Author Topic: anyone have experience with 3D printing?  (Read 367 times)

aajack

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anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« on: January 06, 2019, 04:05:35 PM »
Hello MMM fans,

I wanted to reach out and see if anyone has ever had an idea for which they needed 3D printing? I basically need some odd (very specific) plastic shapes and then would also like if they were colored... I assume they would need to be color printed on afterwards (I don't think 3D plastic printing can alter the color as it prints?).

If anyone has ever done something like this I'd love to hear from you! Or if you have some sort of a 3D printing shop, maybe I can bring you some business:)

Thanks,
Allie

thd7t

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 08:48:40 AM »
I've done a bit of 3D printing.  Some larger shops can do multicolor prints, but there are limits in this.  Also, consider how many pieces you're looking for and whether 3D printing is the best manufacturing solution for you.  It's great for prototying, but might not be a good production choice. 

Captain FIRE

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 09:14:25 AM »
Do you have a lot to do?  If not, check if your local library has a 3D printer.  I was pretty astonished to discover that even my parent's little library has one.

HipGnosis

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 12:46:34 PM »
I happen to be working on an idea that includes having a prototype 3D printed.

First, you need a .stl file.  Stl stands for "stereolithography".  You need a file for each 'piece' you want printed.
Computer-aided design (CAD) software makes .stl files.
There are free and relatively easy versions, like SketchUp and Tinkercad.com.   
Note that you are technically not allowed to sell anything made from the free CADs.
I'm doing mine on Tinkercad to understand the process (it helps that I have a basic understanding of drafting).  I'll try fivver for a 'real' .stl file.

If you're in or near a city, look for a Makerspace.
I read that Staples will print and mail items, but haven't looked into it yet.

Samsam

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 12:55:58 PM »
I am trying to *cheaply* have 3D printing as a hobby, but am already itching to buy a bigger machine.  The 3D printing part is easy compared to creating a model / design.  I've very briefly tried to create a model in some free programs and it is an art in itself. 

aajack

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 04:46:46 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, folks!

HipGnosis: thanks for your input and for posting that note about not using free software to sell things. I hadn't even thought about that, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Are you doing any sort of patenting for your prototype? Are you worried about someone copying your idea?

There is a local Makers Lab with a 3D printer, but they don't have color. The multi-colored part of my idea seems to be the crux of the issue!

I spent a lot of time today calling various 3D printing companies, and it seems like printing in multiple colors is still very cutting edge for the industry. The only pseudo-affordable multi-color option is gypsum based printing (also called "sandstone" on a lot of sites). It's actually pretty incredible to watch some Youtube videos of this (2 minute one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft_MuAbUHs0). But it sounds like the end result is really brittle and fragile and best for just making things that won't really be handled. From what I've seen, there is a new technology out there than can do multi-color plastics, but it is astronomically expensive (I had a quote for $400 per cubic inch).

At any rate, it seems like the only way to get a sturdy final product that doens't cost a fortune is to do "regular" 3D printing in one color, like you have all mentioned, and then to paint it myself. Now whether I can paint what i need to and have the final product actually look professional is the question!

Alternatepriorities

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 06:30:24 PM »
I bought a reasonably priced 3D printer last year that can in theory print two colors in PLA or another plastic. I thought I would use the second nozzle to print a water soluble support structure but I havenít actually used it because the printer is much better at printing over employ space than the first one I had. I also have a license for solidworks and design things for fun an profit. The printer was just for one client (he paid for it) but Iíve been thinking of expanding that if you are interested.

maizeman

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 06:39:28 PM »
I've had various pieces 3D printed for my lab. Designed some basic shapes in openSCAD, found local hobbiests with 3D printers who would create the pieces for 20-30 bucks a pop, and was able to replace a few pieces that would have cost $200-300 to buy commercially.

HipGnosis

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Re: anyone have experience with 3D printing?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 08:58:13 AM »

HipGnosis:  Are you doing any sort of patenting for your prototype? Are you worried about someone copying your idea?

My prototype is just for proof of concept and (hopefully) getting quotes and then a contract for production.
The product is for a niche corner of a niche market, so no patent or worries.
I may put the .stl online (sell?) so people could have it 3D printed locally.