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Garfield
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Hi Guys

 

I have looked into 3D printers and have been able to access one to try it out;- Trinity's 'Lets Make Stuff' have a unit which produces items that are barley acceptable, it can be seen in their shop. The main research lab forked out something like £20,00 for a professional one just recently!

 

A 3D printer by Maplin at £700 will be just a toy and most likely not very good at producing a smooth surface printing for constructing models- a lot of filler will be required. Most 3D printing services are using machines in the £thousands and have to lace the product in paint to produce a smooth surface, doing this messes up the fine detail that we would want! Check out this guy http://www.chrisjward.co.uk/

 

Professional entry level machine will cost $10,000 and more, the guy printing the gun (a part of a gun only) has a machine in excess of this amount and you can be sure those seaweed boots were printed on a high end machine. - bloody papers!

 

Smooth 3D printing at home for an economic price is way off- I guess about 10 to 20 years. The main problem is the size of the end delivery system and the cooling of the plastic before it runs out of shape.

 

Model Engineer's Workshop Mag is running series on a guy building a Rep-Rap 3D printer, this month he is looking at the problem of cooling the plastic after squirting it! Also you can log onto the Rep-Rap website and view the latest and get an idea of where it is.

 

Another system is the fully immersed system- a bath of molten plastic has lasers fired into it and where they meet in the bath the plastic solidifies. They get lovely smooth items and detail but at a cost of $$$$$!

 

murrayec

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Agreed eoin. I have looked into this in some detail, even the loonies scratchbuilding their own rigs and motors. Youtube is full of them, but these are folks with many years of CADCAM experience so know where costs can be cut and software improved. And that's one of the huge barriers here. Most CAD work for the pro's to produce a 3D model costs around £40k stg, about 2500 hours of work. A lot of the software that's used by these 3d printers is not partnered with Autodesk or Solid works, The big hitters, and converting models to a usable format is a nightmare, usually resulting in nicely curved corners being tesselated to A harsh series of angles.

 

It will be a long time before the refinement we require is available at a reasonable price, and if the clowns in europe have their way, a special licence will be required to buy the material to stop fellas building barrett rifles and pipebombs in their bedroom.

 

The logical approach would to to produce a high fidelity model and get the component produced by a medical rapid prototyping company, guys who specialise in things like ,blister packs for rennies etc. Theres a heap of them on this island, and it would just take a leap of faith and some lateral thinking to make things happen. I'm particularly thinking of a plant on mk4 DVT 'cab".....

Richie

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I contacted a few companies here who offer 3D printing and prototype moulding- their prices were crazy and I got nowhere.

 

Chrisjward was not very helpful, he requires one to pay him to do the 3D model before he will give a price for the printing! His quote for the model was between £300 to £500 and he would not accept my CAD model.

 

I do 3D modelling, I ran my own company for about 15 years providing CAD model and presentation services to architectural, manufacturing, advertising and TV business. I use Autocad and 3D Studio Max and a number of other programs for animation and presentation authoring. The company is now shut down due to you know what--.

 

I have the next best thing to a 3D printer- a plot cutting machine. You would like this Richie- checkout 'Silhoutte Cameo' cutting machine on-line. I use it to cut out the DART body prints, heavy paper card and plastic card. It will also cut vinyl, thin wood and very thin metal. Its excellent at cutting thin stuff up to .5mm, it will score 1mm about half way through for snapping. All the under frame boxing, 1mm plastic card, on the DART is done with it. I have also made larger items by cutting out multiple parts and gluing them together to build up the thickness required. I'm developing up a few models with this idea- cutting out frames and body parts to make a master for moulding.

 

Also its fantastic at making grills, vents, rivet detail- its endless

 

murrayec

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For someone wanting to have a go at 3D printing its probably better to have a go at building a model using free software and a bureau like Shapeways before forking out for a 3D printer. A lot of models have been produced using free software such as Google Sketchup, the demonstration version of Cubify Invent http://cubify.com/products/cubify_invent/index.aspx or Alibra are probably a better option as they can produce a file in a printer friendly format.

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I'm told 3D printing is currently were home computers were in the late 1970's. It is constantly improving and just starting to take off, but has a long way to go yet.

 

If you are looking for a desktop 3D printer accurate enough for modelling work you should take a look at the Ultimaker. I've recently built an Ultimaker from kit and was seriously impressed with the accuracy.

 

No affordable 3D printers available at the moment are "plug and play" either. There is a lot of tweaking and learning involved in getting it up and running - It took me about 14 hours of solid work (no pun intended) to get the machine built and running, more to get it running well. I am primarily looking into using it for modelling work, but with a view to making positives for sillicone moulds for resin like Mayner does. I'm working on building a heated bed for the machine right now.

 

On problem I had was I blocked the print head with ABS and had to drill it out and re cut the threads in the heater block with a tap and die set. Turns out the newly cut threads are better than the ones it came with. Was terrified I'd break the heater block.

 

3D Modelling work costs money - there is no way around that one. However, some the 3D printing companies in Ireland are charging for time while the model is printing as well (eg please pay my wages while I sit here watching for six hours), which I think is a foolish business model.

 

I haven't found file format conversion to be a serious issue. I use MeshLab to convert files - they need to be in STL format for most printers.

 

Printing a CAD model is not as simple as loading it in and pressing "print" either. Sometimes it needs to be split or widened or a support structure added. Example - An 1/76 071 loco would need to be split into three to print well.

 

If anyone has a small CAD model (say a truck or something) they would like me to try and print for them as an experiment more than happy to.

 

Here are some images of the build and some basic test prints if ye are interested: http://imgur.com/a/Wwv4n

 

:D

Edited by purple
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Hi Purple

 

That is the printer I viewed in Lets Make Stuff, though theirs was smaller and I reckon older.

 

I'm going to take you up on the offer to do a test, I stuck together a small file tonight see image;-

 

3D Printer Test-00.jpg

 

Done in Autocad, I kept it simple, its solids just stacked on top of each other and some ruled faces for the roof bit. Its 35x40mm and has items of .5mm, 1mm which would be on an actual model.

 

Send me a PM with an email I can send it to and let me know the format you can work with. Also if there is any special requirements as to how the model should be constructed, include that.

 

murrayec

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Check this link out;-

 

http://www.engineering.com/3DPrinting/3DPrintingArticles/ArticleID/5226/DeltaMaker-3D-Printer-is-Quicker-More-Elegant.aspx?utm_source=EngNet&utm_campaign=c4464e1ddc-EngNet_Engineering_Network_01_29_2013&utm_medium=email

 

This is a neat looking machine, not so complex as some and if they get it to the market its a nice price. But it still suffers with resolution!

 

murrayec

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  • 3 weeks later...

=)):ROFL: deffo NSFW!

 

I'm sure we will in time get a good, cheap(ish) 3D printer that will be good enough for us modellers.

They will no doubt be a common thing one day in every home but I think we're a few years away from that yet.

Once we do I reckon the next step will be replicators like in Star Trek. "Earl grey, hot" anyone? ;)

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I'm told 3D printing is currently were home computers were in the late 1970's. It is constantly improving and just starting to take off, but has a long way to go yet.

 

If you are looking for a desktop 3D printer accurate enough for modelling work you should take a look at the Ultimaker. I've recently built an Ultimaker from kit and was seriously impressed with the accuracy.

 

No affordable 3D printers available at the moment are "plug and play" either. There is a lot of tweaking and learning involved in getting it up and running - It took me about 14 hours of solid work (no pun intended) to get the machine built and running, more to get it running well. I am primarily looking into using it for modelling work, but with a view to making positives for sillicone moulds for resin like Mayner does. I'm working on building a heated bed for the machine right now.

 

On problem I had was I blocked the print head with ABS and had to drill it out and re cut the threads in the heater block with a tap and die set. Turns out the newly cut threads are better than the ones it came with. Was terrified I'd break the heater block.

 

3D Modelling work costs money - there is no way around that one. However, some the 3D printing companies in Ireland are charging for time while the model is printing as well (eg please pay my wages while I sit here watching for six hours), which I think is a foolish business model.

 

I haven't found file format conversion to be a serious issue. I use MeshLab to convert files - they need to be in STL format for most printers.

 

Printing a CAD model is not as simple as loading it in and pressing "print" either. Sometimes it needs to be split or widened or a support structure added. Example - An 1/76 071 loco would need to be split into three to print well.

 

If anyone has a small CAD model (say a truck or something) they would like me to try and print for them as an experiment more than happy to.

 

Here are some images of the build and some basic test prints if ye are interested: http://imgur.com/a/Wwv4n

 

:D

 

I haven't been on the board with my own 3D projects for a while, as driving real buses on tour all summer takes priority. I am getting an odd slow bit of progress when I can. I must say though that I found the gray prime material offered by I-materialise infinitely superior to the Shapeways product, and that is definitely my own preference going forward at the moment. However, it is dearer, so may not be too popular with other modellers working to a tight budget. I will bring the I-materialise model along to the October model show if anyone wants to see it, and compare it to the Shapeways model.

 

If you are interested in trying the 1:76 Bedford schoolbus on your Ultimaker, I would be delighted for you to 'borrow' the bodyshell drawing, as an experiment. I reconstructed the bodyshell to 1mm minimum thicknesses for I-materialise, although the floor unit still has thicknesses of 0.7mm, and is unsuitable for I-materialise until I amend it. I don't need a print, as I have everything I need from I-materialise. But if you think it will further your development of your own machine, I will let you use it for yourself, and would be interested to know how you got on. PM me if you want to follow that up, no problem if you feel it is unsuitable.

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Hi Nigel

 

Is it possible to post a few photographs of the I-materialise model here? would love to see it

 

Regards

 

murrayec

 

ss5.jpg

 

ss4.jpg

 

ss2.jpg

 

ss1.jpg

 

The last picture compares with the Shapeways model, though you really need to see the models close up and feel the difference. The main difference is that the I-materialise model can be sanded with ease, while the Shapeways nylon material is a very hard plastic which cannot be sanded easily.

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Thanks Nigel

 

It looks pretty good, that's the best I've seen so far, though it looks as if you've got a lot of work to do with the sanding block!

 

I look forward to seeing it in October and if you are OK with- some updates here as the work progresses?

 

Regards

 

murrayec

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apologies for not being on here for a while. Real life got in the way of trains and 3D printers :).

 

@Train Model - Will look into the cement bubbles for you. Will try and work on a 3D Model of the cement bubbles over the next few weeks.

 

Printing a second attempt at the test print. Will let you know how it turns out. Looking good so far :).

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@Broithe - A Mendel 90 kit is cheaper ~€600.00 and will print in ABS as it has a built in heated bed. Also can print in much higher detail. The Maplin one looks like a crude Prusa Mendel clone.

 

Indeed. It might be worth waiting and watching for a year or two. This might all become really easy yet....

 

Mendel90.jpg

Mendel 90.

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The reason I make the point of using ABS is because it will glue easily to styrene with normal poly cement. PLA requires much more unsafe and nasty solvents.

 

You can make the base for the Mendel 90 easily out of MDF or plywood. You don't need plastic or metal. The plastic parts can be printed on another 3D printer - The electronics and motors are the only things you really need to get from robotics or 3D printing specialsts.

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They can be very fickle machines alright, you also need the think about what you are printing. You get less failure when it is calibrated properly and using a heated bed.

 

I've found the Ultimaker to fail a lot less than the other 3D printers I've used.

 

Here is an image of the print. It is so small taking good pictures was hard.The layer height is 0.06 mm and the horizontal width is about 0.35mm.

 

xSlSPNB.jpg

Edited by purple
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Hi Purple

 

Well done, excellent to see this image

 

It looks as though a model or model parts will need a large amount of fettling to get it to a complete and smooth standard, I can also see in this test that it would be better to print relief detail separately- fettle with it and then stick it on. For example- the ECM logo back plate would be very hard to smooth out around the text, so it would be better to add the text detail later!

 

Please keep us updated with your progress on this machine

 

 

 

murrayec

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