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3D Printing, how steep/big is the learning curve?  

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Squish
(@squish)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 38
2020-10-27 2:39 am  

I've been contemplating what I could do with a 3D printer, then a few questions crop up.

1. How steep is the learning curve?

2. Which type is easiest, and best bang for yr buck, with UK delivery? By easiest I mean, software availability, and time spent setting-up for each print, before getting a use-able item. I wouldn't want to spend more than £500.

4. How expensive are they to run and maintain?

5. Is there a lot of noise and/or fumes?

 

Thanks for any help given.

 

 

No such thing as too much energy, it's just un-utilised potential.


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Spyder
(@spyder)
Prominent Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 849
2020-10-27 3:44 am  
Posted by: @squish

I've been contemplating...

Unfortunately, each of your questions has a variable for an answer

Posted by: @squish

1. How steep is the learning curve?

For which part ?

Building, maintaining, learning the most complicated CAD program on the planet ?

Building... You can buy them mostly assembled, unless you happen to be a masochist, then you can get them pretty cheap

Maintaining, pretty easy, as long as you remember to buy in advance spare parts that you didn't know you'd need

Learning a complicated CAD program ? Just kidding, you can do some pretty awesome stuff with something as simple as tinkercad.com, which is free, and you can learn easier than minecraft

Posted by: @squish

2. Which type is easiest, and best bang for yr buck, with UK delivery? By easiest I mean, software availability, and time spent setting-up for each print, before getting a use-able item. I wouldn't want to spend more than £500

Well, that narrows it down

I'd recommend... not listening to me

I just bought an Anet A8 Plus, which is an awesome machine, for only $190USD that was wired backwards

Great deal tho

Other people here have bought them mostly assembled that weren't wired backwards, but paid more

Not sure which of us got the better deal

Software availability ? meh, most everything I use is free. I'm cheap, I don't like to pay for anything

Posted by: @squish

time spent setting-up for each print

Unless I have to change filaments, I turn on the heaters, wait about 10 minutes, and click the "print" button

Changing filaments can be a pain tho

Running out in the middle of a print is even worse

Posted by: @squish

How expensive are they to run and maintain?

They have heaters in them that run the whole time they're on. They can add a bit to your electric bill

Maintaining, well, just remember to have spare parts on hand. Spare filaments, heaters, thermisters, nozzles, fans... things that can wear out (or burn out) or get used up

Posted by: @squish

Is there a lot of noise and/or fumes?

Noise, eh, I built a house around mine. It keeps all the heat in and keeps the print at a uniform temp while keeping the noise level down. As far as smells, that depends on the filaments you use. ABS REALLY stinks, but, most people know better than to use it, and there are better options anyway. Personally, I like carbon fiber. Makes nice clean straight edges and lines. Keeps detail better. Eats brass nozzles for breakfast tho, so you spend extra cash on hardened steel nozzles. But, you'll have to see what suits your needs for the print you're doing at the moment. If you're planning on printing with any squishy rubberized filaments, there are printers that simply can't do that

Price for purchase ?

You can get by with under $500 USD for original purchase, but, you have to decide how much of a tinkerer you feel like being. I just bought a really nice one for $190 USD, had to do a bit of tinkering with it tho. Others here have bought the same printer mostly preassembled with no problems at all for a few dollars more

That'll teach me to not buy from Walmart


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Squish
(@squish)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 38
2020-10-27 4:34 am  

Cheers, that's great info. @spyder

 

'rubberised squishy filament' sounds like a must have, soon as I read it, I thought, nerf gun handle, pea shooter mouth part, so YEP i want squishy stuff too.

I like the idea of carbon fibre, just for weight to strength ratio.

 

I want simplicity, but options too, lol, such a dilemma.

 

It sounds like £500 should get me a good one, hopefully with some spares.

 

Time to write that letter to santa, mefinks.

 

My heads wondered into designing fibre optic and neopixel, cave/dungeon torches for the house. 

 

Dear Santa,

I've been very good, all year! (honest),.........

 

 

No such thing as too much energy, it's just un-utilised potential.


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 772
2020-10-27 10:10 am  

@squish

I second what @spyder said.  I too bought the Anet A8 Plus as a kit.  And in the process discovered one part was mis-manufactured and one part was missing.  Luckily I had ordered from Amazon, so had a replacement on the way rather quickly.  I had no wiring issues with mine, so soon had a working 3D printer.  By building one from a kit I learned quite a bit about how they really work.  I'm glad I went that route.

I installed some better aftermarket bearings for the horizontal and vertical rails as I had read that the ones provided by Anet we prone to issues.  Have invested in extra nozzles and a cleaning kit.  And plenty of filament.  I use mainly PLA and my printed items are, while not perfect, are getting better.  There are literally hundreds of tweaks that can be made to the printer and the 'slicing' software that affect your print jobs.  While there are printers that print better than the A8 Plus, they are way more expensive, so as a starting point I would say the A8 Plus is a great place to start on a limited budget.

I've learned to use Fusion 360 to design parts I want to print and then use Cura to 'slice' those parts into 'code' the printer uses to print the part.  Paul McWhorter has a great tutorial on beginning to learn Fusion 360.

Another addition to your 3D printer toolbox that you should consider is something called OctoPrint.  This is a RaspberryPi with the appropriate software that becomes a nice front end to your 3D printer.  It even gives you the ability to add a webcam to oversee and watch your printer form a web browser.  One thing you'll NOT want to do is start a print job and then come back hours later to see your finished print job.  You'll need to keep at least an attentive eye on the printer during its print job.  Something that is more easily done using OctoPrint.

A 3D printer doesn't attach to you computer or network like a laser printer does, but you can connect the RaspberryPi to your network via WiFi and then keep tabs on your printer from a distance.

Hope this doesn't scare you off.  😀 

SteveG


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Squish
(@squish)
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Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 38
2020-11-03 2:44 pm  

Thanks @codecage

I'm still dithering, and am now looking at the 3 in 1 3D printers, and thinking about waiting and adding to my budget. Although I'm quite cautious as multi-taskers often don't do a 'great' job on any single task, plus the added complexity, concerns me.

 

More research = watching more you-tube vids.

 

Again thanks for your help.

 

 

 

No such thing as too much energy, it's just un-utilised potential.


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revver11
(@revver11)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 10
2020-11-04 10:00 am  
Posted by: @squish

My heads wondered into designing fibre optic and neopixel, cave/dungeon torches for the house. 

One thing to consider is the build volume. I know it is difficult to anticipate how large your models may be but it is frustrating if your printer lets you down on this score. Gluing pieces together is ok, but ...

Also, having to design something with an eye of where to break it and make sure the pieces can only fit together one way might be an unnecessary hurdle. Besides, if you are using someone else's design which is too big, that involves yet another level of frustration.

My 2 cents: I just bought a Sidewinder X1 (X2 coming very soon, I hear, so X1 may get cheaper) and I am very pleased. 15 minutes to assemble, built like a tank, very quiet, excellent cable management, 300x300x450mm build volume plus extras usually only available as upgrades come as standard eg filament run-out sensor. Common spares like flat ribbon cables, nozzle and bearings are included. I saw some YouTube reviews after purchase and while waiting for delivery. It made me feel very smug when I saw how effusive most were; I had done my own research. (Artillery and sidewinder are probably the best search terms because most reviews etc predate the manufacturer's change of brand name.)

Happy hunting,

Len


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Squish
(@squish)
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Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 38
2020-11-04 7:15 pm  

Thank you @revver11 ,

 

The X1 has been mentioned a few time in top 10's, so I'll definitely be looking at it, and maybe wait to see how the X2 does when comes out.

 

 

 

No such thing as too much energy, it's just un-utilised potential.


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ZoolanderMicro
(@zoolandermicro)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 81
2020-11-04 7:39 pm  

Hi Squish, 

   I have access to a 3D printer and Laser cutter/etcher on campus. Learning to use the machines may not be as difficult as learning to use CAD software. I have an educational license for AutoCAD, and I just got the book AutoCAD for Dummies. The college also has license for Solid Works and Illustrator (Adobe Creative Cloud). I would like to stick with AutoCAD because I have it installed on my laptop. I do have some experience with Eagle, and the AutoCAD work space seems somewhat familiar. What design software do you use or recommend?  

ZoolanderMicro, where small ideas are a big deal


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Squish
(@squish)
Eminent Member
Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 38
2020-11-06 4:47 am  
Posted by: @zoolandermicro

Hi Squish, 

   I have access to a 3D printer and Laser cutter/etcher on campus. Learning to use the machines may not be as difficult as learning to use CAD software. I have an educational license for AutoCAD, and I just got the book AutoCAD for Dummies. The college also has license for Solid Works and Illustrator (Adobe Creative Cloud). I would like to stick with AutoCAD because I have it installed on my laptop. I do have some experience with Eagle, and the AutoCAD work space seems somewhat familiar. What design software do you use or recommend?  

Sorry, I'm probably the least knowledgeable person here, however @spyder @codecage or @revver11 likely have the best info. I'm pretty sure I'll be using opensource, or very cheap software, when/if I get a 3D printer.

No such thing as too much energy, it's just un-utilised potential.


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