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ssample

Help me decide!

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Okay, I have been doing a lot of research into the 3d printers and rapid prototyping machines. I've decided to get into 3d printing as a possible secondary income, but I want the best bang for the buck. One comparison article I read touts the ultimaker, but I'm curious about the real comparisons of the print quality and smoothness. Pictures and video only go so far.

At this point, I see conflicting information online about the quality of the resolution between printers and see prints that seem as high as the ultimaker, but I want info from those of you who have seen real comparisons in the print resolution.

Does anyone have any info that can help me decide? I'm looking at the printrbot plus and the ultimaker. All the others are out at this point. I have to also mention that I need to be as cost effective as possible.

Thanks for your help.

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Im not really following your request here:

1) you have already decided to start a buisiness doing 3D printing for profit

2) you dont know what the performance of the machines are

3) you want it to be cost effective

Well starting at the top, I dont think you should decide to get into anything without having owned

a 3D printer for a while.

Secondly this point can only be covered by owning a machine. If you aready said that pictures and video

are not enough...what do you expect me to say with text, over a forum ?

Thirdly, I dont really see what this means. You want to spend not too much money? On what ?

for what result ? Compared to what ?

The resolution is a function of layer height, which is a function of build time. So twice as much detail takes 2x

as long as so on.

I personally do not belive (no matter what anyone says) that anybody is making money making prints with a

Reprap or derivative. The people who want to pay for prints, want them done in very short, time without

geometry restrictions and with 100% quality guaranteed every time.

You cannot do any of those 3 with even an ultimaker. As soon as you need support material you cannot have

surface quality, and as soon as you want high resolution you cannot have fast manufacture.

I advise you to buy a printer, and experiment yourself.

C.

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Quick comparision of the PrintrBot plus and the Ultimaker. My ultimaker, and the ones around me are printing. The PrintrBot LC+ from a friend of mine has used up many of his evenings and produced a total of 5 successful prints. And he is considering to sell his PrintrBot and buy an Ultimaker.

But you don't have to trust me on it (after all, I work for Ultimaker these days) You can trust Make magazine, who rated the Ultimaker as fastest and highest quality:

http://blog.makezine.com/review/make-ul ... ultimaker/

 

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As Snowy said, I would definitely get into 3D printing before you decide to open a business. There are some smaller ones that you can build to start experimenting with if the price of the UM scares you. I have been mostly pleased with the UM. There are some things I would change, but I could never justify spending 10x's the money on a Dimension for what I am using it for (education).

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You might consider another technology than extrusion.

Maybe if you are a popular person in some technical circles, you might recuperate a bit of the money.

Or if you live in a tourist area.

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Snowy, Wow you are a grouch! LOL

Let me dissect your response:

1. A brief amout of research will find that even college students have been using these printers to produce proof of concept prototypes for various people and making a profit off them. Enough to assist with their college tuition. I also do not believe they are being used to the extent that they could, or that I would in order to produce items. I also do'n think that any buyer of items wishes to have the item within moments. Even with the big commercial grade units there is a lead time, the least of which would be a range of 1-3 days that I have found.

2. I understand that finer detail means longer print times, believe me when I say that this is not an issue to me. What is is the level of detail achievable, nothing more. Thanks for the extra info on the time, though. Explaning the detail achievable is easy to explain for someone who owns one. It's like trying to decide which TV has a better screen quality by watching a commercial about the TV's on your crappy one. You have nothing tangible to compare. YOU own one, you should be able to describe how good or poor the quality of the print, or detail, is because you can physically see it. I cannot.

3. And yes, cost effective, this is self explanatory. again, a brief amount of research into 3d printer will find units from a few hundred up to many thousands, plus there's other printing types, like SLA, SLS, LOM, EBM, DLA, etc. Many of these can start in the 10 of thousands and surpass hundreds of thousands, I'm certain you can understand that I am looking for the best build time, highest resolution, largest build volume, most versatile unit for the money for a person on a budget.

Lastly, I already said I was on a budget, this means little disposable income. Something like this is a major expense for many people and not considered a "toy" to fiddle with. And again, even if it is a little income, it must provide some kind of return for it to be feasible, hence the questions that I posed, which is not unreasonable. I have answered many such posts to others about other things that I knew about, so I know it's possible without making the person feel like they're getting their chops busted.

Thanks to all of you who answered my post. MSURunner, the best way I can explain this is: I am a wood worker as a hobby. I bought a cheap lathe to make bowls and rings and other things. I make them for fun and give them away as gifts. I outgrew my lathe in less than 3 months and have spent more money buying accessories trying to expand it's capabilities to see if I can do other things that would have been better spent if I had just bought the better unit in the first place. By getting a cheap lesser unit, it might show me some possibilities, it will not grow, nor show me just what the most I can expect is nor show me things could be possible. It would jut show me a basic idea, and again, I don't need another hobby. I have an excellent plan, I am well versed in plastics (been making my own molds for years). Mold making is EXTREMELY time consuming by hand.

And filip, I am in teh Tech industry and know of several ways I can make this work as a side business. Again, time is not an issue, quality is.

Daid, I was just shown this website tonight, thanks!

Thanks again for all your input. I really appreciate it.

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I personally do not belive (no matter what anyone says) that anybody is making money making prints with a Reprap or derivative. The people who want to pay for prints, want them done in very short, time without

geometry restrictions and with 100% quality guaranteed every time.

I would say Joris, Taylor, Calin and me are the only ones making money off their UMs so far, as in primary income. I make and sell the 360 Rig, Joris does all kinds of things 3D printing related that I would say Um makes him money in an abstract way, and taylor's products speak for them self and I can't talk about what calin is doing. there might be others, I just can't recall more off the top of my head.

 

I advise you to buy a printer, and experiment yourself.

absolutely. and since he's new to the process, design, printing and business, it's an unhappy, 3-way learning curve. 2 out of those 3 I can see to be manageable, with plenty of talent and willpower, but not all 3. then there is the time-to-market aspect, and learning the UM, and more importantly how to slice to get a good product, takes time, and personal coaching from an advanced user (ask calin), so there are weeks wasted... weeks that do not make income. so I say, yes it is possible, but it's not easy (no matter what printer is used, the UM just happens to be a nicer option than others)

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I think I'm right in saying none of the people Joergen mentions have a stock UM.

it's an engineers machine, much like a reprap but made of wood (as Daid wonderfully sold it)

if you're an engineer, you might be able to make a small income from it, but otherwise expect big disappointment.

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I think I'm right in saying none of the people Joergen mentions have a stock UM.

Joris has a bunch of machines, some are stock, some not. But the biggest change his does is a larger nozzle to print faster.

I think print->molding is a very interesting step for many people. I talked to someone yesterday who was interested in the UM for just the same reason. And he looked at 3D printing a year ago for the same reason but then the quality was still too low, now he was very pleased with what I showed him.

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Hi ssample,

I really think your own buisiness is a great way to go, with almost any occupation, but seriously - buy a printer NOW

and figure it all out wayyyyy before you even consider starting a company printing things.

C.

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I think I'm right in saying none of the people Joergen mentions have a stock UM.

I would say calin's machine is closest to the original, with the addition of a heated bed based on a 110V pad heater with ext PiD (same as mine)... as david said, joris will print something on pretty much any machine. taylor's is heavily modded, and so is mine, since we both didn't have the latest iteration.

 

it's an engineers machine, much like a reprap but made of wood (as Daid wonderfully sold it)

if you're an engineer, you might be able to make a small income from it, but otherwise expect big disappointment.

out of the whole bunch, I am most certainly no engineer (photographer and artist), and joris is also heavy on the artistic side of things. but looking at the latest iteration of ultimakers, and how they perform in a harsh environment like the http://3dea.co installation in NYC (12-2012), I can totally say that the UM has become a non-engineer machine.

prior to the bertho upgrade, and the V2 hot end, I would have completely agreed with you. the UM needed plenty of attention and fumbling to make it work, and the software was just terrible for regular people. but both have come around so "normal" people can get into it (with a little bit of guidance and workshops), so your statement, the UM is only for engineer-people isn't true anymore.

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The quality on the UM is pretty darn good for a $1500 3D printer, especially with the newer upgrades. I've been toying around with the idea of mold making with other teachers in my building. I've seen some of the products of molds and they still do show some of the layer markings from the printing so you will want to spend some time either smoothing the print or the molded product. UM still sends out sample parts, I believe. If you are fairly mechanical, I think the newer upgrades allow for to use the printer fairly easily.

How are you planning on creating the models for the printer? Are you well versed in computer drafting/modeling or are you planning on creating scans? This too may impact what you decide on doing...

MY suggestion to you now would be to ask several companies for sample parts. Then consider what size things your are planning on making, what the requirements of those would be and what your plans would call for. If you are planning on doing a lot of prints with large overhangs, you are probably going to want to consider a machine that has some sort of support material capability beyond creating support structures if you plan on molding them. That basically requires a dual extrusion setup for a FDM printer (such as repraps and specifically the UM).

Again, the biggest thing you can do is ask for sample parts, especially if you plan on a one and done purchase. Spending $50 on having sample parts shipped to you can potentially save you a ton in the long run...

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Again, the biggest thing you can do is ask for sample parts, especially if you plan on a one and done purchase. Spending $50 on having sample parts shipped to you can potentially save you a ton in the long run...

We've actually printed a few custom sample parts for potential customers already. So has Makerbot. Sometimes just a photo compare, which is tricky, as Makerbot is quite good at hiding flaws.

They printed an sample in transparent PLA for example, it took me a good look, but I could see scars of the raft and some other bad things that the potential customer didn't notice on his compare. As the transparent makes it hard to see flaws. The potential customer also said that they printed it without support material (which was impossible, and you could also see the scars from the support). As you can read, I'm not happy how Makerbot handled this compare. (I believe in honesty over pushing sales)

Anyhow, I think we can handle a test print for serious interested customers. But don't expect massive 10 hour prints, we're not shapeways. And we are currently very busy with the sales of the pre-assembled machines. So no guarantees here.

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This is also where installations like the 3dea.co openhouse store come into play. You can get in, see the machine in action, ask questions, maybe even bring your own stl file and try it. I think more of those in the future will become an important sales tool, especially away from the UM headquarters in the NL.

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We've actually printed a few custom sample parts for potential customers already. So has Makerbot. Sometimes just a photo compare, which is tricky, as Makerbot is quite good at hiding flaws.

They printed an sample in transparent PLA for example, it took me a good look, but I could see scars of the raft and some other bad things that the potential customer didn't notice on his compare. As the transparent makes it hard to see flaws. The potential customer also said that they printed it without support material (which was impossible, and you could also see the scars from the support). As you can read, I'm not happy how Makerbot handled this compare. (I believe in honesty over pushing sales)

 

If you are getting at test print photo, I'd recommend asking that they photo it still attached to the build platform for that reason. That way you can see exactly what would need to be post processed and what their print settings have entailed.

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I'm late to this thread, but I'll add a bit to what Joergen said about my commercial application of the Ultimaker. My company is not just selling printed things. It is using the UM to make small and quickly printed parts for our start-up company's products, which include some electronics and firmware content too. Most of our BOM cost is in the electronics, by far. I'm also making some of our physically larger, but very low volume parts. They take a day to print but the selling price is over $300 for our product so it pencils-out, We delivered large silicone-molded urethane parts to our first customers along with my smaller printed smaller parts, and we are now shopping for injection molds for the large parts. Two or three Injection molds will cost several tens of thousands of dollars--just to get us started! The expense of injection molds is why we plan to continue to use the UM for our lower volume parts and perhaps some of the smaller parts indefinitely. Once demand drives a new part into significant volume, we will buy another injection mold.

We are leveraging the areas where 3D printing makes sense (low volume, small parts, prototyping, and parts where mediocre finish quality is acceptable). Don't get me wrong, our engineering integration and assembly house told us my printed parts rivaled the ones made on their supplier's commercial machine, which cost at least ten times more than a UM! However, our customers are picky about the quality of our product's external appearance and injection molding can produce amazing quality and support high production volumes. It's the gold standard in plastics but it's very expensive.

-Cal

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