I am completely new to 3D printing. I need to build a calibration plate, which I was told can be built using vero back plastic and a 3d printer. But I am afraid I need to know more if I give this to someone for fabrication. In particular, I am wondering how to get the white dots on the surfaces. My question is probably ill-posed, but I am trying to get as much info as I can before I consult any 3d printing vendors. Thanks

Calibration plate


The photo is too small to be clear about the entire objective and there are no dimensions provided. A quick google search returns nothing 3d printer related to "black vera plastics" other than a reference to vera bradley, vera wang and an obscure reference to a woven black carpet with white spots of increasing size.

Even within those limitations, one can certainly print a strip of black with white dots. One method involves a dual extruder printer, enabling two colors to be printed, one layer at a time. The black layer would be extruded with suitable holes and the white layer would be place within those holes.

Another method involves printing the black layer with holes, swapping out the filament with white and creating white plugs of appropriate sizes for the necessary fit.

You've used the term calibration plate, which implies some level of precision. Is the precision related to spacing, dot size, dot color, or a combination of the above?

Such requirements may make the cost slightly higher, but not excessively. I can print up to to 290 mm long strip, possibly longer by going diagonal on my 290 mm print bed, with or without the two colors done simultaneously.

If you require crisp edges to the white/black transition, the holes-and-plugs method will give best results and require a bit of post processing. It may be necessary to ream the holes to correct diameter and sand the plugs to fit. Dual extrusion rarely provides sharp delineation from one color to the next.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi many thanks for this and I am sorry for the plastic spec, it's vero back plastic. The spacing and dot size and the coordinates of the dots on three different planes have to be very accurate for 3d photogrammetry. Atleast now I know few keywords. $\endgroup$ – user5019 Nov 26 '16 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Note that this answer focuses on a completely different 3D printing technique than the "vero plastic" leads me to believe you're looking for. Vero is a material used in Statasys' objet line of 3D printers, which use a jetting technique while this answer focusses on FDM printing. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Nov 26 '16 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification, Tom van der Zanden. Stratasys printers are professional level devices, far outside the affordability of my hobbyist interest, but none the less fascinating printers. $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Nov 26 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Well, does this jetting techniques needs any extra specs that I should be aware of. $\endgroup$ – user5019 Nov 26 '16 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, I can't answer the jetting specs part, but suggest that you might be able to get away with FFF/FDM printing if the vendor is willing to work with you regarding spacing and tolerance. Even though my printer is hobby-level, I could accomplish up to 290 mm length strips and probably give 0.5 mm accuracy using the plug and holes method. Because your objective is optical, it truly is a matter of black and white. My DAVID Scanner system uses white panels with black dots with similar accuracy requirements. Sign vinyl works well too! $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Nov 26 '16 at 18:28

What are the characteristics of the white dots? (That is, are the dots small raised bumps, do they denote where a hole will be drilled, are they integral to a piece-to-piece connection, etc...)

If these are small bumps that need to be added to the top of the black surfaces, your most time-effective solution is probably print the black component first (with placement references for where the white dots are to go), then switch materials and print the dots, and attach them to the black component.

Otherwise, you'll need a machine capable of printing in two materials simultaneously(ish). See some of the newer Stratasys machines if you have a good budget ha!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment. The white dots are kind of flush mounted with the black surface, so they don't feel like bumps. Can you give me some more details about the method? $\endgroup$ – user5019 Dec 6 '16 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely. Depending on the thickness of the surface onto which they are being mounted, you could create an recess into the part, where each of the dots are to go, and print that whole piece out. Then switch materials to white, and edit the white dots such that when they are inserted into the recesses put into the black part, they stick out the desired amount. $\endgroup$ – Golightly Dec 6 '16 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ Example: If the black part is .5in thick, and you want the dots to stick out .25in, create an indention in the black part, "extruded cut" into the part .25in. Then, print out the dots to be .5in each. Thus, .5in thick black part, with white dots that stick out .25in. (Adjust the math accordingly obviously!) $\endgroup$ – Golightly Dec 6 '16 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ Lastly, apologies, I've just noticed that your question was already answered above. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – Golightly Dec 6 '16 at 22:51

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