Coffeehouse Thread

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3D Printer

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  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    I finally convinced myself I need one (for suitably overinflated values of "need"). I'm looking at the cheap range (say Make-a-bot, Ultimaker and the like) for the obvious reasons and also because I'd rather not use something that eats through consumables that go for several hundred dollars per Kg.

    I'm a bit concerned about the usefulness of the printed parts, though, as the quality shown on youtube varies wildly and I'm trying to smuggle this to the office for "serious work". Or something.

    I'd be grateful if anybody wanted to share some advice...

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @Blue Ink: I don't have one, but from what i've read, even though it's less DIY than it used to be, the Makerbot looks pretty sweet.

  • User profile image
    Clint

    So I have a thingomatic by maker bot and it is ok.  I know the msft garage is going to get a make bot replicator and an Up 3d printer.

    A lot of them are based on a reprap design as well.

    I suggest checking out the software and how much tweaking you want to do to get it to print.  If your area has a makertareq like seattle's create matrix or tech shop, check those out as well?

    Print bed size is another big thing.  I wish mine had a bigger bed almost right away.

    Making the thing omatic was chances are one of the most confusing things ever.  Just put that in context with some of the things I have built Smiley. Took 2 days and chances are another 5 to get everything adjusted

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    , Clint wrote

     I know the msft garage is going to get a make bot replicator and an Up 3d printer.

    I would very much like to hear how these compare, they're the ones on my to-buy list, can't decide which way to go.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    @Clint: Thanks, food for thought. Of all things I completely forgot about software: I took for granted that once you make the STL getting that printed was trivial. Oops...

    For the record, looks like the Thingomatic is no longer an option, and the Replicator comes preassembled.

    Browsing through the various RepRap derivatives, I stumbled upon the Cartesio. Same concept as everything else, but this one can apparently be changed into a CNC router to prototype PCBs. Will try to find out more...

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Keep us informed about what you end up doing. Smiley I'm also quite interested in 3D printing.

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    , Blue Ink wrote

    I finally convinced myself I need one (for suitably overinflated values of "need"). I'm looking at the cheap range (say Make-a-bot, Ultimaker and the like) for the obvious reasons and also because I'd rather not use something that eats through consumables that go for several hundred dollars per Kg.

    I'm a bit concerned about the usefulness of the printed parts, though, as the quality shown on youtube varies wildly and I'm trying to smuggle this to the office for "serious work". Or something.

    I'd be grateful if anybody wanted to share some advice...

    "Usefullness" depends on what you want to do and there's a huge range of possibilities, so you have to narrow it down.  About 3 years ago I went to a day long presentation and demonstration of the Stratsys Dimension XPS 3D printer.  It was a bit smaller than a fridge, and at $25K it was probably the best deal you could get.  With it, people were creating little products straight out of the machine, into bubble wrap, and canvassing stores like Canadian Tire to try to sell the products.  So, the material for that was both cheap enough and useful enough for that purpose.

    I would really try to find one of those presentation sessions.  Go to the major manufacturer sites and see if they are visiting a city near you and you can learn a lot.  This is an area I have really been wanting to get into as well.  Programmable matter, not just 3D printed, will change everything.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    Update: I went through a the long process of requesting and handling samples from various suppliers. Bad news: none of the inexpensive models turned out to be good enough for serious work. Good news: some models were good enough to make us look at the more expensive ones.

    After some gnashing of the teeth, we bought a Stratasys uPrint. Got a pretty good deal as it's one of the last HP rebranded units. It's not perfect, but it's good enough for what we do. I would have preferred an Objet, to be honest, but the entry model was the only one within our budget and the photopolymers it uses are only good up to 40-50°C. A bit too close for comfort... maybe we'll be able to upgrade sometimes in the future, the multimaterial models are just awesome.

    Worst surprise: the software. Gets the job done, but it's just awful and doesn't give you much in terms of options and stuff.

    As for my hobby application, I switched to full geek mode: I'll print my home 3D printer with the Stratasys as soon as it's not busy printing something else. We'll see...

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