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Fabrication Methods

The goal of these projects are to turn 2 dimensional slices of material (in this case, cardboard) into 3 dimensional models. Two software packages have been used for these projects: 123Dmake and Draftsight, both of which are free to download. Below are the links for downloading these packages.

123D make download

Draftsight download

Step one: Obtain/Make Model and Import into 123D Make

These models will be imported into 123Dmake. There are many models that have already been created from which they can be edited. Editing can be done in another software, such as 123D Design, or Meshmixer, or any other preferred modeling software. However, when the file is saved, the filetype should be .obj or .stl so it can be imported into 123D make.

A few example websites for premade models are provided below:

123D models




When 123D make is first opened, it should look something like this:

Once the desired file has been acquired, import it into 123D make using 123D make's import feature, located on the left hand side of the screen.

Once the file is loaded, it will initially look something like this.

Step 2: Size and Slice

On the menu on the left side, the options to change the dimensions of the model as well as the size of the material being cut exist.

Once the desired dimensions have been selected, a construction technique needs to be selected. For these projects, the “stacked slices” is used.

It should look like this at this point:

123D Make will tell you the number of “pages” needed to create the model based upon the size of the material being used, and it provide instructions on how to put the item together. It is recommended to save the dimensions used so these instructions are accurate.

Step 3: Exporting

For the laser cutter used, the file now needs to be exported. The button for this is hidden at the very bottom of the menu on the left side of the screen. The author is unsure if this is an issue with the author's personal PC or an issue with 123D Make in general.

In order to import the files from 123D Make into Draftsight, the file type needs to be .DXF. This can be changed from the drop-down menu at the very bottom of the screen.

The files will look like this in Windows' Explorer. 123D Make creates a single file for every “sheet” that is needed to create the T-rex. From the author's experience, these files cannot open an application on their own; they must be imported into a drafting software.

Step 4: Importing into Draftsight and Cutting the Pieces

For the laser cutting portion of this project, a M-300 Laser Cutter from Universal Laser Systems, Inc. was used, and 2-D vector software was used to “print” the files to the Laser Cutter.

The next step is to open Draftsight and import the DXF files previously created.

The files will look similar to this once imported. A border (in pink) has been created to specify where the “print” job should be done.

Before “printing” the T-rex, the print settings need to be set up. Vector will cut the material and raster will make an engraving on the material. Both settings were used. In this case, two colors were needed to accomplish this task, red and blue. Red was ultimately used for a raster setting to label the cut pieces and blue was used for a vector setting to cut the pieces.

After the settings have been set, the “print” job is sent to the laser cutter and the material is cut. To cut all the way through the cardboard, at least two runs of the laser cutter is needed. Below is a picture of what the laser cutting process looks like.

Once all of the pieces have been cut out, they will be aligned and then glued together with rubber cement.

fabrication_methods_schedules_and_other_related_content.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/19 07:53 by rebeccaseddon