I take it you have all heard about Luban? Yes, that program where you can make your models into multiple parts. Well, it’s now going a lot further by adding a lot more features! So, here we will be talking about LuBan features! The new ones and old, so what are we waiting for? Let’s do it!
First of all lets tell you what this software is about:
LuBan is next-generation, generative CAD/CAM software discovered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and developed at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to help designers and makers improve physical production of their creations.
LuBan automatically generates 3D models in the form of (1) stacking, (2) interlocking, (3) finger joint, and (4) 3D printed models. Parts of a model can be fabricated by laser cutting and 3D printing. The Software is not dependent on specific fabrication methods; instead, it can interface with many types of machines through several standard file formats such as DXF, EPS, OBJ, STL, and SVG.
Laser cutter users sometimes hope to engrave 2D projections of a 3D model. LuBan’s new feature,Wireframe imprint, can achieve this in a few button clicks.
Open a 3D model in LuBan. Go to Mesh -> LuBan and select the Wireframe method. Adjust the number of contours in different directions and rotate the model to a nice position.
Then click “Imprint“; the 2D projection will be there.
LuBan also supports imprinting a model without reslicing the mesh lines. In this case:
Open a 3D model, set the color scheme to Gray (Edit -> Color scheme -> Gray),
Next, turn off the axis (Edit -> Axis -> Hide)
Finally, export the model as a BMP image (File -> Export -> BMP).
A 2D projection is saved as a BMP image. The background is white and the lines to be engraved are black. The image can be directly fed into most laser cutters’ control software, where you set the machine to engrave black pixels.
Wireframe Imprint can be used in creating many cool effects. See this video for an example:
Turn 2D Shape into 3D
One of the easiest ways to produce a 3D shape is to assign a 2D shape a thickness. LuBan has incorporated such a function.
To get started, run LuBan and go to “File -> Invoke 2D window“.
You may also import a 2D DXF file using “File -> Import -> DXF figure” or directly draw a 2D shape in the window.
Set the canvas size using “Draw -> Canvas -> Size” and then “Draw -> Create -> Any shape“. Note that only a closed shape can be converted to a 3D shape and exported as STL.
When you have some 2D shapes in the window, go to “File -> Export -> STL“.
Input a thickness for the 2D shapes and they are exported as a STL file. You may open the STL file in a LuBan 3D window and process it like any STL model. You will see that the 2D shapes are in a lying position when converted to 3D. The thickness is the height in the Z direction.
If you wish to put the 3D shapes in a standing position, you may go to “Object -> Rotate X” in a LuBan 3D window and input -90 or 90 degree.”
LuBan Natural Cut
When a big object is assembled from a few smaller parts, the cut lines are often prominent. LuBan’s Natural Cut feature aims to cut a big object by following its shape. This makes it so that the cut lines are less prominent.
A natural cut requires a planar cut as its base position. The software searches the vicinity of the planar cut for a curved cross-section to optimize the cut shape.
Just like the planar cut, the natural cut is available in two functions:
When using the second function, you need to input a cutting plane, because a natural cut needs a plane to indicate the rough location of cutting.
The current version of LuBan works on a solid model, not a hollow model. If a hollow cross-section is detected, the software rolls back to planar cut.
The current version cannot deal with complicated local shapes. If an error is detected in natural cut, LuBan rolls back to planar cut. So, even though natural cut is applied, you may still get some planar cuts.
LuBan Grid Cut
Mesh -> Split -> Grid cut
This function splits a mesh model into equal-sized blocks. It was requested by John Sanford. I also believe it is a handy function. Luban’s Grid Cut is handy for when you want to cut a map into parts.
LuBan Cylindrical Print Volume
Mesh -> Luban -> Output -> Printer Bed -> Circle
This feature was suggested by Tim Fahlbusch. Users who have cylindrical 3D printers will like it. Manufacturers, such as Daniel van Mourik, who make Delta/Kossel style 3D Printers should love it!
The 3D model used in the examples was designed by Marcelo Lopes Vieira.
Interested in learning more about LuBan check out our LuBan Tutorial