Quick question: How easy is it to enclose an object with a printer? Or, perhaps more descriptively, is it possible to print around a "core", an object to be embedded permanently into the printed object?
The idea here is that one could print an all-new paintball gun body- a functional body- if you could first produce an aluminum 'core' that would hold the pressure. On something like a 'Cocker, you'd just need to develop some sort of valve chamber. On a spoolvalve gun, like a Shocker, you'd need a sleeve, and so on.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but what if one printed the first third of the body, set the aluminum core in place (perhaps suitably roughed so the plastic adheres well, and possibly even heated slightly so it embeds solidly in the first half) and then proceed to print the rest of the body over and around it, sealing it in.
First and foremost, I can see clearances would certainly be an issue- the print head would have to be programmed to "clear" the additional body volume as it prints, and the core would have to be fairly precisely placed so the print head didn't "crash" against it as it extrudes.
But what I don't know is how well the plastic would adhere to the core piece, whether or not roughing the surface matters (IE, sandblasting) or of the core would produce "cold shuts" where the filament cools to quickly to properly adhere to the previous layer.
This is, at the moment, strictly a thought experiment. I have no project in mind, though I have been toying with the idea of picking up a decent off-the-shelf printer, partly for the general CNC/CAD-modelling practice, and partly for the potential of prototyping parts for things like the forthcoming 'Duke' lever-action.
Buddy of mine has a new Prusa, and I see the 3rd gen of that model is about to be released. if the street price of the new one isn't much more than the old one, I was thinking of getting one. Yeah, there's cheaper ones on the market, but I'm told the Prusa has some handy user-friendly aspects, like self-levelling and a fairly simple interface.