Ganging Up

When I'm printing things like the Printable Scenery ruins I've mentioned before, I first create and re-size the assemblies I want from the individual component STL files, and arrange them into a compact group, using Blender. Then I export a single STL of the whole group.

When that STL goes into Cura to be translated into a gcode printer file, I'll fill up the platen with as many copies of it as I can fit, so I'm printing multiples at once rather than having to restart the print job over and over. Laying out several models for the same print run is called "ganging up", it's a very old term that comes from 2d printing.

Of course, with an FDM printer this increases the printing time in a 1:1 ratio; twice the models means twice the printing time. It doesn't really save me any actual time, just the faffing about between print runs. On the other hand, a DLP resin printer, which uses an LCD screen to project and expose each layer sequentially, the amount of stuff on the platen has no effect at all on the print speed; it runs at a set rate per millimetre of height, so it pays off, in terms of printing efficiency, to cram things together.

The down-side to ganging up on the platen is that if for any reason the print fails, then you've lost  at least twice as many models and wasted twice as much filament (or resin).

In this picture, I've got two iterations of the STL I exported from Blender. That pretty much fills up my platen, though I could possibly have put some other smaller models in the corners. Not this time.

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