“WYSIWYG” pronounced wizēˌwiɡ, stands for What You See Is What You Get. This is a term that was once very popular in the graphic arts printing industry, at least in the early days of desktop publishing. It was a term often used with customers to explain why chunky or rough looking text and or graphics, sometimes referred to as raster disasters, displaying on their screen would look just like that on the printed page. It was a way of proofing work to avoiding unexpected surprises in the end product.

 I find today in the 3D prototyping industry that this is still true. Often times the 3D printer (any brand name) or printing process gets the blame for poorly printed results. We hear this all the time from customers complaining about the quality they received from another vendor.  And yes there is much that can be said about printer calibrations and how the lack or neglect thereof can and will produce poorly printed parts even with the best saved files. Yet often we find the files have been saved or exported, out of the CAD program of choice, in the .STL or .OBJ format for 3D printing in low resolution, usually the default settings, causing cylinders and curves to appear rough and faceted. While this generates a small file size to send to your vendor or printer the results are usually less than desirable. Therefore, we highly recommend to our customer to install a one of several free .STL viewers to inspect your part(s) before sending them to be printed. Many of the hobbyist to high end 3D printers will produce what is being sent to it, within the tolerances of the given printer. In short most 3D printers can produce better parts if they are given better files to work with. You can find a guide on how to save/export in a .STL format from the most popular 3D CAD programs by clicking here.

This was the original file sent. Notice the faceting on the curved surfaces.

This was exported at a higher resolution and will result in a much smoother 3D print.

Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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