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Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:40 pm
by Dave Durant
cambo3d wrote:in my experience with 3d printers. you get what you pay for. ..
Not always true.. Makebot in particular has pretty much the most expensive machines in this class and they've always had quality problems.

I don't have a MakerGear machine but have dealt with them in the past and agree: they're serious about making quality stuff that's going to last. Complaints about them are always few and far between.

6-7 years ago, this whole field was a disaster.. Machines that were crap, software that nobody understood or knew how to use. I think MakerGear actually started as a company offering replacement parts that actually worked for those of us that were naive enough to buy a MakerBot. Today, a kit still takes patience and a bunch of learning but if you're hanging around in these forums, you can deal with all thqt. Just look for something with a good reputation and a large community and you'll be fine.

I'd avoid Kickstarter and the like for a first machine - they WILL have problems and there won't be a bazillion people online who've already been through it and offering you help.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:52 pm
by edwardrford
@Dave Durant - that's damn good advice Dave. Well said.

I have two 3D printers I can speak for directly:

Up Plus (a few years old) - I really like this printer and have really appreciated the fact that when I click 'print' my part prints. It has a removable table, which is handy and also has a small community of hackers surrounding it, you can find their accessories on thingiverse. It's locked down in terms of software / workflow, but for what I use it for (to print parts, not to tinker with), it works a treat.

Printrbot Simple Metal - I bought this assembled and have been pretty pleased with it. It's on loan to someone for the time being, so I haven't put a ton of prints through the machine, but in my limited use, I liked it. Especially the auto bed level feature.

If I ever buy another printer, I'll buy one from the guys over at seemecnc. They're from the midwest, are excellent machinists, are really active in the 3D printer community, and really made a quality product.

Regarding the 'made in america' - I get a little touchy about this:
//BEGIN SOAP BOX

With Shapeoko, we buy A LOT of parts for Shapeoko domestically: All steel and aluminum parts, the MDF wasteboards, springs, spacers, are all domestic. Our Fasteners are bought and packaged domestically as well. We even buy our controller board domestically. It costs a lot compared to outsourcing, but we like the quality, and the fact that we can visit the factory when we want to. And, obviously we pack all of our machines here in the US - in my shop in sterling, IL.

With that said, we think some stuff just makes sense for us to import - like motors and bearings, pulleys and belts.

I think we (carbide3D) have a much higher standard for 'what makes sense' than other companies. I don't mind buying things from China, but i'd rather buy them domestically, even though that means we make less per machine. It makes me proud that I'm helping support American manufacturing - as I've said before, it's what put food on my table and clothes on my back growing up. I figure I owe it what I can in return.

Looking around at other machines - I see laser cut parts from china, imported extrusions, i see imported electronics and fasteners. Does that make them bad people or the machines inferior? Probably not. It's a choice and I think says something about values, but not necessarily about the quality of machine.

//END SOAP BOX

sorry if I railroaded the conversation...

-Edward

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:25 pm
by veng1
I linked to seemecnc above because I think my next 3D printer will be a delta and if I don't build it myself, it will probably be from them. Building a 3D printer can be a challenging experience if that is what you want. If you just want to print parts, buy an assembled version and use it to print the parts for the next 3D printer.

Confirming SOAP BOX

I've been designing and manufacturing electronic products in the States for a very long time. At one time my manufacturing facility, which was automated to the point that we could place 60k SMT components per hour had 25 employees. All of those jobs went to China as customers decided that buying cheaper products was a good business plan. The biggest customer that moved their business to China was recently sold at fire sale prices and will probably be shut down soon. Then all of their employees will also be unemployed too.

So I have to agree with Edward. Buying purely on price has some far reaching consequences. I can personally point to at least 75 American jobs lost due to some poor decisions.

I will point out that buying something from an American company that just buys on AliBaba and resells is not really creating jobs other than for maybe one or two people. In that case, I'd just go direct to China. I see a lot of difference between Made in America and Sold in America.

End Confirming SOAP BOX

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:52 pm
by chamnit
veng1 wrote:I linked to seemecnc above because I think my next 3D printer will be a delta and if I don't build it myself, it will probably be from them. Building a 3D printer can be a challenging experience if that is what you want. If you just want to print parts, buy an assembled version and use it to print the parts for the next 3D printer.
I'm still fairly leery about Delta 3d printers, especially people building one on their own. The problem is the accuracy requirements of the structure. Due to the non-Cartesian mechanics of a delta printer, any little positional discrepancy of the vertical pylons translates to a very difficult to diagnose 3d printing problem. Layers get skewed, don't lay flat, or scale strangely as z increases. Recalibrating a delta printer can be pretty challenging if it goes out of whack.

That said, if the SeeMeCNC guys are really good machinists, as Edward stated, this makes me a little less leery, as with parts that are properly machined and accurate from the get-go will help tremendously with this problem.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:18 pm
by veng1
Agreed about the potential problems of a delta.

One of the things that cause me to wait on a seemecnc delta is they don't show an automated way to tram the bed. Having used that on a Printrbot and added one to a MendelMax, I don't want another printer without one. I had to buy the Printrbot to print the holder for a capacitive sensor as I just got too frustrated trying to get a level bed with a Cartesian printer. I can't even imagine what it be like thinking in polar co-ordinates and trying to tram by hand but then, I'm fairly lazy.

If I ever wanted to build a delta from scratch, I'd probably start here: http://richrap.blogspot.com/search/label/3DRmega. But one still has figure out a sensor system for tramming.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:24 pm
by WillAdams
Deltas fascinate me, but a big thing for 3D printers to my mind is self-replication (which is something which we've pretty much abandoned for the Shapeoko?).

While I'm planning to build a Tantillus, I'm still interested in the idea of either a SCARA, and this is rather fortuitous --- they've just announced the second generation:

http://reprap.harleystudio.co.za/

(though it seems this too has gotten away from self-replication --- the arms are CNC machined carbon fiber....)

Ah well, maybe a Simpson instead: http://reprap.org/wiki/GUS_Simpson

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:14 pm
by cvoinescu
There are delta designs with 3D-printed parts, and they can self-replicate those parts. But it's always been the case that the linear motion components and most of the drivetrain components could not be printed in any printer design -- in this respect, deltas are no different from cartesian machines. You can argue that a smaller percentage of the parts can be self-replicated on a delta, but that's because they simply have fewer parts overall. You still need about the same number of non-printable parts.

SCARA means "selective compliance articulated robot arm" (or "assembly" instead of "articulated"); it means it's rigid in the Z direction but slightly flexible (compliant) in the X and Y directions. This allows it to do things like push things into holes when the coordinates of the holes aren't known very precisely, because the arm will be forced into the correct position, yet still be able to apply controlled, firm pressure because it's rigid in the Z direction. I'm not sure how this feature would benefit 3D printing. You can use a layout like a SCARA arm, but without the selective compliance.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:31 pm
by WillAdams
Got the SCARA terminology from the reprap site: http://reprap.org/wiki/Category:Scara

Probably it's something which I (or they?) are misunderstanding. I find their wiki absolutely baffling and confusing though.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:13 pm
by cvoinescu
I'm just nitpicking. The SC bit is an essential feature of SCARA, and those 3D printers listed there do not need it and probably do not have it. In fact, the Morgan page says "based on SCARA", which is accurate.

Re: Any recommendations for a 3D Printer or 3D Printer Kit?

Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:25 pm
by Gadgetman!
Just tossing in my 2[favorite small denomination coin]...

My first 3D printer was a home-built Prusa Mendel.
(bought a set of 3D printed parts from someone in the Norwegian Reprap community, and sourced everything else online. Even soldered together the RAMPS 1.4 board, SMTs and all)
I never managed to solve all the problems with that one...

My current printer is a Dreammaker Overlord Pro, the 'Black Devil KS edition'...
It's a pretty solid Delta design, with injection-molded ABS and extruded aluminium profiles.
It worked right out of the box...
http://dreammaker.cc

They have had a few teething problems, though, with the thermal sensors in the head failing on many of the early machines, but they included replacement parts for that specific problem.
Also, some have reported problems with the auto-levelling, but the designers are working on that with new FW revisions.
The neat thing about this printer is that it's battery-backed, so if power is lost during a print, you will be asked if you want to continue the print when power is returned.

Now, a lot of problems people have can be attributed to poorly stored filament.
Particularly PLA is hygroscopic; that is, it absorbs moisture. And if the amount of moisture gets above a certain level, it'll be released as steam in the hot-end, and that kind of ruins the print...
My PLA is stored in Mylar Zip-lock bags, with packs of reusable desiccants.
(Colour-changing pellets that goes from blue to pink as they absorb moisture. Then they get a quick ride in the Nuke-o-matic)
The Mylar bags may be a bit of overkill, though, but they look cool...