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3D printer advice...

October 11 2017 at 5:16 PM
Bob  (Login Aptivaboy)
HyperScale Forums
from IP address

Hi all,

I've finally had it up to about here with Shapeways. After selling designs through them for several years, they are now suddenly deciding that older designs are no longer printable. Why, I have no idea. I've even sent them photos of printed designs from them that they suddenly claim aren't printable.


Anyway, I'm starting the search for a new home 3D printer. I'd like to be able to print small starship hulls, prop engine cowlings in 1/32nd and 1/48th, engine nacelles, props, landing gear, that sort of thing. The capabilities of the Dremel printer look about right to me https://www.micromark.com/Dremel-Idea-Builder-3D-Printer) but at a lower price; I don't have a spare grand lying around.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Many thanks,


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Mike Lobo
(Login theapacolypse)
HyperScale Forums

Due to the sheer number of options available (growing constantly)...

October 11 2017, 7:48 PM 

I can't suggest a particular model. When spending on "High-Ticket" items, nothing prevents buyer's remorse like Research (comparison Shopping). You can search for "CHEAP" +"3D PRINTERS", and I'm sure you'll get a few thousand results. There's A LOT on Youtube.
You already have an idea of what you wan't to do with it. Use frequency is another consideration. When advising folks on computers, I always suggest that they buy More computer than they think they need. This, because their use demands Always expand after their purchase.
Good news is that they Are getting cheaper. If you have the skills (being a model builder, you probably do) it's Always cheaper to buy the unassembled types. While building your own doesn't give you a warranty, It does have the advantage of You being able to know how to fix/maintain it. Avoiding big names (ie. Dremel) tend to also keep cost down.
Last I checked, I was starting to see sub $1K models out there, but cheap often means Small Print Area, Lack of Heated Bed, and/or cheap components, etc.

Oh, and offering cheap print services could serve as a return on the investment and offset your costs.
My girl - well she's kind of an ugly girl. But,that's O.K. I like ugly girls. Because pretty girls can do anything, but ugly girls have to do everything.
-John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie
[linked image]

This message has been edited by theapacolypse from IP address on Oct 11, 2017 7:57 PM

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(Login IronChefMoFo)
HyperScale Forums

You don't want an FDM printer.

October 11 2017, 8:06 PM 

The Dremel printer won't be able to print props, landing gear or any sort of finely detailed scale model parts. As with all FDM printers, it's better at printing relatively coarse (and simple) objects. It would be the equivalent of PLA from Shapeways (only worse, since it has a single extruder whereas Shapeways' Stratasys printers can print dissolvable support material for cleaner undersides).

If you've been using Strong and Flexible from Shapeways, the cheapest home-use equivalent would be the upcoming Fuse 1 printer from Formlabs. It's $10,000. https://formlabs.com/3d-printers/fuse-1/

If you've been using FUD or HDA from Shapeways, the cheapest home-use equivalent would probably be the Wanhao Duplicator 7 - it's a DLP printer vs. the MJM printers used for FUD and SLA printers used for HDA, but it would be able to handle similarly detailed prints. The Duplicator 7 is about $500, but is very much a work in progress and really isn't a plug and play device - it has a definite learning curve and you will have to troubleshoot issues. http://www.wanhao3dprinter.com/Unboxin/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=89

If you're looking for a more user-friendly printer for detailed parts, you're probably looking at a Form2 from Formlabs. Again, it's not plug and play, due to the nature of resin printers, but it's a more polished device than the Wanhao. Its $3500. https://formlabs.com/3d-printers/form-2/

If you buy a resin printer, you'll also want to invest in an ultrasonic cleaner and a UV-curing chamber to post-process your prints. The resin itself is $50 - 100/L, and you can probably factor on wasting half a litre while you learn to use the printer. For the Form2, the resin tank is a consumable - $60 - 100 for a replacement every couple of litres of resin. The Duplicator 7 has lower running costs - you'll need to change the FEP sheets, but they're a few dollars each - though the LCD probably won't last long-term and is a $100 replacement. You'll probably want to set up a Raspberry Pi to run the printer too, so it's not tethered to your PC for hours at a time.

If you DO want an FDM printer, the Dremel Idea Builder is a fairly mediocre choice. A Prusa i3 Mk2S is $600 for the kit version and widely regarded as one of the best FDM printers on the market at any price. Prusa are releasing an i3 Mk3 in a month which has a few upgrades and will be $750, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra money. At lower price points, the Creality CR-10 is a solid printer with a large build envelope for around $400; the Monoprice MakerSelect V2 (also sold as Wanhao Duplicator i3 V2) is about $300, smaller but has a devoted following and and can be tuned into a capable printer; and the Anet A8 is okay - less well built than the MakerSelect and has some shoddy wiring - but cheap at under $200. All of these are open printers, however, which can limit your material selection out of the box, as higher temperature materials like ABS and HIPS tend to warp outside of heated build chambers. That said, you can build a box to house the printer and contain the heat fairly easily, and cheaply.

In terms of running costs, you'll be looking at $20 - 50 per kg of filament. You may need replacement build platforms if you damage the one that came with the printer. For the cheaper printers, you will probably want to upgrade them to improve performance - new hot ends, new extruders, vibration dampers, replacement bearings, fans and the like - so you can expect to spend another $50 - 100 easily on an A8 or MakerSelect, a little less on a CR-10, while the (official) Prusa doesn't need upgrades, unless you want to do multi-extrusion.

Or you could stick with Shapeways, which is far cheaper, and far easier.

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Tim Campbell
(Login timhcampbell)
HyperScale Forums

Now that's what I call an informative post. Excellent

October 12 2017, 1:01 PM 


This answered more questions than I had about 3D printers. Very useful - thanks.



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(Login Aptivaboy)
HyperScale Forums

Great info, thank you.

October 12 2017, 8:20 PM 

Yes, I'm far more comfy working with FUD-like materials from Shapeways. You've given me a few things to think about.


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John Ballman
(Login jballman02)
HyperScale Forums

Check out B9 Creator

October 11 2017, 8:29 PM 


It is what I own. Purchased it 2014, Prices may vary.

Steely Eyed Missileman from the Deep

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(Login Knotical)
HyperScale Forums

Try some local printers through 3D hubs,

October 12 2017, 12:07 AM 

Local people with printers. Have them make what your looking for & check out their equipment & results. Very cheap & easier than running your own printer which can be a pita to set up & run. They will show you what to expect on your own.

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Andrew deeley
(Login deeley)
HyperScale Forums

Just make New designs

October 12 2017, 3:46 AM 

Why not just slightly tweet the design. Rename it, re date it to to 2017/18 and resubmit itvto Shapways.

To them it will then be a new design. I'm sure they won't know the difference.

May save you a lot of cost and hassle


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