3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

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TomCat96
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3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by TomCat96 »

I'm looking at purchasing a 3d printer to learn as a side hobby. I'm a bit of a tinkerer with an engineering background, computer science skills, but weak in circuits and mechanical design knowledge. I built a 3' robotic arm for instance in 2013 (4x linear actuators, 6x servos, PVC, power system, arduino + code) with no prior experience, but the hurdle was...higher than I enjoyed as a hobby given the free time I had available.

I've heard that if you want to get into 3d printing, get ready to tinker a lot because they break down frequently. For that reason, I've been waiting awhile for the technology to mature a little bit before taking the plunge.

I was wondering if anyone here currently does 3d printing as a hobby and if so what's a good 3d printer to buy, and what is the learning curve?

I was considering this model the FlashForge 709652463538 which can be had on amazon for $899.
HIinvestor
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by HIinvestor »

In our community and I suspect others, there are 3D printers out there that can be used at community centers for a fee. It might be worthwhile exploring this before you commit to purchasing your own. This way, the community center would be responsible for making sure the printer continues to function properly and you can try out different ones to figure out which might work best for your purposes. One thing I have noticed is that the fumes from those printers are pretty strong, so be SURE to have very good ventilation wherever you use it.
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TomCat96
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by TomCat96 »

HIinvestor wrote:In our community and I suspect others, there are 3D printers out there that can be used at community centers for a fee. It might be worthwhile exploring this before you commit to purchasing your own. This way, the community center would be responsible for making sure the printer continues to function properly and you can try out different ones to figure out which might work best for your purposes. One thing I have noticed is that the fumes from those printers are pretty strong, so be SURE to have very good ventilation wherever you use it.

Thanks I didn't know how bad the fumes would be. There is a techshop about a half hour away from where I live. But it's recent financial troubles have soured me to the idea, perhaps irrationally so. I've been offered a chance to purchase a high paying unsecured debt from them that comes with a membership, but after searching here, it looks like they are delinquent on a number of those issues.
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lthenderson
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by lthenderson »

I've used a lot of them over the years (I sent a file and received a part back) from plastics to sintered metals but I've never owned a machine. If you don't get responses to your question here, I would ask around those that do it for a business in your area and get some feedback. Whenever I called them up, they were always helpful as to sizes, limitations, materials and other things they could do.
HIinvestor
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by HIinvestor »

H and I have only seen them in action at "Maker" fairs and the Chicago Public Library, but did notice the fumes, which were quite strong. At the fair, they did mention that folks can drop by and for a fee use the equipment, so that's what I thought would make more sense than buying equipment that may be quirky and expensive to maintain, PLUS newer, cheaper better stuff may be on the horizon (always).
c078342
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by c078342 »

I get a kick out of the current buzz about "3-D printing." It's hardly new. I worked in the jet engine aerospace industry for years, and 15 years ago we used what we called then stereo lithography to print plastic parts that could be used for flow visualization and some cold flow testing. Well before I retired 5 years ago, we were making metal parts that were used in hot combustor rig testing. It's a great technology, but it's not a new thing!
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lthenderson
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by lthenderson »

c078342 wrote:I get a kick out of the current buzz about "3-D printing." It's hardly new. I worked in the jet engine aerospace industry for years, and 15 years ago we used what we called then stereo lithography to print plastic parts that could be used for flow visualization and some cold flow testing. Well before I retired 5 years ago, we were making metal parts that were used in hot combustor rig testing. It's a great technology, but it's not a new thing!
I remember using one in 1996 to print a coffee cup as a demo of what it could do. I still have that coffee cup somewhere in a box in a basement.

[Edited to add that we started the printer in the afternoon and it wasn't until the following morning when the cup was completed. They have come a long way since then.]
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jimb_fromATL
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by jimb_fromATL »

c078342 wrote:I get a kick out of the current buzz about "3-D printing." It's hardly new. I worked in the jet engine aerospace industry for years, and 15 years ago we used what we called then stereo lithography to print plastic parts that could be used for flow visualization and some cold flow testing. Well before I retired 5 years ago, we were making metal parts that were used in hot combustor rig testing. It's a great technology, but it's not a new thing!
It's not the idea that's new, it's the availability and low cost of the equipment, so that you don't have to be a company in the aerospace industry to be able to afford or cost-justify buying one.

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691175002
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Re: 3d Printers? Anyone into this hobby?

Post by 691175002 »

I hesitate to call 3d printing a hobby because they are more like a tool that can help you complete other projects. If you get a printer for no reason you will print a bunch of junky trinkets for two weeks and then have nothing to do.

Most of the difficulty people run into with 3d printers are very obvious mechanical issues (poor alignment, binding, loose belts, etc...) which persist because people fail to identify their cause and spend hours trying to calibrate software insetad.

Here is a recent project I finished which used a small number of printed parts:

http://i.imgur.com/9KpBTX2.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/WRDwJkA.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/rt4vBwm.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/jyug85P.jpg
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