Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the product downloads for?
A: The download you receive when purchasing a product is a set of 3D-printable files and documentation regarding post-processing after 3D-printing, assembly, and, if needed for your product; configuration, wiring, etc. The files have an STL extension. STL is a standard format, compatible with virtually all consumer-level 3D printers.
Q: How do I order and download?
Choose your product,
Add to cart,
Checkout and Pay with PayPal
Check your email! (The download link is in your receipt); or
Go to My Account http://finixsystems.com/my-account/orders/
Q: The file downloaded as a file with a .ZIP extension. What’s that?
A: A .ZIP file is a container for the set of files that comprise the product. You’ll have to extract these files using an unzip utility for your operating system.
Q: So, I’ve unzipped the downloaded file and see these .STL files. How do I use them?
A: If you open up the bill-of-materials (BOM) document that came with the download, you’ll see illustrations of all of the 3D-printable parts that make up the product. Each part has an STL file that’s used to create the part with a 3D-printer. You would launch the controller for the 3D-printer—Repetier Host, Cura, or whatever, open (load) the file for the part you’d like to print, slice it into layers with a slicer program, and print it.
Q: What’s a slicer program?
A: This is the program that takes the model that the STL file represents and transforms it into layers—kind of like slicing a loaf of bread. Each layer is then transformed into the paths that will be taken by the 3D-printer to put down the melted plastic that will form the part.
Q: I don’t have a 3D-printer. Where can I find one to use?
A: Many libraries, schools and universities have 3D-printers that they allow the public to use. Or you may have a friend in the neighborhood or at school or work who has one.
Q: Where can I go for more information about 3D-printing?
A: The Internet is your friend. Go to RepRep.org as a start. YouTube.com is also very good. If you want to see some of the things that you can do with a 3D-printer, try Thingiverse.com, or Pinshape.com.
Q: The website has “design source code” files that can be downloaded separately. What are these and how can they be used?
A: The files with the .SCAD extension are the human-readable coded descriptions of the various parts of the design. OpenSCAD is the design application that’s used—a 3D Computer Aided Design (3D-CAD) program—that was used to model each of the parts. If, for example, you wanted to change the design in some way, you could open any of the files to see how the product was designed, and make changes to suit your needs. Care was taken during the design phase to label each of the features of each of the parts inside the source code. This will hopefully make the code easier to understand.
Q: There are three .SCAD files in the design source code download. I can guess that the one with the product name is the product, but what’s the “modules_LM_components.scad” file?
A: The base OpenSCAD application comes with a set of primitive 2D and 3D shapes that you use in your programs—circles, cylinders, cubes, etc. The modules_LM_components file contains a number of more advanced shapes—many of them parameterized—that were used in the design: things like a dome, a ring, trapezoidal solids (good for making moldable parts), and also models of some hardware components like bearings, stepper motors, and nuts and bolts that were used to check the fit of things during the design.
Q: And the “modules_headers.scad” file?
A: The modules_headers file contains the global variables used throughout the program.