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ruddypict

join:2010-03-24
kudos:2
reply to vue666

Re: 3D Printers

Actually the field is growing at an incredible pace right now, whether its the higher end systems or the lower end desktop systems (I hesitate to say DIY as many come pre-assembled now).

For many fields its still limited run/prototyping use but there are some fields using this for their actual regular manufacturing runs. Especially in any industry where customization is more important than mass production (ie dental).

The price range varies a lot. You can probably build your own pretty easily for ~$400. Don't expect crazy quality, and you'll probably spend more time tuning it than printing, but pushing the machine's limits is half the fun.

The filament extrusion based printers can come up with some pretty good quality now actually. Many can do layers smaller than 0.01mm and there are many kinds of filament to play with now; I have ABS, PLA (biodegradable), nylon and wood filament. Don't judge extrusion printers by the pictures their competitors post .

The Form1 was looking top notch and I almost bought one myself. But there's that lawsuit involving 3D Systems patents going on right now; if you didn't get in on the original kickstarter campaign you'll probably have to wait the court case out. That being said, if they do start selling again they'll be on my wish list.

Right now I own two; a higher end "home" printer and a high end commercial printer. If anyone has questions I'd be happy to help.

If you are looking at getting more involved or see how they work, just look up your local hackerspace. Most of them have 3D Printers, laser cutters and other toys for members to enjoy. They might not have the bigger commercial printers but they usually have access to them at reduced rates.

Also, don't order from bits from bytes, they're overpriced. Check out Voxel Factory in Montreal www.voxelfactory.com


vue666
Small block Chevies rule
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join:2007-12-07
Halifax, NS
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Thanks kindly...will do...


Guspaz
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Montreal, QC
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reply to ruddypict
I was judging the PortaBee's quality based on PortaBee's pics; in this case, their own pics don't look much different from their competitors'. Yeah, high-end FDM printers can get pretty decent quality, but I've yet to see a sub thousand dollar FDM (filament-based) printer that does. Most of the results seem to look like the PortaBee. Low-res, with strings hanging, rough quality to it, etc.

The MakerBot Replicator 2 is an FDM printer that produces pretty decent quality, for example, but it costs $2,200 too.
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El Quintron
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said by Guspaz:

The MakerBot Replicator 2 is an FDM printer that produces pretty decent quality, for example, but it costs $2,200 too.

I don't think there's any question that a printer that nearly five times as much should (hopefully ) print better, I was suggesting an economical solution to start exploring 3D printing...
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ruddypict

join:2010-03-24
kudos:2
reply to Guspaz
There are ways to pull off a sub-thousand dollar printer and get good quality. If you're willing to put the time into it. Its going to require lots of elbow grease, tuning and constant modification. So, its possible, just not in the realm of normal users yet. Maybe next year.

Part of the problem is, there's so many FFF printers out there it gets hard to keep track. Make had a magazine issue out which did a really good round-up of what's cool/popular out there. They also covered non-filament models like the Form1 and the B9 Creator. If you can find it, I highly recommend the issue.

The MarkBot Rep2 does do pretty decent quality. Its definitely not the cheapest printer out there. I think it advertises 100 micron layers; I've done 60 on my home machine and its a cheaper machine. Then again the Makerbot is a bit easier to operate.

Stringing from pictures isn't the best indicator. It could be that the machine doesn't handle retraction well, or it could be that the operator didn't slice the model correctly. And some slicers are better at it than others, depending on what machine/firmware you have. The material you are using and the temperature you are printing at has an impact as well.


ruddypict

join:2010-03-24
kudos:2
reply to Guspaz
I think this one's a good balance of quality (similar z layers to a Rep2) and cost (Under $1000 assembled). The build area is very small. But you can do it even cheaper if you build your own (the body can be laser cut or 3d printed). It does have a small build area though (about the size of a Dr Pepper can, from the pictures).

»www.tantillus.org/Home.html

I might build one; its small size makes it pretty portable.


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
Ugh. They make the part drawings in Blender. While Blender is a really good tool for freehand it sucks at precision modelling. You cannot move the cursor to a location specified in coordinated or position a primitive object via numeric inputs.
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vue666
Small block Chevies rule
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Halifax, NS
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Google Sketchup is a bit more precise...

But YES for real world precision a true cad program like Autocad would be preferred over a 3D modeling app like 3DMax, Lightwave3D, Blender, Hexagon3D, etc...


ruddypict

join:2010-03-24
kudos:2
I can see why the author used Blender. His printer is open hardware and he wants to reach as large an audience as possible. People can download Blender for free, and is cross platform (Windows, Mac, Linux). Most people grabbing those files are converting it to a format for printing (like STL), not editing; for those who do want to edit there's nothing stopping you from importing it into Autocad.

Personally I find Blender's interface confusing. But it does export to a variety of formats and it hasn't let me down.

Google Sketchup is terrible for 3D Printing. Its not a solid modeller, its a surface modeller. There are plugins for exporting to STL but they only work about half the time (you can also import to Meshlab and export, but that doesn't always work either). Its actually a bit disappointing as I found Sketchup really easy to use. If more slicers could use Sketchup formats natively or if they came up with a clean way to make a solid model and export to STL, I'd definitely use it myself.

For the real world it really does depend on your application. Autocad would be great if you needed an extremely precise part, but it would be laughable to use it for jewellery or dental applications. Some modellers have 3d printing specific features which make them more appealing for this, like Rhino3d.


vue666
Small block Chevies rule
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join:2007-12-07
Halifax, NS
kudos:1
How about Wings3D?

»www.wings3d.com/

It's free, a polygonal solid modeler and exports to the stl format as well as Maya's obj


Black Box

join:2002-12-21
said by vue666:

How about Wings3D?

»www.wings3d.com/

It's free, a polygonal solid modeler and exports to the stl format as well as Maya's obj

+1 Or FreeCAD.
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vue666
Small block Chevies rule
Premium
join:2007-12-07
Halifax, NS
kudos:1
I've heard of it but never tried it. I did purchase a copy of TurboCAD years ago but it confused me... LOL


ruddypict

join:2010-03-24
kudos:2
reply to vue666
Wings does look like it would be pretty useful. I will check it out.


vue666
Small block Chevies rule
Premium
join:2007-12-07
Halifax, NS
kudos:1
Easy to use too... and FREE. Available for Windows, Linux & MAC....

I use it quite a bit...