I am currently working on a project that unfortunately exceeds the capabilities of my 3D printer.
So far I was able to print all the necessary components on my 3D printer with the actually quite generously dimensioned print bed dimensions of 235x235mm. When the projects got bigger I simply split them up into several small parts and then screwed them together later. For example, I have done it in various places with the 3D printable wind turbine “WinDIY“.
Unfortunately, this was not an option for the current project. The component should become a holder in which several circuit boards can be installed. The whole thing should also look “decorative” and, if possible, made of “one piece”. So I did not want to use several individual components, which then have to be put together later.
Conveniently, the PCB manufacturing service provider PCBWay.com now also offers a CNC and 3D printing rapid prototyping service in addition to various PCB manufacturing options. That means you can send the CAD data of the self-drawn models to PCBWay.com, choose from different manufacturing processes and have them printed. The practical thing about it: This service also offers the option of printing components that are larger than the standard dimensions (known from the hobby sector).
So I uploaded the STL of my model there and had the component manufactured. I have described the result of this and the few steps to get there in the following article.
Note: The component shown below was provided to me free of charge by PCBWay.com.
The following picture clearly shows the problem. With a width of 276mm, the component is simply too big for the print bed of my 3D printer.
Submit the print job
In my case, the solution to the problem outlined above was PCBWay.com‘s rapid prototyping service. There you can simply upload the CAD file and have it manufactured. You can find a little guide to this in the following paragraphs. At the end of the article you can also see the finished result.
In order to display the options of the rapid prototyping service, you must first switch to PCBWay.com.
Click on the section
CNC | 3D Printing
in the navigation bar.
You will then be redirected to the overview page.
There you can choose from the various services. I chose the “3D printing” service there.
By clicking on
Select CAD files
you can then upload the CAD file to be printed. You can use the common formats. For example, I uploaded the STL file of the model I created.
After uploading the model, you can now configure the manufacturing parameters. You should definitely configure the unit of measurement of your model in the “Design Unit” section. This is the base unit that you used in the design process of your model.
Then it comes to the actual manufacturing options. In the “Material” section you can choose the material you want. Here I have chosen aluminum.
Based on the material, the manufacturing process is then automatically set. In my case the SLM procedure.
If desired and available for the respective production process, you can also select a surface finish at this point.
As soon as you have set all options as desired, you will also see the estimated production costs in the upper right area.
After clicking on the “Submit Request” button, your model will be sent to PCBWay.com. The employees will then check your model and, if necessary, update the estimated production costs.
You will then receive a report and can order the component with your payment. In my case, the component was then manufactured within four days and arrived in my mailbox after just under a week.
You can see the result in the following paragraph. 🙂
In the SLM printing process, the component is sintered from metal powder. The particles of the powder are fused together at the desired location. This is how the object defined in the CAD file is ultimately created. The surface is slightly rough. Approximately comparable to the surface of a kitchen tile.
I had the component made from aluminum. As a result, the finished printed object has also become relatively light but still stable. The dimensional stability is comparable to that of a milled or CNC-manufactured component.
You can see the result in the following gallery.
I hope everything worked as described. If not or you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Also, ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂
P.S. Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you appreciate it that I share these information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee box. 🙂