. If you are building a large piece as a solid, you might consider modeling an empty chamber inside. Provide a pathway for the removal of support material, remembering to keep all your geometry closed (no open planes). This can reduce the overall material used in printing, and thus the price of the print.
Thinness: Be sure of the scale and thickness of the parts you want to print. Very thin pieces or walls are prone to breaking or deformation. Both printers can produce thin-walled pieces, but there are limitations. The lab will not guarantee anything thinner than 1/16″. You are responsible for checking the thickness of all parts. If you include anything thinner than 1/16″ in your model and it breaks during production, you will still be charged.
Files should be to exact scale when submitted. You must indicate the correct size and units (inches, cm, or mm) on the cost estimate form.
If you are printing multiple pieces, please submit separate files for each piece.
Unless you request a specific build orientation, the lab will orient the pieces for the greatest efficiency in terms of material usage and build time. If you don’t know what this means, feel free to ask, but you probably don’t need to worry about it.