Help me print out a little thingy?

I’ve been eager to try out the 3d printers, and was signed up for tonight’s course, which, sadly, was cancelled. I’m out of town when the next one is scheduled, so I won’t be able to take the required tool training until June.

I have a little project I created (using Tinkercad) - a clip for mounting an automobile compass on the gunwale of my canoe. Early attempt to print it using the Library’s 3D service resulted in a not-usable print. You’ll note that the clip part is completely filled in.

Don’t know much about 3D printing yet, but I do have an .stl file ready to go.

I’d love some help for this. If it ends up taking time I would could trade something baked (muffins, mini-pie, whatever) or a pint of Chicken Soup (based on my authentic Jewish Mother’s recipe - sure to cure any ailment)

Hey Russell, welcome to the world of 3d printing. That material left over in your part is ‘support material’ that the printer added due to the selected print orientation. Kind of like scaffolding for putting up a building. It is meant to be removed once the print is done, but sometimes this is very difficult. If you print this in a different orientation you may be able to get away with almost no supports.

This video covers the basics of orientation selection – optimal selection is usually a balance of reducing overhangs AND structural requirements of the print.

That totally explains the problem with this piece – all that support material based on how they oriented it for printing. Thank you!

with the explanation and video from @KyleWerner and some encouragement from @PikePorter I bravely knocked out and scraped out all the support material and I had exactly what I had designed. Unfortunately I discovered that I didn’t measure right in the first place. Lesson learned. So it’s back to the drawing board…I’m going to find a pair of calipers and try this again.
too short6

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Heck yeah. Thats why they call it rapid prototyping!

Very cool. What other sorts of paddling/camping things are you looking to make?

This is cool. I’ve yet to try 3D printing, mostly because I haven’t been sure exactly what I would make. But now you’ve got me thinking about things I could possibly create for my canoeing or backpacking adventures.

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Well, I’d like to get this thing done before I start thinking about the next, and I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. I would like to make a similar clip-on for the gunwales that would let me attach “fake thwart” for holding a map, phone, camera or whatever.


You also want to consider that the part may shrink slightly when it’s printed.

So, measure your resulting part, and compare that to what you thought it was supposed to be (your original measurements). Then use those proportions to determine the size (in CAD) of your new part.

Note that things may shrink differently in the X, Y, and Z dimensions!


Are you sure that’s not support material Russell? It may just snap loose if you grab it with needlenose pliers. You can see supports here on a model I’m currently printing. Failing that, I’d be happy to print it for you.

Thanks, @DaveGoodwin ! You’re right. I’m a complete newby to 3D printing, and this thing one was presented to me “as is” by Fletcher Free library based on my first design. I’m still waiting to take the 3D print tool training so I can use the printers at Generator (class was canceled last Monday :frowning: ) @KyleWerner clued me in on what support material is, and sure enough I was able to remove it all, only to discover that my measurements were off. Thanks for the offer, but I’m good: @PikePorter has offered to print it for me, as well as being generous with his time for some design tweaks that should help.

I’ve been following your home 3-D build printer on FB. Very cool!