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Old 07-03-2019, 03:21 PM   #1
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Default Shapeways vs at home printers

I have been having major issues getting prints through shapeways to work with no fuss. It's mainly just my center sections. Bearing pockets to be exact.
Is there a printer out there that I can use at home that has just as good tolerances as shapeways?

I had to sand out the inner bearing ridge on one of my last center sections to get the spool to fit without the shims. It fits perfect now and the customer said it was alright. I still will give him the option to return the kit and either get his money back or get another print.

If there is no printer out there, then I might have to dig into my taxes next year for injection molding. I would like to get to that stage at some point.

So, the question is.. What do I need at home for really good prints? My file has never changed, but yet there is a issue every other housing I print.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

Are your prints from shapeways SLS or FDM? I know SLS tends to end up with some loose powder that needs cleaning up but thats easy and shouldn't require sanding. Shrinkage is also a small factor, though I dont know many details beyond heat leading to shrinkage. Warping parts is also an issue

I did Maker Muse's tolerance test on my Prusa MK3S and it was able to get down to 0.2mm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnJBpCWf9Mc

Now I cant really say if this is the printer for you but I've been really pleased with mine so far, they've dialed in the software quite well so you can focus on designing and making instead of troubleshooting and fine tuning. Also the upgrade path is awesome, technically you could buy their original kit and purchase their upgrade kits to bring it up to date, I did this to go from the MK3 to MK3S and it was like $20-25 which is not bad IMO.

I'll just add that sometimes prints just fail which I'm sure you know.

I'd think that having a printer to test out designs would be nice but for the finished structurally sound part you'll still likely want to go with SLS from Shapeways
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

Im getting my stuff printed via sls through shapeways. .2mm isnt bad at all. I have some sls parts .5 off frome shapeways...

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Old 07-03-2019, 08:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

i spend 5-6 grand a year with Shapeways, and it's 100% worth it compared to a home printer. Color and material options alone are worth it, but the general dimensions consistency is great too. Biggest thing to remember with Shapeways is they are going to do their best to make exactly what you modeled, so if the model isn't right the parts won't be right. If you are designing parts to have a dead nuts bearing fit you're gonna have issues all the time. Couple thou extra on bearing pockets helps keep them alive and easy to pry out if/when they need replaced.
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Old 07-03-2019, 09:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

Great advice man. Though i can say my bearing pockets are a bit tight. For my bearings im at .15mm oversized. I had an issue with the last customers housing and had to barely sand it. My model never changed, but i van say the housings have been very inconsistant. I even have some housing with layers peeling...

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Old 07-05-2019, 05:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Originally Posted by CM9000 View Post
For my bearings im at .15mm oversized.
Try doubling it for bearing pockets.

.15mm ( .005'' ) oversize on a circle is only .0025'' per side, thats not enough room for comfort.

The home printers are a pain trying to do that. Depends on line width plus what type of material and moisture in it. Not worth the headache unless your testing things or just making stuff for yourself.


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Originally Posted by CM9000 View Post
I even have some housing with layers peeling...
Layer peeling on the SLS?

Or are you having them print it with those HP Printers?
There shouldnt be any layers in the SLS from how I understand that process.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

Ill take a picture rob. Its the same regular white cheap flexible strong sls white nylon that most everything gets printed. I dont select what printer they use.



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Old 07-05-2019, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Ill take a picture rob. Its the same regular white cheap flexible strong sls white nylon that most everything gets printed. I dont select what printer they use.



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Weird .... Ya Im curious to how it feels.
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Old 07-05-2019, 10:01 AM   #9
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Weird .... Ya Im curious to how it feels.
Weird... For sure.

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Old 07-05-2019, 01:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

I'd send those pics to Shapeways and ask them to reprint the parts. I've never had any of my SLS parts do that so it was probably a bad print and they didn't QAQC it.
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

Wow the pealing and inconsistency from Shapeways would be a problem, definitely email them and get reprints.

HumboldtEF’s home prints have been quite nice imo.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

OK, so as a person that owns and operates multiple 3d printers (all FDM type) I can tell you that getting quality prints, with good dimensional accuracy IS possible - but it takes time and effort to do it. Once dialed in, the printer should stay there. It is all about calibration, calibration, calibration. There are no shortcuts.

Color and material choices are out there from quality suppliers - buying cheap is just that - cheap. It does not mean quality. Don't be cheap if you want quality results.
Spending crazy amounts of money at Shapeways & others like them, I suppose, is an option, but I personally do not care to do that. I made it my mission to be able to produce a good part on my own printer and I have managed to do so. If I can do it, so can others.

When I design a part, I design with the actual dimensions I want. My printers, and materials, are all calibrated properly and deliver the goods with no screwing around having to oversize this or that dimension. It is pretty rare anymore to need to go back and tweak a part for better fit.

and yes, I do print things for other people - RC car people, Drone people, prototypes, etc.
I can run ABS, PLA, PETg, Nylon, and flexibles. My preference for most things is ABS, but use the other materials according to application.

I am currently printing the 3D Sets Rancher 4x4 Jeep - a specially designed RC model made for 3d printing - tires, hardware, bearings and electronics are the only things not printed. This thing is big at approx 1/8th scale, but so far the parts are well designed and thought out. Makes printing them that much easier.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

I think people pay shape ways because of the less hassle, not techno savy, no supports needed and strength.

I never had an issue with demensional accuracy out of the box on my anet a8. But if I did I think it's an easy fix, you just print a cube and then measure it, little but of math then change the value on that axes.

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Old 07-07-2019, 06:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Originally Posted by Voodoobrew View Post
I think people pay shape ways because of the less hassle, not techno savy, no supports needed and strength.

I never had an issue with demensional accuracy out of the box on my anet a8. But if I did I think it's an easy fix, you just print a cube and then measure it, little but of math then change the value on that axes.

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Actually, if you calibrate the feed rate & material properly, you might find you don't need to change any of the axis values (aside from E, that is). Most printers will over-extrude out of the box. fix that, you fix a lot of the dimensional issues.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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OK, so as a person that owns and operates multiple 3d printers (all FDM type) I can tell you that getting quality prints, with good dimensional accuracy IS possible - but it takes time and effort to do it. Once dialed in, the printer should stay there. It is all about calibration, calibration, calibration. There are no shortcuts.

Color and material choices are out there from quality suppliers - buying cheap is just that - cheap. It does not mean quality. Don't be cheap if you want quality results.
Spending crazy amounts of money at Shapeways & others like them, I suppose, is an option, but I personally do not care to do that. I made it my mission to be able to produce a good part on my own printer and I have managed to do so. If I can do it, so can others.

When I design a part, I design with the actual dimensions I want. My printers, and materials, are all calibrated properly and deliver the goods with no screwing around having to oversize this or that dimension. It is pretty rare anymore to need to go back and tweak a part for better fit.

and yes, I do print things for other people - RC car people, Drone people, prototypes, etc.
I can run ABS, PLA, PETg, Nylon, and flexibles. My preference for most things is ABS, but use the other materials according to application.

I am currently printing the 3D Sets Rancher 4x4 Jeep - a specially designed RC model made for 3d printing - tires, hardware, bearings and electronics are the only things not printed. This thing is big at approx 1/8th scale, but so far the parts are well designed and thought out. Makes printing them that much easier.


What is your choice of printer at the moment for RC parts? I’ve been kicking tires for a few years on 3D printers and I feel like it is a pretty good time to jump in.


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Old 07-09-2019, 04:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

I printed this engine at Shapeways as one piece with no supports before I got my own 3D printer. Turned out fantastic.

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Old 07-10-2019, 03:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tossedman View Post
I printed this engine at Shapeways as one piece with no supports before I got my own 3D printer. Turned out fantastic.



Yea and shape ways can do complex prints like that much better then fdm.

Forgot about that some how.

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Old 07-10-2019, 07:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Originally Posted by Ben from Iowa View Post
What is your choice of printer at the moment for RC parts? I’ve been kicking tires for a few years on 3D printers and I feel like it is a pretty good time to jump in.


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my personal choice is no longer available new - I run a pair of Solidoodle 4, with a 3rd one in the works.


I also own the Folgertech FT-5 (first generation - 2nd has some much needed upgrades) as well as a PrintIt Industries Horizon (not cheap - I am a beta tester for them)


Folgertech has some decent offerings if you are interested in a kit at all. I personally have built 3 different ones - the FT-5, the 2020 Prusa and the Kossel Rev B. the last 2 were later sold or traded mainly because I didn't really use them much



Otherwise, research the different models - find something with good support - both manufacturer and user support! Crealty seems to be a popular one these days, but there are others as well.

I personally am not a big fan of the Prusa style printers - nothing wrong with them per se, i just don't like the way they move - personal preference.


if at all possible, go with an open source machine - meaning you can do whatever you want to with it - using whatever parts you want. Closed source means you have to buy parts & supplies from that manufacturer only (Makerbot, DaVinci, Dremel, etc are all closed source) Some will allow you to use whatever you want for filament (DaVinci pro), but parts have to be purchased from them - this is still considered closed source.



and whatever you do, don't buy the cheapest material you can find either.. there is a big difference between being "cheap" and being "frugal". Quality materials will print better in general, give you fewer headaches, and less waste due to failed prints.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Originally Posted by Tossedman View Post
I printed this engine at Shapeways as one piece with no supports before I got my own 3D printer. Turned out fantastic.


not an FDM print either.. no supports needed because it was done on a powder machine (binder jetting), every layer supports the next layer automatically. Once it is done, the excess powder gets dumped.
BIG difference in tech there.
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Shapeways vs at home printers

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Originally Posted by heartless View Post
my personal choice is no longer available new - I run a pair of Solidoodle 4, with a 3rd one in the works.


I also own the Folgertech FT-5 (first generation - 2nd has some much needed upgrades) as well as a PrintIt Industries Horizon (not cheap - I am a beta tester for them)


Folgertech has some decent offerings if you are interested in a kit at all. I personally have built 3 different ones - the FT-5, the 2020 Prusa and the Kossel Rev B. the last 2 were later sold or traded mainly because I didn't really use them much



Otherwise, research the different models - find something with good support - both manufacturer and user support! Crealty seems to be a popular one these days, but there are others as well.

I personally am not a big fan of the Prusa style printers - nothing wrong with them per se, i just don't like the way they move - personal preference.


if at all possible, go with an open source machine - meaning you can do whatever you want to with it - using whatever parts you want. Closed source means you have to buy parts & supplies from that manufacturer only (Makerbot, DaVinci, Dremel, etc are all closed source) Some will allow you to use whatever you want for filament (DaVinci pro), but parts have to be purchased from them - this is still considered closed source.



and whatever you do, don't buy the cheapest material you can find either.. there is a big difference between being "cheap" and being "frugal". Quality materials will print better in general, give you fewer headaches, and less waste due to failed prints.


Thanks, that confirmed some of my research for sure. Ordered a Crealty Ender 3, got a good deal from Amazon for Prime Day. Now to learn some software before it gets here!



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