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Decide on Technology

When you have an idea of what you want to make, the first thing you should think of is what kind of process is most suited for your task. Although our group focuses mainly on 3D printing using FDM and Polyjet technology, there are many other processes that may result in different types of physical models. Each process has its own benefits and downsides. Here follows a list of a few types of processing:

  • 3D Printing
    • Fused Deposition Modeling
    • Polyjet printing
    • Sintering
    • Stereolithography
  • Casting/Molding
    • Injection Molding
    • Silicone Molding
  • CNC Milling

From here on on this page, the focus will be only on 3D printing as preferred method.

3D Design

Once you have decided on technology, you should know which parts you need to complete your design, whether it can be done in one piece or you need an assembly of many parts. The design itself can be done with several software tools, you just need to decide on which to use. The university of Oslo has bought a site-license for Solidworks, but there are other tools that might be better suited depending on what kind of model you are designing.

Here are a few hints if you want to design for printing using our equipment.

Design Verification

After having your parts described, you need to make a STL file (STereo Litography file) that can be used to produce the model. The STL file contains polygons that describe the boundries of the model, and what is inside and outside. If you make too few polygons, a shape that was supposed to be a curve will have straight lines and sharp edges. Verifying that the model is in correct size, and that all surfaces are correct is very important. If the structure is not well defined it cannot be made, or it simply won't come out as intended.


When you have verified your design, you should send it to the engineer to be produced. We do not allow students or any other staff except Mats, Kyrre and Yngve to produce parts using the 3D printers. The reason for this is maintain the machines and to build up knowledge in order to better help with the the design process. There may also be times where we can decide to put the production outside if that is more suitable either from a technological or economical perspective.

Post Processing

When the model is made there may be some more work needed, such as removing support material, sanding parts, gluing parts together etc. This you will probably know or have an idea about after deciding on technology at first. Removing of support using waterjet or chemicals shall only be done by the same staff that are allowed to use the 3D printer. It is important that the design does not allow trapped support material where it should not be. Issues such as this are also discussed in Designing 3D-models

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