3d printing noob question

Hey all, when you have a solid (watertight) object and you fill it with a pattern to reduce overall volume/weight, what is that pattern/fill/whatever called? Is there a way to generate it in sketchup before I send my ‘thing’ (attached) off to shapeways?

AutoSave_Mark4 slug.skp (173 KB)

Hi Matt,

This is called “infill.” For extrusion/fused deposition 3D printing, infill is usually generated at the stage of “slicing” the model into G-Code, the long series of movement instructions that gets fed to the 3D printer. So in a program like Repetier, I can send my 3D model to the Slic3r function, choose my infill options, and get out G-Code with infill.

Shapeways however uses laser sintering (SLS) technology. Infill doesn’t really work for watertight models, because the printing is based on sintering layers of powder. If you don’t fuse the powder inside the model, it will just remain trapped inside and not save you on material. You could try using the offset tool and manually hollowing out your model, as long as you leave an opening for powder to drain. I’m not aware of any tools that will do this for you automatically.

Your model looks like it’s basically a hollow tube already, so maybe just send it to shapeways as-is? Or, you could use a different company with extrusion printers. For example: VPL3D, the local company that’s loaning us the Gigabot (http://abinitio3dprinting.com/). You can chose high-density or low-density infill. New company so maybe more risky than shapeways, but I imagine they will be very responsive if you have questions.

That response got long, hope it helps :slight_smile:

Thanks Mike! Is there any chance that somebody could take me through printing my ‘thing’ (an enclosure for my next prototype LED staff) this weekend or maybe friday night?