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Thread: Choosing a 3D printer

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    I agree with all the above. I believe that a working 3D printer costs about $1000... you can spend this all at once when you buy the printer, or you can buy a cheaper printer and spend it in hours of frustration and fiddling to make it work. This is not to say that buying a cheap 3D printer kit is a bad thing (I have a couple of 3D printers that I paid $400 and $250 for, and enjoyed many hours learning about what's needed to make them work), but just to not expect too much from a cheap kit.

    Beware the large print volume claims... in my experience, anything beyond a foot cubed is beyond practical limits. Also beware that print time increases at least as the square of the object size, but more likely as the cube. So an object that you can print in 4 hours may take 64 hours if it's scaled to twice the size. And it's unlikely that a cheap printer will do more than 24 hours reliably.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Yes, that is what I saw. They call it multimaterial but its not really. Well, it is, technically. But not in practicality

    Think about it. Yes, you can shove four colors of ABS into it. Sure, that works. How about 4 colors of PLA? Yep. That would work too. Couple colors of PETG? Yep, works too.

    Lets say you want to print a nice LayWoo-D3 box and you are wanting to print supports out of HIPS? Um, Nope. Not gonna work. HIPS prints at 235c and the light Laywood prints at 165c. So you gonna wait like a month for it to print? Why a month? Well, every freaking layer its going to have to back out the laywood, heat the nozzle up to 235 to print the supports. Then sit and let it cool off to 165 before it shoves the laywood back in to print the next layer. And then its gotta purge the nozzle. Not sure how its going to to that to be honest. Not sure HIPS would melt at 165 and if you heat it to 235 to melt hips, its going to burn the remaining laywood in the melt chamber, likely causing clogs. Then its got to shove laywood in there after retracting hips and pump out a bunch of filament after it cools so its the right color (Laywood changes color based on extrusion temps). No. Not practical.

    There is only ONE nozzle. ONE hot end. ONE material at a time. With any other printer with dual (or even more) hot ends, the changeover is instant since there is a hot end set to 165 for the laywood and one set to 235 for the hips supports. AFAIK, there is no dual hot end system for the i3 Mk2.

    Yea, multiple colors would be nice. However, 99% of my needs for dual filament is for using a different material for supports. I don't want to spit out $69 a kg Bronzefil for supports when I can spit out $25 a kg hips. The remaining 1% is probably 75% wanting dual materials such as ABS and NinjaFlex/FlexPLA interprinted with each other (structure and grip material for example). Perhaps 1/4 of one percent if my printing desires is printing two or more colors of the same material. I, of course, may not be typical.

    And, the whole system is a bowden setup. And that brings with it nightmares for anyone printing flexible filament like NinjaFlex or FlexPLA where long bowden systems require excessive retraction to prevent ooze from the springyness of the filament.

    Can I print multiple colors using dual hot ends? Yes. Can I print multiple dissimilar materials with dual hot ends? Yes. Can I reasonably print with multiple colors with their multiplexing? Yes. Can I reasonably print with multiple dissimilar materials with their multiplexing? No.

    And, as I said, its only for 1.75mm filament. If you are just starting, thats just fine of course. Go buy 1.75. I, however, am looking for a second printer and was very very interested in the i3 Mk2. Until I found it only supports 1.75 and I have not seen any 3mm conversions for it. Why is that a big deal? Several hundred dollars of 3mm filament sitting in Home Depot buckets here. I am not going to toss that or start stocking duplicate colors in different sizes. Current printer is 3mm. The next one will be 3mm too or at least capable of being converted reasonably easily.

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  4. #23
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    Yes, that is what I saw. They call it multimaterial but its not really. Well, it is, technically. But not in practicality

    t sizes. Current printer is 3mm. The next one will be 3mm too or at least capable of being converted reasonably easily.
    Thank you for that! I did more googling and Bowden is bad! So the delta printers are off the table.

    The big question, what filament, if any will give me the same effect as the white plastic light caps that sometimes come on RGB pixel modules? I want light to diffuse easily and evenly.

    Thank you again!
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    They are not bad. They just bring their own difficulties with them. Each extruder head design has advantages and disadvantages. Simply choose the one that affects you least with its disadvantages and aids you most with its advantages.

    My current printer uses a wades style extruder with a gear reduction. This eliminates most but not all the issues of bowden. It also has the downside of having substantially more mass on the head so ringing and dampening becomes an issue you must deal with in settings and speed controls. Most of it is printable parts so I can manufacture as many as I desire for different tool heads.

    I am looking at a Titan extruder next. It reduces the weight back down substantially, is also gear driven, and can handle flex materials easily. But none of it is printable parts (maybe the case, but don't think so). So its disadvantage is long term cost as it can't be replicated by me.

    So, as I said, no specific extruder is bad. For some, bowden is their passion. It works for them, produces good prints and has a very light moving weight component. Sux rocks with flex filament. But if they never want to print with flex, hey, great for them.

    As far as plastic, the gamut is wide here. I print mainly with ABS. Most of it I buy is UV stabilized so longevity outdoors seems good thus far. I had some printed stuff out all summer and I can't see any noticeable change (other than the bird poop on one). Some use PETG. Both are available in translucent. Translucent ABS is not cheap nor easy to find. PETG is commonly available in clear. I don't know if PETG is UV stabilized at all as I haven't done any UV tests on any. I will this summer as I have a spool of clear PETG sitting on the shelf here now.

    This is clear ABS:


    With clear prints, you can generally control the translucency by printing in diffent layer heights. Thicker layers produce fewer layer to layer borders and produce clearer results. Thinner layers, conversely, have many more layer to layer borders and those diffuse light more. The image above was printed with .3mm layers from clear ABS.

    This is Crystal Series PLA from MakerGeeks:



    I doubt that stuff would stand up outside. PLA is not generally rated for outdoors. But this stuff prints at 235c which is quite hot for PLA. So maybe. Again, testing might be required.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Quote Originally Posted by thebaronn View Post
    Thank you for that! I did more googling and Bowden is bad! So the delta printers are off the table.

    The big question, what filament, if any will give me the same effect as the white plastic light caps that sometimes come on RGB pixel modules? I want light to diffuse easily and evenly.

    Thank you again!
    Delta and Bowden aren't necessarily bad. I have a Delta with Bowden, and it works just fine. And nowadays Bowden isn't the only option for a Delta... there's also lightweight cable-driven extruders.

    FWIW, I've printed a number of garden gnome type objects in PLA... there's no problem there at all, except that one lot of yellow PLA is fading to white where it's exposed to sunlight (I assume it's UV causing this).

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Thinking very seriously about getting a 3d printer in 2017, but not sure if it will really be worth the expense... Any thoughts on this from those who already have a 3d printer; do you find that you "really" use the 3d printer enough to justify the cost of the printer?? I have seen several jigs, adapters, etc that would be really handy to print... Just not sure they are worth, say, $700 or so... From what I have read over the last weekend or so (had lots of time to read; my mom was in hospital for a few days...) and I think I am going to go for the Prusa i3. Thanks.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    For me, yes it's been worth it. I have printed things that can't be bought. Printed things I needed NOW. Printed clips and brackets that make my show easier to set up and tear down.

    You could likely look at many things you own with the same question. Your laser or inkjet, has it produced paper prints that justify it's cost? How about your coffee maker? Coffee is cheap, just go get it from McDonald's. Your toaster? Oh, how about your tv? Has it produced any tangible output?

    You are overlooking the convenience of the printer and focusing on only the bottom line price. It can make things that do not yet exist. It can make things differently than they are now. It can make replacement parts. You look at the clips and such that you see us make and look at them in a material sense. What do you think it would cost to have a design shop draft plans, get them reviewed, and then submit a short run to a manufacturer to make them? A hell of a lot more than you think that clip is worth. With a printer, you can whip out 2 pounds of anything you can dream up for about $25.

    It too is a hobby. Treat it as such.

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    ... And then there are pieces of test equipment, that hardly gets used but handy when needed. Or what about power tools? How often do we use our cordless drills, chop saws, table saw, etc, considering their total cost of acquisition?

    Our local public library does have a small 3D printer, but I haven't had a specific project to get me to look into it.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Thanks Wolfie & LightUp!! I appreciate the perspective...

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Choosing a 3D printer

    Most people think 3D printing is difficult and that they have to spend hours and hours learning a CAD program to create models.
    I would suggest going to https://www.tinkercad.com/
    Sign up for a free account and then go to youtube and type in Tinkercad tutorials. Watch a few videos to get familiar with the program and you will see how easy it is to get into modelling and 3D printing.
    Thingiverse is a great resource for all kinds of models that people are freely sharing as well.
    The printer is the easy part.......using it requires imagination!
    Phil

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