STL file optimisation

Expert lesson 24 – Slicing and STL optimisation

In this lesson students will learn how to optimise and slice files for resin 3D printing using Autodesk Meshmixer. The lesson focuses on why files need to be optimised and also the process and skills used to complete the task.

After files have been optimised the lesson covers how to use Pre-form slicing software by formlabs to prepare files for 3D printing.

There is also a tutorial for DLP slicing using the Anycubic Photon slicing software.

Lesson content includes, fully editable;

  • Lesson plan
  • Teaching powerpoints – Autodesk Meshmixer, Formlabs Preform and Anycubic photon instructions
  • Simulation videos of slicing process
  • Lesson task worksheet
  • Lesson task answer sheet
  • Homework task
  • Homework task answer sheet
  • Example STL files

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This lesson teaches how to optimise files for Resin 3D printing. Unlike filament based 3D printers where you can specify the infill of the print, resin 3D printers print the STL files 100% solid by default. For many smaller items such as jewellery, this isn’t a problem. However, with larger, thicker models this can causes issues e.g. large amounts of resin used increasing the costs of the model. Also if the model is not 100% cured with UV light then there can still be uncured resin and air bubbles in the middle of the print.

This lesson uses Autodesk Meshixer to optimise STL files by hollowing them and giving them a wall thickness and a drainage hole. The lesson also covers how to prepare a model for slicing using Formlabs Preform software. There is also a tutorial for the DLP printer, the Anycubic photon, explaining how DLP 3D printer slice models.

As part of the lesson task there is a heavy focus on Maths and calculating the percentage saving of materials from optimising files and how much extra resin is used by adding supports to a model. Students will need a sound grasp of maths to complete this lesson.