Questions From Minnesota

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mnuser
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Questions From Minnesota

Post by mnuser » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:25 pm

Hello all. Just found this forum and I have a couple questions for you pros.

I teach multimedia with a large touch of STEM to 7th graders. I'm going to buy a 3D printer for my lab and I think the UP Plus2 might be the best bet for me. I want to teach the kids some basic CAD to go along with the CAD class they have now. My question is this.

1. I'm going to load the Mac software on all the iMacs in the room so I can teach the software to the kids. I will have one Mac in my office that is the dedicated Mac which will be hooked to the printer. Can the software run along without seeing the printer? I was hoping I did not have to buy 40 copies. I have a lab with 38 iMacs that we would learn the software on.

2. My goal is to teach the software and then give the kids a problem which they will design a solution for. For example, a new GoPro case or an iPod case. Do it in teams of two and then vote on the best design and print it. See a problem with this other than some being disappointed that theirs does not get printed? We might be able to find a solution to that problem later. Baby steps.

3. What else can you share with me that I will need to know up front? I think it will be a fun project for them.

I have some other ideas but they will have to wait till I have the whole thing figured out.

Thanks for the help.

roller
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by roller » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:45 am

1. Yup, the software will do most things such as a print estimate so long as you hook the printer up to it once.
2. I bet you end up printing a lot more than you expect - not just because its fun but because there is also a lot to learn in evaluating and comparing the results ... the best in CAD is not always the best once printed and there are great lessons to learn about the mechanics of these objects in the real world.

Overall, sounds like a good plan.

nickw
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by nickw » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:33 pm

The up would be a great option for the classroom because of how reliable it is.
As far as i know the software is a free download, so that should make your budget happy.
This sounds like a great plan. It is so rewarding to get a physical object that you can hold and see after spending all that time designing a nice model.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by JuliaDee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:56 pm

Hi mnuser,

I agree, the Up Plus is almost without question your best printer choice for this application. Works right out of the box, has integrated software, prints beautifully, and has easily-removed support.

I think you may have a misconception about what the Up software is and does, however. It's not a design program, or a CAD program - it's just the printer setup and control program. Think of when you send a document to your office (paper) printer: you select print quality, number of copies, landscape vs portrait orientation, scaling, etc., then hit "Print", and it sends the right data to the printer. That's exactly what the Up software does. It's completely free; download as many copies as you need, but if you only have one printer, you'll only need one copy. The Mac version is unfortunately not nearly as good as the Windows version in many respects, but that isn't very important because your students won't be using it all that much.

I think what you're looking for is an easy-to-learn, inexpensive 3D design/CAD program for your students to work on their projects with. For that I'd recommend Tinkercad, which is a web-based solution that will work with most web browsers under Mac or Windows (you do need an internet connection to use it, though). It has an extremely fast learning curve, is easy enough for grade-schoolers, and powerful enough even for some professionals (like me). They have student discounts but I don't know the pricing offhand.

http://www.tinkercad.com

Best of luck with your project!

julia

roller
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by roller » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:02 am

I think 123D Make (by Autodesk) is a better choice these days if you're on a budget - it's free. It's really targeted towards producing output on 3D printers, CNCs and laser cutters. I teach Sketchup to students and although it's also a really great and easy choice it's less reliable for 3D prints (too easy to break your solids)... but it's also free. Both are also cross platform (Windows and Mac anyway).
Last edited by roller on Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by JuliaDee » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:07 am

I tried Make a few months ago and thought it was ugly, slow, and way less intuitive than Tink, but maybe it's improved. Also, like most AutoCAD software, especially their cloud stuff, it's buggy. I tried it again a few weeks ago - it told me my browser needed to be updated. I followed the update procedure, restarted the browser... and it told me my browser needed to be updated. 2 more tries got me the same result. Couldn't use the local version because I'm on Snow Leopard, which isn't supported. But I understand it does have some nice features that Tink doesn't have, like rounded/chamfered edges etc.

roller
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by roller » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:16 am

Funny you should say that ... me too. But I think it's something about already having a mindset around CAD (it's 20 years since I first taught AutoCAD) because I have pointed a few new users at it and they took to it really quickly. I think as power CAD users we have a pre-learned disposition to how things should behave. It is a direction that Autodesk is taking though so it does open the door to using more powerful Autodesk products professionally because I have noted some very similar creation strategies in Vasari (a design app for architects but much more powerful than Sketchup)

What I really like about it is the environment that Autodesk is creating around those apps that is oriented to producing real objects as output. Not just 3D printing but great planar slicer which means students can easily make their models out of card or timber sheets.

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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by amd-tec » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:48 am

JuliaDee wrote:Hi mnuser,

I agree, the Up Plus is almost without question your best printer choice for this application. Works right out of the box, has integrated software, prints beautifully, and has easily-removed support.

I think you may have a misconception about what the Up software is and does, however. It's not a design program, or a CAD program - it's just the printer setup and control program. Think of when you send a document to your office (paper) printer: you select print quality, number of copies, landscape vs portrait orientation, scaling, etc., then hit "Print", and it sends the right data to the printer. That's exactly what the Up software does. It's completely free; download as many copies as you need, but if you only have one printer, you'll only need one copy. The Mac version is unfortunately not nearly as good as the Windows version in many respects, but that isn't very important because your students won't be using it all that much.

I think what you're looking for is an easy-to-learn, inexpensive 3D design/CAD program for your students to work on their projects with. For that I'd recommend Tinkercad, which is a web-based solution that will work with most web browsers under Mac or Windows (you do need an internet connection to use it, though). It has an extremely fast learning curve, is easy enough for grade-schoolers, and powerful enough even for some professionals (like me). They have student discounts but I don't know the pricing offhand.

http://www.tinkercad.com

Best of luck with your project!

julia
Dont forget the DesignSpark Mechanical ;)
http://www.designspark.com/
"3D design with intelligent printing"
http://www.amd-tec.com

RINGMASTER
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by RINGMASTER » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:40 pm

In Minnesota you should check out the Afinia. It is a rebranded UP + and the OEM for US is right here in Chanhassen Minnesota. They are emphasizing marketing to educational folks. I've been running one for almost a year and am very pleased with its ability. (Never use my Cube anymore.) Afinia support has been excellent. Of course I just drive out from Minnetonka.
You might want to contact John Westrum, Johnw@microboards.com, at Afinia who can probably give you a lot of good information for your project.

The Up/Afinia software only takes an .stl file, slices it, supports it then feeds the printer.

As for design software, I'm a PC person. I use a number of free design CAD type 3D modeler depending on the projects and a few low cost packages. It also depends on what CAD programs you are used to. I would probably start a child on Tinkercad, but it is web based and free "only for a limited time."

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JuliaDee
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by JuliaDee » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:22 am

I don't think the Tinkercad free period is time-limited; instead, you are limited in the number of designs you can store under your account.

user76
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by user76 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:17 pm

I do not suggest you run the printer from a Mac. The software is buggy and some bugs have been around for a while. I don't have the UP Plus 2, but if it is anything like my Afinia/UP it will not work as well as if you ran it in Windows.

Whenever I have brought up issues with the Mac software, the Afinia answer use is Parallels on my Mac so i can run the Windows version.

The newest software still won't do raftless printing. What is the point of having the option still in the software when it never works in the last 3 versions?

If you have the Maintenance window open it will frequently lock up the program and require you to unplug the printer and close the window.

It has option for open recent files but doesn't actually work.

Frequently it will tell you it can't see the printer but after 2 or 3 attempts it finally will.

I have learned to live with it, but do you really want to have to explain that to all your students when things don't work right?

Get the printers, just don't use it with a Mac.

pilotltd
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by pilotltd » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:08 am

JuliaDee wrote:I tried Make a few months ago and thought it was ugly, slow, and way less intuitive than Tink, but maybe it's improved. Also, like most AutoCAD software, especially their cloud stuff, it's buggy. I tried it again a few weeks ago - it told me my browser needed to be updated. I followed the update procedure, restarted the browser... and it told me my browser needed to be updated. 2 more tries got me the same result. Couldn't use the local version because I'm on Snow Leopard, which isn't supported. But I understand it does have some nice features that Tink doesn't have, like rounded/chamfered edges etc.
Make seems more orientated to producing laser cut stuff. Another Autodesk offering for tweeking STL's is MeshMixer, its buggy - 64 bit version wont run here on Windows 64, 32 bit version works but it's not intuative - Autodesk have form for buggy software ;)

I do CAD/CAM consultancy and support as part of my day job and have probably used much about every CAD and CAM package out there - Although I do support Autodesk stuff, these days I dont like any of it.

My personal favourites are Rhino for CAD and FeatureCam for producing Gcode. It would be relatively easy to produce makerbot style code in FeatureCam by creating a post processor that has the extra temp and extrude commands.

Anything I make for the Up! is produced in Rhino as a nurbs solid, then exported as an stl. Works fine and never any issues with mesh structure.

I like the Up! it's pretty much plug and play :D

Steve

roller
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by roller » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:19 am

I am also forced to hop CADs every other week for clients. Make which you say is for flat stuff ... actually has one of the most important tools in my 3D printing toolpath (Autodesk 3D Print tool). It's meant for both, was originally designed for the Maker movement and has it's quirks but it also evolving the fastest.

I too prefer Rhino and have the CAM tools for it to get straight from design to CNC but it's acceptance in this country at least is very low. Everyone loves to love Rhino but no one wants to commit to working with it. The main issue with Rhino is it is not free even for educational use and this thread is about use in the classroom ... I suspect with a limited budget. It is also I slightly higher concept curve than say Make, Sketchup or TinkerCAD.

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JuliaDee
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Re: Questions From Minnesota

Post by JuliaDee » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:59 pm

Sorry, I meant to say 123DDesign, not Make. I took the web version for a spin the other day on a Win 7 64-bit machine and it ran fine under Firefox. Its chamfering and edge rounding features are great. "Smart duplicating" is handy. There are a couple of useful primitive that Tink doesn't have. But it still descends from the ancient and user-hostile AutoCAD school of UI, and very few things use the keystrokes I expect; in this respect I prefer Tink. I've talked with a few people there about adding some functionality to Tink and they always say "Move up to 123DDesign, we don't want to complicate Tink". But really I think they should combine the two programs, keeping Tink's UI and adding a few nice features from 123. If done right, all the "advanced" stuff could be hidden from new users and I don't think it would have to get confusing.

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