For Christmas, my great-great-grand-boss bought the Red Hat Newcastle office a 3D Printer1. I have next to no experience of designing or printing 3D objects, but I was keen to learn.

I thought a good way to both learn and mark my progress would be to create an initial, simple object; print it; refine the design and repeat the process, leaving me with a collection of objects that gradually increase in sophistication. I decided (not terribly originally, as it turns out) to model a little toy castle.

For the very first iteration, I wanted something very simple and abstract, in order to test the tooling. I installed OpenSCAD, which was already packaged for Debian. I was pleasantly surprise to learn that one defines objects in OpenSCAD via code. The language is a functional one that reminded me of building doom maps in WadC. Next, the object needs to be post-processed in a "Slicer", which converts a model specification into something that could structurally stand up (by adding lattices, temporary supports, etc.), sorts out scaling to real-world dimensions, terms of instructions that a 3D printer can follow (I think: precise head movement instructions, or similar). A colleague2 helped me with this part (Using Cura, I think)

The printed castle: four tall oblongs, joined by four shorter ones.

And here it is! Not much to look at. Let's see where I can take it.


  1. A Creality Ender 3
  2. Said colleague has printed some far more interesting—and useful— things, including smart card holders and little red fedora milk-toppers so we know which milk in the communal fridge belongs to us.

Comments

comment 1
The major division between modeller and slicer is that the slicer is printer-specific (or at least must be configured to be so). The GCode that it outputs is extremely low level, of the form "platform level Z" "move to X/Y" "extrude filament while moving to X/Y"
Comment by RogerBW,