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Thread: 3D Printers

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    Super Moderator Jonj1611's Avatar
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    3D Printers

    Ok so I feel I need a 3D printer, I have no use for one but I can imagine a time will come where I really want one, that being said I don't want to spend a lot and I am not buying new.

    There was a part that came up the other day that I needed for the ashtray mechanism in my car. I couldn't buy the part, only the whole ashtray. But if only I could have printed that part. It was a cog, that was it. So material wise would be looking at ABS as its more durable. So anyway a couple of printers have come up for sale locally, they seem fairly old but have no idea about them but they are pretty cheap.

    The first is a Vector 3 3D which I believe was that 3d printer you made from parts from a magazine.

    The other is a Geeetech i3 Pro B

    So is one better than the other? And secondly being used is there anything you need to look at for? Common failure points etc?
    Jon

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    Re: 3D Printers

    I don't know much about either machine, or 3D printing for that matter, as I'm still thinking about buying one.

    One of my considerations is what material the machines I'm looking at can print with. ABS is not as straight forward as some. You might need a heated chamber, might also need some sort of glueing help (like 'slurry'), and very possibly a fair bit of tweaking.

    As I understand it, ABS probably needs about 245c to print, so a bit hotter than some (cooler than other) materials.

    No doubt someone that does know their stuff will,be along soon, so my only real comment is, there's some landmines printing with ABS. Check out where they are, before committing to an older, used machine, to be sure it supports what you need. Also, choose the ABS filament carefully as some are more 'modded' than others.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: 3D Printers

    I agree, I looked into the ABS and PLA and PLA is apparently quite brittle so for instance a cog may not last long but with ABS its quite temperate dependant as far as I understand. The second printer I mentioned supports PLA, ABS, flexible PLA, something else and wood(yeah don't ask)
    Jon

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    Re: 3D Printers

    One option might be carbon-filled filament, but as I understand it, that does run very hot. I'm looking at Prusa machines, and that seems to be one of the few things (apart from soze difference) that the Mk3S+ supports that the Mini doesn't, albeit at about double the price. The Mk3s+ has a max nozzle temp of 300c, while the Mini + tops at 280c. The Mk3s specifically lists carbon-filled while the Mini+ says "Woodfill and other filled materials" without mentioing carbon-filled.

    I did find a couple of good YT videos about different materials, but I don't remember the exact requirements and capabilities of most .... just that there are a LOT, and some of them are very tricky indeed to use. I know enough to know there's a question-mark over which does what, and what is required to use it, but not enough to have the answers.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Yes it seems a bit of a minefield when it comes to filaments. I might just go for the Pro B as its cheap and its supposed to handle a variety of material. If it all goes horribly wrong I haven't really lost anything.

    Now onto software. Another minefield it seems. What software do people use for slicing and modelling thats preferably free and fairly easy to use? I think the printer takes the STL format.
    Jon

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    Re: 3D Printers

    The i3 clones are fairly common and easy to find parts for but ABS is pretty much a no go unless you have an enclosure. Anything large will just warp. Could you get away with a small part? I don't honestly know. I did a LOT of reading up before buying a flashforge dreamer. I picked the dreamer in the end as it fitted the shelf I had and it had the enclosure as I wanted the option for ABS. I've had the printer for 10 months and not printed ABS once! I'm not sure I'd recommend the dreamer - Its noisy and awkward to work on.

    I will 100% say 3d printing isn't ever plug and print. Even my dreamer which is considered a simple to use printer has required head rebuilds, calibration and dozens of test prints. Its a hackers dream (as in the old use of the term) but not for the faint heart. If you have time, patience and money (to buy lots of filament and spare parts) its rewarding.

    Just one question - Have you considered resin? Its more messy but better at the small stuff.

    Also do think about space - these things need more than a shelve normally, good ventilation (PLA is laser printer VOC bad, ABS is a lot worse) but not a draft!

    Edit: Slicers! My flashforge is flashprint driven but there are lots of options with something like the i3. You can just try a few and experiment (The hacking bit!) Check out makers muse youtube channel for some excellent 3d printing 101s: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxQ...rh-b2ND-AfIybg
    Last edited by cheesemp; 07-05-2022 at 09:52 PM.
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    Re: 3D Printers

    Quote Originally Posted by cheesemp View Post
    ....

    I will 100% say 3d printing isn't ever plug and print. ,,,,
    Agreed, and in my case, that's why I'm looking to get one .... as a hobby.

    I'm not looking to be able to do anything specific, and certainly not using it for business (now that I'm retired). It's to play with, experiment with, fiddle about with and, probably, will have to hunt around for things I can get it to do that will be useful, but as a by-product, not the objective.

    I did this back in the day with digital photo software (Micrografx Picture Publisher, then Photoshop), with scanners, digital cameras, etc. I even had an HP Colour Laser here for a month or two, well before the first one was released, courtesy of HPs Press Office. I'm kind-of harking back to that experience, but not just not quite as early in the cycle.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Thanks for the info, very informative.

    I did look at resin but I wasn't sure about it, how strong it was etc. I really am targeting the bottom end of the market to get the hang of printing to see if its for me. The Pro B I mentioned is £50. If I got the hang of it I was thinking of something like this eventually : https://www.box.co.uk/FFA3P-Flashfor...r_3813845.html

    In all honesty I don't even know what I would do with one, just feel that it could be handy to have in case that time comes I need something in a pinch or something to just play around with
    Jon

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: 3D Printers

    My usual recommendation for a budget 3D printer is the Ender 3. Everyone I have known who bought one has been happy with it, and they are cheap enough new that the second hand market usually doesn't make much sense.

    Of the two of those machines, the Pro B looks the more promising. It is a dated Prusa i3 clone, so should be fairly easy to get spares, software and support for.

    However, I would very heavily suggest fitting a smoke detector above the Pro 3. My printer will run the heated bed at 100 degrees C when printing ABS, and those cheap printers tend to have cheap power supplies running through cheap power fets so they have a bit of a reputation for bits burning out under that sort of load.


    Now... how small is this cog you are trying to print?

    Printers usually come with a 0.4mm nozzle. It can place that nozzle very precisely to tiny fractions of a mm, but it is basically extruding a dot of plastic nearly 1mm across which limits fine detail. If this is a small cog, it might be one heck of a first project

    I do have a 0.25mm nozzle for my printer somewhere, which I have yet to play with.

    There are some other gotchas with ABS. The fumes are a health worry, but you can't eg print by an open window as the draft will likely trash your print. I print such things with the printer in one of these tents:
    https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GKGGICC/
    That helps keep drafts off the print, but stresses the PSU.

    I print most things in PETG, including things for the car. PLA can go a bit soft at the temperatures you get in a car on a hot summers day, so that's out.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 08-05-2022 at 07:58 AM.

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Very interesting thank you. I am going down the stupidly cheap route as I don't really have a lot to spend on it right now for something that I may or may not either have time for or after one go think its not for me. If I love it then I will generally get something new and more expensive.

    Interesting about a smoke detector, will look into getting one.

    The cog is about 1cm across so not tiny but not exactly large either.

    How does PETG compare to PLA? I mean can you print it in a PLA printer? Just that the printer i'm looking at does a variety of materials but doesn't mention PETG anywhere
    Jon

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Most printers can do PETG, it needs a print bed around 60C and a nozzle around 210

    I think PLA is still popular as you can get away without a heated print bed. There are a lot of PETG choices out there now though.

    If you want to send me a design or stl file I can see how printable your part is if you want.

    Edit: Oh and a spool of filament will last you ages, but at about £20 a pop the initial cost is a bit high when starting out. I needed a spool of black, then silver, then white, then green

    Had been loads of fun as a hobby though.
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 08-05-2022 at 10:17 AM.

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonj1611 View Post
    .... I am going down the stupidly cheap route as I don't really have a lot to spend on it right now for something that I may or may not either have time for or after one go think its not for me. If I love it then I will generally get something new and more expensive.

    ...
    I sympathise with that. Been there, done that. I'm lucky enough, given my age, to not have quite the same constraint - retired, no dependents, mortgage paid off (years ago).

    At the same time, because of age, and to a degree, health, we don't do the kinds of things we would have years ago. No bungee jumping, for instance, and I haven't been on a pair of ski's in years .... couldn't find any that fit the zimmer frame (yes, kidding). It also takes a lot to get me on a plane these days (think about handcuffs and a team of wild horses) because of the nuisance airport security is.

    So there's a huge irony. I have sufficient money, and reduced outgoings, to enable me to indulge right at the same moment as age and health make me increasingly less inclined, or even able, to do so.

    It is incredibly frustrating.

    Anyways, back on track to the point I wanted to make - I get where you're coming from, and the real world situation is one I'm familiar with but .... one word of caution, borne of experience ....

    Sometimes, doing things really on the cheap can lead to frustrations and disappointments you otherwise wouldn't face because it's done on the cheap.

    Personally, I might do the 'cheap' route provided I could find a good machine that's 'cheap' in the sense of good value (maybe someone upgrading), but I wouldn't buy a cheap machine that's cheap because, well, crappy components. I've done that a few times, and you end up with something built down to a cost, and Dances' point about cheap PSUs doesn't just apply to 3D printers.

    Your call, obvously, but it might be better to defer doing it at all until you can justify a good machine at a 'good value' price, than risk being put off by a frustrating experience on a poor machine where a better machine wouldn't be as discouraging. If I do buy a Prusa, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that in 6 months (from when I buy) I'll either be upgrading to a bigger, more versatile model, or getting out of 3D entirely. If so, and no promises here, there'll probably be a Mini+ going at a "good value" price.

    One more thought. Sometimes, with a really cheap <whatever>, you can end up replacing this bit, upgrading that bit, and end up with a pretty expensive really cheap model. Been there too, especially with cars.

    As I said, I don't know either of those models so I'm not commenting on them. These ... viewpoints ... are more generic than that, and either of them might be a good intro.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: 3D Printers

    I agree completely, have been very all over the place with this one. Want something cheap as don't know really what use I would get out of it then worrying that if it is cheap is it going to go wrong, be no good, have issues because its used etc.

    That being said I have been offered this brand new for well a good price, just wondered what anyone thought : https://artillery3d.com/products/art...t-touch-screen
    Jon

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    Re: 3D Printers

    I (again) don't know the machine but one thing .... it's a KIT.

    From what I've seen, that could involve quite a lot of assembly. I mean, with some at least, 6+ hours if you know what you're doing.

    On the other hand, by doing so, you'll learn loads about how it works, if/when you need to fix it.

    How good is the assembly manual?

    The one for the Prusa Mk3s is suposedly very good, and available for download. Maybe get that, and use it as th gold standard to compare what that company provide.

    My concern .... really 'cheap' machines usually don't have much money put into things like documentation, and they're probably a translation from, maybe Chinese, anyway. If their 'translator' was a Google translate, do you want to rely on that, for a technical document?

    Also, I have to wonder how much (if at all) drivers get updated, how well (if at all) slicer profiles have been tuned? Etc. I mean, you can tune/teak your own profiles, but you might end up spending a lot of time doing it.

    Upside = again, you learn a lot.
    Downside = much higher frustration factor .... and increased filament costs for failed prints while you do.


    To be clear, all that DIY construction, fiddling, tweaking and learning can be a good bet. I don't have the time, inclination or patience to go that route, but maybe you do. There's going to be some tweaking, even going my route and I'm up for that, but hopefully, a lot less than that route.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: 3D Printers

    Make sure the bed is heated.

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    Re: 3D Printers

    One more thought. I have heard reports of people having problems with the supplier, even on brand new machines, when there are problems if you have bought direct from China.

    They refer to both Moscow and London addresses. I'd suggest checking their contract T&Cs to see where the legal jurisdiction is. i.e. the laws of which country apply. Do you get the benefit of UK consumer law? If not, better hope you don't have problems with what arrives in the box. Fancy suing in Russia right now? No, nor me. Check that that London address they mention isn't just a postal/messaging front.

    A lot depends on the customer service of the seller. This, supposedly, is a lot better with Prusa, and is part of what you pay for. But, a lot more expensive, obviously.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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