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Subject: 3d printer acquisition advice? rss

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Kyle
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Hey there everyone,

I have been considering picking up a 3d printer for some time, for the rather menial task of making inserts for my games. In an ideal world this would include a 12"x 8" or so print area, but that is where things start to get a bit pricey. Too pricey to bother for something so menial.

a 6 x 8 could be workable, 6x6 involves making a few too many interlocking parts (if wanting 'sub lids' so to speak).

This looks promising and isn't much money, but the caveat is shall we rely on a kickstarter when it launches...

http://3dprint.com/51942/x3d-machines-genesis-uno-duo

Software isn't much an issue, I am a bit of a CAD monkey and quite versed in AutoCAD (will need to hone my 3d abilities a little bit) but could use that to generate STLs.

Anyone have some advice on direction / printers?
 
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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I don't know if it's helpful, but the cheapest functional option for big print beds I know is the Peachy (Disclaimer: I don't have one (yet?)), if you look around you'll see that the print quality is a bit on the shaky side, but for rough work like game inserts, boxes or terrain it should be ok. On the upside, in theory the thing can work with print beds of arbitrary size, and it's not a fiber printer (I really don't like fiber printers), on the other hand you'll need resin, which isn't the cheapest option.
 
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Brian
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Have you designed any inserts yet? Is try to do that first and then figure out how long it would take to print. See if you can try sending one out to a service like Shapeways or print at a local library and see how it turns out.

I'm thinking that an insert is rather large to 3D print for something like an insert.
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Dan Has
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I only know about the two 3D printers I own and both of them have small print areas (~100mm cube). It looks like there are a lot of plans for Reprap that you can potentially buy the electrical components and extruder in a kit, then build the frame and print area. Depending on how much DIY you feel comfortable with. This way you can expand the print area to suit your needs.

There are two major technologies you can consider for a consumer grade 3D printer: FDM or SLA. I have one of each type, because they have advantages and disadvantages, and are more suited for different types of prints. Keep in mind I am no expert, this is just what I have learned from my limited experience in a hobby I consider fun.

FDM - Fused Deposition Modeling
This uses a plastic weed whacker like cord and feeds it into an extruder(basically a hot glue gun). This is extruded onto the build platform one layer at a time.

Pros:
Inexpensive material (Most commonly is ABS). It is light, strong and flexible. Depending on the printer, the print will be mostly done and ready for use right away.

Cons:
Build area is usually limited. You have to move the build platform or extruder around to print the part. X, Y, and Z coordinates so three different dirrections.


SLA - Stereolithography
This uses a light sensitive liquid resin, usually UV light. It can be cured with laser light or with a projector. Curing a small amount of resin at a time, one layer of the object at a time.

Pros:
Potentially higher print quality(depending on printer). Easier to get a bigger print area as the curing mechanism is light, rather than a physical extruder moving around.

Cons:
The material is more expensive. The print is more wasteful as your part is covered in liquid resin afterward and when you need to start a print you'll mix the resin in the tray, which sticks to whatever you mixed with. More time spend cleaning your part after the print.

The printed object is UV light sensitive; this means unless you cover the print with a UV inhibiting coating, the print will get harder and more brittle with exposure to UV light.

And finally the material is brittle and will break instead of flexing.

Keep in mind these are my experiences. There are many different types of resins and print material. I only have experience with a limited few.



Another option that occurred to me would be vacuum forming. Have you looked into that? I would think game inserts would be pretty easy to make with this method, though I have never tried it.







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Kyle
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BeanThere wrote:
I only know about the two 3D printers I own and both of them have small print areas (~100mm cube). It looks like there are a lot of plans for Reprap that you can potentially buy the electrical components and extruder in a kit, then build the frame and print area. Depending on how much DIY you feel comfortable with. This way you can expand the print area to suit your needs.

There are two major technologies you can consider for a consumer grade 3D printer: FDM or SLA. I have one of each type, because they have advantages and disadvantages, and are more suited for different types of prints. Keep in mind I am no expert, this is just what I have learned from my limited experience in a hobby I consider fun.

FDM - Fused Deposition Modeling
This uses a plastic weed whacker like cord and feeds it into an extruder(basically a hot glue gun). This is extruded onto the build platform one layer at a time.

Pros:
Inexpensive material (Most commonly is ABS). It is light, strong and flexible. Depending on the printer, the print will be mostly done and ready for use right away.

Cons:
Build area is usually limited. You have to move the build platform or extruder around to print the part. X, Y, and Z coordinates so three different dirrections.


SLA - Stereolithography
This uses a light sensitive liquid resin, usually UV light. It can be cured with laser light or with a projector. Curing a small amount of resin at a time, one layer of the object at a time.

Pros:
Potentially higher print quality(depending on printer). Easier to get a bigger print area as the curing mechanism is light, rather than a physical extruder moving around.

Cons:
The material is more expensive. The print is more wasteful as your part is covered in liquid resin afterward and when you need to start a print you'll mix the resin in the tray, which sticks to whatever you mixed with. More time spend cleaning your part after the print.

The printed object is UV light sensitive; this means unless you cover the print with a UV inhibiting coating, the print will get harder and more brittle with exposure to UV light.

And finally the material is brittle and will break instead of flexing.

Keep in mind these are my experiences. There are many different types of resins and print material. I only have experience with a limited few.



Another option that occurred to me would be vacuum forming. Have you looked into that? I would think game inserts would be pretty easy to make with this method, though I have never tried it.


Vac forming is an interesting idea, but the primary failure is I want to get away from physically making molds and patterns, when I can generate them digitally and mutably. The manhours are what I would really like to change here. If it took me 2-3 hours to make something out of foamcore, and I could have drawn it in 15 minutes, that is a good 2 hours saved and put to much better use. In that sense the resin style printer is a bit less appealing, given more direct involvement being required.



lankyb wrote:
Have you designed any inserts yet? Is try to do that first and then figure out how long it would take to print. See if you can try sending one out to a service like Shapeways or print at a local library and see how it turns out.

I'm thinking that an insert is rather large to 3D print for something like an insert.


Design is childs play for things like this. Simple constraints, entirely visible goals. The prices to print locally that I have found are not exactly friendly.
 
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Brian
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Have you calculated print times?
 
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Yikes! Wouldn't a laser cutter and birch ply be a better option for inserts which - typically in my experience - are planar intersects? Printing a simple flat* surface would seem to be an expensive option when ... err .. flat surfaces are readily available and easy to cut.

*can you even print a flat surface without having to fettle extensively?
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Kyle
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enoon wrote:
Yikes! Wouldn't a laser cutter and birch ply be a better option for inserts which - typically in my experience - are planar intersects? Printing a simple flat* surface would seem to be an expensive option when ... err .. flat surfaces are readily available and easy to cut.

*can you even print a flat surface without having to fettle extensively?


Now there is an idea. I had not considered that, it would be very well suited, cost permitting.


Re print times, unless I missed something, I don't need to give printing 100% attention, I could fit nearby and say, do scalar/melodic rudiments.

 
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Brian
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My point wasn't that you need to devote 100% attention to machine while it's running.

I don't know what your inserts look like, but 3D printing isn't exactly fast. For example this nutcracker takes almost 3 hours and it's only 3-4 inches long.

I just want to make sure you're informed of the limitations of 3D printing and have realistic expectations.
 
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Kyle
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lankyb wrote:
My point wasn't that you need to devote 100% attention to machine while it's running.

I don't know what your inserts look like, but 3D printing isn't exactly fast. For example this nutcracker takes almost 3 hours and it's only 3-4 inches long.

I just want to make sure you're informed of the limitations of 3D printing and have realistic expectations.


That's fair, it is a plenty slow process. At the end of the day this pursuit is more whimsical than anything as 2-3 hours and the much hated foam core is still only about 50-100$ time and material value / moderately fiddly game. I occasionally have the time to set aside (night shift + weekends can be a dreary affair).
 
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