Just fell down another rabbit hole...3D printers

The latest issue of Make has their 3D printer reviews. I didn't know you could get one for about $200!

Before I spend any money, who here has worked with these things? I want a tool, not a project.
San Mateo, CA

Comments

  • 24 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • I have a Vellman you have to build yourself. It works pretty good for a budget machine. I've learned a few tricks such as ABS warps as it cools and may pop off the table. The solution is covering the work table with blue masking tape. The cheaper machines are only good for proto type pieces not high production they just can't compete with injection mold.
    The Repetier program is a pretty good slicer for a freebie. You definitely need CAD skills if you want to make your own parts or you'll be stuck with what you can download.
  • Something small like the XYZ Davinci Jr. has been popping up for under $200. It is limited in the object size though. Also, one limitation with the XYZ 3D Printers is that they have some sort of RFID module in the Filament roll that prevents from using off brand filament. I do believe there are hacks around this though I have not tried it.
  • I recently retired and was looking for a project when I found the Turnigy Fabrikator. They were closing them out and came unassembled.

    I picked one up for $218.00 shipped to my house. The unit supports 150mm x 150mm so it is able to handle some good sized parts.

    The design software and slicer software were all free so it was a no brainer. Love designing stuff on the screen just to see it print.

    I thought the filament was going to be the expensive part but one roll goes a long way. Choosing a color thou is a problem.

    Mike
  • I have resisted the urge to get a 3D printer just because I have plenty of friends who have 'em. I get the scuttlebutt from them, all independent professionals who make their living off their printers. They have tried and are generally frustrated by the cheap printers they have tried, they offer them to me for free. Still no from me...

    Their printer of choice is the Mojo, which is several thousand dollars to purchase and everyone complains about the refill cartridge price. Not hobby grade, but fast, strong, super reliable and overall, much cheaper than having a complete machine shop and paying a machinist! These guys call their Mojos "robots" and try to keep them busy 24/7 to pay for themselves, doing their own jobs and printing for hire.

    The general consensus is that cheap 3D printing is a BIG rabbit hole, and can consume lots of time. Each printer has its own strengths & weaknesses to play to. A single error in a printing will ruin the whole job, and waste a lot of material, so it makes sense to babysit it through the print. My guys hate PLA since it can melt in a hot car. Styrene/ABS is stronger, more heat resistant, and parts can be bonded with MEK or acetone.

    So as with everything else, you get what you pay for. Another interesting factoid is that many of my 3D print pals use their laser cutter more than than printers. More material choice, stronger, faster, nice finish, etc. Good luck in your quest!
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote:
    Another interesting factoid is that many of my 3D print pals use their laser cutter more than than printers. More material choice, stronger, faster, nice finish, etc.

    Ditto on the laser cutter being my tool of choice. I bought a MakerBot 3D printer and made one part from it that I still use: a drill attachment that I use to screw lenses into lens holders. The MakerBot was fussy to use, and I really didn't have much application for it, so I donated it to the local high school.

    By contrast, my laser cutter gets used almost every day. When I bought it, I had no idea what I would use it for; I just knew I wanted one. Now, I couldn't run my business without it.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Ok, what laser cutter do you recommend. They are far more expensive then a 3D printer.

    Mike
  • I spotted this obviously 3D-printed EV charger holster on Ebay. I guess many people are trying to make their machines pay for themselves. https://www.ebay.com/itm/122801261007

    s-l500.jpg
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • iseries wrote:
    Ok, what laser cutter do you recommend. They are far more expensive then a 3D printer.
    Mine is a 40W Epilog Zing 16. It's their low-end product, but it's been a real workhorse for me. And, no, they're not cheap -- especially compared to Chinese laser cutters. But that's a subject for a separate thread.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • After more reading, it sounds like I should pass on getting one of these things. Even the popular ones seem to require modifications to work consistently (and in some cases, keep them from cutting their own wiring!). Every discussion is filled with questions about fixing well-known problems. No thanks!
    San Mateo, CA
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,294
    edited November 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    If you have lots of spare time and you need another hobby... :)

    Like everything else, they will get better & cheaper as time goes on. Meantime, do what I do: find someone who has a nice one and trade favors! My buddy was starting his 3D printing business and he came asking me if I had anything I needed designed & printed, to use at a trade show. I gave him my rough handmade prototype and he designed & printed several chassis, which I then assembled & did the electronics. A win-win!



    trike2.jpg
    1008 x 605 - 182K
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • I found another way to do it...it seems the local community college library has a few 3D printers and a small makerspace. They've got an Ultimaker 2+, a Makerbot Replicator 2 and something else. I signed up online, took my files over, got the new user briefing and left them to run off the prints.

    The librarian was really happy that I was making something useful instead of "silly little tchotchkes". I've got a set of OpenBeam extrusions, and found some connectors on Thingiverse that did some useful stuff.

    A day later I got an email that the prints were ready. I dropped by to pick them up, they looked good! And the whole thing was free.

    Your tax dollars at work!
    San Mateo, CA
  • Jeff Haas wrote: »
    I found another way to do it...it seems the local community college library has a few 3D printers and a small makerspace. They've got an Ultimaker 2+, a Makerbot Replicator 2 and something else. I signed up online, took my files over, got the new user briefing and left them to run off the prints.

    That sounds like an easy way to get introduced to 3-d printing. There might be other Hacker spaces in your area, but sounds like the CC library is a winner.

    erco wrote: »
    If you have lots of spare time and you need another hobby... :)

    Like everything else, they will get better & cheaper as time goes on. Meantime, do what I do: find someone who has a nice one and trade favors! My buddy was starting his 3D printing business and he came asking me if I had anything I needed designed & printed, to use at a trade show. I gave him my rough handmade prototype and he designed & printed several chassis, which I then assembled & did the electronics. A win-win!

    Nice little Trikes. is there a reason that they are not powered by the rear wheels?
    These look like they would fit a FLiP nicely, but would of course need a motor driver for the servos.

  • ercoerco Posts: 19,294
    edited November 2017 Vote Up0Vote Down
    JonM wrote: »
    Nice little Trikes. is there a reason that they are not powered by the rear wheels?

    I have a Corvair. I do everything backwards.

    Seriously, trikes have vastly superior steering, especially going straight. No one believes me, but they do. One drive motor (or CRservo) and one steering servo.

    Just because most people default to differential steering "don't make it right" IMO.



    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Ok, so after a few prints at the community college, I see why you want one of these. So you can improve things and run off a new part without having to drive somewhere!

    More digging turns up the info that most of the cheap clones are of the Prusia machines, which got Make Magazine’s first place two years in a row. They start at $599.00, so no wonder there are knockoffs for only $169.00...including one from Walmart! Right on top of the Google results.

    Joseph Prusia has grown his business from a few people up to 160, and still can’t keep up with the demand. I may break down in a few months and get his newest machine.
    San Mateo, CA
  • Purchased a Monoprice 3D Select Mini on cyber Monday from Amazon,I've been very pleased with it so far.
    I just bought another identical one off ebay for around half normal price and other than a clogged heatbreak it was good as new.

    I would like to get one of the Prussa machines this spring.

    So far printing a lot of toy train stuff and some models of tower parts for work.

    C.W.
  • erco wrote: »
    I spotted this obviously 3D-printed EV charger holster on Ebay. I guess many people are trying to make their machines pay for themselves. https://www.ebay.com/itm/122801261007
    s-l500.jpg


    Wow, the quality of that thing is horrible.

    I echo Phil's comments about a laser cutter. I haven't even scratched the surface of what I can do with my 75 watt Epilog Legend and its 24x36 bed.
  • I haven't even scratched the surface of what I can do with my 75 watt Epilog Legend and its 24x36 bed.

    But there's an excellent chance you have singed the surface of that 24x36 bed.

    :)

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,824
    edited February 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hah, sort of. We are on our 4th honeycomb bed in 6 years. My industrial engineers have done insane amounts of projects with it. Things like PCBA assembly jigs, custom enclosures, custom work surfaces, small tools, soldering bench organizers, lead formers, alignment tools, and go-nogo gauges.
    I have only done basics, but am learning Fusion 360 so that will really open doors for my ideas.

    We also have a 3d printer now and have successfully created a bed of nails fixture using ESD filament that connects to our Flying Probe tester to use it's horsepower.
  • Something a lot of people don't really consider when it comes to the quality of their prints. Which software you use can make a huge difference in the final outcome.

    I used to use various versions of the free stuff out there, and yes, with some tuning and futzing you can get things dialed in to print pretty well. About a year ago I bought Simplify3D on the recommendation from a friend, and I am really glad I did. Same printer, nothing changed as far as hardware adjustments and my prints improved significantly with Simplify3D. It has some very nice features, and it's support material implementation seems to be the best around. It does cost a fair amount, but I feel it is well worth it.

    As for which machine, I would avoid the $200 ones. You get what you pay for. The best low cost one is the Prusa I3 Mk3.
  • As for laser cutters, I REALLY love my glowforge. However, I can't imagine not having both the laser and the 3d printer!
  • Hi

    Creality CR10 getting rave reviews.....

    wonder if its time to jump in?

    Dave
  • Roy Eltham wrote: »
    As for laser cutters, I REALLY love my glowforge. However, I can't imagine not having both the laser and the 3d printer!
    Roy,
    I have been watching the Glowforge for a long time now, and this is the first time I have heard any actual user talk about it. Wife and I talked about getting one, but it did not seem to be real.
    Jim

  • RS_Jim,
    They have shipped to most of the US backers, and are about to start on international shipping.

    The machine is pretty great. Their software still needs more work, but it works well enough to get the job done in most cases. I am quite happy with it.

  • The Creality gets some great reviews and an equal number of poor ones. I think it falls into that category of “good once it’s been upgraded.”
    San Mateo, CA
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