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Author: Subject: 3D printers
Mr Whippy

posted on 1/11/21 at 01:15 PM Reply With Quote
3D printers

Totally off topic... but like many people not too long ago I got myself one of these. However I'm not sure if I'd recommend one. You see of all of the engineers I work with, all who have a printer, I seem to be the only one who actually uses it and it mainly seems to be due to them being a complete PITA.

But I must be weird as I find it utterly all consuming... never have I had a toy which takes up SO much of my time, like hours and hours I spend with it, sometimes still tinkering away in the early hours of the morning when I should in fact be in bed... Either fighting it, stripping it down, swearing at it, rebuilding it for the hundredth time, printing stuff, building stuff, painting stuff, am I obsessed? probably. All I want for Christmas is another printer to print more!

I started small with a baby Yoda for the girls, in no time at all I'd built several RC planes, a very cool T-rex skull, models of dragons, various dinosaurs (my youngest loves them), the current project is a very ambitious 1.6m long RC warship (castle class corvette) I've already had a few fights with the printer over that one , it may take a couple of months to finish printing that if it doesn't burn my house down in the process .

Have you got one and been using it or is it stuffed in a cupboard after getting a good kicking??

Here's a couple of pics I've got on the computer

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[Edited on 1/11/21 by Mr Whippy]

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Mr Whippy

posted on 1/11/21 at 02:45 PM Reply With Quote
this is what I'm trying to build just now... yeah I'm mad, 8000 lines to print just for the hull

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but I'm getting there...slowly. Printers working on the rest of the hull just now, should be finished that in about 2 weeks time

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/11/21 at 02:52 PM Reply With Quote
I've built three of them, and had them all running simultaneously! There was a time when Covid started where me and a few friends were making visors for local care homes, emergency services, etc (I printed about 500, and the total was around 1500).

The first was a sort-of kit off ebay (it was all of the parts, but the printed bits were pretty rough and most needed replacing eventually). That one was a Prusa-style thing, and had a lot of 're-development' during its life. The second is what they call a CoreXY printer - a big lump, very fast and accurate, but a PITA to keep running properly - it's the only one I've got that can reliably print ABS as it has a mains-powered heat bed. The final one was a proper kit - Anycubic Kossel Linear Plus - which is a delta. This is my goto printer if I want something quick and accurate in PLA, as it takes very little desk space and is reliable.

The first Prusa-style printer has now been modified to be a laser engraver/cutter - that's scary to run, and requires special safety glasses when operating. It can cut plywood up to 1.5mm, if you're patient... bit smoky though! Great for cutting fancy shapes out of coloured paper, e.g. Christmas decorations.





The older I get, the better I was...

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nick205

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:09 PM Reply With Quote
At work we design numerous plastic components and make the injection mould tools to mould them.

A few years ago we bought a 3D printer for the supposed flexibility and cost saving of being able to print designs prior to tooling for them. We also had ideas of being able to prototype parts for customers o check over before they committed money to tooling.

The 3D printer just isn't accurate enough and since it doesn't have a heated bed it's slow and te two engineers who have use of it find i far to cumbersome to be worthwhile using much. Smeparts have been printed then sanded smooth, painted with filler and painted with a top coat- the output part is still far from accurate enough. The output part is very often too fragile to be of much benefit to the company or the customer.

We've had a few bits 3D printed by specialist companies who obviously have significantly better equipment. It's expensive though .

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Mr Whippy

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:12 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I've built three of them, and had them all running simultaneously! There was a time when Covid started where me and a few friends were making visors for local care homes, emergency services, etc (I printed about 500, and the total was around 1500).

The first was a sort-of kit off ebay (it was all of the parts, but the printed bits were pretty rough and most needed replacing eventually). That one was a Prusa-style thing, and had a lot of 're-development' during its life. The second is what they call a CoreXY printer - a big lump, very fast and accurate, but a PITA to keep running properly - it's the only one I've got that can reliably print ABS as it has a mains-powered heat bed. The final one was a proper kit - Anycubic Kossel Linear Plus - which is a delta. This is my goto printer if I want something quick and accurate in PLA, as it takes very little desk space and is reliable.

The first Prusa-style printer has now been modified to be a laser engraver/cutter - that's scary to run, and requires special safety glasses when operating. It can cut plywood up to 1.5mm, if you're patient... bit smoky though! Great for cutting fancy shapes out of coloured paper, e.g. Christmas decorations.


Sadly my basic knowledge of electrics and programming made kit machines too difficult, I don't think I could have managed that. So I just saved up for a built machine. That's a great use for them though.

I can see how you'd do the laser conversion, that sounds like a fun project for an older machine. An extractor fan might be a good addition or putting it in side one of those zip up enclosures with a extractor on that...

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harmchar

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:23 PM Reply With Quote
I'm not too bad with the printing side of things now I'm using PETG. ABS was a pain. I bought a Bacho printer from Aldi not expecting much but after tinkering to tighten everything up square and true I get okay results. Limiting factor is the bed size. Just A4 size.
My problem is the design part on Fusion 360, it's been a lot of learning by videos. Getting better, but I can't always get it to work same as the videos. Need to learn "best practice" methods in constraining.
From the look of the photo, the battleship is looking good and the print quality looks ok.

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Mr Whippy

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:37 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nick205
At work we design numerous plastic components and make the injection mould tools to mould them.

A few years ago we bought a 3D printer for the supposed flexibility and cost saving of being able to print designs prior to tooling for them. We also had ideas of being able to prototype parts for customers o check over before they committed money to tooling.

The 3D printer just isn't accurate enough and since it doesn't have a heated bed it's slow and te two engineers who have use of it find i far to cumbersome to be worthwhile using much. Smeparts have been printed then sanded smooth, painted with filler and painted with a top coat- the output part is still far from accurate enough. The output part is very often too fragile to be of much benefit to the company or the customer.

We've had a few bits 3D printed by specialist companies who obviously have significantly better equipment. It's expensive though .


Maybe the new resin machines are what you need, they are amazing for printing smaller super detailed parts.




The thing is with these printers, every year they get massively cheaper and more capable. You can buy a resin printer for 100! ones on my list... There's a lot of know how in getting the most out of them as I'm discovering but it's really worthwhile persevering. I've already made working parts for the car and even the tumble drier and I they seem to be stronger than the originals, so long as they don't get too hot! (the only downside to PLA).

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nick205

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:52 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
quote:
Originally posted by nick205
At work we design numerous plastic components and make the injection mould tools to mould them.

A few years ago we bought a 3D printer for the supposed flexibility and cost saving of being able to print designs prior to tooling for them. We also had ideas of being able to prototype parts for customers o check over before they committed money to tooling.

The 3D printer just isn't accurate enough and since it doesn't have a heated bed it's slow and te two engineers who have use of it find i far to cumbersome to be worthwhile using much. Smeparts have been printed then sanded smooth, painted with filler and painted with a top coat- the output part is still far from accurate enough. The output part is very often too fragile to be of much benefit to the company or the customer.

We've had a few bits 3D printed by specialist companies who obviously have significantly better equipment. It's expensive though .


Maybe the new resin machines are what you need, they are amazing for printing smaller super detailed parts.




The thing is with these printers, every year they get massively cheaper and more capable. You can buy a resin printer for 100! ones on my list... There's a lot of know how in getting the most out of them as I'm discovering but it's really worthwhile persevering. I've already made working parts for the car and even the tumble drier and I they seem to be stronger than the originals, so long as they don't get too hot! (the only downside to PLA).



As with nearly everything they progress so quick in terms of price an performance we should probably buy another machine and persevere. On the plastic injection mould tooling and manufacturing side of things we invested in buying a small Chinese company doing just that. They can turn things around massively cheaper (and faster) than we can in the UK and that's pretty much taken over on that side.

Having a home 3D printer is of interest, but so are too many other things TBH.

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Mr Whippy

posted on 1/11/21 at 04:52 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by harmchar
I'm not too bad with the printing side of things now I'm using PETG. ABS was a pain. I bought a Bacho printer from Aldi not expecting much but after tinkering to tighten everything up square and true I get okay results. Limiting factor is the bed size. Just A4 size.
My problem is the design part on Fusion 360, it's been a lot of learning by videos. Getting better, but I can't always get it to work same as the videos. Need to learn "best practice" methods in constraining.
From the look of the photo, the battleship is looking good and the print quality looks ok.


What you have seems perfectly fine. The print bed size really isn't a limit at all, you could even build that ship! Parts can be chopped up on the computer and glued together. The ships hull is in seven parts but even then the designer has made the files so that you can make it in even smaller sections. That dragon I did was in about 20 parts. Either CV glue and or welding with a soldering iron works wonders. I use the model filler I used for plastic kits and Tamiya paints and ordinary car paint for the ship.

YouTube is fantastic for finding out how to do things. I've only been using Tinkercad as it's fast and simple for what I need, my work computer is blocking Fusion 360 so that's a no go, pity.

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loggyboy

posted on 1/11/21 at 05:06 PM Reply With Quote
Use mine load for random odds and sods. Mainly small stuff as tend to find warping with larger stuff makes me get very angry. Also find the flexible filament quite cool. Made some funky fog light covers/grill that clip in to the existing Clio surrounds.





Mistral Motorsport

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/11/21 at 06:29 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nick205

Maybe the new resin machines are what you need, they are amazing for printing smaller super detailed parts.



The resin printers sound fine and dandy, but the machine is only the start of the costs - the resins are expensive, the prints have to be washed in isopropyl alcohol (or similar) and then exposed to UV light to harden them fully (you can get a machine to wash and harden prints). Oh, and the resins really stink, so it's not something you can do in the back of your living room!

I still wouldn't mind playing with one though...





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David Jenkins

posted on 1/11/21 at 06:37 PM Reply With Quote
I do most of my designs using OpenSCAD - but I don't recommend it unless you have a background in programming languages!

This is the code for a test piece I use - it's just a square shape with a round hole going halfway through the middle.


quote:

// test square

difference()
{
cube([20, 20, 6], center = true);
cylinder(d = 5.75, h = 3, $fn = 6);
}



It gets a whole lot more complicated than that!

[Edited on 1/11/21 by David Jenkins]





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BenB

posted on 1/11/21 at 09:15 PM Reply With Quote
I have my 3d printer in my office at work. Not the usual General Practice equipment but it's hidden in a corner and apparantly I don't see any patients face-to-face anyway if you read the fricking Daily Mail pile of shite.

I find ABS has a bad rep. I do like PETG but at least 50% of the time I'm printing ABS. The Cura "draft shield" helps with delam (as does bumping up the temp and dropping fans even more) but I still think it's a filament with a bad rep. Not that I'm complaining when the bad rep means it's cheap as chips......

During peak covid I was printing hands-free door pulls for the local practices and local covid visiting hub. Now I'm mostly printing my evolving gopro windscreen mount.....

As an aside I did unfortunately find this AM that my 20 year old fuel line had finally given up the ghost on my Locost. I stuck 30 of ron99 in my tank only to see the floor of the garage looking slightly damp and a rather pungent smell of petrol. Turns out the rubber line going from the tank to the copper had perished. Thankfully I had a couple of meters of old and brittle (but patent) fuel line to hand so after sucking up a few CC of SUN managed to syphon the rest into a jerry can. And MerlinMotorsport have got my some fresh (and hopefully non-bogus) line arrivng soon.

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/11/21 at 10:22 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BenB
I find ABS has a bad rep. I do like PETG but at least 50% of the time I'm printing ABS. The Cura "draft shield" helps with delam (as does bumping up the temp and dropping fans even more) but I still think it's a filament with a bad rep. Not that I'm complaining when the bad rep means it's cheap as chips......



I've just discovered Cura's draft shield as I've got a load of ABS that's been sitting around for ages - it's worked quite well so far. Once I've got my printer working nicely with it I'll use up the old ABS and then invest in some PETG. The only down-side I've found with PETG is that I've had to print slow to get a nice result, but otherwise it's nice and easy.

I have previously printed a load of stuff in ABS, mainly scoreboards for my local pub's petanque team, but all those parts were quite low-profile and didn't tend to warp or split.





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perksy

posted on 1/11/21 at 11:40 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I do most of my designs using OpenSCAD - but I don't recommend it unless you have a background in programming languages!

This is the code for a test piece I use - it's just a square shape with a round hole going halfway through the middle.


quote:

// test square

difference()
{
cube([20, 20, 6], center = true);
cylinder(d = 5.75, h = 3, $fn = 6);
}



It gets a whole lot more complicated than that!

[Edited on 1/11/21 by David Jenkins]






I have huge respect for those of you that can do this, its sadly well above me

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nick205

posted on 2/11/21 at 09:47 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
I do most of my designs using OpenSCAD - but I don't recommend it unless you have a background in programming languages!

This is the code for a test piece I use - it's just a square shape with a round hole going halfway through the middle.


quote:

// test square

difference()
{
cube([20, 20, 6], center = true);
cylinder(d = 5.75, h = 3, $fn = 6);
}



It gets a whole lot more complicated than that!

[Edited on 1/11/21 by David Jenkins]



As a company we have no problems with the CAD element. We have 3 seats of SolidWorks with experienced users (a business necessity for us).

One of our users in particular spent a good amount of time learning to "drive" the 3D printer we have (I'm not involved so can't expand on how it's done).

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David Jenkins

posted on 2/11/21 at 11:39 AM Reply With Quote
SolidWorks is very, very good - and much too expensive for a mere amateur mortal like me!

OpenSCAD is free, and works across most platforms, but is difficult to learn. Excellent and flexible to use once you get the hang of it though. There is also FreeCAD, easy to use but I found it a bit fragile. I'd spend ages creating a design to have it break, almost always unrecoverable.

There is some very good CAD software that you can access for free via a browser, but the name escapes me...





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nick205

posted on 3/11/21 at 10:30 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
SolidWorks is very, very good - and much too expensive for a mere amateur mortal like me!

OpenSCAD is free, and works across most platforms, but is difficult to learn. Excellent and flexible to use once you get the hang of it though. There is also FreeCAD, easy to use but I found it a bit fragile. I'd spend ages creating a design to have it break, almost always unrecoverable.

There is some very good CAD software that you can access for free via a browser, but the name escapes me...



SolidWorks is indeed a very good CAD tool. It serves us well for plastic component design, sheet metal design, diecast design and so on. It's not cheap and I certainly wouldn't buy it myself for personal use.

It's also necessitated having pretty decent PCs/Workstations to run it on as well. Another expense not always apparent to people considering for personal use.

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David Jenkins

posted on 3/11/21 at 10:40 AM Reply With Quote
The web-based CAD I was trying to think of was Tinkercad - quite popular, but I'm wary of keeping my designs on their server...

TinkerCAD





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nick205

posted on 3/11/21 at 10:45 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
The web-based CAD I was trying to think of was Tinkercad - quite popular, but I'm wary of keeping my designs on their server...

TinkerCAD



Not heard of or looked at TinkerCAD before.

No way of storng yor designs locally on your own PC I presume?

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loggyboy

posted on 3/11/21 at 11:35 AM Reply With Quote
Sketchup is the go to tool for 3D work for me. Its no where as comprehensive as the likes of Solidworks etc but as 3d printing generally lends itself to simpler designs ive not found a model I cant create in sketchup that I want to 3d print.





Mistral Motorsport

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David Jenkins

posted on 3/11/21 at 11:35 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nick205
Not heard of or looked at TinkerCAD before.

No way of storng yor designs locally on your own PC I presume?


I've not tried it - not felt the need!





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BenB

posted on 3/11/21 at 09:47 PM Reply With Quote
FreeCad for me. Open source and cross platform. It has some quirks (e.g. if you want to do a fillet it's best to make it your last process) but overall it's great. I was wary of "buying in" (in terms of time) to learn a closed source CAD system only to have it go down the Adobe rental type system. FreeCAD does everything I need (other than threads) and it's not going anywhere so it works for me. Also seems to work on a fairly basic PC. And it's parametric which is nice.
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David Jenkins

posted on 4/11/21 at 09:04 AM Reply With Quote
I did like FreeCAD, but when I tried to do serious stuff it would eventually break, due to a 'feature' that many people have complained about: You get to the end of a design and realise that there's part of it that needs to be altered - if it's one the first bits added then the program looses track of what goes where and the whole thing breaks.

They may well have fixed this since I did any serious work with FreeCAD, but I'm reluctant to invest ant time in it.





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nick205

posted on 4/11/21 at 09:38 AM Reply With Quote
Just a thought...

Do any of the CAD software vendors offer "student licences" at reduced prices?

If you have kids of college/university age that may be a way of getting into higher end/professional CAD software at a lower cost. You may need to provide a National Union of Students (NUS) number to be able to buy that type of licence.

...like I say, just a thought!

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