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  1. #21
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    If you want to try out 3D printing I would strongly suggest first calling your local library, or maybe community colleges. Our county library has a nice 3D printer and they charge you material cost for making something. So, with TinkerCAD and the county's 3D printer I got my feet wet and some nice parts made for very little money.

    Steve

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_AR View Post
    Whatever you do...do NOT go buy a kit from China, seriously. You know that whole "you get what you pay for saying"? Yeah, it is still true.
    Well, you can buy a Piece of Crap from the US also. I bought a dodge dakota.
    Most of the hardware is made in China anyway. I bought a 3D Chinese printer that prints a 500mm cube for $760 including shipping. You could not come close to that from a US seller.
    Resolution is a function of hardware and software. Nozzle diameter and Z step determine the resolution. The finer the resolution the slower the print.
    I printed a four valve head with ports to test on the flow bench with it.

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  4. #23
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    Another advantage to trying out a publicly owned one at a library or college is that you might learn something that will affect your decision on which one to buy. Always unfortunate to buy one that has a certain feature and then you discover the one two levels better is the one you really need.

    Steve

  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhoward View Post
    "Make" magazine recently published their December/January issue which covers hobbyist 3D printing machines. They seem to do this once every year and although their tested machines go for much less than $5,000 it is worth reading, especially if you are shopping for one now. They also tested a couple of liquid resin machines as their price has come way down and they offer superior surface finish and fine detail ability.

    Randy
    I dumped "MAKE" when they went on a 24/7 rant on how "Clock Boy" was the Planet's most promising Inventor since Archimedes.

    Are they Earthbound now ?

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  7. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
    The China deal is a puzzle..... cheap Chinese machines are not allowed in discussions. But, most low end 3D printers appear to be made there so is it okay to discuss them? They also have open loop stepper axis drives, that too is a no-no.
    color me confused too, and I am liberal on rules and stuff. I go more on intent and/or professional courtesy. Some of the rules I find odd, no open steppers (hypertherm uses one on the industrial height controls, atm machines, ect.), so when the thc acts funky on a 260 hd plasma is that not pro grade? When these cheap 3d printers move out of .stl file onto a nurb based then maybe, If a rule only is an approximation of eyeball straight (We learn from the metrologic wizards how to tell if something is truly straight) and a circle looks like hex bolt and only takes .. how many hours?! oh, hell no.
    They make a fun toy for some, and a few casting people I know have done some neat things with plastic thingys then carving and then sand or ceramic casting them into real metal for money; but I do not smell that intent on any 3d printer threads I have read here.

    Saw a 3d printed steel excavator at fabtech 2 yrs ago? That was kinda cool, but my liberal brain kept focusing on energy used vs hot rolled plates, and the cool texture it made like a muddy creek cut.

  8. #26
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    Just got a Dremel 3D printer from Home Depot in my office and I absolutely love it for making prototype assemblies for automation equipment. Got it for $400 on Ebay (1000.00 new). The printing software is very easy to use. Just save your CAD file as a .stl, open it in the software, orientate, scale, and choose your build parameters (layer thickness,density,etc.) Very user friendly, but still very capable. PLA only, but for my use its great. I prefer it over the CubeX printer we have in the main office that cost $4000 and has print errors left and right.

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  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelenPayne659 View Post
    I need both for plastic and metal. Which is the best? and cheaper lol

    Here's a good deal for one that prints in metal. If the link doesn't work, just go to eBay and search it.

    Mark Forged Metal X Price Reduced Further For Part Out Or Scrap. | eBay

  11. #28
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    if you want made in the USA, ball screws, and can 3Dprint as well as basic mill - check out the BOXzy. It's totally hobby/entry level, but it's solid.

  12. #29
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    Just an observation. The OP has never come back to check any of the replies since he posted the question in 2015.

  13. #30
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    $5000 is a lot for a beginner 3d printer.
    Honestly- with FDM printing there isnt much a 5000 printer can do that a 300 printer can do save printing envelope.

    My first 3d printer was a Monoprice mini which cost $200 and it printed great. It was slow and noisy and had nothing in the way of bells and whistles.
    WIth FDM printers you are really bound by the nozzle. You can have the most rigid fancy machine in the world but you cant go past what the nozzle will let you.
    If you want to print gaskets, and need flexible material make sure you research whatever extruder is attached to the printer. Bondtech seems to be the gold standard. I have also had good luck with the FLEXION extruder which is geared specifically for flex materials. ANything E3d Is good too.
    If you are handy at all i would suggest getting a prusa kit. They have awesome support and you learn a TON about how your machine will work by putting it together. They have great support if you get stuck.

    I have built 6 printers from scratch and to be honest it will still cost you $1000 to do it right. You might as well get a prusa for the same price. I think they will assemble it for you.

    There is also resin based 3d printing which is starting to hit the mainstream now but it is still very young and the resins are very bad for you to touch. I would stay away if you are a beginner

  14. #31
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    I would also add that from my experience the only thing consistent in 3d printing is that you will need to fix things on your printer. If you dont have the time or ability to do that I would consider getting an expensive model with a service contract. Other than that, I dont see why it should cost over $1,000

  15. #32
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    So if you just want something to learn I would highly suggest a Ender 3 pro. I currently use Cura as my Slicer software and its pretty easy and functional and best of all free. it does PlA, HTPLA and ABS to name a few and technically can do more since the heat bed and nozzle gets hot enough to do pretty much everything. Got mine on Amazon for about $240.00 and only took about an hour or so to set up.


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