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Author: Subject: 3D printers
scudderfish

posted on 21/11/17 at 07:41 AM Reply With Quote
3D printers

My inner geek says I need one. However I fear that once I've printed a couple of trinkets it will just gather dust. If you have one, what useful things have you done with it?

Regards,
David

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dinosaurjuice

posted on 21/11/17 at 08:21 AM Reply With Quote
We have an Ultimaker 2 at work. Its brilliant for prototyping models and concepts for new products. Ive not managed to get good results with ABS so have only used PLA for full prints so far. Trouble with PLA is that it can degrade in as little as 2 years. Despite this i've made and used 'bus bar' bolt terminals, custom brackets for lightweight stuff, a rounded air inlet 'trumpet' for air filter, a bezel to mount a VW headlight switch on a flat panel, all sorts of stuff. No doubt all this stuff will fall apart within 18 months, but hopefully before then ill have had more success with ABS filament!
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Gersen

posted on 21/11/17 at 08:25 AM Reply With Quote
Bonnet louvres, brackets, gear gaiter surround, ECU mounts - even a replacement electric window switch for my MX5.

I'll dig out some photos this evening.

The truth of the matter is that you need to find things to make - 3DP is very rarely the only way to do something, or the quick way, so if you aren't pushing yourself to use it it can sit gathering dust. There is an inertia as you need to measure, design.....then build - though ThingVerse is very good at having a solution for everything.

Mine regularly sees months of being ignored before being used heavily for weeks.

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nick205

posted on 21/11/17 at 09:11 AM Reply With Quote
We design, tool and injection mould quite a few plastic components at work. A year or so ago we acquired a 3D printer, which gets used weekly for trying and testing design ideas (work and home). I don't know the make/model of the printer, but it wasn't a one (we're too tight).

I've thought about whether to acquire one myself, but having one at work negates the need for me.

Prior to having one we used various "rapid prototype" companies to produce hard models for us. The process worked, but wasn't cheap and therefore prevented you from trying small sections of parts almost at will.

To help you try and quantify it can you:

1. Give a list of parts you feel like printing?
2. What you might do with the printed parts?

One thing we worked out quite fast was that our printer works by printing layers on top of each other to build up the part. This results in a laminated end result. The printed part can be strong in one orientation yet weak in another so you have to think ahead for how the part will be used and what forces it may be subjected to.

We've also tried painting printed parts to give a more "finished" appearance. The laminated tends to make it necessary to apply filler or sand the surface prior to painting to achieve a smoother finish - time consuming!

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loggyboy

posted on 21/11/17 at 09:32 AM Reply With Quote
I've been considering one for a few months - and the latest black friday deals are pushing me more and more.
I don't care if I only make a couple of things - its one of those things that will be invaluable once in a blue moon.

Have a view of this guys reviews, pretty good info.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzF5YnUuN4Q

and for the budget choice he points to the CR10 - which is only 256 on gearbest at the mo.






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hughpinder

posted on 21/11/17 at 10:45 AM Reply With Quote
Where my missus works they host a local access business centre that has 3d cad and printing facilities and some other stuff, I think part funded by the council. It is really targeted at businesses, but I know they have had a few locals drop in, to do 'business viability' assessment (e.g. play). It isn't local to you, but there might be something similar near to you if you google 'technology hub' and your local area/towns. One benefit is the guys that work at her place are interested in it and offer help getting started with the various software packages.

http://www.onlincolnshire.org/broadband-for-business/lincolnshire-technology-hubs/horncastle-technology-hub

Might be worth trying before you spend money.

Oh - just realised they have a laser cutter -may need to have a business idea myself....

Hugh

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David Jenkins

posted on 21/11/17 at 11:18 AM Reply With Quote
I bought a 3D printer kit a few years ago (Prusa i3) - not a perfect design by any means, but an excellent way to start. If you have problems (correction - WHEN you have problems) then working out solutions is relatively easy. There's one motor for each movement (well, 2 for up and down, but they work together as one motor) so it's easy to localise any issues. After a lot of refinement I used that machine to make another more advanced printer called a CoreXY (the name describes how the motors work).

If you're buying a machine, stick to the easy cartesian printers like the Prusa and avoid things like deltas and CoreXY - they're very good when they're working, but can be difficult initially to set up properly.

As for justifying the expense of buying and owning a 3D printer - there isn't really any justification, apart from personal entertainment. I enjoy the designing process using tools on the computer, and watching that design come out of the printer. I have made many small parts for car and home, but most could have been done with hand tools. I have made quite a few other very interesting projects, but they're harder to justify to SWMBO!

Parts are unlikely to be as strong as cast or injection-moulded pieces, and you have to select which plastic you need for a particular job. The easiest filament to use is PLA and it's very rigid, but that will degrade over time, especially outside. To overcome this problem you can use ABS, but that is less rigid and can be a sod to print unless your printer is set up to deal with it (heated chamber, etc) - it also gives off unpleasant fumes slightly when printing. There are scores of other materials, and each has its own benefits and problems.

It's a huge - and interesting - learning experience.

FINAL THOUGHTS: nearly forgot - if you do decide to buy an inexpensive printer, watch out - a certain far-eastern Democratic Republic is flooding the 3D market with a load of cheap and nasty components, to the point where people are getting hurt. Buy from a reputable supplier wherever possible.



[Edited on 21/11/17 by David Jenkins]





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coyoteboy

posted on 21/11/17 at 01:38 PM Reply With Quote
Shapeways is so cheap, so fast and so much better than a desktop machine can produce it really doesn't make sense to. I have the same urge, but every time I look I'm disappointed by what's available when comparing it to what I want to use it for. I've had a few things out from shapeways now, nothing has cost more than 4+ shipping and they've come within a week. They've been +/- 0.1mm which is handy, and the array of materials available is (relatively) vast.

[Edited on 21/11/17 by coyoteboy]





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Ben_Copeland

posted on 21/11/17 at 04:24 PM Reply With Quote
I have one, print items that go with several hobbies.

Description
Description


That was done with a Anet A8.. cost me about 140. Very affordable for a hobby machine

There are loads of websites that have things to print.
https://www.thingiverse.com/ is one of the biggest.

Its great fun really and you can print upgrades for the machine so its as good as a 4-500 machines





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David Jenkins

posted on 21/11/17 at 06:28 PM Reply With Quote
Well, the Anet A8 is a Chinese clone of the Prusa i3...





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Ben_Copeland

posted on 21/11/17 at 06:51 PM Reply With Quote
And it prints just as well as one, just you get to DIY build it and mess and tweak it to your hearts content





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David Jenkins

posted on 21/11/17 at 08:19 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ben_Copeland
And it prints just as well as one, just you get to DIY build it and mess and tweak it to your hearts content


Quite probably! The choice is (1) buy a cheap kit and be prepared to do a lot of work to make it print nicely, or (2) spend a lot of money and get something that will work out of the box. Like you, I picked option (1) - I also bought a cheap Prusa-clone kit and, over the past 2 or 3 years, have almost replaced every plastic part that came from the kit, and added a whole load of stuff to make it more rigid and more reliable. Once it was working the way I wanted I used it to go up-market to an advanced machine... however, it still makes better prints than the new one, as I haven't invested enough time in that one yet.

Option (1) is a good way if you're prepared to mess around, and is the way to get an excellent learning experience.





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loggyboy

posted on 21/11/17 at 09:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
quote:
Originally posted by Ben_Copeland
And it prints just as well as one, just you get to DIY build it and mess and tweak it to your hearts content


Quite probably! The choice is (1) buy a cheap kit and be prepared to do a lot of work to make it print nicely, or (2) spend a lot of money and get something that will work out of the box. Like you, I picked option (1) - I also bought a cheap Prusa-clone kit and, over the past 2 or 3 years, have almost replaced every plastic part that came from the kit, and added a whole load of stuff to make it more rigid and more reliable. Once it was working the way I wanted I used it to go up-market to an advanced machine... however, it still makes better prints than the new one, as I haven't invested enough time in that one yet.

Option (1) is a good way if you're prepared to mess around, and is the way to get an excellent learning experience.


Not strictly true. The reviews I've seen of several sub 300 units need minimal set up and trial/error corrections.






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coozer

posted on 21/11/17 at 10:48 PM Reply With Quote
Theres one coming up in Aldi!

299.00





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coozer

posted on 21/11/17 at 10:50 PM Reply With Quote
https://www.aldi.co.uk/3d-printer





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David Jenkins

posted on 22/11/17 at 08:08 AM Reply With Quote
That Aldi one is another in the Prusa style... it looks pretty good for the money!





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Mr Whippy

posted on 22/11/17 at 12:31 PM Reply With Quote
if they guys at my work are anything to go on most things printed seem to be silly things like miniature Einstein's or Beethoven heads, and nick knacks... sure the detail is quite good but yet to see anything particularly useful or that could justify the cost of the machines. Maybe they don't compensate for a lack of imagination.
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David Jenkins

posted on 22/11/17 at 12:40 PM Reply With Quote
For me, designing things is the most interesting aspect of 3D printing - just taking files off Thingiverse and printing them doesn't excite me too much (unless it's a thing I really need or want).





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loggyboy

posted on 22/11/17 at 12:42 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
if they guys at my work are anything to go on most things printed seem to be silly things like miniature Einstein's or Beethoven heads, and nick knacks... sure the detail is quite good but yet to see anything particularly useful or that could justify the cost of the machines. Maybe they don't compensate for a lack of imagination.


https://www.youtube.com/user/RcLifeOnSimon/videos
This guy makes loads of RC bits, including a front, wheels and motor gears!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDU09B59YFQ






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coyoteboy

posted on 22/11/17 at 12:59 PM Reply With Quote
You really have to be careful with your material choices, many have a definite lifespan in anything but desktop environments - and those with significant layering effects can really weaken the part so you have to design knowing the layering direction in the first place.

Also, there's in design practice side of it. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, designs parts as they would for subtractive manufacturing. This totally removes the whole point of 3D printing. You could design some lovely impossible-to-machine shapes which have the best stress distribution possible in the space and mass, but people just make up parts you could chop from a solid block.

I'm a huge fan of 3D printing, but in the right place. In the wrong place I think it totally detracts from it's own cause and gives people shoddy impressions of what can be achieved.





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loggyboy

posted on 22/11/17 at 01:42 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coyoteboy
Also, there's in design practice side of it. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, designs parts as they would for subtractive manufacturing. This totally removes the whole point of 3D printing. You could design some lovely impossible-to-machine shapes which have the best stress distribution possible in the space and mass, but people just make up parts you could chop from a solid block.


Thats assuming you have the facilities to manufacturer them in the 'normal' ways. the printer route can give those without access to those facilities to use it as a one stop shop - but with the limitations you mention.






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David Jenkins

posted on 22/11/17 at 02:17 PM Reply With Quote
The most practical and useful things I've made were probably these scoreboards for my local pub's petanque piste:



The pegs, sockets, numbers and name plates were all made in ABS on my printer. The numbers and names were printed in 2 colours to avoid it looking scruffy when paint starts to peel off. Trying to make 112 sockets, 16 two-part pegs, 56 number plates and 8 name plates (all matching each other) would have been a nightmare in ordinary materials! There are also ABS and stainless steel quick-release fastenings behind the boards and through the posts so that they could be put away at the end of a match.

Once I'd worked out the basic parts I only needed to run several batch jobs to print the whole lot.

I had great fun working all that out...


[Edited on 22/11/17 by David Jenkins]





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coyoteboy

posted on 22/11/17 at 06:26 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by loggyboy
quote:
Originally posted by coyoteboy
Also, there's in design practice side of it. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, designs parts as they would for subtractive manufacturing. This totally removes the whole point of 3D printing. You could design some lovely impossible-to-machine shapes which have the best stress distribution possible in the space and mass, but people just make up parts you could chop from a solid block.


Thats assuming you have the facilities to manufacturer them in the 'normal' ways. the printer route can give those without access to those facilities to use it as a one stop shop - but with the limitations you mention.


It can, but for the price of a decent 3D printer you could pick up a manual mill and do it in proper materials instead





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coyoteboy

posted on 22/11/17 at 06:26 PM Reply With Quote
Double post

[Edited on 22/11/17 by coyoteboy]





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