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danjudge

Newbie in search of guidance.

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Hello.

I am looking at purchasing my first 3D printer and want to know what some of you more experienced users think.

I am a lover of technology, so I have been fascinated with 3D printing for some time, but only in the last 2-3 weeks have I seriously considered buying one, but the more I read, the more I hear of common issues and worries, so I though I'd lay my intentions out there and hopefully I'll get some honest feedback as to whether it's worth me taking the plunge.

My Background.

I'm an experienced 3D Animator, and have a decent amount of experience in 3D modelling. I have no CAD experience, but have watched hours of AutoCad/ Inventor videos and I can see the similarities and differences between modelling for Games/TV and designing products in CAD programmes. So I imagine there'll certainly be a lot of learning to get my CAD skills up to scratch, but I'm not coming from a position of no experience.

My Intentions.

I have already set up a company and have a URL (no website yet). Before any alarm bells are going off. I feel I have a good understanding of the limitations of 3D printing and I am not expecting this printer will instantly make me a millionaire, it'll be more of a hobby than anything...The main reason I'm running this as a business is that I have no way of funding the purchase of a printer, and when I set up my own small company in the past (I'm self employed/freelance), I was given a £3k overdraft which helped cover setup costs. So I do intend to try and make every effort to at least get back up to £0.00.

Timeline.

I'm hoping to get the Ultimaker 2. I like the idea of getting the kit*, as I see the value of learning the technology, but I worry that I'm going to make it incorrectly in some way and I'll have a £1800 printer that prints like its £300. Any advice on this would be welcomed!

*(does the UM come as a kit, or is that just original?)

The first 6 months or so is aimed at me learning the technology and it's limitations. I've read lots of stuff about the practicality and the limitations of 3D printing, but it's only when you try something yourself, do you really understand, I guess?

After that, I aim to try and make small runs of small products for sale through an online store. I appreciate that this machine will not print off perfect quality items for sale in massive numbers, but I will look at creating 4-5 different items, that I will finish by hand (I have a list of about 30, that I will whittle down once I have some hands on experience with which items will work best).

My thoughts are that I need to print off items that use a small amount of material, would normally have a high retail cost for it's size and preferably items where perfect precision is not necessary, as the finishing would require sanding away a certain amount of detail. I've seen some very nice finishes given to 3D printed products, and for small runs, I am not hoping for great financial gains from this, as it is clear that 3D Printing and hand finishing will mean I'll be limited to what I can print and in what quantities.... but Maybe I'll kickstarter a few little items and I might make a few hundred quid here and there... or maybe not.

Long term

In the long run, I see this as a piece of kit that will enable me to get valuable experience in the design and creation of projects, that will eventually lead to the machine being used for prototyping products for mass production using injection moulding (outsourced). Again, using Kickstarter, I hope to fund the run of items in the mid hundreds (and up?). Funding it this way, will mean I already know my costs for tooling, based on an accurate prototype, can set my prices, do the maths and if it's not funded, then I just don't make it.....no huge losses (just a loss of time and effort).... Maybe I'll never design a project that gets funded, but my costs for trying will be low at least (let me know if you think my logic is flawed).

Summary

So I just wanted to know if my intentions and expectations were reasonable. I have already read a lot of stories about people thinking that 3D printing will make them a fortune, and I'm certainly not in that camp, but I see it's potential in prototyping a product that could make money.... but to be completely honest, if it takes me 4 years, and I manage to pay off the price of the printer, and I've learned a new hobby and had fun, then I'm cool with that too.

Now please feel free to tear into me, ha ha.,

 

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Hi Dan

I'm not a big reader so I skipped a few paragraphs in the middle :)

You probably wouldn't mess up the build of the UM1, it will probably print well or not at all and then you can get plenty of help here.

UM2 however seems more reliable, has a heated bed so you can print in ABS. It also has better bed leveling and probably prints slightly more accurately.

To get your money back and make a profit you probably need to design and print something that isn't mass produced already and/or is not possible to make by injection molding.

3D printing is a real fun and addictive hobby though so just go for it anyway

 

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hi

I would also go for the ultimaker 2 because i think it will print slightly better and more reliable, but if you are planning to handfinish your products anyway it wont make that much of a difference.

i own an U1 and was fortunate enough to earn back most of the purchase price through comercial work.

i had similar plans like you at first (and still have) but the things that made me money were special prototypes and or props for movies or events that i could produce cheaper and faster than other companies using traditional methods.

P1070096

Ico

Showoff

i finished all my models by hand and since its possible it can sometimes be a pain in the ass and take hours especially if you have very hard to reach areas :)

.

anyway, i wish you all the best and good luck

b

 

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Hello,

I will add my questions here, as i'm also a newbie.

I also intend to buy a 3D printer, i stopped for Ultimaker because of their high resolution.

(It may not be fair to ask here, but are there similar competitors? Why should i chose Ultimaker in front of them?)

My intention is to create sort of hardware box for some device prototype.

My questions are:

1. Is Cura just to prepare the print or works for modeling?

2. How much i have to clean after the print so i can get a acceptable result? Are this (in pics) usual "errors" you get during the print?

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/gallery/image/1128-trilobite-single-compare/

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/gallery/image/1132-z-scar-seam/

3. Are there specific shapes i should avoid? Can i create elastic parts that "Click"?

4. What are the PLA properties? is it elastic, shock and heating resistance, how does it react to long exposure to sunlight, freezing or other outdoor conditions?

5. Any other usual facts i should be aware while designing the shape?

Thanks in advance,

Stefan

PS: Sorry, i'm not a native english speaker, please ask if anything is fuzzy.

 

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1. Only to prepare the print. It's what we call a "slicer".

2. Those issues shouldn't happen normally, no. The seam in the second picture is something that exists but it's usually much less pronounced than that. Slicers have become pretty good at hiding it. Clean up depends on if you need to use supports and what kind of surface finish you are after. If you need it to be super smooth and shiny there will be a lot of work involved.

3. You can create snap fit part but be aware that PLA can be brittle if you push it too far. It depends on size and what you're trying to do. But in general I'd say, yes, you can do that (I've done it for a few projects).

4. Standard PLA is harder and more brittle than ABS. It will bend to a point and then snap whereas ABS will bend to a point and then deform. PLA does not like heat, it will start getting soft around 50-60C so if you leave a delicate print in a car during a hot summers day it will likely deform. There are different kinds of PLA though that have different properties, some that are more bendy, some that are more heat resistant and so on.

5. "It depends". It's really difficult to give a general piece of advice that holds true for every print. If you have any specific shapes in mind it would be easier to answer on a case by case basis.

 

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Hi Owen.

Thanks for that. I want to make the kit, but I also want the UM2 (which doesn't appear to come as a kit)...... I think I'm going to go for the UM2 though, as I'm interested in seeing the top quality that it can print, even though I intend to finish a lot of them by hand..

Hi BauerMaker. You have some awesome work. Really like the finishes on all 3 items. Can I ask what processes went in to making those items look so good? I've seen a few workflows on youtube, but none that came out as well as those.

Yeah, As I said, the main goal is to make sure the business is not in the red for too long. I'm using the banks money to pay for a new hobby, so morally, I have to make every effort to at least repay them.... whether it leads to me prototyping gadgets and ideas for mass production down the line is just a bonus I guess.

 

 

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Is there any guide for 3D printing?

Starting with the printing technology, what is possible, what is not possible (overhang angle limit, bridges), how can you achieve shapes that usualy are not possible (e. g. by using removable parts to get larger bridges), and 3D printing specific proceed to get better results, print faster and consume less materials.

 

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there are several books about 3d printing but i havent read any. i learned most through trial and error and by reading the forum, the post your latest print thread really motivated to start post processing and showed me whats possible even with the U1.

I made my truck model without any prior practical experience with sanding, filling etc. i only knew what i read in the forums and what common sense told me (and i knew how to handle a 3d software and which print orientation would give me the best results).

also posts from members like illuminarti, gr5, braddock or valcrow and many others were invaluable.

 

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Yeah, from what I've seen, the 3D printing community is a pretty close one. I am expecting that the first 3 months will include a lot of tinkering and learning. I've read a lot, and seen a lot of videos, but it's live troubleshooting where you really learn something I guess.

I am expecting at least a few moments where I'm ready to through my printer at a wall!!!!

 

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I can say i have some practical experience as i am an Architecture graduate (evan if i don't do that for a living), also some experience with 3d software. I also know that, like in manny areas, you get the most knowledge from live experience.

What is was looking for is not a 600 pages book but something that would help me design the desired 3d pritable object without too manny compromises. The problem is that i don't have too much time to fool around, so i was trying to prepare evan before i get the printer (i'm looking for UM2), and the lead time is 8 - 10 weeks.

There are a few modeling guidelives but i's sure there are a lot other tips and tricks: https://www.beeverycreative.com/en/beegallery/directrizes-de-modelacao

Meanwhile i will try to search on internet and scan the whole UM Forum and maybe i will post here what i find usefull.

 

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Is there any guide for 3D printing?

Starting with the printing technology, what is possible, what is not possible (overhang angle limit, bridges), how can you achieve shapes that usualy are not possible (e. g. by using removable parts to get larger bridges), and 3D printing specific proceed to get better results, print faster and consume less materials.

 

Yes there is, written by a very knowledgeable guy Florian:

http://www.amazon.com/Florian-Horsch/e/B00EYZPHXM

At the moment it is only in German, and since I don't speak German I haven't read it yet but I hear solely good reviews. Ive been told an English version is on the way.

 

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@ AaronAlai: You're wellcome!

@SandervG: Is there in plan a Dual Extruder for Ultimaker 2? I saw something in one of your posts (http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/3255-ultimaker%C2%B2-lead-time-update/page-14?hl=%20dual%20%20extruder) but just wanted to be sure is not the about the existing dual extruder fot Ultimaker Original.

 

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...

My Background.

I'm an experienced 3D Animator, and have a decent amount of experience in 3D modelling. I have no CAD experience, but have watched hours of AutoCad/ Inventor videos and I can see the similarities and differences between modelling for Games/TV and designing products in CAD programmes. So I imagine there'll certainly be a lot of learning to get my CAD skills up to scratch, but I'm not coming from a position of no experience.

...

 

Actually, you don't necessarily have to use an actual CAD software. Any 3D modelling software will do, as long as it can export into STL format (I think there is at least one other format, but I only used STL so far).

If your model doesn't have any size information, or is like 10 meters big, you can simply scale it up or down in Cura and get it ready to be printed.

You will be able to analyze your model with Cura and get a good impression of whether it is printable or not. You can also try that before you buy a printer: Cura is freely available in the downloads section.

I'm using Google Sketchup to make my (mostly technical) models. Sketchup is definetly no real CAD software. But there are numerous 3D design and animation programs that also work. Like Blender for instance, which is also not a CAD software.

/edit

If you want to go into serious engineering business, you'll probably have to use an actual CAD software. But that's pretty much the only reason why you'd want to go CAD.

 

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Thanks JonnyBischof.

Yes, I have tried Sketchup and think that will be my standard tool of choice. It's very similar to the form of modelling I'm used to, but do intend to build up to more precise items, that require moving parts with very small tolerances, so hope to boost my CAD skills for such projects.

Thanks, Dan.

 

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