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Additive learning curve?

broke

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Sep 26, 2013
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How much of a learning curve would it be for me to get proficient with a 3D printing machine? I'm looking for feedback mostly from people coming from the CNC machining side of things, where I would imagine the learning curve is much easier.

What was your experience with learning the programming and processing?

I currently program some very involved 3x and 3+2 stuff as well the CMM FWIW.
 
Not enough information. FDM? DLP? Laser sintered metal? Hybrid additive/subtractive?

What are you trying to accomplish with it?

That's like the recent thread "How hard is machining?"

With what you say you already do, there's no doubt you'll pick it up pretty quick, but whether that's a few days or a few months depends on what you're trying to do.
 
How much of a learning curve would it be for me to get proficient with a 3D printing machine? I'm looking for feedback mostly from people coming from the CNC machining side of things, where I would imagine the learning curve is much easier.

What was your experience with learning the programming and processing?

I currently program some very involved 3x and 3+2 stuff as well the CMM FWIW.
My experience is only with FDM printing and there is a learning curve, but its mostly in 3d modeling and tuning the printer for the material you are using. Learning how a particular material behaves will determine how you design and print it. Most of the work is already done for you with the software and it is relatively easy to get a decent print right out of the box in PLA. But you need to put in some time to be able to diagnose why a print doesn't look as expected. This is where you will spend most of your time. It requires knowledge of the mechanical and motion control system, as well as some understanding of the fluid dynamics of the print material.
You will learn that designing parts for printing is slightly different than subtractive machinig, as you will try to avoid overhangs and bridges whenever possible, since they require support material that will make the print take longer, use more filament, and add clean up time.
Every time you use a new material you have to tune the printer to that material (create a profile of saved settings) this involves multiple test prints that allow you diagnose various aspects of the print process and how the material behaves.
Mostly you just need to learn the slicer software, which is pretty sophisticated in what it can do. There are hundreds of settings that you can adjust, just like programming CAM, with little tricks that can mean the difference between and OK print and a beautiful print. Printers use Gcode so you already have an understanding of that, and you dont really need to that much of it. The slicer does all that for you.
I would say that if you dive in and are really interested you can be pretty proficient just in a few months. The online community can be extremely helpful to get over any hurdles.
 








 
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