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Materials and setup database


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Posted · Materials and setup database

There must be now several hundred, maybe even a few thousand users out there. With the release of the UM2 this number is getting bigger all the time. I've been thinking for a while that it would be great to have a 'go to' section of the forum/website for both new and experienced where they could share their successful settings for different materials. I wouldn't want this to be just a forum posting, that over time becomes a multi page discussion or worse an unused and forgotten topic that works it's way down the popularity list, but an actual database that has a permanent location that only contains this information.

The reason I think that this would be a benefit is....the forum is great for discussions and problem solving, but it's not a good way to store information that should be in a database. For this type of information the forum is clumsy and inefficient. It takes too long to find the information you need so the easy solution is to ask the question again rather than look trawl for it. The proof of this is the number of times the same questions come up over and over again about printing speeds, fan setting, infill speeds, material type etc.

The other reason I think a database would be a good format is that we're all going though a learning curve. However because we didn't all start at the same time and can't dedicate the same amount of time to learning, there's and constant stream of people climbing that ladder of knowledge by starting at the bottom each time.

Lastly, and for me, the most compelling reason is that rather than 100 people all doing the same test and getting similar results, those 100 people could be doing 100 different tests to expand the breadth and depth of understanding. I suspect at the moment a lot of plastic is being wasted because of duplicate independent testing.

This activity would require someone with a knowledge of databases and statistics (and probably 3D printing). Sadly I don't have expertise with either. It could be organised in a number of ways. For example, after a print you could enter your various settings and then apply a rating (1 to 10) for quality. This way you could plot a graph of the results and successful values would start to form a 'normal' distribution for a quality result. You could chose a graph where appropriate for print speed vs quality or temperature vs print speed etc. Another alternative is to only publish successful results and qualify them as draft, normal or high resolution. There are many ways to do this, I don't know which would be best.

A common qualitative scale would be required that users could rate their results against. So under extrusion, burning, warping, stringing etc. were all considered in the recording process.

This could also help to expand the materials database. Presently there's plenty of information in the forum, easy to find or not as the case may be, about PLA and a bit about ABS. The database could provide information on nylon, PET, wood fill and so on.

So, I know there are loads of variables (which is part of he problem anyway) but I would be very interested if any other members have had similar thoughts about this, have any ideas about what variables it would be good to record and compare, have already started this process, have any experience that could help make this happen or can think of a major problem with this that would make it none viable. I just feel at the moment there is a opportunity to pool our collective resources a build a really useful resource where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, or however the saying goes. If we all contribute to the database, I think the results would be invaluable for everyone.

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