Easily 3D Print Mesh Screens


If you need a way to make openings in your project enclosures look nice just head on over to the 3D printer. In the image above [Alfred] is showing off the result of his Slic3r hack for printing mesh grills.

It’s important to note that you need to make sure you’re using Slic3r version 0.9.8. This won’t work with newer versions because starting with 0.9.9 the software will add a raft to the bottom of your design.

The grill can be in any shape you desire. It starts by modelling this outline, then extruding the edges downward the same distance as your desired mesh thickness. After importing the design file into Slic3r [Alfred] uses the support material settings to choose this honeycomb design. He then sets the fill density to zero. This means the design will not be printed at all, only the fill material, resulting in these honeycomb screens.

Slic3r’s a fantastic piece of software. Check out this interview with Slic3r’s lead developer.

22 thoughts on “Easily 3D Print Mesh Screens

  1. Isn’t there somewhere you could just buy material like this? I would think that the cost of filament would make this rather cost-prohibitive if there was a place where you could just buy this type of mesh.

    …Actually I could really use something similar to this made out of metal. IS there a place online that sells stuff like this?

      1. TY that’s a pretty cool site, I’ll have to add it to my bookmarks. (Doesn’t seem like they have what I want, but they have something very close that I might settle for.)

          1. Actually I just looked at their site again, and they do actually have what I want, I didn’t browse their site properly last time. >.> But yes, it did help me find what I wanted when I found out what I wanted was called “perforated sheets”, which seems so stupidly obvious now that I know, but I have absolutely no experience with metal-work of any kind so I really am a complete noob when it comes to this stuff…

      2. McMaster-Carr is the nerd-porn of Mechanical engineers, just like Digikey and Mouser is for electronics engineers. All the MechE’s I have ever worked with have a browser open to them (I have several to Digikey and Mouser…)

        Still – the hack itself exploits a “bug” where you set the thickness of the first layer to 0 (if I understood Alfred). He is one of the real masters of the 3D printer at Quelab. He and Ray built the 3D printer after a successful Indigogo campaign.

        Love Hack-a-day because they are willing to show cool hacks – and isn’t that a good reason to get out of the bed in the morning? Keep banging the rocks together && Changing The World.

    1. If you’re looking for a metal version, the search term “Expanded Metal” will help out a lot. An easily available source for both metal and plastic would be gutter guards sold in home improvement stores to keep leaves and sticks out of your gutters.

      1. TY for the tip, expanded metal is pretty close to what I’m looking for, and I might settle for that. Gutter guards aren’t big enough for what I need though (I’m trying to make a perforated guard to cover my custom subwoofer box.)

        What I was hoping to find was a 3′ x 1 1/2′ sheet of perforated metal, with small ~1-2 mm staggered holes (The site MM54 suggested actually has thin sheets in this exact style, but it’s way too thin and flexible.) I’ve seen this kind of mesh on speakers before (my old pair of computer speakers had this mesh) and I really like it. I think now I might just get some expanded metal though and cover that with thin black cloth or something.

        1. Sheet metal suppliers carry what you need. I bought a meter square sheet of aluminum that is perforated with 2 mm holes from a local shop. They had sizes with larger perforations too.

  2. I think there’s an easier way I used – althoug I haven’t tried it yet on Slic3r 0.9.9.

    Just create a box, and set top and bottom solid layers to 0, set the infill to honeycomb with the desired fill ration and fire away. No simpler model than a single box :)

  3. This grill work could get a lot more exciting than worker bee vision, and design. Celtic sailors and Belgian ladies got it all over bees when it comes to this design.

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