Hello everyone, my name is Richard McKercher and I am a new application engineer co-op student here at Javelin. I have been learning how to operate the 3D printers and process SOLIDWORKS models and STL files so they can be 3D printed. So far it’s been a lot of fun and I have learned some cool tricks for improving the quality of my prints.
I received some very cool SOLIDWORKS models of different Oil and Gas parts and assemblies from my colleague at GoEngineer. One model that stood out to me was a PDC (Polycrystalline Diamond Compact) Rock Bit used for drilling wells in hard rock. I thought It would be cool to have a full sized physical model so I could really get an idea of just how much work went into designing this amazing tool and have a physical representation of the drill bit assembly.
I want this PDC Rock Bit model to be lightweight so it’s easy to handle but also be a one-to-one scale to really show of the details. I am also printing the teeth of the bit and the bit separately so they can be in different colours. To accomplish this I will use Stratasys Insight software to process the digital model so it can be printed big and lightweight and I will use Objet Studio to create separate files of the teeth and bit from the original digital model.
Using Objet Studio, a program used to operate the Polyjet line of 3D printers, I took the single STL file of the PDC Rock Bit and created one file of just the bit and 35 files for the teeth. There are three different sizes of teeth so I only need three of the 35 files to create all the teeth. Here you can see the PDC Rock Bit STL file opened in Objet Studio:
And here is the file after the teeth have been separated from the bit, notice how I can select the bit or a single tooth.
Processing STL Files
Next, I used Stratasys Insight software to process the files into a suitable format for the 3D printer. With Insight I am able to orient the file with the cutting end facing down to reduce the amount of support material required. I also changed the density of the material within the model; the material within the walls of the model is called the infill. I adjusted the settings so that in the areas of high complexity there is more infill to support those features and elsewhere I reduced the infill amount to reduce the weight. The settings used for the teeth were left standard to achieve good strength and surface quality.
Here are the files before and after the tool paths and layers were generated in Insight.
In my next blog I will explain how I print and assemble the PDC Rock Bit model.
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