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willemb

Debating Ultimaker purchase

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I have a small company and we are currently about to create about 400 customized small enclosures. I could get these done commercially with a print service or I could invest in my very own 3d printer. Obviously, the latter appeals to me as I could then 3d print other things for myself. My big concern is print speed. Ironically, I see that almost everyone else's requirements seem to be about fine detail quality first and print speed second. I would prefer the other way around. I'm having a tough time finding a definitive answer for how long it would take to print a small enclosure? Here is an example of a somewhat similar enclosure I found on thingaverse:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19153

The material needs to be ABS and relatively durable. I was hoping at most for about 20 minutes a print. I'm starting to think I will be no where close to this time frame.

Anyone who has printed similar enclosures I would greatly appreciate some feedback.

Thanks

Willem

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I have a small company and we are currently about to create about 400 customized small enclosures. I could get these done commercially with a print service or I could invest in my very own 3d printer. Obviously, the latter appeals to me as I could then 3d print other things for myself. My big concern is print speed. Ironically, I see that almost everyone else's requirements seem to be about fine detail quality first and print speed second. I would prefer the other way around. I'm having a tough time finding a definitive answer for how long it would take to print a small enclosure? Here is an example of a somewhat similar enclosure I found on thingaverse:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19153

The material needs to be ABS and relatively durable. I was hoping at most for about 20 minutes a print. I'm starting to think I will be no where close to this time frame.

Anyone who has printed similar enclosures I would greatly appreciate some feedback.

Hi Willem,

I am in exactly the same situation you are in at the moment, making prototypes... one of the parts I am making is a remote control, quite similar to the example above. 20min is nowhere close to how fast this prints... 1-1.5h are more realistically. it somehow depends on the layer height: 0.25mm prints more volume per sec at lower speeds, but the surface looks a bit rough, since each layer is quite visible... the hand-feel is also a design decision, plus the sharp corner from the first 1-3 layers from the print bed need to be manually removed... blobs and strings can be almost eliminated with finding the right slicing settings with various slicers (not easy), the gaps between walls should also be eliminated soon (slic3r will have it fixed soon, netfabb doesn't have issues with this, and I do not know if it's going to be addressed with SF). smaller layer heights allow for faster printing speeds, but you start seeing surface textures from vibrations in the belt system, plus openings for switches require support structures, which tend to ruin previously printed layers and are not easy to remove.

if you have the option/budget/luxury of not having to make changes often, go for a small run with traditional extrusion. if you need to make new versions all the time, then 1-3 UMs with heated beds are an option, you just have to spend some time tweaking the print settings until you get satisfactory results.

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That case, in ABS, will need a heated build platform or some form of rafting, else it will warp too much to be useable at all. The printed version you see is most likely made with PLA.

The estimated print time, for just the case, on my high quality profile, is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Reducing that to 20 minutes is unrealistic. You could go for thicker layers (my quality profile is 0.1mm, which is quite thin, at 0.2mm the case will be fine), a larger nozzle, 0.8mm diameter instead of 0.4mm diameter allows you to print a lot faster. Even so fast that the filament cannot melt quick enough. The real question is then, will you get the quality you need.

But getting a machine for prototypes, and to experiment if you could do small production runs shouldn't be too painful in the costs I think. (The time saved for having a prototype to test with in 1 hour instead of 1 week is not to be forgotten)

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Willem, do you need 400 different parts, or 400 of the same parts?

there are other manufacturing methods you can think of, for example vacuum forming, then cutting the holes by cnc. Or vacuum casting in polyurethane if it's 400 of the same. What's your target price for the housing?

cheers,

Gijs

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