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  1. #101
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    Which model did you end up with?

  2. #102
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    I have to respond to this. I have a fair bit of experience using 3D printers. Two Dimension 1200es(s), two ultimaker 2s, a 3DP 1000, a Makerbot. They perform rather differently, the ultimaker and the dimension 1200es printers being the best in my oppinion. I feel the makerbot is a peice of crap. The 3DP 1000 is great for very specific things, when you need to go big, other wise I try to avoid it.

    The ultimakers print well when properly calibrated, producing amazing surface finish given your limited support options, either design for pritning and modify your overhang, or use breakaway support which is not my favorite. Tolerances are fairly good, a 1x1x1 inch cube printed within 0.002" of the goal size, however I have not extensively tested the accuracy. The surface finish is excellent for an FDM 3d printer, honestly the best I have seen (given the right settings). Sometimes, much more often than the dimension, things go out of wack and require a bit of maintence. Lets say 5 hours every 100 hours of printing, which is pretty bad.

    The dimension is consistent and works well. I love how simple it is to use and reliable. Also you can print any shape you want given dissolvable support. The layer height is much larger than the ultimaker, also you have much less control on the printing method, sharp corners on the outside often have issues due to their algorithm. Goldfnces are very good and consistent across the work peice.

    The main reason I don't always use the Dimension is material cost. It is ~10 times the cost of PLA for the ultimaker. I realize I am not comparing apples to apples.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post
    Which model did you end up with?
    ObJet 30

    stratasys-objet-30.jpg

  4. #104
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    Here's an 18-months-later update on the Stratasys Objet 30, if anybody cares. Interest in this subforum seems to center around the latest magazine-cover technology as opposed to experiences with particular machines like in the machining subfora, but in case anyone is contemplating an Objet this is for you.

    The printer without stand, and the cleaning station (absolutely necessary BTW), together cost about $32K. I needed it to print the masters for the foundry tooling (patterns and core boxes) needed for a new product family. Having the foundry tooling made from scratch the old-fashioned way would have cost about as much as the printer, so I consider that it was justified for that one job--plus, afterward we still have permanent masters from which more tooling could be built if needed.

    Anyway, the model material used in an Objet costs $300 per liter and the support material about half that. I went through several liters of each during the learning curve prior to actually making usable parts. The machine came with buggy software, extremely balky and with no indicator to signify it was processing. It would hang and you couldn't tell. The technician doing the install had all kinds of excuses and kept trying to split after running his little demo-jock part, as if that proved the machine was working. I made him stick around and verify that it would not execute our model. Now, our models are fairly large files but well within the capacity of the machine. Next he insisted that there was something wrong with the model. So we sent my STL file to the home office and they said it was fine. Finally they uploaded a patch to the machine software and it started printing. "OK, buddy, you're up and running now, come back in 13.8 hours and your part will be done." WRONG. Next morning the thing had stopped halfway through with an error message in some incomprehensible shorthand. Since they had already tested the file and found it to be error-free, it was on them to make the machine work or I wasn't signing the Delivery and Acceptance form. Long story short, they had to replace the software with a less buggy version. This whole process took about a week, with repeat visits. We were eventually able to produce the parts we needed, but when it quits in the middle and the recovery process doesn't work you get to throw away a lot of expensive plastic and start over...and when you do, it's with no confidence that it will finish that job without getting stalled.

    Now, a year afterward, the machine was to be used on another project so we booked a visit from a maintenance tech. They FedExed an assortment of stuff which sat there for two months before the guy was able to get here. Turned out the support fluid in the machine had expired which damaged the print head. "Oh, you can order the print head and replace it yourself, no problem. We'll e-mail you a set of instructions." Which I did. So now I'm out $1500 for the maintenance visit, $1450 for the print head. After changing it, which was easy enough, I get told they'll email me an Excel spreadsheet with all the testing procedures on it (WTF?). OK, I open the spreadsheet, call them, and ask them to walk me through it. Right away we discover that the user interface on the machine software doesn't HAVE a menu for performing the procedures after changing a print head. They kind of didn't want to believe that, but given the history thus far I am prepared to believe anything, however unlikely. The technician on the phone was out of suggestions. I asked that they send somebody to fix this problem as it was obviously a software issue. OK, he'd get that going and somebody would call me back. Riiiight. That was at 9:00 this morning, it's nearing 11:45. We close at noon on Fridays so now I'll lose an entire weekend that I expected to be printing stuff.

    Bottom line as of right now, if you're an industrial user I recommend investigating alternatives to Stratasys. Surely there are other jet machines that will print 30-micron layers and have better tech support. In the machining world, people talk up now much better a DMG Mori VMC is than a Haas VMC, but the clincher is always that you can always get Haas parts and service--and lost time is a significant part of the total cost. I am frankly about ready to write this thing off and buy something else.

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  6. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Bottom line as of right now, if you're an industrial user I recommend investigating alternatives to Stratasys. Surely there are other jet machines that will print 30-micron layers and have better tech support. In the machining world, people talk up now much better a DMG Mori VMC is than a Haas VMC, but the clincher is always that you can always get Haas parts and service--and lost time is a significant part of the total cost. I am frankly about ready to write this thing off and buy something else.
    I've got both an Objet Connex260 and a Projet3600 in my prototype lab. Unless you need cosmetic colors and the ability to do simulated 2-shot parts with "rubber like" material there is no reason to have an Objet. The Objet is a maintenance pig by comparison and the resolution of the parts always looks better on the Projet even on what should be identical layer settings.

  7. #106
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    The real value of this sub-forum will increase over time, much like in the machine tool world where there is usually a decade of shared experience with any given CNC control or machine model. Also I guess we will see what printer manufacturers remain in business after a few years of their users sharing those experiences! Considering that 18 months is practically a lifetime in a rapidly developing industry, it's entirely possible that I have an obsolescent printer and I may have to accept that and move on.

    There are numerous examples of CNC machines that were the absolute cutting edge when they came out but which you can't give away today even if they are running and making parts.


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