Developer's Kit
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Design tips for the Voxel8 SolidWorks add-in

When designing your project with the Voxel8 SolidWorks add-in you will want to design with these tips, tricks and best practices.

Here is a good first tutorial to walkthrough in SolidWorks to get started designing using the add-in.

Basic Guidelines

  • Use a SolidWorks main Assembly to store and organized your individual SolidWorks Parts for body geometries, traces, and components.

  • You can either use SolidWorks lines or center lines to layout your traces with the SolidWorks Sketch tool. Using the add-in you convert these to traces before uploading to the Voxel8 Dashboard. See tutorial #1 for how to do this.

  • When dealing with complex geometries, it's best to leverage the 3D Sketch features if you're dealing with more than just one surface (i.e. 3D Sketch on plane) or 3D Sketch. This allows you to sketch on surfaces such as planes more easily. Check out the 2nd Voxel8 SolidWorks tutorial for information on this method of creating trace within projects.

Trace settings

  • Traces should be 500 microns wide and 190 microns tall.

  • Traces and components should be given 350 microns of offset in x and y.

  • Traces should have 1 layer height of offset in Z.

  • Where possible, circuits should be laid out in the x, y plane with vertical connections between planes.

  • Horizontal and vertical traces are best. Diagonal traces can be done if necessary, but slicing these creates a "staircase" of silver. Generally best to stay within the xy plane or move vertically in Z.

  • The Z axis in SolidWorks is the top. Be sure to orient your part this way so you have the best control of the silver geometry when using the add-in.

  • Below is an image of the trace parameters you can vary (see Picture 001). The best way to learn these is to just play with the settings a bit. 

    Picture 001: Silver trace settings that can be set within the Voxel8 SolidWorks add-in.
(1) refers to the width of the trace in the XY plane. I like using 0.5mm because our slicer makes 2 paths of silver for the width (the nozzle tip is 0.25mm diameter). You can use a smaller width (greater than 0.25mm) if you need more space, but know that it will only create a single path.
(2) refers to the height of the trace in the Z axis. This is the Z axis in SolidWorks, so be sure to orient your part. 0.19mm is a standard height, and anything larger will be printed in two layers. 0.10mm is the minimum height that can be printed.
(3) is used for the width in the XY plane of a vertical trace. This generates a square column of silver. 0.5mm is a good starting point.
(4), (5), and (6) are used to subtract materials surrounding the silver.
(4) subtracts material in the XY plane. 0.15mm is a good size if you want to create a valley for the silver to lie in. However, if the space between the sides of two parallel silver traces is 0.35mm because you want a trace of plastic to separate the two, but you use 0.15mm offset (4), then you only have 0.35mm-(2*.15mm)=0.05mm of plastic material in between the silver traces, which won't print in the slicer since the minimum PLA width is 0.35mm.
(5) should generally be 0.19mm, the height of one layer. This will remove material from above (+Z axis) the silver.
(6) 0.15mm is also good for vertical traces. It provides enough clearance for the nozzle to print, but enough structure to keep the vertical silver trace upright.
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