Author Topic: 3D printing newbie  (Read 2594 times)

Offline Si Fu Panda

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3D printing newbie
« on: December 21, 2016, 10:30:10 AM »
Hello,

Any quick start/how-to about 3D printing here?  I saw two good posts on 3d printing here.  I did some internet research about 3D printing.  In general, they fall into two categories, one is "Buy this 3D printer, it can do everything under the sun", two is "I can do everything under sun even with this cheap printer."  More or less, they are all click-base articles. 

Since the TSP audiences are more well rounded, I am wondering if someone can point me to a good starting point. 

My first project in mind is 3d printing a high performance yoyo.

Thanks,
Si Fu Panda

Offline Si Fu Panda

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2016, 12:43:07 PM »
I just think of a business idea.  Using 3D printing to do custom rifle stock for people.  A 3D printed bullpup chassis for a AR or AK, how cool is that?

-SFP

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 05:35:02 PM »
3D printers are good for prototyping. Small projects that need a box. Plastic pieces that break and can't be replaced. They can make moulds for low temp projects such as foam or glue. The idea that you can print a gun gives you a gun that (if you are lucky) survives just a few shots. Any part on a gun needs to be able to withstand a lot of vibration and torque even if it does not touch the bullet or cartridge. Basically, I wouldn't risk my life on anything that was 3D printed.

Remember injection moulding is much cheaper than printing. This is why it is good for prototyping, one off iterations of a developing idea.

However, it is fun!! So go for it.

Jerseyboy

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2016, 06:29:57 PM »
SFP, this podcast on getting started in 3D just popped up on one of the ham radio podcasts that has some ties to this board.  Haven't listened to it yet, but these guys are usually pretty good:
http://hamradio360.com/index.php/2016/12/20/ham-radio-360-workbench-13-3d-printing/

Offline Si Fu Panda

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2017, 04:13:04 PM »
Just got back from the holidays.  Thanks for all the great inputs to get me started.

SFP

Offline Bolomark

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 04:27:37 PM »
http://makezine.com/comparison/3dprinters/
do you live in an area with a makezone? they have good classes.(I'm probably gonna try their laser cutting class.)
my old shop got one for prototyping they just make plastic parts.
 get as much info you can on them.

Offline Greekman

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2017, 10:46:46 AM »
I have done a class and designed and printed just an item.
What I realized is that you need to burn time with the design (if you do not already use any design product for other chores). the rest is easy.
In my view, we are a year or two away from reliving the photocopier revolution. Once you have a good design your just commission the printing to a store. No need to have your own.

Also do not become over-ambitious. It happened to me with a HAM radio connection box. The moment I started adding more features, i lost interest.

Offline scoob

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Re: 3D printing newbie
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2017, 09:02:10 PM »
Where to start?
What do you want to do with it?  Sounds like you have some ideas.
What is your budget?  $400?  $4,000?
Do you want to build one, or buy one?  Assembled and calibrated? DIY kit?
Do you have any CAD experience?  Do you plan to learn?  Do you know anyone who does CAD?

I started out building my 3D printer from scratch.  I'm fairly mechanically-inclined and the instructions/materials lists available are fairly detailed and easy to follow.  We also have a local maker space to lean on for questions and problems.  I got my printer up and running for $500, almost to the penny, but that was about 5 years ago.  Parts are much cheaper now, and kits can be had for around $300.  I don't know for sure what quality you're getting for that price, as I haven't researched it for a long time.

What I can say, is that if you build from scratch, or a kit, there is that possibility of second-guessing yourself when the machine doesn't do what you expect it to do.  It's no simple task, adjusting and calibrating a computer-numerically-controlled precision machine.

 I struggled here and there, and pushed through some problems, and finally got some good prints to work.  I never got to a point where i was truly satisfied with how my machine was running though.  Between that frustration, having moved to a new home, and being way too busy to sticky with it, alas, my 3D printer has been moved around, beat up, and neglected.  I finally  got it out a couple weeks ago, and determined that it needed a complete tear-down and re-build.  I'm just not at a point where I have the time for that, so I ordered a new one!  I bit the bullet, and ordered one that is assembled and calibrated, and even has built-in self-calibration features. 

For $900 shipped, I ordered a new Original Prusa I3 MK2 from Prusa3d.com.  The one I built was a second or third generation Prusa Mendel design,  so I'm familiar with the platform, and Josef Prusa seems to be nailing it when it comes to building and improving his design.  The demand for his printers is high though, so I have to wait a couple months for mine to arrive.  I'm confident that it'll be worth the wait, especially at that price.

Gun parts:  3D printed vs injection-molded?  If my life depends on the reliability of plastic gun parts... one- my gun & accessories are probably being issued, so it's a moot point-Magpul probably has me covered anyway.  two- I don't ever foresee the need for printing something that my life depends on.  I did print a magazine coupler though, and I would trust it as much as the pmags it clamps together. I guess it boils down to what it is you're printing, what your expectations are, and the availability of parts that are already engineered and produced commercially.  If you want to print a stock because you're too cheap to buy one, I hate to break it to you, but that's going to be the most expensive cheap stock you ever bought.  Filament isn't cheap, and if you think you're going to get it right the first time you try to print a given part, you are setting yourself up for frustration, and hopefully not a dangerous situation on top of it.

I agree that 3D printers really shine for prototyping and making one-off repair parts.  I've done both.  I also agree that if you want to go into mass production, a 3D printer probably isn't your long-term solution.  You can get your production rolling fairly quickly and cheaply while you're waiting on your contract manufacturer though.  It's also fair to note that some of these 3D printer manufacturers are printing all of the plastic parts for the printers they are selling.  They literally have printer farms, of printers that were printed, that are printing printers!  Self-replication anyone?  Think about it...injection molding is expensive to get set up.  Once you've printed and proofed your final prototype part though, just hit the print button again.  Want to double your output?  Print and build another 3D printer!  No joke. 

Another thing to consider, with all of the filament materials available now, and the resolutions that modern 3D printers are capable of, it may surprise you the quality of a 3D printed part these days.

CAD:  I'm fortunate that I do CAD for a living and have access to professional apps.  For those who don't, there are plenty of resources out there to learn how to do it, and free CAD apps available.  Many have gotten started designing their 3D prints with the free version of (formerly Google) Sketchup.  There are loads of video tutorials for learning Sketchup.

If you want to see a crapload of 3D models designed for 3D printing, here's a time-sucker for you:  thingiverse.com
Also check out grabcad.com   It's not specifically for 3D printing models, but it's another huge library of 3D CAD models free for the downloading.
reprap.org is where I got started.  The forums and the wiki are loaded with info and resources.

As previously stated, look for a local maker space.  If you can't find it by that name, you might have to do some creative searching.  We have a store, called Reuseum, that sells surplus electronics and hardware, amongst other treasures.  They basically host the local maker space, called Open Lab Idaho.  Hope that helps.
=)