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Kevin McAllister

VW 3D Printing Forum - Yay Jim!

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Thank you! I agree. The tech is still in its early stages as a prosumer/consumer product, but its coming fast.

Just brought mine into the office, will be testing exported geometry from Vectorworks with a focus on getting Architectural objects, (Raw 3D geometry seems to export pretty well at the moment) printing as expected.

At the moment focusing on a best behavior for exporting models with certain classes (specifically glazing classes for glass) turned off to make it easier to export models with "open" areas instead of solids if the user wants.

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Sounds great. Architectural objects are a problem area, as are some solid subtractions. Also small geometry (ie. window frames when printed in a small scale).

Kevin

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I also think 3D printing will get a big thing in the near future

an is important.

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My Prusa i2 is performing my test work for the moment, we also have a MakerBot Replicator 2 onsite for testing as well used by the Industry Specialists.

[img:center]http://i.imgur.com/7iiVYUP.jpg[/img]

Im designing a much larger replacement for my own, a project which I will likely share here since it fuses Vectorworks and 3D printing nicely in that I will be designing the overall printer in Vectorworks as well as printing various parts of it from STLs exported from Vectorworks directly.

I hope this eating-my-own-dogfood approach will help us get a lot of the kinks ironed out of the design > export > print workflow. So far it has already led to a few new features with STL export in 2015 but I would personally like to see many more. If any of you have any suggestions, feel free to wishlist them or post them in this forum so they can be poked, prodded and polished by the community.

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OK I'll dive straight in here, I've just started looking into aquiring a 3D printer.

Why not give VWs it's own 'slicing' and 3D printing capabilities?

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I had thought of that as well. The main issue is that we would need to devote large amounts of resources to creating them, when really good and free ones already exist and/or come with the printer you choose.

For instance, Ultimaker's come with Cura, which is an excellent slicer and basic model editor/plating app. It can be used for other printers but it is tuned especially for the Ultimaker line of printers. We would have to specifically support the various printer models and keep updating it constantly as printers come out.

3D printers don't yet have a standardized set of drivers and communications protocols like regular 2D printers and plotters do, they're still new and a LOT of customization is required in order to get a slicer application to work with a given 3D printer.

It isn't a bad idea at all, I just personally feel that working on the aspects of Vectorworks that A) Already exist and B) benefit all users of all printers regardless of the slicing application they user would be a better use of time at this early stage.

However, I absolutely want users to one day make a file in Vectorworks, then go to File > Print3D and I agree that it absolutely should happen that we integrate that functionality directly into our single software package as we do so many different things today.

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(To clarify my previous post and because I am feeling very rant-y today;) )

I also think it is ABSOLUTELY imperative that we eventually have that all-in-one option.

I built a 3D printer and tweaked it and tuned it myself, but I am a nerd (and a mad man) and like doing odd projects like that. You don't expect users to BUILD their own 2D printers and adjust them. HP doesn't ship people a box of bolts and rods and casing and ink and expect users to put it together and tune it themselves, they send a box, you take the thing out of the box, plug it in, and push a big friendly button to make it go. (Ideally...)

A large part of making 3D printing come to pass will be ease of use for common users. Users that are professionals and experts at something OTHER than making a 3D printer work.

If we can make it truly dead-simple so that a user doesn't need to worry about scaling or wall thickness or converting things to generic solids, just have them hit -PRINT-, then and only then will 3D printing be truly successful and start to benefit everyone in the ways that it absolutely has the potential to do.

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I had thought of that as well. The main issue is that we would need to devote large amounts of resources to creating them, when really good and free ones already exist and/or come with the printer you choose.

Agreed, I suppose the fact that some are open source doesn't matter when it comes to integrating them into VWs?

Would it be possible to use the existing drivers/software as some kind of 3rd party plugins?

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I am not sure. Open Source normally means that if you use it, you must also make available any derivatives of it publicly, while Vectorworks itself is of course completely closed source.

I do not know the logistics of attempting to include an open project or components of it in a software that is closed source/charged for. It may be possible for us to use them in a free module that ISN'T charged for that any Vectorworks user can download and add in as if it were a 3rd party plugin.

Good question, I will see if I can find an official answer.

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When you explain it that way, wouldn't it be smart if slicing/3D printer software could handle IFC instead/as well?

Obviously a hypothetical question but perhaps a short cut to be able to introduce the functionality into VWs in the long run?!

Edited by Vincent C

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Yes, sort of.

The only reason I work in STL now is that it has become a sort of de facto standard in the 3D printing world and slicing/plating software can all take the STL format.

If we printed "directly" to a 3D printer from Vectorworks, there would be no need of going to that intermediary format first, just File > Print3D. You would only NEED to export if you wanted to share the file to a user that didn't have Vectorworks natively, in which case the software they were using would determine if you used STL, IFC or otherwise.

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I thought I had a fun job but yours sounds just as fun Jim :)....... food for thought.

Edited by Vincent C

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I really enjoy my job.

Actually, my job description has little-to-nothing to do with what I ACTUALLY do these days. I am still titled as "Technical Support Specialist" officially, but compared to other specialists my work is completely different.

I love change and I really like making things better, faster, more efficient and/or easier. It may seem odd but I like that my job includes so many completely unrelated tasks and might totally be different from one day to the next.

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