After the learning experience of additive manufacturing making plastic Junque designed by other people, I asked myself, “What’s in the process for me?”
I admit it was the technology and the low cost equipment that first drew me in. I am a techno-type person attracted to complex operations.
My spouse declared before I had my first piece of 3D printing hardware. “I don’t believe you haven’t started 3D printing” She knows me well after 57 years of companionship.
I was aware of the process many years earlier but hadn’t realized there was a new breed of lightweight and low cost “hobbyist” hardware available. I was hooked and permitted to engage. She lit the fuse.
Nine printers later, I pause to contemplate. One thing stands out is the amount of plastic I have processed into “stuff”. Making stuff is what it is all about. Learning how to do it was the initial motivation.
It soon became apparent, most of the stuff is what I started calling plastic “Junque”. How many plastic skulls does the average person need?
I quickly tired of printing “other peoples” designs. The real creative juices flow when I can use 3D CAD software and graphic software like ZBrush to create printed objects of my own design.
Time to move away from Junque making.
I see the 3D print process as a tool. It is not my goal to “get the machine running” to watch it perform. I pretty much have that under control. All CNC is fun to watch. Not a good use of personal time.
The hardware I own and use is not junk (normal spelling). The major weakness is rigidity and capacity. Three dimensional printers need to be rigid and stable as every professional grade CNC machine tool. The bigger the size, the more massive they must become.
I have no desire (at this time) to produce massive 1 piece plastic items. My plan is to use the smaller machines I have to their full capacity when necessary.
Larger prints require longer run times. This has become my standard method of operation. My “moving on” thoughts are to design and produce larger and higher resolution prints. Consuming more raw material. 100 and exceeding 200 gram components not unusual. 12,16, 20 hour print times.
My previous recent posts in this blog are indicative of my “larger is better” printing goals.Moving On
Printing small parts to be assembled into larger items is a very good way to make larger items. I always avoid the mind-set that a product design must be created in a single all-inclusive 3D print.
Nice when it can happen but most large items are component assemblies.
“Moving On” goal is to produce less Junque by concentrating on larger and superior quality items. Not interested in how fast I can print, but generating the highest quality for the purpose.
It’s still plastic but it should be high quality plastic…
I have a love/hate relationship with my Tiertime Cetus 3D printers. I love how they print. Excellent linear bearings for X, Y and Z axis. My best-looking prints have come off a Cetus printer. What I hate the most is the lack of any type of manual bed leveling.
The printing plan with Cetus is to build a level RAFT for every print. That consumes a good bit of filament and time. I can live with the filament use. All creative crafts have some sort of waste factor. Only a worry when I am near the end of a spool. The time required is irritating.
The most dislike is the surface finish of the model base contacting the raft. Not possible to obtain that glass smooth finish as can be obtained printing off a level glass build plate.
The Cetus IS a minimalist 3D printer so there are compromises in design. The irony is that Cetus produces an outstanding print quality except for the base surface. There is the Love/Hate.
I can run Simplify3D sliced prints with Cetus. The original UP Studio slicer produces dependable prints but user control is very limited. The new Version 3 will be a great improvement and has worked well. But it is not ready for prime time.
Currently my WIN10 OS computer has developed a fault that will not open version 3 and also blocks material editing in version 2. UP Studio (any version) is not a Type accepted application to the WIN10 OS so there is no (apparent) co-operation in keeping system “hooks” and drivers working together. Meaning a WIN10 system upgrade can possibly “break” UP Studio functions. This seems the case for me.
I have loaded UP Studio on a “Surface” PC running fully updated WIN10 and UP Studio functions with no issues. I am stumped at what is different between The two hardware platforms running the same software.
Here are a couple (or more) of big item prints I have designed.
The tissue box I designed for my own office. The olive green one. Then I noticed a new but bare tissue box out in the music room where my wife provides piano lessons. Thus the white-ish box was born. When she noticed the new boxes, she immediately wanted several more made. Number 5 is on the Mamacetus printer as I write this. Print time per box is over 12 hours.
Next project is what I call a K-cup stackable pod rack. There are three here holding 27 pod cups. Less space by about 1/3 of the rotating wire rack I have been using and holding 3 more pods Another rack on top of these would equal the height of the wire rack. So 12 more pods in the same space. It's also a good excuse to design/print something.
What’s the best type 3D printer?
Two major, three dimensional printer formats exist, with which I am familiar as an owner/user. FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and UV cure resins. There are a proliferation of variation with these format names but the process is the same however a manufacture chooses to use a different acronym. It’s creative marketing hype to be “different”.
Commercial Additive manufacturing (a.k.a - 3D Printing) is a totally different “animal” than hobbyist and very small business. Commercial equipment is far beyond the garden variety desktop system for which I speak.
The hobby class manufactures from outside the USA (and their USA distributors) love to spout off how “professional grade” their low cost product compares to others in their class, but it is a sick joke when put up against REAL professional and industrial grade machinery.
OK, not going there in this report.
I associate with the home user / hobbyist. I manufacture but I am not a manufacturer. There is some sense to that. I assure you there are no major manufacturers reading this blog looking for 3D printer and 3D printing pointers.
This story is about how I view the hardware I own and use as far as the difference between FDM and resins. Their differences do NOT make one method the best do-all choice above the other.
A jewelers metal forming hammer does not do the same work as a carpenter’s framing hammer. The only thing in common is they bare both called hammers. This same analogy applies to FDM and Resin 3D printers.
If I want to do both jobs I need two different hammers. Same with 3D printers.
I have created and printed a lot of “stupid plastic Junque” with my (now numbering 7) FDM printers. FDM, once I got away from printing Junque, is the work-horse for practical plastic products. I can take advantage of the many variants in filament types to make strong things that are practical. Those things may not be heirloom quality family hand-me-downs.
One great advantage is I can print large one-piece items with FDM. (See picture.)
Resin printers I use are the DLP variety. Not LASER scanners but picture mask full layer projectors. This limits what I can make as far as size. For me it is perfect for personal jewelry size items. What it brings to the 3D printing desk is extremely fine detail resolution not available with FDM. Excellent for highly detailed modeling and masters for jewelry casting models.
Resin prints at the hobbyist material quality level are not good for end use products. Most prints are fragile and resin curing is usually not complete. Painted gaming models, model train (type) display models, lost resin (wax) casting are its strong points. The value is in the superb modeling detail. Not as a durable or functional end use product. (Remember I am referring to hobby class materials here.)
My advice is start with FDM. Then move to resin for the excellent but less durable detail printing.
I am satisfied with that strategy. It works for me. (Your desires may certainly be different.)
I would love to have an application where I could justify an FDM system in the price class of MakerGear and Ultimaker. Or perhaps a resin printer such as B9Creations or Formlabs. My printers are roughly 10% the cost and probably 60% the quality.
Low cost is reflected in the components that just meet the minimum spec to do the job. Higher cost is for superior design and hardware that far exceeds what is minimum. Stability, strength, weight, endurance are reflected in the higher cost to obtain.
“Better” is a relative term. A point of view. Better and best helps a professional perform by reducing working effort and failures caused by pushing and exceeding limits. Perhaps automation reduces effort.
Buying the best tool does not make one the best at what has not been mastered. But the best tools do make the masters into the best professionals at what they can do…
Nothing wrong with buying the best tools to start if possible. Just saying that getting started doesn’t always demand the very best. Like buying a Huffy bike to learn to balance before opting for the full dress Harley.