This post is a quick overview of Moai's laser SLA printing workflow. Some of the steps are very similar to FDM printing and even applies to other forms of SLA printing.
Moai print workflow can be group into three steps in this order
1. Support generation (Meshmixer)
2. Slicing (Cura)
Support generation is one of the most important steps of 3D printing preparation. After testing many options, we settled on Autodesk's Meshmixer 3.1. Meshmixer is a versatile software with some features that are very useful for SLA printing.
We are using this file as demo example:
(We do not own the copyright to this file. One of our backers suggested we use this for demo purpose)
First Check for errors in the mesh:
Notice I use Angle Threshold for 0 degrees. This is an important aspect of bottom-up (printing upside down) printer like Moai SLA printer. This leads to fewer supports than printers that prints at overhang 45 degrees.
Export the file as STL (binary format), and we are ready to slice
We use Cura 2.4 to slice, and we recommend our users to use Cura because it is good and free. And we are working with Cura developer to add Moai settings into Cura. A question was raised about Simplified3D. While S3D is excellent slicer for FDM printers, it doesn't have any special for laser SLA slicing, and we did all our tests in Cura because we want the user to have access to a free option.
Using existing profile for 0.05mm layer height. I sliced and saved the file to a Gcode file.
A quick note on print speed. The laser moves at about four times of what is shown in Cura.
I am printing at 70% infill with a layer height of 0.05mm. The chess piece is 40 x 40 x 100cm. And the result G-Code file size is 210MB:
Push the SD card into Moai.
Select the file from above and start printing.
So how did it turn out?
This is beginning of printing:
The is about 60% done.
And this is finishing up.
Ready for cleanup
I did a live case on Facebook and Kickstarter. Will add links later
After 3 days of curing under sun, this is the results. I ran low on cleaning alcohol when finished print and post-processing could have been a lot better. I will print again and update.
This is the best focused pic and I zoomed in to show the layers for 0.05mm