How to Section Oversized Parts Using Insight

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A part that is larger than the build envelope of a 3D printer can still be printed. Oversized parts may be sectioned and subsequently bonded. This tutorial will give you the best practices for sectioning oversized parts.

Software: Insight software

  1. Step 1: Common Reasons for Sectioning

    • Making parts that are larger than the build envelope of the 3D printer.

    • Orienting sections so that each has optimal surface finish or strength.

    • Sectioning parts so they can be bonded around a part made of another material.

    • Verifying print parameters using only a section of a part.

    The most common reason for sectioning parts is the part exceeds the dimensions of the build envelope in the X, Y or Z direction (Figure 1). If possible, section the part in a computer-aided design (CAD) program so that you can add mating features, such as alignment pins or dovetails. However, InsightTM software has options for sectioning parts and adding registration features.




  2. Step 2: Parts Oversized in the X-Y Plane

    Parts that exceed the X-Y build area can be sectioned using Section with profile, accessed from the Slice menu (Figure 2). The options available in the control window are defined below (Figure 3).


    Job name for save: The name of the new job that contains the slice curves for the right section, which is saved and removed after sectioning.

    Job name for remain: The name of the new job that contains the slice curves for the left section nearest the envelope origin, which remains on screen after sectioning.

    Apply registration features: Automatically applies shape modifications to the selected profile curve to assist with registration of the two sections when being joined after building. When enabled, a saw-tooth pattern is applied to both sections.

    - Pattern amplitude: Specifies the amplitude (depth) of the registration feature.

    - Pattern cycle distance: Specifies the frequency that the registration features are repeated.


  3. Step 3: Parts Oversized in the Z Direction

    Parts that exceed the maximum Z height of the build envelope can be sectioned using Section at Z, accessed from the Slice menu (Figure 4). The options available in the control window are defined below (Figure 5).

    Section Z height: Specifies the Z height at which the part will be sectioned. Curves below this height will remain in the Insight software as the current job, and curves above this height will be saved in a new job.

    - Enter a custom value: Specifies sectioning at any point along the Z height.

    - Part middle: Selects the Z height representing the middle of the full part height.

    - Current Z: Selects the current layer as the Section Z height.

    Invert top section: Reorients the uppermost section 180 degrees in the Z direction after sectioning. This is commonly used to reduce the amount of support material required, based on geometry. Mating raster gaps: Creates air gaps between the rasters on the mating surfaces. When using glue to bond parts together, this provides a porous surface for the adhesive. When bonding with solvent, the bond will be stronger with this feature turned off. Apply registration features: Creates a mating tapered plug on the bottom piece and a tapered socket on the top piece.

    - Offset to features: Determines the offset, or width, of the part from the outside wall to the start of the registration feature.

    - Height of features: Specifies the height of the registration plug. A system-defined taper is added throughout the registration feature’s height to assist with part assembly.

    Job name for save: Name of the new job that contains the slice curves for the top section, which is removed from the screen after it is saved. Job name for remain: Name of the new job that contains the slice curves for the bottom section, which remains in the Insight software and becomes the current job.

  4. Step 4: Sectioning Oversized Parts in X-Y

    STEP 1: Configure the modeler.

    STEP 2: Open, orient and slice the STL file (Figure 6).

    STEP 3: If the part exceeds the maximum X or Y dimension, an Error Summary will pop up. Click to accept the error (Figure 7).

    STEP 4: From the Slice pull-down menu, select Section with profile. When the Section with Profile control is active, the cursor changes to a pencil.

    STEP 5: Enter the desired names in the Job name for save and Job name for remain or leave the default names.

    STEP 6: Select the desired Drawing style; by default Snap to grid is selected. Click outside the blue build envelope box to start the sectioning curve. Click again to add additional segments to the curve. Continue clicking to create the desired shape of the sectioning profile. The last click must be outside of the blue build envelope box (Figure 8).

    STEP 7: (Optional) Apply a registration feature by checking the box next to Apply registration features. You may use the default Pattern amplitude and Pattern cycle distance or enter your own values next to each respective option (Figure 9).

    STEP 8: Click to confirm the sectioning curve.

    STEP 9: Click OK and when prompted to save the job for the unsectioned part, click Yes.

    STEP 10: After sectioning is complete, click OK to confirm the save location of the new slice file. The section closest to the origin will remain on the screen while the other section is removed and saved (Figure 10).

    STEP 11: Continue processing the remaining part.

    STEP 12: Save the job and close.

    STEP 13: Open the slice file for the other section of the part. Continue processing.

    STEP 14: Sectioning Oversized Parts in X-Y procedure complete.

  5. Step 5: Sectioning Oversized Parts in Z

    STEP 1: Configure the modeler.

    STEP 2: Open, orient and slice the STL file (Figure 11).

    STEP 3: If the part exceeds the maximum Z dimension, an Error Summary will pop up. Click the green check mark to accept the error.

    STEP 4: Determine the layer height at which sectioning will be done. Below this layer will be the bottom section and above this layer will be the top section.

    STEP 5: Display the layer from Step 3 and switch to a top view.

    STEP 6: Section Section at Z  from the Slice menu pull-down.

    STEP 7: (Optional) In the Section at Z Controls, check the box for Invert Top Section.

    STEP 8: (Optional) Check the box Apply registration features. You may use the default values or enter custom values for Offset to features and Height of features.

    STEP 9: (Optional) When bonding the two parts with glue, check the box for Mating raster gaps.

    STEP 10: Enter the desired names in the Job name for save and Job name for remain fields or leave the default names.

    STEP 11: Select the Current Z option from the Section Z height pull- down menu and click OK. When prompted to save the job for the unsectioned part, click Yes (Figure 12).

    STEP 12: Continue processing the remaining part.

    STEP 13: Save the file and close.

    STEP 14: Open the slice file for the top section. Continue processing.

    STEP 15: Sectioning Oversized Parts in Z procedure complete

  6. Step 6: Conclusion

    Following the best practices can save you time and supplies and help you complete a build you may not have thought was possible.


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