Buyers guide to purchasing good 3D printable models

Discussion started by miaomiao3d

When it comes to buying good 3D printable models it is always good to check if the seller has a sample video of how their printable item printed on their machine.

Ask the seller what software they used to slice the model and how many polygons the mesh is.

Unlike 3D models that are only meant for rendering purposes 3D printable models need to be held up to a higher standard.

After running countless tests on the cheapest printer in the world, 101 Hero and then upgrading to a mid range but excellent printer the SeeMeCNC Eris

I was able to discover what true high quality printable items look like.

Some people may think that a really fancy high polygon mesh is great for 3D printing but actually that is only true if that model was created from a perfectly designed low poly mesh that was made to reproduce the perfect edge flow and vertex count to recreate the object in question.

Many designers just Zbrush or Mudbox their models starting off with badly modeled meshes or using other methods. That may work just fine for rendering out posters or making 3D models used for backgrounds, that do not need to be animated rigged etc... but works horribly for 3D printing.

If your average 3D printing buyer is running your every day laptop or computer with 8 gigs of ram there is no way that they will ever be able to work with models that have 10 000 polygons.

With 3D printing every polygon really counts. Every time you stream data from an SD card or USB cable to your printer it adds to the speed time.

Every time you want to scale, rotate, re position or edit a model for 3D printing the poly count matters and high poly just means you waste more time in making any needed modification to the model.

In some cases when you are using good software like Mattercontrol it will even tell you to reduce the model to improve printing performance.

It is also very import to understand that high details like veins, tendons or perfect lines for certain elements even in non organic models may never show up in your final prints unless you have a high end printer and are using the finest of settings and printing really large models.

In most cases the finest details from your high poly meshes never show up in your prints.

It is far better to build a low or mid poly model that is perfectly quads and edge flows are perfect then to spend ages building details that your average buyer will never be able to make use of or print unless they are planning to use a professional company to print the model for them. Even in that case that printing company is going to charge them for re topologizing and possibly remaking that model from scratch costing them more money which is not in the best interest of the seller or buyer.

When building 3D printable models it is import to figure out not only the final look of the model but how you will print them. Figure out the orientation of the prints and how to best make use of the cheats to ensure the correct parts come out beautiful and smooth and will require the buyer the least amount of hassle to sand or need to use complicated plastic or other types of support structures.

Try to envision the path that the print head will have to carry out when printing the model and if the model will need to be divided into multiple parts in order to get the best results for your buyers.

It is also important to test your model and see how it will print under different conditions. In some cases people will want to print the model with zero infill to save time... Does your model print that way? If not... did you tell your buyers that it cannot be printed that way?

Buyers are very skeptical about the 3D printable models they buy and for good reason. Producing a rock solid 3D printable model take a lot of hard work and consideration.


Posted over 3 years ago

It is also important to point out that a badly constructed model that does not follow a well defined and systematic path will cause your 3D printer to jump around from one part of the build platform to the next.

Now when your printer is moving around erratically that is when the most problems occur.
In some cases your print head will knock the print off the build plate.

Not only do you get a lot of stringyness but when your print head is dancing around and jumping around then it also tends to mess up the bed leveling.

This means that you will have to fix the bed leveling more often in between prints.

What good 3D printing comes down to is good time management and efficiency. If your 3D printable models make your buyers waste time then they are not going to want to buy models from you in future.

Posted over 3 years ago

Agreed. I see many 3Dp models here that obviously will NEVER be printable! My guess is that many people who don't own a printer or never had their models printed, just think they can make extra money by auto-converting their files (lying around on their hds) to .stl format and call it a day.

Modeling for 3D printing is a process on its own and as you say doesn't really improve with high poly count, nevermind a lot of tiny features which may only generate a lot of useless supports.

That's why I am starting to add to my products a screenshot of the slicer's final screen with supports, to make sure the buyer sees the model has been road-tested

Posted over 3 years ago

Yes that is a good idea about putting in screenshots of the slicer with supports!

Also Frabuondi, I made a suggestion to the CGtrader team telling them that it would be a good idea to add a section to the 3D printable product area where people can add the road tested models or models that are super easy to print because lately there are lots of people interested in 3D printing and getting printers.

The problem is that most people are too scared to fiddle with the technology because it is still not that easy to use and when they start buying or using bad or over complex models then their prints and machines get messed up and they
get discouraged.

If we want to bring 3D printing to every house out there we need to be more considerate about our buyers and the struggles they are facing to print the models we make.

So in my opinion there should be more sections to the 3D printing category... perhaps

1. Non tested models. a section where you can put all the models that are just created and may or may not print.

2. Tested models a section where models have been tested and require some form of plastic support and guidelines
on how to best print a model based on the plastic used, PLA or ABS, Ninjaflex

3. Easy prints a section dedicated to those models that are super easy to print require no special support
structures just like the ones that usually come free with your everyday 3D printer and that are
guaranteed to work on all printers no questions asked.

frabuondi wrote
Very interesting idea! But maybe creating new 3dp categories would be difficult to do and it will be hard to verify each file. Perhaps we can settle to a simpler approach and ask cgtrader to add a flag to printable models, such as "testprinted". The system will automatically ask for real photos of prints (2-3 minimum) and tag them as "real prints" in the thumbnail section. So, if anyone feels like a smart guy and has not testprinted the model, the buyers will see rendering or screenshots labeled as "real photo" and acknoweledge that he/she is not to be trusted
Posted over 3 years ago

Very good idea! Let's do that!

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