3D printing or additive manufacturing is taking people to the verge industrial application and narrowing the divide that once made industry and personal grade technology, two separate concerns. With 3D printers on the high and low, companies are coming up with more innovative features in order to perpetuate the technology and their sales. Software and hardware based extensions in functionality are paving the way for standardization of the technology. Everyone from manufacturers to CAD enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to allow every level of user access to the technology and the diversity of its application.
However, with all this going on, 3DTin offers the shortest learning curve for CAD modeling and drawing, conceived under the idea of letting a complete newbie draw in CAD without hassle. For that reason, 3DTin is not a software that you need to download, install, register and then learn to use. It’s a web application, and runs in your browser, fairly well on a standard internet connection. For that matter, in our opinion, 3DTin is an effort as great as any other, in the push towards greater accessibility to the technology. Read on for a sample drawing and its 3D print with a MakerBot 3D printer.
NOTE: The reason we use a MakerBot printer, is because we have used it before. If you have another type of printer, a bit of tweaking in the design or the hardware will churn out the same thing. With the stock printer we will use their PLA filaments for the prints.
Drawing With 3DTin
1) Open up your browser and navigate to http://www.3dtin.com. The following canvas and tool set should be visible.
|Icon||Description / function|
| ||Cylinder templates|
| ||Spherical templates|
| ||Rectangular templates|
| ||Conical templates|
| ||Toroid templates|
| ||Text templates|
| ||Create your own geometry|
| ||Create your own geometry using 2D draft/models|
| ||Add geometric models|
| ||Add cubes|
| ||Rotate or Pan|
| ||Orthodontic/Perspective view shift|
| ||Snap to grid|
| ||Grid visibility|
| ||Lightening options for rendering|
| ||Symmetric Add on/off – only available with paid membership|
2) Select the “Rectangular templates” tool. The following screen will open up:
3) Set the x, y and z measurements according to your requirements. For our print, we will set the following values:
X – 5 | Y – 3 | Z – 3
4) Upon pressing the “Add” button, the canvas will appear with a semi-transparent preview of the shape you want to add. A left-click of the mouse will position your shape as you desire, shown below:
5) The click will leave the shape in place, as shown below:
6) Zoom in to the shape and select the “Cylinder templates” tool. A settings window like the previous should show up
7) Select the first cylinder shape and adjust the size as shown
8) With the Add button, we will add two shapes to get the following:
Printing With 3DTin
- Click the save icon (requires logging in with a free account) on the very top. This will save your model/design as a public design and can be made private using a paid subscription.
- Enter a name to save your model.
- Select the file type to save to. STL is available and would be the best choice because of it’s common use.
- Save the file and download it.
- Load the file into your 3D printer and print!
Notes for Printing
- Colors may mismatch unless you have the specific color coding information. Most packaged dyes will have the RGB or HEX color code on the packaging and this will give you a better idea of what your model may end up looking like.
- Another thing to keep in mind, is that this being a small piece with no interconnecting or penetrating geometry, the print job will be a simple one. Pieces that intersect each other will also get printed on the outside the same way, and whether the internal structure gets changed, depends upon the level of functionality you have with your subscription of 3DTin and the various proceedings of any other software/plug-in you use for you design.
- Lastly, the smaller the prints, the lesser the difference between the use of ABS or PLA filaments. Read uo about filament types in our article about filaments – Choosing a filament: ABS vs PLA.
Lastly, a Preview
Check out the 3D printed Lego piece which took about 4 minutes to print on a stock MakerBot printer.