Before starting 3D printing, it is necessary to perform checks to make sure that the correct object will be printed. Each side has a surface normal that should be turned outwards, away from the surface of the model. However, this is not always the case. During the modeling process, the surface normal may be inverted. It is very easy to handle this item, and it takes a bit of tweaking to spot these shortcomings:
In Maya, the easiest way is to select View-Lighting and uncheck Two-sided lighting. When double-sided illumination is disabled, any surface with the normal surface facing will return to the expected position.
A hollow model means that the inside of the model will not be solid. Solid designs will be harder to break but will also be more expensive to make. With the hollow model, the interior of the model will be empty. However, as the printer prints layer by layer, the filament can end up inside the model. If you want to avoid this, add “escape holes” to your design.
It is necessary to check the dimensions of the model. One millimeter will represent one millimeter, in reality, so every dimension is important. An important step before uploading your model to a printer server is to make sure it is in an acceptable format. Some of the formats are STL, OBJ, X3D, Collada or VRML97 / 2. The most commonly used format is STL. When some formats are not supported, then it is necessary to switch to a supported file format (in Maya or another program). 3D objects are transferred in another program (the slicer), which will generate G-code from the object by cutting it into thin layers and which will mimic the movements that a 3D printer will make. Before that, we need to convert any object we want to print into a network that the slicer can open. It is necessary to monitor that the deformations of the object, if any, remain within the allowed limits. Slic3r and Cura are applications that convert STL objects into G-code that can be sent directly to a 3D printer. The applications are open-source and free for use on Windows, Mac OS, or Linux operating systems. After determining the acceptable file, it’s time to choose the printer to use. Some of the most famous are Shapeways, Sculpteo, Ponoko, Quick Forge, i.materialise. Before buying, it is best to go to the manufacturer’s sites and find out their characteristics. In addition to ready-made printers that are still inaccessible to the home user, some manufacturers also offer self-assembling printer parts. This way, you will pay a lower price for the printer, but you will also gain experience in assembling a 3D printer. Once you decide on a printer, check the minimum wall thickness. Consider the fact that if you reduce the model, its wall thickness will increase. If the walls are acceptably thin in the Maya scene, but your parameters are set in meters, there is a chance they will be too thin when scaling the model to inches or centimeters. Small details such as engraved text must be certain sizes or will not appear on the printed object. The exact minimum size of the smallest part of the object depends on the material you are printing. Assuming you have checked the previous steps, you will have a finished file ready to be sent for printing.