Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

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Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby xiombarg » Sun May 25, 2014 5:39 pm

I've been waiting to do a final print on a robot/mecha 3D print project for awhile now because I'm still debating whether to use a printing service or wait and save to buy my own printer. I've already done some prototype prints in cheaper materials just to make sure everything works correctly, but I've only printed two parts in high resolution because the whole thing is going to cost roughly $1000 on top of what I've already spent (probably around $500). $1000 would be a substantial down payment on my own printer and it's so easy to blow through hundreds of dollars using a printing service just for prototype prints.

I guess I'm not in any huge hurry to get thing thing out, but it sucks waiting to save money when a project is basically done. Any thoughts?
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby d12dozr » Sun May 25, 2014 6:02 pm

If you're thinking of ordering your own printer, I'd find a way to get some samples or a few of your parts made using a printer like that, so you can see if the quality is good enough. You may find a makerspace near you or use the Where to get your Models 3D Printed thread to find a printer. Another alternative is to request a sample from the printer manufacturer.
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby olishea » Sun May 25, 2014 8:31 pm

Do you intend to sell any of your prints? That would be a big deciding factor for me personally.
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby xiombarg » Sun May 25, 2014 9:08 pm

d12dozr
Good idea about asking for a sample print.
I'm fairly confident about the Form1 printer when it comes to quality of prints and the machine itself. The founders and developers are all MIT guys, so I would think it's a company with real knowledge and commitment behind it. They have also provided numerous extremely complex sample model prints online that all look excellent, which is not the case for many printer makers. I also noticed that after Form1 released sample prints of the Eiffel tower, many other newer printer manufacturers have used this as their sample (for what that's worth).

oli
Yes I plan to sell parts, BUT I am quite experienced in making silicone molds and resin casting, which is very inexpensive. I still need 3D prints to make the molds, but I only need a single good print and from there I can make multiple resin casts. But I also want to make lots of new stuff too, so a printer would be nice and so much quicker than waiting for prototypes, making changes, waiting for the next batch of parts etc.
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby d12dozr » Mon May 26, 2014 11:36 am

xiombarg, the one experience I had with a Form 1 was not that great. Now I'm not saying this will always be the case, but remember it its the marketer's job to show everything in the best possible light.

Anyway, I ordered some parts to be made on a Form 1 from a guy on MakeXYZ. These were mechanical parts, and they had to fit together precisely. It turned out he had a problem with his machine, so small parts worked ok, but the big prints kept failing. He had to get the larger parts made on an SLS machine for me, and get a new printer from Formlabs support.

When I got the Form 1 parts, they had not been cleaned very well and were still sticky with resin. They also needed some sanding, because where the automatically generated supports touched the model, there were a bunch of little bumps that kept the parts from fitting together neatly. Overall, the parts looked good but were not as dimensionally accurate as SLS.

BTW, Shapeways and Formlabs have a contest right now...maybe you could get one for free! Free would be worth it :D
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby xiombarg » Mon May 26, 2014 8:09 pm

Good to know, and disappointing as well. I just wish SLS would preserve detail a little better and keep contours sharp for small items. I would be happy with a SLA printer but I have yet to see example models from personal home 3D printers that have the smoothness and definition that I would hope for.

I love imaterialise "prime gray" material which sands and tools nicely, and I'm almost sure it comes from an SLA printer, but the resolution is slightly rough and I have to sand it before casting, which I want to avoid if at all possible.
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Re: Print or wait and buy a printer... hmmm.

Postby d12dozr » Mon May 26, 2014 8:36 pm

Prime Gray (yes it's SLA) and Form 1 prints should be very similar. Prime gray also has those little bumps from the support structures.

In your case, I'd look up someone with good reviews on 3DHubs or MakeXYZ with a Formlabs printer and have them make some parts for you to see if they're good enough for what you need, and go from there. Might turn out to be your best option!
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