looking at 3d printers- who's reviews do you believe
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    Default looking at 3d printers- who's reviews do you believe

    I got to looking at 3d printers- we have some potential projects coming up for injection molding and nothing beats a part to hold in your hand and trial assemble sometimes. I have had 3d printing done in the past but am in no way " highly experienced". I just know it seemed expensive ( most likely like machining, wait until you get your own to redefine expensive). The parts will be above most of the smaller ones.... the Makerbot replicator + seems to have decent reviews and a decent build windo size for my parts.

    some of the parts I have had printed in the past you could clearly see and feel the straification- they were just rough to the touch. If I buy a printer I'd just as soon have it be useful and make smoother stuff- I can't really say the product but if I want to test it the dimensions have to be pretty close and it needs to be fairly smooth. I don't know if I am looking for FFF or SLA- I vaguely know the difference between them. SLA's I have been around in the past were dimensionally accurate and smooth, but I'd like to keep my expenditure below $4k.

    The last part- has to be easy to use- I don't have time for another project I have to spend a boatload of time on to get to work.

    so edumacate me on 3d printing- am I better off keeping a good vendor online or are the mid range 3d printers worth buying?

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    It's all about layer resolution. If you want a truely smooth part just get it machined from plastic. Especially if you already have a solid model. Find someone/ask the company to print a trial part and see if it is satisfactory if you are hell bent on 3d printing.

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    get it machined? If it was easily machineable I'd machine it myself....but this is not a simple brick with a couple holes and corner rounds.... different animal entirely. I could knock one out in steel but it would take milling, turning, sinker edm, and maybe a little wire edm....a couple holding jigs.... and be a boatload more work than 3d printing it.

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    I have a Zortrax M200 that has been useful. I don't use it much but when I need something it's been handy. You would be welcome to come send a part sample in 3d format and I'll have a look at it. If it looks like it will print on my printer you can come over and we can watch the process? You might not want to watch the whole process as it can take hours. These days though I only can use fusion 360 to generate the file. So I would need something that is a Fusion 360 file or easily imported in it. I'm no Fusion 360 expert either as I don't use it often enough.

    Forgot to mention I only have ABS in color white. If you want to try another material you would need to order some.

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    if you want your parts to look close to a molded part you'll have to look at a pro type of machine, Makerbots are only ok for what you get.

    I say this because here at ASU our shop has a Fortus 400 mc and the parts come out SWEET then the students come in with parts made on a Makerbot and they are no where as clean as the Fortus.
    other things to look at, the more complicated the part the more you should have a breakaway\water soluble support material to hold undercut areas so the model material doesn't sag, this makes the parts very clean and accurate. You'll need a wash tank that gets to 70 degrees C and a 13 PH to remove the support.

    or as Max said cnc out of plastic, yes plastic, how do you think prototypes were made before 3D printing. I have built many models of injection molded parts for ID and Engineering house over the last 30 years cnc machining ABS, Polycab, Nylon, Delrin Acrylic and others. The trick is if you use a solvent bondable material you break the part up into smaller pieces and the solvent bond together using Weld-On 3, water thin so it flows into the space and melts the pieces together. If you use a solid modeler like SW that's a breeze to split up and if your smart about it while splitting add pins, notches, grooves and bosses to help locate the them for glueing. I know you may say there are rades in the corners and I say so it still gives you a part that helps you see what you are after, again JMO.

    just some insight to what I do everyday CAD, CAM, CNC, 3D Print, Laser Cut and Probe\Laser scan parts to help Mechanical Engineering students at the University complete their senior design projects.

    hope this helps

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    Reviews are really hard to get for professional applications because the signal-to-noise ratio FAR favors hobbyist bullshit. Like the one I have at home (so maybe I'm just as guilty, since I gave tons of pageviews to those types of reviews)

    I think if you contact your CAD reseller, they'll either already have machines, or have a company they partner with that supplies machines. They can put you in touch with companies USING it that you might be able to talk to, or have samples ready to go.

    I'm going to a 3dprinting/3dscanning industry event in STL soon (early March) that involves injection molding applications for 3d printers. I'm more interested in how I can apply it to workholding, fixturing, jig design and other in-house applications, as we're not a mold shop. Mostly I'd like to pick the brains of other attendees that may already have such machinery and find out their input before I decide if it's worth giving the boss a proposal to get a machine.

    You might see if there's something similar going on near you. That's the best way to weed out the "undesirable" machines.

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    I have a Makerbot level 3-D printer and the parts are rough, but the printer was only $500. For better quality you need finer layer thickness/smaller nozzle size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILLEO6709 View Post
    I got to looking at 3d printers- we have some potential projects coming up for injection molding and nothing beats a part to hold in your hand and trial assemble sometimes. I have had 3d printing done in the past but am in no way " highly experienced". I just know it seemed expensive ( most likely like machining, wait until you get your own to redefine expensive). The parts will be above most of the smaller ones.... the Makerbot replicator + seems to have decent reviews and a decent build windo size for my parts.

    some of the parts I have had printed in the past you could clearly see and feel the straification- they were just rough to the touch. If I buy a printer I'd just as soon have it be useful and make smoother stuff- I can't really say the product but if I want to test it the dimensions have to be pretty close and it needs to be fairly smooth. I don't know if I am looking for FFF or SLA- I vaguely know the difference between them. SLA's I have been around in the past were dimensionally accurate and smooth, but I'd like to keep my expenditure below $4k.

    The last part- has to be easy to use- I don't have time for another project I have to spend a boatload of time on to get to work.

    so edumacate me on 3d printing- am I better off keeping a good vendor online or are the mid range 3d printers worth buying?
    We were in the same situation as you are about a year ago. For years we would typically build a prototype mold and make modifications to it to get the part perfected before building a production tool. This was very time consuming and tedious. We then started having 3D prints made outside to speed up the process but then it became build the model with our in house software, send the model to an outside 3D printer and wait a week or so to get the prints which were about the right size and shape but not really accurate enough for testing. These prints were made with FDM technology. After attending a seminar we learned the different types of technology available and looked into SLA prints. After having some prototype parts made with SLA printing we decided to make the leap and get our own SLA printer to further expedite the prototyping process.
    We decided to go with Formlabs Form 2. You can get going for under $4k, it has it's own software to convert your .stp file and is very simple to use. We have not had a failed print yet and have not had a print take longer than about 3 hours. Our parts are pretty small so I can't say how long your prints will take but we have started them before leaving for the day and they were ready in the morning. You do need to clean the parts in alcohol and then cure them with UV light after(we use a UV nail curing salon)which adds about 1-1/2 hours to the process but the parts are more accurate and smoother than the FDM parts. Formlabs website is very informative and they have their own user forum.
    If you want to see some of the prints we've made or want any other info, PM me and I'll try to help.

    I have no connection to Formlabs other than having one of their products.
    Last edited by swamp dweller; 02-14-2017 at 10:48 AM. Reason: ADD INFO

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    We use this printer MakerGear M2 - Top-Rated Desktop 3D Printer - MakerGear™. We have tried a couple FDM printers and this one is one of the best. We use it to print molds for casted materials. On dimensional tolerance it seems to get close to .003 on certain parts. For our business it has been great we can don't have crazy part tolerances and this allows us to make molds that otherwise would require us to get a 5 axis. Only problem with the printer is the small work envelope. To get a bigger work envelope the price jumps up quite a bit.

    As far as reliability goes on these printers we run them almost daily for about two years now and have only replaced a few parts on them. And we run long prints through the weekend. If you get into longer running parts you may need to get a backup battery if you have any power surges or drops like we do in the area. One flicker of the power and your print is done without a backup battery.

    The other nice thing is this printer is made locally in Ohio and its always nice to support local business.

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    That is one thing that always pissed me off about these 3D Printers. I've not discovered any way to have it start from the middle of a program, or even to create a new part that has the bottom 70% (or w/e) cut off and simply start the machine at Z=5.00" or something.

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    I'm new here so forgive me if I am not following guidelines when replying. The bad thing about reviews is that they can be so obtuse or biased based upon the person's expectations and/or experience.

    I have had experience with quite a number of printed objects ranging from the Objet, UPrint, Formlabs, Makerbot Rep2, Afinia printers, Printrbot, and my own. Different prints for different uses. It depends on what you want in the printer to buy. You can not fairly compare FFF to SLA to DLP without knowing the purpose for each (which you seem to know). I have seen incredible prints come from each. The key is this...post production and the tolerance (accuracy and resolution...I will spare the argument in the industry of the definitions). Is it ok to compare a $400 printer to a $4,000? Absolutely, if we are talking about the end product/result and not usage, machine specs, tech support, etc. So the big question is "How much time are you willing to spend on post production and the cost to print each item? As you know, FFF is the most cost effective unless you consider your time to clean and polish up the prints.


    Quote Originally Posted by WILLEO6709 View Post
    I got to looking at 3d printers- we have some potential projects coming up for injection molding and nothing beats a part to hold in your hand and trial assemble sometimes. I have had 3d printing done in the past but am in no way " highly experienced". I just know it seemed expensive ( most likely like machining, wait until you get your own to redefine expensive). The parts will be above most of the smaller ones.... the Makerbot replicator + seems to have decent reviews and a decent build windo size for my parts.

    some of the parts I have had printed in the past you could clearly see and feel the straification- they were just rough to the touch. If I buy a printer I'd just as soon have it be useful and make smoother stuff- I can't really say the product but if I want to test it the dimensions have to be pretty close and it needs to be fairly smooth. I don't know if I am looking for FFF or SLA- I vaguely know the difference between them. SLA's I have been around in the past were dimensionally accurate and smooth, but I'd like to keep my expenditure below $4k.

    The last part- has to be easy to use- I don't have time for another project I have to spend a boatload of time on to get to work.

    so edumacate me on 3d printing- am I better off keeping a good vendor online or are the mid range 3d printers worth buying?

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    Sorry to be late to the party. I am by far not an expert in 3d printing, but I do know a few things. Having designed and built my own through blood sweat and tears. I should know at least a bit.

    If you want to do semi pro stuff. Ultimaker is what your looking for. This company has been refining their machines for ages and for the price you do get a good machine. 2-3K

    Stay away from makerbot, the whole thing here is not a point of pride or some BS about politics. Its the proprietary crap they make you deal with. Imagine if you bought your lathe and the only tool that fits it is made by the manufacturer of the lathe, to top it off said lathe has a very high wear rate on tooling. Same thing with makerbot.

    If you want enthusiast grade and are willing to tinker, then the market is much more flooded. 200$ to 1000$ gets you allot of machine to play with.

    Introductory 3d printer, monoprice mini is the favorite dejur.

    Layer height is not everything. 3d printing is mainly about quality movements and designing to 3d print. Its not a magic bullet. Most 3d printers will do at least .1mm layer height, that is 0.003937007874 of an inch according to calculators. Allot of printers can be used at nearly 1/2 that. Even then the material you use has a coefficient of contraction/expansion of at least 1%. A good 3d printer with FDM (Cheapest kind) can do +-.1 to +-.3mm of tolerance depending on part type and infill.

    If you ever need help with any more info, you can PM me and I would be more than willing to help. 3d printing is my main hobby.

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    We have three 3D printers.

    Stratasys Dimension Elite
    Maker Bot Z18
    Markforged Mark Two

    The Markforged is the best by far. Stronger material choices, selective carbon fiber reinforcement, great resolution. I think we paid about 15k with all the options.

    Let me know if you need more info.

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    We had a big project involving a lot of complicated plastic parts that needed to be molded, instead of outsourcing it we just rented a Stratasys Dimension 1200 for a month. The parts needed minimal sanding and painting with a high build primer to be ready for molding, and were very strong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by engineerd3d View Post

    Layer height is not everything. 3d printing is mainly about quality movements and designing to 3d print. Its not a magic bullet. Most 3d printers will do at least .1mm layer height, that is 0.003937007874 of an inch according to calculators. Allot of printers can be used at nearly 1/2 that. Even then the material you use has a coefficient of contraction/expansion of at least 1%. A good 3d printer with FDM (Cheapest kind) can do +-.1 to +-.3mm of tolerance depending on part type and infill.
    This guys knows his stuff. KUDOS!!!

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    I have done thousands of hours of prints in the last year or so and have used most of the common consumer printers (and am working with a company developing a new type of consumer printer) so I have a bit of experience.

    They are useful but have serious limitations which throwing money at can help as you get into the professional level.

    As for online reviews and the rest of the Maker BS out there it is rather questionable at best. As was mentioned in an earlier post Makergear makes, without question the best consumer printer (I have used both the Makergear M2 and the ULtimaker 2/2+ extensively along with a range of others from makerbot, modt etc). The Ultimatker (2+ etc) has significant inherent issues with the design and how it is carried out. It was not designed by engineers or even particularly technical people but is a derivative evolution from opensource developed printers. The Makergear is vastly better design, much more rigid and better engineered. It is also cheaper. The remote extruder used on Ultimater means it will suffer from print quality issues more than a direct drive printer such as the M2. Print head speed and acceleration is nearly never going to to be the ultimate limitation to print duration or quality so moving the extruder off the print head does not do anything other than reduce control over extrusion and add friction to the system.

    It all really depends on what you need to do, something like the Makergear can be useful within in its limitations and material choices. The SLA printers although expensive to both to buy and to run produce much better, more accurate results in a wider range of materials. But they are really very expensive. The professional FDM printers work better than the consumer ones for sure but I am not sure the improvement in performance justifies the cost.

    Luke

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    I have owned a Makerbot, and I now own a Lulzbot TAZ 6. If you are a CNC machinist, DO NOT BUY A MAKERBOT. It is aimed at appliance operators, and it was frustrating as hell.

    I am very happy with the Lulzbot, but be prepared to spend time getting your 3D printer chops. On the other hand, it's $2500 and not $25,000.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whidbey View Post
    I have done thousands of hours of prints in the last year or so and have used most of the common consumer printers (and am working with a company developing a new type of consumer printer) so I have a bit of experience.

    They are useful but have serious limitations which throwing money at can help as you get into the professional level.

    As for online reviews and the rest of the Maker BS out there it is rather questionable at best. As was mentioned in an earlier post Makergear makes, without question the best consumer printer (I have used both the Makergear M2 and the ULtimaker 2/2+ extensively along with a range of others from makerbot, modt etc). The Ultimatker (2+ etc) has significant inherent issues with the design and how it is carried out. It was not designed by engineers or even particularly technical people but is a derivative evolution from opensource developed printers. The Makergear is vastly better design, much more rigid and better engineered. It is also cheaper. The remote extruder used on Ultimater means it will suffer from print quality issues more than a direct drive printer such as the M2. Print head speed and acceleration is nearly never going to to be the ultimate limitation to print duration or quality so moving the extruder off the print head does not do anything other than reduce control over extrusion and add friction to the system.

    It all really depends on what you need to do, something like the Makergear can be useful within in its limitations and material choices. The SLA printers although expensive to both to buy and to run produce much better, more accurate results in a wider range of materials. But they are really very expensive. The professional FDM printers work better than the consumer ones for sure but I am not sure the improvement in performance justifies the cost.

    Luke
    Completely agree with you. We had two ultimaker's before getting the maker gear printers. The ultimaker has more belts they will stretch and the prints become less accurate. The bowden style hot end creates more artifacts in the final prints. The direct drive is the way to go. One problem with most of the consumer grade printers is the fact they use stepper motors and this can create the ghosting affect in the print. When you add servo's you can remove the ghosting because the motors can factor in the acceleration and deceleration.

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    The company I am working with has a solution for the open-loop stepper motor problem without spending the cash on servos, now we just need to get someone to buy the technology and bring it to market. It is super cool to reach into a printer, push the head way off course and see it correct and keep printing. No more missed steps


    Luke

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    id honestly not even bother with a 3d printer until someone releases a somewhat low cost laser sintering version. out side of that, if i had to buy one today, and couldnt spend SLS type money... it would be a projet no question.


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