CAD – Computer Aided Design
CAD (Computer Aided Design) has become widely used in the last decades. The invention of the 3D printer has added to the significance of CAD. Engineers and designers use CAD to communicate their designs to the whole world accurately and in 3D. Unlike normal drawings, CAD provides a 3D representation of any static or even dynamic objects. The complex mechanical connections and constructional structures are easily conveyed due to this powerful tool that we have nowadays.
There are many software applications that use CAD and facilitate CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) to represent the object realistically. It is worth mentioning that CAM is divided into two types:
- Subtractive manufacturing: involving the subtraction of existing material. it is a cutting-based manufacturing.
- Additive manufacturing: involving the addition of new material. it is a layers-based manufacturing.
As mentioned earlier, there are many applications that adopt 3D designing and simulation, the following picture shows some of the widely used ones or educational and commercial uses.
There are three main technology types for the CAM.
- Selective Laser Sintering
- Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
The FDM method is the widely used one for 3D printing as its cost is relatively low, and its accuracy is acceptable. The following picture illustrates the mechanism of which the 3D printer works in addition to the parts of it:
It is worth mentioning that the filament used can be different based on the application and the standards approved for a certain product as shown below:
3D printing is fun, and it can be used by kids (future engineers) to learn how to design their favorite items and characters, develop the needed skills and the gain acquired experience to perfect their designs. There are few hints that I would like to share in the article:
- Unsupported Overhangs: Where the supports of a certain hang for an object become a dilemma due to the orientation that the object is being printed with. A good example for this is the below image. It can be observed that the object can look better if the object was printed on the side, reducing the wasted filament and resulting in a better design.
- Support-less prints: Following to the previous hint, this one tries to eliminate any supports making the 3D printing more sustainable and easier to be printed and polished, as shown below.
- Tolerance consideration: It is wise to consider a small tolerance for the 3D printer, as not all of them has the needed accuracy for the adopted application.
- Warping: It is a common problem for beginners as the it has to do with the very first second of the 3D printing process. Gluing the bed would solve this problem. Another good solution for that is to keep the 3D printer in a warm place.