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Old 05-04-2015, 12:12 PM   #1
Rock Stacker
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Raeford
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Default 3D printers?

I've deen some older threads on the subject but wanted a newer answer. You folks that are using 3D printers:

What Model printer are you using? Seen them in kit form starting at $400.
Printers, like the one at Hobbyking, starting at $450

Turnigy Fabrikator 3D Printer (UK Plug)

What software are you using?
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:30 PM   #2
Rock Crawler
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dallas
Posts: 680
Default Re: 3D printers?

I have used Makerbot Replicator 2x's and a Z18 so I can't really comment on anything other than those.

As far as software is concerned. ReplicatorG puts out some amazing G Code with tons of options for improving quality or printing with other mediums other than just PLA or Nylon or ABS or whatever a printer is "built" for.

FWIW, I stick with either ABS or Nylon for printing structural parts in the RC world. I've also used Dacron with good success but had to walk away from my printing job a few months ago and never got deep into testing with it.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:07 AM   #3
Quarry Creeper
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Default Re: 3D printers?

Another option if you don't want to buy your own printer is shapeways.com. Printing/shipping times can be a little slow, but quality is high. They can even print in metal, but I've only tried the plastics.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:50 PM   #4
I wanna be Dave
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Default Re: 3D printers?

I've been using a makerbot Replicator 2 and a 2X in my CAD lab at school. I've actually been given a lab aid job just to keep the printers working. We have a lot of PLA that gets used as the build material instead of using it for raft/support. The 2X has dual heads that are meant for using 2 colors of ABS/nylon (because there is no cooling fan directed at the nozzle like the Replicator 2) but with careful settings, I've been able to get decent results running PLA through one of the nozzles. I want to try setting it up to use both materials but haven't got there yet.

The Replicator 2 does a decent job running the colored PLA, but for some reason the translucent materials always result in a plugged melting chamber.

Both machines require constant maintenance in cleaning the nozzles (I use a bronze wire brush) and keep the beds leveled and constantly trying to keep the material feed spools from binding up.
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3D printers?

vwdaveb - After looking at the specs of that again it's honestly probably worth throwing $450 at one. It uses standard nema motors, and worse case if the electronics burn up there's more than enough off the shelf components now to build your own controls easily and you can run it with free open source software that works really well. I've been thinking for a long time about building my own and it may not be worth it after seeing that. I'm sure if you keep the print speeds reasonable it's more than capable of high quality prints.

If you want to get really fancy build an enclosure for it not much larger than it is and heat it!

BigSki, I can definitely relate to the constant cleaning and materials problems. What software are you running it with?

I was, through much struggling able to print on a 2x - PLA, ABS, Makerbot's disolvable, Taulman Bridge (nylon), Taulman T-Glase (dacron) and ninjaflex. Without ReplicatorG it would have been impossible. Lots of trial and error with the settings and some modified nozzles and I was able to get decent results.

Last edited by DrewHammer; 05-05-2015 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:19 PM   #6
RCC Addict
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Location: San Francisco
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Default Re: 3D printers?

Personally I disagree with the assessment on the printer strictly because of the fact that technical support is.... uh.... unknown. I think something like this is a much better deal and the people behind it speak English and know what they are talking about Assembled Simple Metal | Printrbot

I have an Ultimaker 2 and it is a NICE printer but at $2,500 it isn't exactly a "base model entry machine" but what it lets you do is pretty impressive ive had a few random jams here and there but ive learned how to work around them which is part of the ownership process!

Another option to Shapeways which can be SLOW and not to cheap is 3D Hubs. Pretty much it connects you to 3D printer owners in your area who are willing to print stuff for you and your supporting local makers too. Upside is the costs are cheaper than Shapeways and the lead time is easily 1 week or less and you have your parts in hand . I have a hub (down till mid-end of week due to machine repairs) but you can try and find ones local to your area. https://www.3dhubs.com/san-francisco/hubs/calvin
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