Mechanical Design & Manuf. Crash Course - 3D Printing #1


Hi again :relaxed:

I have decided to write a series about what I know in terms of mechanical design & manufacturing and pass my experience with various methods and solutions to others.

Let’s not forget, the best design is a “makeable” design. If you can’t produce and use your design in an efficient way, then at least “in my opinion” your design is useless. It can be considered as a piece of art though but not as a product.

So, If we want to make a useable product and want it to look good and feel good, we must know the general industrial manufacturing methods and how to use them in our favor. Think of yourself as a sculptor, If you do not know and use your tools well enough, your products “sculptures” will suffer from that. So, like a sculptor, if you want to design geometric shapes to make a product, then you must know how to handle your arsenal of manufacturing.

Today, we are starting with the first installment about 3D printing.

The reason I am starting with 3D printing is that I believe it is widely reachable nowadays. If you buy a 3D Printer for your home use or if you have a 3D Printer at your disposal in any place, you can bypass some other manufacturing methods like milling, turning etc…

Yes, 3D printing is a wide topic and has to be handled in detail. There are several different 3D Printer types that use different approaches. They all have some pros and cons. For this beginning chapter, I will only give you an overview.

When it comes to manufacturing a geometric shape, we can separate them into 3 main categories;

  • Formative manufacturing (casting, forming, drawing, extruding etc…)
    Casting or forming materials with predefined shapes, molds etc…

  • Subtractive manufacturing (machining etc…)
    Machining (cutting) shapes from chunks of material

  • Additive manufacturing (3D Printing)
    Producing shapes from the ground up by adding material to the part body

Let’s look at the “additive manufacturing” in more detail;

  • Material Extrusion
    The method in which material (usually a thermoplastic) is selectively extruded from a nozzle to form the part.
    Fused Filamet Fabrication (FFF)
    Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

  • Vat Polymerization
    The method in which a liquid polymer is selectively solidified by light-activated polymerization.
    Stereolithography (SLA)
    Direct Light Processing (DLP)

  • Powder-Bed Fusion
    The method in which a pool of powder material is selectively sintered together by a heat source (usually a lazer).
    Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
    Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
    Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
    Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

  • Material Jetting
    The method in which droplets of material is injected from an ink-jet printer like mechanism and cured on the print bed.
    Material Jetting (MJ)
    Drop On Demand (DOD)

  • Binder Jetting
    The method in which binder liquid material is injected from an ink-jet printer like mechanism over a pool of powder material.
    Binder Jetting (BJ)

  • Sheet Lamination
    The method in which sheets of materials are bonded layer by layer to form a part.
    Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM)
    Lamnated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

Next chapter, we will take a detailed look at the “3D printing workflow” method.
Stay tuned :wink:


Enes; you’re probably the guy who could answer a couple of 3d printer questions I have? I have a Prusa i3 pro X, that I’m trying to install a BLTouch auto leveling probe on. A basic question I have is what X & Y coordinations should the extruder travel to, when you give it an “Auto Home” command? X0,Y0 or to mid bed approximately X100, Y100? Also, I’m interested in following you on your mechanical design crash course!


Hi, sorry that I am replying late. We were at CES - Las Vegas and it was a really busy trip. :persevere:

The main idea on auto leveling is to get multiple measurements from the bed and create a matrix inside the firmware so that it can track the bed level accordingly. But this also depends on your firmware’s capability.

If your machine is taking only a single measurement, it is better to measure the center (X100, Y100) and that would give a moderate result. Then, you should check the level with respect to the center between every now and then.

I am going to continue the Crash Course too :slight_smile: I have drafts and drawings ready and waiting to be sorted. I hope I can post a new episode this week.


Well I hope you enjoyed Las Vegas; I live down in the Phoenix area, which isn’t that far from Vegas. I’ve temporarily given up on installing the BLTouch auto leveling probe device on my printer. I’ll come back and fight that battle another day. Gives me more time to think about what it was doing. I’m glad you’re continuing with your crash course; I’ll be very interested in continuing to follow that, and hopefully learn more about printing!
Thanks, Dave


I bought an Anet with this level probe already mounted on. I don’t like it… It’s easier without that.


I’m not real pleased with the BLTouch I purchased; like you said it’s easier without it!