GrabCAD Print, 3DEXPERIENCE

The Cutting Edge of Design - Part 8: 3D Printing from 3DEXPERIENCE

By Dennis Barnum on July 16, 2021

Necessity is always a key driver in innovation, and with a global pandemic, the concept of remote work has transitioned from a periodic luxury to a full-blown necessity. Our company corporate structure is comprised of engineers, printer operators, managers and executives scattered throughout the east coast and Canada. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides a quick and easy way to collaborate with colleagues on a single project regardless of where they are located. 

In our last installment, the design was passed between xShape and SOLIDWORKS to quickly make changes and arrive at a product ready for prototyping. Today we will be talking about how to easily 3D print from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

This article covers:

Project Status

After signing into the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and clicking on the Communities tab, users can see their feed. Here we see a post from our colleague in Maryland saying, “New handle passes clearance check,” and we can also see tags in the comments.

SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE Communities

Preparing to Print with GrabCAD

Responses can be made easily. Here in the comments, we will indicate that we have been made aware that the project is ready for the next steps and then proceed to download and print the file from the platform. Next, we can select the Files tab where we will immediately be able to view the Cordless Handle's .SLDPRT file.  We will even have access to manipulating and annotating the part directly in the browser. All that’s left to do now is download the file using the third icon from the left, and opening the .SLDPRT file in GrabCAD Print.

GrabCAD Print Icon

GrabCAD Print is free and an extremely powerful and user-friendly 3D print prep tool that is capable of digesting native cad files, .obj, .stl, .step, .iges, and even .3mf files.

>> Opening the Latest SOLIDWORKS Files in GrabCAD Print

Print Settings

For this project, we are going to split the part into two halves and print them separately to avoid having the hollow center cavity of the handle fill entirely with support material. Once we import the .SLDPRT file onto the tray, we can go ahead and manipulate the part material, scale, orientation, infill style and many other characteristics depending on the application and design of the part.

GrabCAD Print Settings


Next, using the toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen we can quickly change some of the part’s attributes such as infill style and density, material options, layer height and more. Once the part properties are to spec, we can go ahead and orient the part on the tray. In this case, we want to minimize the amount of support material used, so we are going to flip the handle on its back with the open face pointing upward. This is to avoid having it fill completely with support material. Now we can click "Estimate", and the software will slice the part and generate an estimated time and material usage that can be used to help calculate the cost of the part. After the estimation is complete, simply select the printer from the drop-down menu and click "Print". This will queue the job on the printer.

Post Printing

Once our 3D printed prototype is complete, we can remove the part from the build tray to clean the part and remove the supports. After the part is clean, we can take a few pictures and upload them to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to communicate to the team that the job is a success. When we upload the pictures, we can also leave a comment and tag colleagues to notify them to return to the platform for updates.

As you can see, it is quick and easy to access collaborative files from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and download part and assembly files to prepare for 3D printing. As work from home and remote work become a non-negotiable necessity in the corporate world, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables users of all levels and experiences to collaborate with one another and complete projects no matter the time or geographical location.

Video Overview

Watch the video below for our full review of the print process of this project from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.


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