3D Printing Tutorial: How to Embed and Print Parts with VeroClear Material
VeroClear is a transparent material that simulates PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), commonly known as acrylic. Like PMMA, VeroClear material is used as an alternative to glass and is ideal for concept modeling and design verification of clear parts such as eye wear, light covers and medical devices.
In this blog post we will explain the steps to properly embed and 3D print parts using VeroClear material. See below for an example of a medical model printed with VeroClear material:
To visualize how to create these models, consider the simple marketing part below – a logo embedded into a VeroClear material ball:
If a portion of the VeroClear is cut away, you can see (below) that there is a separate part inside that is the logo. When creating these models each separate colour or material component is an individual part and the overall part is an assembly of these sub components. When the assembly is brought into Objet Studio the individual colours or materials are assigned to each part in the software.
If you remove the logo section from the VeroClear, you can see (below) a cavity the exact shape of the logo that the logo resides in.
The VeroClear material part must have this cavity otherwise the software will not be able to determine what material to print in areas with overlapping geometry. In the case of the liver above, there will be a cavity for each blood vessel structure.
The easiest way to create the cavity is to use a Boolean subtraction operation where the internal part volume (logo) is subtracted from the external part volume (VeroClear ball) to create a cavity.
Step 1: Create the external and internal parts
Step 2: Create an assembly of the external and internal parts by aligning coordinate systems
To assemble the two parts together we create a coordinate system in each part. Then we create an assembly of the two parts and use a coincident mate between the two coordinate systems to align them. We have to mate the two parts using coordinate systems because Objet Studio uses these coordinate systems to align the two parts when we bring the assembly STL files in. When we create the STL in SOLIDWORKS we create it as an assembly and include the coordinate systems in the export. This will be covered in more detail below when we review how to create the STL.
Step 3: Create cavity in external part for internal part
In the assembly, hover over the part you want to create the cavity in and select “edit part”. By choosing to edit the part in this way, you are editing it in context with the assembly.
This allows you to create an external reference between the two parts in the cavity feature.
After selecting “edit part”, the outer part is now active (blue) to edit. Note that along the top selection bar the “No External References” button is off allowing you to create a reference from the inner part to the outer part while creating the cavity. External referencing can be problematic if not done correctly, but in the case of the cavity command it is okay.
Insert the cavity feature into the outer part and select the inner part as the design components. This will create a cavity the exact shape of the inner part in the outer part. The cavity feature is essentially a Boolean volume subtraction.
This creates the assembly of the inner and outer parts with the outer part having a cavity the exact shape of the inner part. You are now ready to export the STL and 3D print the part.
Step 4: Export the STL’s
In SOLIDWORKS, open the assembly and select “Save As”. In the “Save As” dialog box select “STL” as the file type. Then select “Options”.
In the STL dialog box you can adjust the deviation and angle to achieve a good balance between resolution and file size. We recommend using a deviation of 0.01mm and an angle of 5 degrees as this typically works well for most parts.VeroClear Parts
Make sure that the “Save All Components of an Assembly in a Single File” check box is unchecked as Objet Studio requires individual STL’s of each assembly component in order to be able to assign different material or colours to those parts.
When the export is complete you will have an STL file for each component of the assembly and you can import these into Objet Studio for printing.
Step 5: Insert the STL’s into Objet Studio, assign materials and 3D print
In Objet Studio select ‘Insert’ and navigate to the folder with the parts. Select all the parts in the assembly by clicking on the part name while holding the CTRL key to select multiple parts. Ensure that the “Assembly” check box is selected and hit insert.
When you reach this step, the assembly has been successfully imported. You are now able to assign materials to the outer (VeroClear) and inner (VeroBlack) parts and then 3D print the part.
In part two of this blog post we will discuss best practices to ensure the VeroClear material parts are as clear as possible. This will include tips for 3D printing the part to ensure good clarity and tips on post processing to improve clarity.
Download a copy of the SOLIDWORKS sample and STLs shown above.
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