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Old 14th June 2017, 04:46 PM
tashirosgt Offline
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Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

This 2013 article compares 3D printers for hobbyists to "project cars" - machines where you spend most of your time adjusting and fixing the machine instead of using it. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013...her-dimension/

Are the 3D printers of 2017 any better? I'm more curious about the mechanical aspects that the software aspects. (I always expect software to be a pain in the neck.)
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Old 14th June 2017, 06:55 PM
flyingdutchman Offline
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

It depends on the quality of the machine. Places like Shapeways make a living out of 3D printers and their products are very good quality.

Aerospace companies make rocket engines with 3D printers, but a laser sinter machine isn't exactly something that your average hobbyist can afford.
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Old 14th June 2017, 07:30 PM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

yes things had moved on, even in two years.

lulzbot mini on sale since 2015 seems to be the go to printer these days for hobbyists and academic use. Lulzbot Cura is even in the fedora repositories. it's a mid-range printer so it has some automated calibration to make it easier to setup and use but printing is coarser than higher end machines. also, potentially dangerous given there are no sides to keep small fingers away from hot surfaces.
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Old 14th June 2017, 07:32 PM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

I imagine the technologies moved on a lot since then but out of curiosity, what would you use it to print?
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Old 14th June 2017, 10:49 PM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

This is a simple question with a complex answer.

Consumer 3D printers have advanced tremendously in both price and reliability over the past few years, and produce really good results. The time that it takes to properly set-up current 3D printers have been reduced to almost zero out of the box (almost). The initial investment for consumer 3D printers is relatively low, and you have plenty of choices that will fit your needs.

The positive:

1. On most cases, they are easy to use.
2. Prices are getting low.
3. For extrusion based 3D printers (Most common type you will find for consumers), there is a huge type of composite materials to use like Carbon fiber, Wood, Metal, Nylons, and so on.
4. There are several web-sites with thousands of 3D models to print.
5. They are starting to move out of the “hobbyist” area.

Now, there is also the not-so-positive side of things, and what makes Consumer 3D printer a niche, instead of a Main Stream product:

1. Not everything can be 3D printed: Due to how most Consumer 3D printers work (extruded plastic), there are several limitations of objects that can be 3D printed. Sure, there are other type of technologies available to the public (resin) but they are usually more expensive, and require more post-processing work.
2. Unless you have CAD experience, you are limited to print objects that other people have created.
3. Size is quite limited, usually you can print an object no larger than 6 inches.
4. Prints can take several hours, or even days depending on quality and size.
5. The layers on most printed objects is quite noticeable.
6. Too many small companies are saturating the field, and some of them will not last a year, and you may end up with a machine not supported.

At the end, 3D printers are not “project cars” anymore, since the tuning and adjusting has been reduced to a minimum, and most likely, you can start printing right out-of-the-box. The future is good for Consumer 3D printers.

Right now, my only problem is with people who are still calling 3D printing the “NEW” industrial revolution, and advocate how it will change the way we purchase products, that will not happen in the near-future, since the products we consume are a mix of plastic, rubber, metal, electronics, etc. Current consumer 3D printing technology is limited to either one or two plastic based materials. Sorry, no Next-Gen gaming console printing for you….

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Old 15th June 2017, 04:15 AM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

Quote:
Sorry, no Next-Gen gaming console printing for you…
Perhaps not now, but also perhaps not too far into the future.
You can get filament that is conductive (though not as good as metal) so printing a circuit is now possible.
I have also seen an account of someone that adapted a 3D printer to place surface mount components. If they were attached using conductive adhesive then 3D printed electronics is the result.

This could open up some interesting possibilities for 3D circuits as there is no longer any need for them to be on flat circuit boards.
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Old 15th June 2017, 04:15 AM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryfedoraa View Post
but out of curiosity, what would you use it to print?
Probably parts for toys and plastic models.
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Old 15th June 2017, 07:02 AM
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Re: Are 3D printers like "project cars"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocratato View Post
Perhaps not now, but also perhaps not too far into the future.
You can get filament that is conductive (though not as good as metal) so printing a circuit is now possible.
I have also seen an account of someone that adapted a 3D printer to place surface mount components. If they were attached using conductive adhesive then 3D printed electronics is the result.

This could open up some interesting possibilities for 3D circuits as there is no longer any need for them to be on flat circuit boards.
Indeed circuits can be printed with the right filament, but the extruded material of the current machines is way to big for complex and efficient electronic circuits. For this to work we will need a different printing technology like the ones used in commercial 3D printers, sadly, that is price prohibited, as those machines can cost more than the house I live on.

I'm sure it will happen one day, but not in the near future. Sure the 3D printers are getting better and more reliable, but they are based on a technology that has a big physical limitation, extruded plastic. No matter how reliable your electronics are, plastic is limited by temperature, and how thin it can be extruded without clogging the nozzle.

The real revolution will come if a company is able to produce an affordable alternative to the current mainstream consumer 3D printing model, and for that we will need to wait until some of the patents used by commercial 3D printing companies. Remember, we currently have Consumer 3D printing, because the patents used expired, and the printers can be assembled with cheap components.
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