Printing CC Spheres

I wrote a post a while ago about Rhinoscripting for 3D CAD, in which I explained how I modeled a mathematical shape my friend was interested in using Rhino. I then spent some time figuring out how to print the shape for her. This post is about that process. An image of the shape in OnShape is below.

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At work we have a Makerbot Replicator 2X, so I started with that. I kept trying to print it flat, but the overhangs were too steep and the supports really weren’t working.

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So I made it solid and printed it in halves with the idea of gluing it together. The bottom of the halves (i.e. the center plane) warped a decent amount, so I ended up epoxying it and sanding it like crazy. This meant that the points around the edges didn’t meet perfectly.

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Finally I painted it silver, which always works wonders.

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It was decent looking, but not mathematically correct. I took the model it to a friend of mine who had access to a Form 1 and had her print a version for me. She had the genius idea of printing it standing up. I immediately thought that would make the print work on the Makerbot, since I know it can handle over a 45degree overhang without supports. (I’ve never successfully printed something with supports on a Makerbot — I’m sure it works, but I’ve never had an object that lent itself to the strategy.) Still, I went through with the Form print since I’d never used a Form 1 before and was excited to see what it could do. Here it is finished on the build platform. It’s upside down because the Form 1 is a stereolithography 3D printing, so the working layer is always dunked in a pool of resin.

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I snapped it off the supports and cleaned it in alcohol (if I remember correctly…) but I had printed it a tad thin, so it cracked in one place. It was very fragile and a little bendy. I wasn’t super happy with it, so I didn’t bother cleaning up the edges.

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The print quality was gorgeous, especially with such a thin wall. I was really into it. However, the Makerbot really shone once I started printing it on its side. You can still see the layers, but the quality is pretty awesome, especially when thinking about the cost difference in materials. (Also, accessibility drove me — it’s a hassle to have to ask someone else to print something for you, especially if you’re experimenting with things like wall thickness.)

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Each of these only took about 30 minutes to print on high quality, so I printed a bunch for my friend. She really liked them.

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