CAM and Slicer Software
Computer Aided Machine
The computer aided machine or CAM creates tiny little paths to create a 3D object. The slicing program is the program that you run to set up the machine such as additive or subtractive. We are working in an additive which adds material to build a model vs a CNC that would subtract from a block of material. An extruder extrudes plastic from its nozzle to create layers. FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) heats up material to its plastic state and when its hot enough fuses each layer to another. A vat of polymerization material ( to make a liquid harden or stable) monomers... when you apply enough energy to polymer it changes upon the interaction of energy (UV). This process is called SLA or Stereolithography. It creates a higher resolution and finishes when creating a model. FDM creates ridges because the layers do not quite meld together. We will be using FDM for drafting and the final files will be in SLA. FDM offers cheaper material options than most SLA processes.
Not all 3D modeling programs are equivalent. The MakerBot software uses the Z when orientating an imported model whereas other CAD software may use other orientation presets. You can use the rotation selection to correct any orientation issues and you can type in the coordinates to arrange a print. We do not want a slice to go absolutely parallel to the ground plane. On an organic figure, you will get a better print and the lines will start to disappear if the model is at an angle. The scale tool allows you to get to a maximum volume of the machines workspace. The footprint is the limit that the extruder can go or where the machine can build a model. With the model selected there are options within the drop menu features. You can copy and paste, change your view, and etc... There is a File option to save to a file type or add sample prints to the workspace.
You can use the print preview to check the model support structures. The green represents the models and the orange color represents the structural supports. It also illustrates the travel moves and layer height. You can grab the scroll tool on the left-hand side to evaluate the model's creation. The print preview gives you an estimated time for completion and the amount of material needed for the print job.