I thought it was the actual printing. That is only part of it and was a huge part when I started a couple of years ago. The fascination of the process and how the machines operate is what got me interested. Watching a FDM filament printer running under CNC control was mesmerizing. It’s still that way today, but not like when I first started.
I have owned six different printers and still have five of them today. One of them is a DLP, resin and UV light. My first delta style printer I gave away when I upgraded to a slightly larger Delta of the same make and style. The printers are simply a tool. They create but are not themselves creative.
I realize today that printing is not what keeps me going. Once mastering the machine operation process and understanding several dozen variables and how they interact, printing is quite boring. Load a file, check parameters and material, push start and I am finished for one to twenty hours while the printer does its thing. No fun there.
What I really get excited about is the CAD drawing and the total control of creativity the computer drawing provides. The CAD is also just another tool. The 3D printer gives me the ability (the POWER) to produce a tangible item that I know I can make with the CAD drawing I have created on the computer screen.
It’s not the (brand) name of the CAD program that’s important. Like the 3D printers, some are easier to use or have more features than others. What works for one person may be a problem for someone else. The CAD doesn’t create anything. It is just a tool. It’s all about the person using it and their skills with the tool.
I had to learn the limitations of the printing system and design my creations within those limits. That is the same for any creative or artistic process. It’s that knowledge of the tools that separates the pros from the rookies.
If I couldn’t do the design thinking and the CAD work, I would have lost interest in the whole 3D printing operation. For me there was a period of fun learning to operate the printers (the tool) , but there is no creative outlet in just printing someone else’s CAD designs. Caring for and running the printer(s) is just a job, not an artistic expression. The art is in the design work. The fun for me is creating something original from just a conceptual idea.
The 3D printer is a tool that turns ideas into a tangible reality.
The Dimensional Print Studio has joined the ranks of multi-color three-dimensional printing. This is with the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process using plastic extruded filament. The printer obtained, a GeeeTech A20M (the “M” is for multicolor) printer.
The A20M uses two filaments and combines the feeds into a single nozzle. This permits blending (sort of) of the two filaments. The colors don’t mix and when fed to the nozzle together, come out the 0.04MM tip side by side in proportion to the feed. Like stripe toothpaste in a tube. 30/70, 50/50, 70/30 it will show in the print.
Much two-color printing is done with a nozzle for each color. No blending is possible. Using a single nozzle, requires a purge area to pump out the old color before printing (100%) with the new color. A “purge pillar” is built up layer by layer alongside the intended print for purging. This pillar is “wasted” and thrown away and is a concern for some stingy printer owners.
Two color printing can take up to twice as long as single color printing. So, two color printing is not popular for many folks. Especially if they have an extreme obsession or phobia about “wasting” material changing colors.
Waste is a product of all forms of crafting and manufacturing. Does a woodcarver obsess over the 50% waste of material in the form of shavings and chips when carving a figure? Did Michael Angelo obsess over the “wasted marble” when carving David? I think NOT!
Not sorry about the rant above. I’ve just heard about wasting material too many times in 3D printing…
The rewards of having color options are quite enjoyable. For me it has moved my printing further in the realm of an art form, without the need for priming and painting. Or printing multiple pieces to assemble. That will go on, but it is fun to design and see it produced in a single print.
Here are some examples of my first prints. Surely there will be much more to come.
First is it is very dificult to clean as the resin overflows the top of the plate and floods into bracket area where there are four screw heads and for some reason, several narrow slots that trap the resin. I have been able to clean the area with a bath of IPA and a one inch paint brush, scrubbinng into that small area.
Second, the print surface is highly polished and sometimes prints fail to stick. I solved that issue by using a flat, fine whetstone and while under running water, polishing off the shine to a flat mat finish with a bit of "tooth" for the curing resing to grab. This was an excelelnt modification.
Third, the bracket and plate are PAINTED and the black paint was starting to degrade from the resin and IPA exposure.
The new EPAX3D build plate is a cast aluminum with a sloping top to assist the resin draining off the upper surface. It is also cast aluminum with what should be a very "grippy" build surface. Definately not polished. It also has NO painted metal surfaces. Priced at $65 postage included.
My workshop here in Texas is currently at 100+ degrees. Too hot to run the printer or work out there, so it will be a week or so before I can test this new build plate.
The brackets look very similar but are not exactly the same. I had to do some bending and tweaking but I was able to get them working together without any additional parts. The fit has to be loose enough so the leveling can be done without damage to the video screen. The plates are also slightly different in all dimensions but no problem fiting the vat on the D7.
The new plate will displace slightly more resin on the down stroke, so I will have to pay attention to fill levels in the vat. Not an issue, just a caution.
The pictures will show the rest of the story. As usual, click on a picture to enlarge it.
I have had some time to think about several blog articles I recently read about desktop 3D printing. They were about the time and effort (and money) we and the machine manufacturers invest for the results obtained at the hobbyist class machine cost level.
Example, an original project promoted for hobbyist. REPRAP. A desktop machine that can build itself. Really? No… a few plastic pieces of dubious quality, Yes. It helped kick start the hobby interest. It is not the best printer design.
Two products, one made with hobby level desktop 3D printing and the other with professional injection molded parts. I know what I would purchase. A friend and I both looked at recently designed (large) kit DIY printed parts 3D machine. The non-printed components (~$700) were an excellent choice. The self-printed (plastic) parts could make the complete printer a very bad investment.
The elephant in the room is 3D desktop printing as a hobbyist uses it, cannot deliver equivalent consistent output of conventional subtractive manufacturing, injection molding, or profession additive manufacturing. We may pretend it does. I can produce a facsimile of these items. Professional quality production 3D printers are not small desktop sized machines.
I ventured into resin (DLP) 3D printed, Lost Wax Casting models. I used a Wanhoa D7 Replicator. (lead picture) I had some success. But overall, factors beyond the actual printing proved wax is still the most consistent and cost effective method for a hobbyist doing lost wax casting. Making jewelry on a hobbyist 3D printing machine is possible but not practical.
Prototype modeling is a desktop machine's strong suit. Scale model, low volume, specialty, static display components.
What still scares me is some hobbyist using “carbon fiber” PLA and printing propellers for his drone or R/C aircraft engine with his $400 desktop hobby machine. Propeller failure at 20.000 rpm is lethal.
One guy writing about his Moai SLA printer, pretty much summed up what he has. (and all hobbyist have.) A tinkerer’s delight. A good first step in understanding the POTENTIAL of 3D additive manufacturing. The hobbyist grade hardware is basically a toy. A dental lab will not or should not be using a D7 or a Moai.
Technology junkies like myself are attracted to the 3D process and what we and a 3D printer can produce. We invest in our love of things technical and the low-cost desktop printer makes it possible, but so far it is mostly a hobby stuck in “demonstration mode” for me.
I like what I can do… not knocking my interest. Mostly making unnecessary plastic JUNQUE like 50+ plastic owls...
The kid who prints a dog cart, for the pup with no back legs, has not created anything new. The fact it was 3D printed doesn’t make it a better product. What it does show IMHO, is that this 3D print technology is getting these kids (and adults) into tangible, hands on making of things. The story gets press coverage because of the use of the “new” 3D print technology.
If hobbyist desktop 3D printing is anything, it is an enabler for tangible creative effort. It’s the new (toy maker) kid on the block. In an age where home machine shops are extremely rare, it brings affordable manufacturing onto a desktop in a home or a school. That’s what is good about 3D printing as a hobbyist.
What’s actually being printed is not necessarily the best way to make things, but it is a very satisfactory way to see designs come into tangible existance.