The purpose of this lesson is to guide you through the use
of the ZCorp Spectrum Z-510 Color Solid Object Printer (Rapid Prototyper.)
It is meant to accompany an actual demonstration on this device. Do not
attempt to use the device without this demonstration.
Caution: Do Not Steal Another's Intellectual
The rapid prototypers in this lab may not be used to "steal" the
intellectual properties of others. Please only build objects that are not
the intellectual property of others, unless you have the owner's written
A1.Eye protection is required at all times
by you and anyone near you as you are working on this, including when you
are removing the model, depowdering it, and infiltrating it.
A2. If you wish, you may
wear protective gloves or a dust mask to minimize your contact with the
powder and binder chemicals.
A3. When you work with
the powder, please do so in a way that does not raise much dust.
A4. When you are done
working with powder, be sure to blow your nose and wash your hands.
A5. Hot wax can be used
to coat models, but it can cause burns if you are not careful.
A6. Cyanoacrylate can be dangerous; avoid
skin contact or breathing fumes.
A7. None of the models produces on this
device will ever be "food-safe," and therefore they must not be used for
eating or drinking vessels or implements, nor should they be given to young
children who might put them, or pieces of them, into their mouths.
B. Get the File Ready
Use Assignments, References, & Resources
B1. Please refer to references as needed. These might
include reference manuals for using the ZCorp Spectrum Z510 color solid
object printer, ZPrint software, ZEdit software, solid object modeling
software, and class assignments.
Create and Check an Object File
B2. Please use a computer that is not connected to the
Z510 rapid prototyper to create a 3D object file. You may use solid object
creation software such as Rhinoceros (pictured below), 3DS Max, AutoCAD,
Lightwave, Maya, Google Sketchup, and Unigraphics, to name a few. A
digitizer can also be used to capture the surface geometry of an object in
hand. However, be sure your models do not violate copyright and trademark
rights. In addition, try to create files that identify actual (closed)
B3. If there are surfaces evident that do not seem to be part of the
solid, you may need to edit the object.
B4. You will
need to export the file in an a format that can be read by the ZPrint
software that communicates with the Z510. Rhinoceros has a built-in feature
directly sending an object from Rhino to ZPrint; click File, Print 3D in
Rhino. But since you are likely working on some computer other than the one
that controls the Z510, export your file in one of the following formats
(realizing that coloring may not be preserved:
ZPrint Import File Types:
.stl .ply .zcp
.zpr .sfx .wrl .3ds
(For stl files, use
"binary" rather than "ASCII.")
Load the File
B5. Transfer the digital object file you created elsewhere
to the hard drive of the computer controlling the Z510. There should be a directory for your class under
C:\Classes\. Please make sure the filename is rather short and begins with
your last name, and that it does not contain any non-alphanumeric characters
except an underscore, hyphen, or period.
B6. Open ZPrint. Load your file. Make sure the correct powder is selected. The powder in
the Z510 is zp151. The units should be the correct ones for this site, given
its size. You can scale the object later.
the Part in ZEdit
You can add color, colored text or graphic image maps to your digital object
prior to prototyping it. To do this, begin with your object selected in
ZPrint (you'll see a box around it indicating it is selected.) Start ZEdit by clicking Edit, Start
The computer controlling the Spectrum
Z-510 has a licensed copy of Z-Edit Pro, which has many more features than
the standard Z-Edit program. If no one is waiting to use that computer, then
use Z-Edit Pro with it. Otherwise, just use Z-Edit.
B8. Use ZEdit to map a graphic
image onto your file, to add text, or to change the color of a feature.
When using ZEdit, it might help to select the appropriate
view. You can also change the zoom level. Click on the foreground or
background color to change it. Under the "Edit and Annotate" title you'll
find icons to Select, Paint, Apply Text, and Apply a Texture Map (i.e., map
a graphic onto the object.) In the image below, the front view was first
selected, and a yellow-brick map was applied with the map completely
covering the size of the object.
B9. Return to ZPrint. You can either save the edited part
first in ZEdit, or click File, Exit, and you will be prompted if you want to
update the part in ZPrint.
Scale and Orient the Object
Back in ZPrint, If you see odd coloring on the object, do not be alarmed.
You should scale, rotate, and move the object, as needed. Find these under
the Transform menu item. Begin by Scaling your object to the appropriate
B11. Rotating can sometimes decrease build
time, since it is the height of the overall build that determines the number
of build layers.
B12. To move your object, you can
"Translate" it. However, if this is the only object to be built, it is
recommended that you use the "Justify" command and place your object at the
Left, Back, Bottom of the build area.
File, Save As and save the zpd file you are about to use. Please begin the
filename with your last name, and place it into the appropriate directory on
the computer that controls the Z510.
Estimate the Build Time and Materials
B14. The actual amount of materials used in a build is
only accurately determined after the build, by looking for the appropriate
file under "C:/ZCorp Printer Records/Detailed Reports/ on the computer that
controls the machine. However, you can and should estimated the amount of
time, binder, and powder to be used prior to executing a job, and then after
the job, locate that file to determine the actual amounts used. To estimate the amount of time and binder used, click
File, Print Time Estimator. Note also the
amount of colored and clear binder estimated for this job. Finally, make a
note of the volume of the build. This is the powder volume.
B15. Cost out the use of binder and powder using the
following factors; the costs listed for binder and powder are the ones
charged by ZCorp (note that there are about 16.387 cubic centimeters per
- Multiply the volume in cubic inches by $ 1.59
(because we purchase it for $1,110 per 700 cu in)
- or the vol in cubic cm by $.10 (because we purchase
it for $1,110 per 11,500 cc)
- Multiply the ml of clear binder by $ 0.20 (because
we purchase it for $772 per 3.8L)
- Multiply the ml of colored binder by $ 0.33 (because
we purchase it for $624 per 1.9L)
- Multiply the ounces of cyanoacrylate by $5.00
(because we purchase it for $80 per pint)
- Add the products.
By adding these four numbers, you can determine the raw cost of the powder, binders,
and infiltrant, combined. These are the actual costs of these materials.
However, due to the loss of materials, the costs of wash fluid, print heads,
and other materials, the estimated product materials cost is greater.
The part called BallB, above, would use 99.8 ml of colored binder, 89 ml of
clear binder, and 231.43 cubic centimeters of powder. Assuming that an ounce
of cyanoacrylate is also used, the cost comes to $78.88, not counting wash
fluid, print heads, etc.
When you reduce the volume of an object to be built, the percent
reduction is typically linear. That means that if you reduce the volume to
25% or 1/4, then you are reducing it in each of the three dimensions. A 4"
cube would be reduced to a 1" cube. In a 4" cube, there are 4x4x4 cubic
inches, or 64 cubic inches. Thus, you would be reducing the volume to 1/64th
of the original, which is 1 / (43) or 25%3. Even a small reduction in linear
volume can seem like a sizable reduction in volume.
However, it is possible to reduce build volume too much, to the point
where features are not distinct or where the objects lacks sufficient
structural integrity. In these instances the build would be considered a
failure, and all materials would be a loss. So decide wisely.
Too often, objects are designed as solid when they might have as easily
been designed hollow. If you hollow out the interior of an object, be sure
to include a hole through which the loose powder can be emptied.
C. Prepare the Spectrum Z-510
Cleaning the Service Station
C1. Make sure the Z510 is set to Online.
C2. In ZPrint, select Service, Unpark.
C3. Slowly open the cover of the Z510 so as to avoid
jostling the binder too much.
C4. Move the print
forward and left to expose the docking station.
distilled water and a towel to clean the stainless steel "spit plate" and dry it.
C6. Use distilled water and a towel and the rubber parking caps
and then dry them.
C7. Use the specialized needle to make sure all
six spray holes under the rubber wiper are clear.
On the computer, click that it is "okay to repark the heads."
Preparing the Powder
C9. With the Z510 offline, lower the feed chamber and place
the fine sifter into it.
the fine sifter and trowel, place powder from the build chamber into the
feed chamber. Discard any lumps or colored bits. There should be about
one-quarter to one-half inch
of powder remaining in the build chamber.
C11. Remove the overflow bin and gently
place the powder through the fine sifter into the feed chamber. Place the cover back on the overflow
bin and put it back into its slot.
C12. Scoop up the
loose, clean powder from around the chambers into the sifter and down into
the feed chamber. If you noticed any contaminates in either chamber, remove
them. Dust the sifter off and put it away.
Remove the tamper from the door of the Z510. Press it down onto the powder
in the feed chamber. Move it around a little, and press down again, rather
hard, to compact the powder. Dump off the powder from the tamper into the
feed chamber and put the tamper away.
C14. If you
are concerned there might not be enough powder for your build, measure the
powder in the feed chamber now with the dipstick.
C15. Raise the
feed and build chambers, as needed, and use the screed to level off the
powder on both chambers. Remove the excess powder from the screed and put it
C16. Close the Z510 lid. Press the Spread button
on the Z510. The moves the heads and spreader to the left. Press it again,
and the chamber heights adjust before the spreader moves to the right. If no
powder was spread, it is because the chambers were too low. Try again: press
Spread to move the spreader to the left. Now raise both chambers until the
powder in each looks like it is nearly at the top of the chamber, and press
Spread. Repeat this until the powder in each chamber is smooth and flat on
Check the levels of the waste fluid jug and wash fluid jug through the slots
in the front lower door. If you can't see, open the front door (not the lid). Check to make sure there
is sufficient clear wash fluid in the wash fluid container. Make sure there
is sufficient room in the waste fluid container. Close the front door.
C18. Place the Z510 back online.
D. Start the Build
D1. In ZPrint, select File, 3D Print. The software asks you if
you have completed some of the steps, above, so indicate that you have. You
should then see a screen that gives you the status for the build. If the
temperature is too low, you might have to wait for the build to start.
On the machine log sheet, please note the information related to this build.
Indicate when you plan to return to remove your part. Please realize that
the person who starts the build should be the same one who removes the part,
and that if your part is sitting in the machine when someone else needs to
use it, you are being a machine hog. There is also a danger of your part
getting broken if it is removed by someone who does not know what to expect
when removing a part.
D3. Observe the first few layers. If there is an error, you
should abort the job. However, it is essential that any contaminated powder
is placed into the trash, rather than into the feed chamber.
E. Allow the Part to Dry for
1 Hour Prior to Removal.
When the build has finished, please realize that it is recommended the part
dries (and strengthens) for an additional 60 minutes prior to removal.
As if it were a delicate dinosaur bone, excavate your part from the build
chamber. Place the powder into the sifter in the feed chamber, and use dry
paintbrush to brush away the powder from near your object,
but do not
actually let the brush touch the object. Carefully lift your object from the
build chamber and dump out as much powder as you can without damaging your
part. Place it on a clean, dry cafeteria tray.
F. Clean up
At the end of every job, the following should be done:
F1. Use the sifter and carefully place the powder from the overflow bin into
the feed chamber.
F2. Use the sifter and place all but 1/4" of powder from the build chamber
back into the feed chamber.
F3. Use brushes and spatulas to place any powder inside the machine around
the chambers back into the feed chamber.
F4.Tamp the powder in the feed chamber.
F5. Screed both the build chamber and the feed chamber, but do not execute a
spread. We will all know that the feed chamber is empty and has 1/4" of
powder if we see the top has been screeded but not spread. However, if we
see a smooth surface that has been spread, we do not know if there is a
model in the build chamber or how much powder is there.
F6. Use the special vacuum under the depowdering unit to clean up any
additional powder that is not in the chambers. Please note that this vacuum
is to be used only for clean powder. If the vacuum suction seems low, report
this to a lab supervisor.
F7. Make sure your entry on the machine log is accurate and complete
G. Determine and Cost Out
the Actual Material Usage
G1. After the build job has finished, download the
appropriate txt file from the control computer's directory: C:\ZCorp
Printer Records\Detailed Reports\. In the example below, you will notice
that I've highlighted in red where to find the amount of powder (3.47 cubic
inches), the amount of clear binder (47.2559 ml), and the amounts of yellow
(25.6021 ml), magenta (25.5181 ml), and cyan (25.4586 ml) binders actually
|Version: Version 7.10.3 - 7
Path: C:\ZPrint Samples\Nefertiti.zpr
Model: Nefertiti.zpr 3.52 5.00 2.45 66.37
Estimation: 2 hours 23 mins
Started: 10/15/10 01:39 PM
Firmware Version: 3.210
Bleed Compensation OFF
Start layer: 0
End layer: 612
Total number of layers: 613
Printer: 192.168.1.2 : Spectrum 510
Base Powder: ZP140
Powder Type: ZP140
Shell Saturation: 100% Binder/Volume: 0.234
Core Saturation: 100% Binder/Volume: 0.117
Waste Available start: 0 mL
Last printed layer: 613
Binder usage for this job: 120.3 mL
Clear Binder usage: 47.2595 mL
4.7 % ( 2487340544 drops )
Yellow Binder usage: 25.6021 mL
2.6 % ( 1347481088 drops )
Magenta Binder usage: 25.5181 mL
2.6 % ( 1343057408 drops )
Cyan Binder usage: 25.4586 mL
2.5 % ( 1339928064 drops )
Waste Available end: 0 mL
Finished: 10/15/10 03:53 PM
Duration: 2 hours 13 mins
G2. Just as you did for the estimate, cost out the actual
use of binder and powder using the following factors (actual replacement
cost values, updated 4/25/2014):
- Multiply the volume in cubic inches by $ 1.59
- or the vol in cubic cm by $.10
- Multiply the ml of clear binder by $ 0.20
- Multiply the ml of colored binder by $ 0.33
- Multiply the ounces of cyanoacrylate by $5.00
- Add the products
This is illustrated for the example in the table below. Note that there are
two figures. In a report, the entire table shown below would be reported.
Please see the instructor or lab supervisor to determine the actual charge
to you, if any.
Estimated Materials Cost
Make sure the vacuum is connected to the back of the de-powdering unit.
Remove everything from the top chamber of the de-powdering unit and place
your part on the tray into it. Close the door.
Consider removing your watch so it does not get powder in it.
Attach the air brush to its hose.
Inside the lower door, turn on the air compressor and the vacuum.
Place your hands through the holes, and very gently blow the powder out of
your part. Do not break your part; the air pressure can sometimes be strong
enough to do this.
When you are done, blow the remaining of the powder down the vacuum hole in
the back left of the unit using the air brush.
Turn off the vacuum and compressor. Replace the air brush into its
container, and place it back into the de-powdering unit.
I. Infiltrate the Part
I1. After de-powdering, the part may still have moisture in it. It is better if
some of this is allowed to dry prior to infiltration. Infiltration is a
finishing operation where a liquid is absorbed in the surface of the part to
increase its strength, hardness, durability, and color contrast. You can air
dry the part, or dry it at 102 C in the laboratory oven until it stops
losing mass. It is also possible to infiltrate the part without this extra
drying, though that is not recommended.
safety glasses when infiltrating parts. Take precautions to avoid burns with
hot wax. Do not allow cyanoacrylate to contact skin.
I2. Infiltrate the part and let it dry. Do not allow it to
become adhered to a workbench, work-surface, paper, or anything else, as you
will likely break your part removing it.
Water: Uncolored (white)
objects may be infiltrated with a fine mist water spray, with a second or
third application after about 10 minutes that get areas missed by the first
application. Parts can also be dipped in water. The surface will be rather
rough, and if you tried this with a colored part, the color would run. But
this is a fast technique, and has the lowest cost.
Epsom Salts Solution: A
solution of Magnesium Sulfate can be used to infiltrate parts that are
colored. Application is with a fine spray, as mentioned above, for water.
There is a little running of color, but not much, and parts are a bit harder
than prior to infiltration. They tend to be somewhat rough.
Wax: Dipping in melted
paraffin is another method of infiltrating parts. This brings out the color
without running, and makes a smooth surface. Part strength is moderate.
Before heating the wax, be sure to drill relief holes.
Cyanoacrylate: Also known
as "super glue," cyanoacrylate is a dangerous adhesive that imparts relative
high strength to colored or white parts. Application is difficult, however,
and can include dribbling or dipping. Some formulations of cyanoacrylate are
quite volatile, and the fumes emitted can irritate the eyes and breathing
passages. This is also a very expensive infiltrant, with 16 fluid ounces
costing $187.00. To apply cyanoacrylate, wear gloves and safety glasses. You
can either carefully dribble drops onto the object over the specially
prepared platform for doing this, or immerse the object into a bath of
cyanoacrylate. Please be very careful when pouring the infiltrant,
dipping objects into it, and pouring it back through a funnel into its
Other Materials: Other
materials can be used as infiltrants. Epoxy is used in industry, though
being an "A B System," whatever is mixed sets very soon and cannot be used
later. Others have tried Minwax Wood Hardener, paint, and a variety of
finishes and adhesives.