Rapid Prototyping/3D Printing

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by sdk2knbk, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. sdk2knbk

    sdk2knbk Guest


    Look out Craft Robo, I want a Dimension Elite 3D printer! Now where did I leave that $32,900?

    Anyone seen this before? Seems to me I saw something similar 15 years ago on a shop tour at a local gear manufacturer (Gleasonworks).

    Scott K.
  2. papertrain

    papertrain Member

    I have not seen that particular printer but have seen other 3-d ones,,,,,they are truely amazing......quick (not as fast as my bubble jet tho) resin parts for the cost of just one printer:grin: would love to have one of them in my arsenal........:twisted:
  3. Rick Thomson

    Rick Thomson Member

    Hmm...were I to buy one of those, the fuzzy things dangling from my wifes rearview mirror wouldn't be dice... :nope:
  4. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    Way too much information Rick!:cry:

    But those are the coolest printers I have ever seen............. the possibilities are mind boggling!

  5. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    The finish on these machines is not the best, but the parts are very tough, they are abs after all, so excellent for functional testing. You can finish them to a better finish, paint, polish etc if needed.

    We use a 3D Systems SLA250 at work (I still can't believe I actually get paid a salary to play with this toy!!) but if you do a search with google with the phrase 'rapid prototyping', prepare to have your mind boggled! Give it a few years, you will be able to buy this sort of kit in your local PC World. Google are laying the groundwork by releaseing SketchIt so there will be a ready market of 3D-capable potential customers, the 'printers' will be a give-away prices and they will make an abolute killing on the modelling material cartridges. Forget all those dopey 'invest now' spam e-mails, put your pension into rapid prototyping!!


  6. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    The initial printer cost(s) were discussed on the site............... but Tim............ how much for the disposables? How many average "prints" can you expect? Yeah I know it depends on the size, but some kind of ballpark figure would be nice. I mean does it cost $1000 USD to make lets say a 3" x 3" x 3" cube?

    This really has got my mind working............. maybe I can retire early? RIGHT!

  7. sdk2knbk

    sdk2knbk Guest

    Thanks for stepping in, Tim. I had a feeling somebody would know more, or better yet, actually use one of these things! I have to echo John, how much could an average piece cost for material? As a drafter/designer, I find this absolutely fascinating! Now if only I could find a job and get back into it... (I found out about this from an email I got from the local Solidworks reseller. They are offering seminars on SW and 3D printing, starting next week. I want to go, but only if I can afford it, still waiting for a reply to my cost inquiry.)

    Scott K.
  8. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Well guys, I can only speak with any knowledge on the machine I use, and we are not a bureau service, so prices may well be lower with other outfits and other countries. Nothing goes on the machine for less than £50 a part, whatever the size. This covers the basic preparation of data and so on. Something the size and bulk of a mobile phone casing front or back would be about £120. We can build in a 10 inch cube volume, and a part that pretty well filled that would be in the £1000 mark, assuming a wall thickness of a couple of millimetres (sorry to mix my units!)

    The costs are tricky to calculate, but depend partially on the total volume of resin used (this costs the best part of £200 a kilo, by the way) the height of the part and the area of each layer, which dictates laser time. Replacement lasers cost about £8000. When you factor in the investment in the machine, consumables, staff salaries, training, waste disposal and all the other overheads of running a business, it isn't 'cheap' But it is quick! To model a mobile phone shell from scratch, the old fashioned fabricate it from acrylic, or brass, or even wood, maybe a month of highly skilled modelmakers time. Now, we build several such parts overnight. The less resin involved the quicker, and it doesn't care about fine details. So making a solid cube is a bad way to use the machine. It will take ages, use loads of expensive resin and laser time, and a modelmaker could do it it in 10 minutes from tooling board or acrylic. Something very complex but delicate will build very quickly, and just as accurately. These machines turn old-fashioned time scales on their heads.

    OK, so skilled modelmakers are out to pasture? No Way!! Nowadays we do 10 times as many projects in the same time, and the surfaces still need finishing, priming, painting etc. The surfaces are NOT smooth, but you can feel the laminations from the build process, depending on the slope of the surface, and these usually need cleaning off.

    Where this process really pays off if the use of digital 3D modelling rather than 2D drawings. We use exactly the same data to make foam mock-ups with CNC, sla protoypes and eventually injection moulds for production; no interpretation, just pure data!

    It isn't a hobby process yet, but it will be. It is becoming a PRODUCTION process as well as for prototyping. Metal parts can be made this way, very tiny things can be made, and at the other end of the scale research is going on into making buildings, yes, houses and offices, with all the electrical, water and other services built into the very fabric of the structure, by laminated manufacture. Even car engines have been build and run this way, and NASA were looking to fuse rock dust into structural forms so a Mars Lander needn't take a Rover vehicle with it, but build one out of the raw materials when it landed on the martian surface.

    A gas turbine has been built in silicone, only the size of a dime, runs on hydrogen gas at, get this, 500,000 rpm, and generates useful power, either as thrust for micro RPVs, (radio controlled aircraft the size of a sparrow) or electrical power for Lap tops, gps, tools in the field and so on. http://www.memagazine.org/backissues/october97/features/turbdime/turbdime.html

    Scott, get learning, this family of processes is going to get more and more exciting as the years go by. Industry will definitely need people who can model well in 3D, so I hope you get on that course.

    Hope this helps,

  9. Bowdenja

    Bowdenja Active Member

    That's really not too bad......... I was figuring it as about that. And you're right the more this becomes mainstream the cheaper stuff will get.

    No it's not for the hobby modeler, but I do see something like this coming......... sort of like the Robo craft thing. Nobody even considered that 10 to 15 years ago. It's a little expensive, what around $250 USD, but what will it be in say 10 years. Heck we got $25 USD ink-jet printers now, the ink cost more than the printer.

    This will get to be something we all might just be using on a everyday basis.

    Recycling say a broken plate back into the machine and creating another.

    Unless the BIG consumer companies put a kabash on it.......... imagine say no more running to Wal-mart for plastic spoons...........just print one.........finished using it....... toss it back into the recycle slot and it grinds it back up into a re-meltable plastic for the printer to use again. No it won't be 100% but heck somebody has to sell something to pay taxes to run the governement.

    Oh........ this is almost to Star Trekkie!

  10. WonderWheeler

    WonderWheeler New Member

    Make magazine just published a link to the mad scientist's lair or something like that, that was finishing up a homebrew 3d printer. Uses a couple surplus plotters, some electronics, canvas, and 50 pound sacks of sugar to make models. Cash outlay about $500.00 they claim. Don't have the link at the moment. I suspect it uses inkjet technology to spray water on the sugar, and then adds another millimeter of sugar to the stack and repeats. They are edible too, theoretically.

    I built my own CNC router a few years ago, but never finished the web page at:
  11. rowiac

    rowiac Member

    Fab@Home 3D Printer

    Here's a link to a 3D printer you can build yourself. It's still pretty crude at this point, put the idea is very interesting, and it should get better as they develop new versions.


    We use a Stratasys FDM (Fused Deposition Modeler) 3D printer at work. It the same technology as the Dimension machine, that is, sort of like an X-Y-Z axis hot glue gun as it builds the part in 3 dimensions. Our machine is an antique at about 5 years old, but other than having to fuss with it a bit to clear clogs or whatever, it makes pretty nice prototypes of molded part designs. It sure is nice to design a 3D model of a part and have the real thing sitting on your desk the next day!

  12. WonderWheeler

    WonderWheeler New Member


    was the link I was thinking of originally, for the "sugarsack" unit.

    I was aware of the Fabathome unit also. Its opensource attitude and ability to almost replicate itself is especially noteworthy. Very good machine, but I like something a little bigger myself. The american way i'm afraid ;-)

    The architectural firm I work for, also has a 3d printer in the Sacramento office. The unit is a year or two old by now. Uses powder deposition, single color. The only problem they've had is that it takes a fair amount of time and care to vacuum away the powder after the model is finished. With architectural models, sometime the parts are also fragile and this is this has to be done carefully.
  13. Just got back for an interview for a job just this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. sdk2knbk

    sdk2knbk Guest

    Good Luck! I'M JEALOUS!! :thumb:

    Scott K.

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