3D Printing

ECE has a total of twelve 3D Printers:

(3) Stratasys Objet, (7) Tinkerine Ditto Pro and (2) FDM Generic Cartesian available for:

  • Undergraduate students, in the context of ECE project courses (e.g. Capstone or ELEC 391)
  • ECE research work
  • Other UBC research work

More information on our printers, how to submit requests for printing & costs for printing is available below.

Stratasys Objet 3D printers (Polyjet - High Resolution):
High-precision 3D printers with a resolution of 28 microns of mm. A type of UV Material Jetting Technology (Similar to SLA).

Location: MCLD 257 Lightning Lab
Qty: 3 total (2 x Objet 24, 1 x Objet30)

Print Material: VeroWhitePlus RGD835 (link to MSDS -and- more info here)
Support Material: FullCure 705 (link to MSDS)

Cost: $15.00 setup fee + $1.00/g of material used (print & support materials combined)

Note: Project courses may use a different costing model for the purposes of project budgets - undergraduate students should refer to their course instructor for more information.

For technical specs please follow the links below:

Specifications  Objet 24
Specifications  Objet 30

Objet30 3D PrinterPhoto credits: link

Tinkerine Ditto Pro printers (FDM - Low Cost)
Low printing cost, fused deposition modelling (FDM) printers with a layer resolution of 0.05mm - 0.3mm.

Location: MCLD 315
Qty: 7 total

Print Material: 1.75mm PLA filament (available in matte white, black & grey)
Support Material: None (Tinkerine Suite can create support lattice from print material if needed)

Cost: $15.00 setup fee + $0.10/g of material used

Note: Project courses may use a different costing model for the purposes of project budgets - undergraduate students should refer to their course instructor for more information.

For technical specs please follow the link below:

Specifications Ditto Pro

TinkerinePrintersSetup in room M315

 

Generic Cartesian Low Cost Additive Manufacturing (FDM)
Low printing cost, fused deposition modelling (FDM) printers with a layer resolution of 0.1mm - 0.3mm.

153651 

 

Location: TBD
Qty: 2 total

Print Material: 1.75mm ABS/PLA/TPU + other filaments.
Support Material: None (Cura/Slic3r and other G code generator software can create support lattice from print material if needed)

Cost: N/A

For technical specs please follow the links below:

Specifications Select Mini

Specifications i3 Maker Select 

Submit files for 3D printing - Undergraduate Students

Submit files for 3D printing - Researchers

A ticket will be automatically generated in our system and a confirmation email will be sent (to the email address you provided) with the ticket number indicated in the subject line.

Please reply to the confirmation email if you wish to follow up with your order.

We will send you an email when your design is ready for pickup – the wait time is usually 2 business days.

Note: If you do not receive an email within 2 business days, please reply to the confirmation email for an update.

When completed, you can pick up your part(s) at MCLD 112B (ECE Stores). The parts will be in a bag, labelled with the ticket number (e.g. RT#123456).


Graduate students can make direct use of the Objet 3D printers by following these instructions:

  1. Email 3d@ece.ubc.ca to register for training on the 3D printers
    • Training sessions will be offered as needed, for individuals or small groups.
  2. (For ECE researchers) Have your supervisor email finance@ece.ubc.ca to open a journal voucher for billing
    • The email must include the following details:
      • Speedchart
      • Student Name (yours, in this case) - student number is also helpful
      • Maximum amount per transaction
      • Start and End date for the JV (cannot go beyond March 30 of next year)
    • Once the journal voucher is prepared by the finance staff, your supervisor must sign it and return the original copy to Sabrina Ho in Kaiser 5500
    • Keep a digital copy of the journal voucher to attach to any printing request submitted via 3d@ece.ubc.ca
  3. (For non-ECE researchers) Have your supervisor open a journal voucher with your department's finance staff for billing
    • The journal voucher must include the following details:
      • Speedchart
      • Student Name (yours, in this case) - student number is also helpful
      • Maximum amount per transaction
      • Start and End date for the JV (cannot go beyond March 30 of next year)
    • Once the journal voucher is prepared and signed by your supervisor, submit the original copy to Sabrina Ho in Kaiser 5500
    • Keep a digital copy of the journal voucher to attach to any printing request submitted via 3d@ece.ubc.ca
  4. Once your training is complete and the journal voucher is opened, you will be granted card access to 3D printers in MacLeod 257
    • Access is valid for the period specified on the journal voucher, except as below
    • Access expires annually, on March 30th

Lab Rules

  • No food or drink is allowed
  • Access is not transferable - your access may be revoked if you give access to other users
  • Only authorized users are permitted to be in the lab


Checklist

  1. Check the whiteboard for notes about printer maintenance and performance
  2. Consult usage calendar to determine machine that has sat idle the longest
    • Use this machine to generate your parts
  3. Copy your design files in your dedicated folder
    • Each user has a folder in their supervisor's directory
    • Each supervisor has a folder on the desktop
    • All files from previous years are stored in the "Archive" folder
  4. Save your print tray file in your dedicated folder, using this nomenclature: "SupervisorLastName_UserName_PartName"
    • Example: "Sidious_Skywalker_Lightsaber", where;
      • Professor Sidious is the supervisor
      • Anakin Skywalker is the user
      • Lightsaber is the part name
      • The part name should be unique and not more than 10 characters
  5. Print your part
  6. Once the part is complete, record the material consumption (sum of material and support) from the Job Manager software
    • Record material consumption in the tracking spreadsheet on Rafter's computer ("3D Printing - Print Jobs")
    • Record first initial of machine used on usage calendar
    • There is no need to weigh the parts.
  7. Clean up machine build tray with water and move print head to park position
  8. If there are any issues with the printers, please email 3d@ece.ubc.ca with a description of the problem.

Costs

  • Material usage will be billed at a rate of $1.00/gram (build + support material)
  • Parts printed in MCLD 257 will not be charged the $15 setup fee charged otherwise

 

Resources

Conditions of Service

  • Access is not transferable - your access may be revoked if you give access to other users.
  • Only authorized users are permitted to use the printers.
  • Any intentional damage to the equipment will terminate this service.

Undergraduate students can make direct use of the FDM Experimental 3D printers for their Capstone projects by following these instructions:

  1. Obtain Authorization from your supervisor, justifying access to FDM Experimental 3D printing for your project.
  2. Write an email using the subject line [3D CAPSTONE ACCESS] [Your Group #]. Send it to 3d@ece.ubc.ca, your instructor email address must be in Carbon Copy and the email body must contain the Student IDs.
  3. ECE-Eng. Services will issue only one Bluetooth Key per Group to open the printer cages and the receiver of the key will be responsible for the printer usage.

Printing Instructions

You will need a micro SD card to transfer G-Code generated files to the printers, before printing make sure that the printing bed is leveled with respect to the nozzle and clear of any object.

Both Printers are able to run G-Code files generated by different slicer software*, however we recommend the following options as default (use right click save link as):

To find more resources about how to use/install Cura Slicing Software check the following link.

*We do not discourage users to experiment with another slicing software always that Speed parameters, and Building Volumes are setup properly according to the printer capabilities (see manuals).

Support

These printers are experimental and not directly supported by ECE Eng.-Services, if no group member knows how to use a 3D printer or has never used one before please do some research before getting your hands on this technology.

There are multiple resources on Campus, like the UBC Rapid Club and the Engineering Design Centre that can help you, in addition you can find many tutorials online, and we highly recommend taking online courses from Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) libraries where you can as well obtain a completion certificate.

ECE's Dr. Leo Stocco has created a set of tutorials and a FAQ section on Material Jetting 3D Printing.

Sam Lee our summer 2016 Mech. Coop. has developed a 3d printing overview document and a Solidworks and 3d printing tutorial for specific use with our ECE FDM Printers (Tinkerines Ditto Pro) during project courses.

Preparing a Parts File for submission:

  1. Open the parts file in SolidWorks and close any assemblies that the part is included in
  2. Open the “Save As” menu dialog
    1. Set the file as a .STL file
    2. Click on “Options…”
      1. Set “Deviation” to the lowest value available
      2. Set “Angle” to 5 degrees (angles less than the value provided will produce larger .STL files which may or may not be printable)
    3. Save the file

 

Preparing an Assembly File for submission:

  1. Open the assembly file in SolidWorks
  2. Open the “Save As” menu dialog
    1. Set the file as a .STL file
    2. Click on “Options…”
      1. Set “Deviation” to the lowest value available
      2. Set “Angle” to 5 degrees (angles less than the value provided will produce larger .STL files which may or may not be printable)
      3. Check/uncheck the “Save all components of an assembly in a single file” box
        • Checking the box will print the entire assembly as a single part
        • Unchecking the box will result in an individual part file for each part in the assembly
    3. Save the file

Tutorial on preparing files (PDF)

Designing cost & time efficient parts:

  1. Trim unnecessary flanges or walls
  2. Minimize support material used:
    1. Rotate the part so it sits as flat as possible on the table
    2. Orient parts to eliminate gaps where support material is needed
    3. Produce your part as an assembly of smaller parts
  3. Specific to Objet printers:
    1. Select a glossy finish
    2. Manually position multiple parts so that they overlap in the Z-axis

Tutorial on efficient design (PDF)

 

Other notes on designing for 3D printing:

  1. Try to keep files under 100MB
    1. Files over 500MB will fail
    2. To reduce file size when generating STL file, increase angle
  2. Minimum of 0.25mm clearance between parts in a joint
  3. Use "Evaluate / Clearance Verification" feature in SolidWorks when designing assemblies
  4. Some assemblies cannot be broken free if designed pre-assembled:
    1. Large diameter shafts
    2. Small diameter shafts (<5mm)
    3. Mechanically connected joints that require multiple joints to be freed simultaneously

Tutorial on designing various joints & parts (PDF) - Design Files (ZIP)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionAnswer
What file format do I need to save from SolidWorks?STL - see PDF tutorial above for details
How big can the part be? What is the printing accuracy? ...There are three styles of printers: the Ditto Pro, the Objet 24 and the Objet 30. The tray size and printer performance specs for each model is specified in the spec sheets above.
Can I get an estimate of the part cost before I build it?Objet Printers: Use Objet Studio to set up your print job and then press the "dollar sign" button. This will give you an estimate of the material usage and build time.

Tinkerine Printers: Use Tinkerine Suite to set up your print job and then press "slice" button. to This will give you an estimate of the material usage and build time.
What can I do to reduce the cost?Scaling down the size will reduce both model and support material.

You can reduce the amount of support material required by:
(1) Rotating the part so it sits as flat as possible on the table
(2) Manually positioning multiple parts so that they overlap in the Z-axis
(3) Producing your part as an assembly with small gaps between parts
(4) Select a glossy finish (for Objet printers)
How do I make a part with a working joint?(1) Use SolidWorks to create an assembly and then save the assembly as an STL file.
(2) Make sure to position the joints so that the assembly is as flat as possible to waste less support material.
(3) Make sure there is a minimum gap of 10 thou (0.25 mm) in the joint so you will be able to free it up.
(4) When you generate your STL file, check the "Save all components of an assembly in a single file" box (see PDF tutorial above).
What exactly is a Thou?1/1000 inch (or 25.4 um)
You can think of it as a mili-inch. This unit of measurement may also be referred to as a "Mil" but "Thou" is the term used in the Objet documentation.

Do you have a question not answered here?

  • Email us at 3d@ece.ubc.ca for more information.