What machine do I buy next?

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What machine do I buy next?

Post by reprobubbles » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:00 pm

I've slowly been buying different machines to expand on my vacuum forming hobby / small business. Here is an example of the current blisters I vacuum form: http://www.ebay.com/itm/G1-TRANSFORMERS ... 27faa53efd

The Shapeoko 3 is my newest purchase, but now I need help in deciding what I need next.

I have been making small runs of custom boxes. This is a picture of the boxes I make: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Transformers-G1 ... RK:MESE:IT

The boxes do have graphics and are handled by the customer. These boxes are used to store vintage toys. I have been using a printing company to do the printing but I would like to do this in house. When I use the company they print the graphics for the boxes on two sheets (cheaper than using one large print). I then have to cut the two sheets, glue it to a thicker board and then crease them. It is very time consuming and more expensive than I want the product to be.

I've looked into buying a large format printer like the EPSON's or maybe a plotter. I'm not really sure want I need. I like to be in the $1,000 or less range.

This is what I would like to be able to do:

Print on a thicker medium, so I don't have to glue.
Print around 36 inches wide and 36 inches long.
Be able to print glossy graphics in multiple colors.

I bought a drag knife from donektools for my CNC machine to cut the boxes. They have a creasing tool but not sure how well it will work? Does anyone of experience with this tool?

I was thinking of purchasing this 3d scanner. (http://www.einscan.com) It wouldn’t arrive until August. This would help me make molds for vacuum forming and I want to get into plastic injection.

I’ve been thinking about making a machine, but after researching, I think I’m going to have to purchase a small production machine. Does anyone have experience with these machine?

Looking forward to hearing some of your opinions.

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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by WillAdams » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:17 pm

For $1,000 you're going to be hard-pressed to get larger than 17" x 22" (I'd love to be wrong). For Epson, the 36" wide format printers start at ~$3,995.

Not sure if the print durability is adequate to being handled though --- have you considered laminating? What do you use for gluing? I've long wanted a Daige Rollataq liquid laminator: http://daige.com/ez-glide-liquid-lamina ... -products/
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by reprobubbles » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:23 pm

I buy all my material from Expedx. I can't remember the name of the glue off hand. I used two types. One came in a spray can which worked okay, the glue I currently use I roll it on. I then have two large boards it sits between for a about a day.

I know I could buy thicker material to print on but not an option if I use my current printing company.

The laminator is very cool. I couldn't find a price.

I know a $1,000 is pretty cheap. I have been trolling craigslist. I'm not real sure what type of printer I should be looking for or what type of material I could print on. This is why I went to a printer.

The printer let's me know more and more of his process, but he doesn't really share much with me.

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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by cvoinescu » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:00 pm

I have no advice to offer -- I just want to say that your handle is a strike of genius, given what you do.
Proud owner of ShapeOko #709, eShapeOko #0, and of store.amberspyglass.co.uk

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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by twforeman » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:48 pm

I don't have any useful information to add, but I just want to comment that it always amazes me to see all the little niche stuff that's out there that I never even knew existed.

Who knew there was a market for reproduction vacuum formed toy packaging and boxes? Certainly not me. :)
Ender 3 3D Printer
ShapeOko v3 serial #0004 - upgrade thread
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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by reprobubbles » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:43 pm

When I was in college I was trying to sell my old stuff to have extra going out money. I grabbed some of my old toys and looked them up on eBay. This is when I discovered the packages can cost more than the original toy. I usually pay 35 to 50 for original toy plastic blister. I then reproduce and sell them for 5 to 10 dollars each. Some people in the toy community love it, and other people send me hate email.

Just like everyone else on this form, I like to make stuff. Back then when I was selling my childhood toys there wasn't much information out about vacuum forming and youtube was still pretty new.

I built a few machines and finally decided to buy an industrial machine. My first machine forming area is 18 inches by 24 inches. A few years later I both a machine with a forming area of 3 feet by 3 feet. My 3rd machine does 12 by 18. This machine is mainly made to vacuum form signs.

I plan on using my Shapeoko to make some signs I can vacuum form.

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Re: What machine do I buy next?

Post by clynad » Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:56 pm

@reprobubbles if you haven't already purchased the Einscan you may consider the xbox kinect for $200 or less you should have a workable solution for your scanning needs.

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