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'What LatheXXXXX sorry 3D Printer should I buy'

Is there an easy answer?

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Iain Downs23/10/2017 21:40:31
340 forum posts
126 photos

I'm not sure anyone's yet asked this of a 3D printer in this forum and I'm sure I'll got loads of conflicting and strongly felt advice.

I will however at least try and say what I want it to do.

Erm, mainly because it's a big birthday coming up and I need to have SOMETHING I can ask for!

Seriously, I don't have any specific projects right now and I guess it won't get used a lot, but I do have some things in mind.

In the short term I can see myself printing cases, gears, mounts and similar. Moderate strength, reasonable resolution. 50 microns (2 thou) is probably better than I can machine to so why would I want more? - Even 4 thou... However, I would like to do some things with a good finish.

Later I'd be interested in looking at printing lost wax casting models. I believe that this can be done, though I've not seen much about it. This is probably a good year off before I start playing with that, but who knows?

For size the I'd probably want an 8 inch cube capacity, but in truth 6 inches cube would probably do.

I'm more than happy to assemble it from a kit, especially if it will save me some dosh, but I would prefer something which has a reasonably level of professionalism and thence not too many missing parts of fettling to make it work.

I'm comfortable with the computing side, but prefer windows.to linux. I can run it from an oldish laptop if need be (with slicing and design on a modern PC).

I don't see much point in a mutli-coloured machine. I have no artistic skills.

Price? Probably topping out at around £300

Or should I wait a year and buy the same bit of kit for forty quid? The prices appear to have dropped through the floor in the last couple of years!

Iain

Neil Wyatt23/10/2017 22:05:48
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My Prusa i3 kit cost just under £300 from Factory3D. More expensive than cheap kits, but some useful improvements (better PSU, steppers and some other bits, reliable build manual, pre-programmed controller, UK backup who answer your emails questions!)

It has 8x8x8" build volume.

0.001" layer print:

1 thou print.jpg

Lost PLA:

dscn8981.jpg

But bear in mind any 3D printer needs some TLC like replacing nozzles, thermistors and keeping the wiring from flexing to much!

<edit> and it worked first time!

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 23/10/2017 22:06:26

Paul Lousick24/10/2017 09:29:00
804 forum posts
398 photos

I have a Geeetec Prusa I3 X and am very happy with it. Just don't get enough time to play with it.

The latest is a multi head version but a dual head version is available using 2 different filements. You could use 2 colours but it also alows you to use water soluble filement for supporting overhangs and simply wash them away after printing.

Paul.

Journeyman24/10/2017 09:47:36
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I'll second the Factory 3D printer. I am still learning how mine works but it is a good kit with nothing missing. It is about half the price of a genuine Prusa i3 kit. There are a stack of much cheaper kits available from Amazon most of which feature an plastic frame. The plastic frame versions are reported to be a bit wobbly but I have no first hand knowledge.

These printers do not require a computer connection and the recommendation is to print direct from an SD card. You will of course need the computer for file preparation. I use Alibre to draw and produce STL files and then Cura 2.7 to slice into g-code for printing. It is worth noting that these printers are NOT plug and play consumer ready units, you will need to prod, poke and tweak things to get good prints. That said some of bits I have made in PLA and PETG are very good (I have also produced a good deal of waste plastic!).

I wrote up the kit build on my website, have a look ***HERE*** for details.

John

SillyOldDuffer24/10/2017 10:50:25
2780 forum posts
562 photos

Or you could think big....

Roderick Jenkins24/10/2017 15:57:49
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1568 forum posts
400 photos

Has anybody managed to buy a printer from Factory 3D recently? Every time I look they are out of stock.

Rod

Colin LLoyd24/10/2017 17:13:21
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188 forum posts
17 photos

I also have a Geeteech Prusa i3 Pro B printer and am very pleased with it for the price. The build from kit was very easy as there is a whole suite of videos at their website. The build should be no problem for people subscribing to this forum. I bought extra printing head assemblies (Heater/stepper motor unit - so that I could use more than 1 type of filament easily. I use OpenSCAD (as I'm an open-source person but there is a version for Windows and Mac) within Linux as my preferred design application. OpenSCAD, as a constructive geometry and extrusion program, rather than an artistic program, is geared towards creating machine parts with defined dimensions and shapes, unlike applications like Blender or Inkscape OpenSCAD output files in .STL format then go straight into the Repetier Host application on a dedicated Windows 7 laptop as I haven't got Repetier Host to work in Linux yet THere is also a Mac version as well). The alternative is to write the STL file to microSD card and insert that into the Geeetech controller directly. All 3D printing at this price/size level takes a long time. The ventilated cover box for a LED voltage supply unit shown (body + Lid) is 80mm x 60mm x 25mm and took nearly 2 hours total time.led supply box.jpg

Iain Downs24/10/2017 18:42:18
340 forum posts
126 photos

Thanks for the input and advice.

I'm interested in the idea of soluble filament for complex shapes. The Geetech one, though seems to have a maximum resolution of 0.1mm rather than 0.025 which would be attractive.

I take it that the dual head version is this one ? £311 vs £279 - £32 quid for dual head seems reasonable.

I must say that the Geetech looks more rigid than the Factory3D one.

The buy now button on factory 3d leads to this on ebay

I like the bridge, but I don't think the printer would fit in my shed...

I tend to use OnShape for my design scribblings, which I would expect would export something I could put into a slicing program.

Iain

Roderick Jenkins24/10/2017 19:59:47
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1568 forum posts
400 photos

Just managed to catch the last one from 3D Factory smiley

Rod

Russell Eberhardt24/10/2017 20:41:42
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2216 forum posts
79 photos
Posted by Colin LLoyd on 24/10/2017 17:13:21:

I also have a Geeteech Prusa i3 Pro B printer and am very pleased with it for the price.

<snip> then go straight into the Repetier Host application on a dedicated Windows 7 laptop as I haven't got Repetier Host to work in Linux yet

I built the same kit a year ago and am also pleased with it.

What flavour of Linux are you using? I have Repetier Host running on Linux Mint on two computers and had no problem installing it following the instructions here

Russell

Russ B24/10/2017 20:44:55
512 forum posts
19 photos

I have a CEL Robox - the reviews just don't do it justice.

It comes with proprietary software "Automaker" which is ultra ultra polished - smooth as a babies bum and super easy and intuitive to use. The interface is so simple its basically fool proof but behind it, it is just as configurable as any 3D printer and uses standard slicers to write the machine instruction which are a modified form of gcode (Cura is the default slicer). This software is just a simple installation, no setup required - take the printer out ofthe box, install the software (before you....) plug in the printer, load the fillament (poke it in a hole, and it detects it, and takes it off you, and feeds itself) - and then find a 3D model, and press print - wait, enjoy.

It also uses proprietary fillament spools, which come with the material data written on it (print speed, temps, bed temps, layer cooldown, everything - absolutely everything) - HOWEVER it's totally open, you can use whatever material you like, and Automaker even includes a module that lets you write and re-write the spools EEPROM and they give you their complete library of material print properties which they've researched and fine tuned.

The bed doesn't require any sort of preparation, you don't even have to clean it (although I give it a wipe with alcohol between ABS prints as it leaves a residue), parts stick first time, every time, I've only ever had 1 or 2 parts come unstuck. This applies to PLA, ABS, Polycabonate, all sorts.

The print heads are quick release, dual nozzle units with needle valves to control flow. The heads are either "quick fill" or "Dual Material" the quick fill has a fine 0.3 nozzle, and a wide 0.8mm, it does the outer detail in 0.3, and then quickly fills out the inner with the big 0.8 - saving time, which is the biggest enemy - a single large part can take a day or more, easily!!!

The hot end can hit 240c in just 1 minute from cold, and the heated bed will hit 130 in 4 minutes - this is roughly 1/3rd of the time of anything else ive seen. Further more, the nozzle will reach 280c max, and the bed will hit 150c which would actually melt most parts back down - however, its future proof!

Print quality exceeds that of the £30,000 professional solutions.

It's a very, very, very neat piece of kit - and the customer support is unbelievable, UK born machine, UK based customer support - I have a pre-production beta 3+ years old and it's just about to go back for a standard £100 full service, which will include any and all updates - even though it doesn't need anything it will get an new updated extruder and other tweaks and enhancements, plus anything it needs.

I could keep going on, if it exploded into a thousand pieces tomorrow - I'd go straight out, and buy another!

Edited By Russ B on 24/10/2017 20:52:34

Russ B24/10/2017 20:49:40
512 forum posts
19 photos

But bear in mind any 3D printer needs some TLC like replacing nozzles, thermistors and keeping the wiring from flexing to much!

disagree strongly ^ see above....... 3 years old, pre-production unit.

There is one catch however, I do own 2 print heads (it came with one, I bought a spare) - the early models had issues with their needle valve system, which has now been resolved with a completely new head (both of mine have been replaced for the brand new version, free of charge when they eventually failed)

I still keep 2, just in case I need to send one back for servicing (all free under warranty, I just pay postage to them, although they do offer to refund it!)

I've not had the version 2 fail yet, they're about a year old now and my spare is still brand new in the box.

 

To summarise, zero time needed tweaking settings, installing or software, writing or messing with firmware, zero bed cleaning or levelling routines etc etc.... its basically, just like a paper printer, install the software, install the "ink" and press print, it will lock the door... sit and wait

Edited By Russ B on 24/10/2017 20:55:13

Neil Wyatt24/10/2017 20:52:49
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13390 forum posts
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Anyone wanting an improved spool holder for their Prusa i3 can download my tried and tested set of STLs here.

You will also need four 608 bearings (cheap as chips) and a pair of 110mm coach bolts.

You can get the bearings three at a time in cheap fidget spinners!

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 25/10/2017 11:58:37

Iain Downs24/10/2017 20:53:46
340 forum posts
126 photos

Hi, Russ.

It looks like a good piece of kit, but the cheapest one (from what I can see) is outside my Birthday Budget - at around 800 quid.

Iain

Russ B24/10/2017 20:58:59
512 forum posts
19 photos

Yes.... they're quite a few quid, but better than an Ultimaker or the likes (which are £3k upwards!)

If you just want to 3D print very accurate models, without needing any skill or knowledge of 3D printing or computers, it's basically ideal, quick, reliable, easy - and if you want to tweak it, go for it, it's completely configurable via "expert" tick box in settings which opens up a wealth of menus and settings if you feel like killing a few hours.

I still have an i3 cheeky

Journeyman25/10/2017 09:30:05
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488 forum posts
68 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 24/10/2017 20:52:49:

Anyone wanting an improved spool holder for their Prusa i3 can download my tried and tested set of STLs here.

You will also need four 608 bearings (cheap as chips) and a pair of 110mm coach bolts.

You can get the bearings three at a time in cheap fidget spinners!

My Factory 3D came with a similar spool holder, no rollers just bearings that the rim of the spool runs on. Very easy turning but if the filament jams it is possible for the tension to build up and pull the drum off. Also if you are a bit clumsy like me it is possible to knock the reel of filament off, fortunately I managed to catch it before it hit anything important. I added an additional side support with a rod through the centre of the spool to catch the odd rogue spool!

John

Journeyman25/10/2017 10:15:42
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488 forum posts
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Thought I had better add a photo to explain the above!

spoolholder.jpg

I added the orange filament guide as I found the roll of PETG I have is very prone to the filament falling off the edge of the reel, it seems to be a lot springier than PLA. The guide helps to keep the filament in line with the reel even if the print head is well over to one side.

Neil Wyatt25/10/2017 10:40:34
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13390 forum posts
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I see yours has both the new display box and filament holder. And a different PSU!

There are two holes in the bottom of my supports that you can either use to fit a guide using a pair of M3 screws OR poke a loop of 1/16 TIG rod (or similar) into for a filament guide.

Colin LLoyd25/10/2017 10:51:43
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188 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by Russell Eberhardt on 24/10/2017 20:41:42:
Posted by Colin LLoyd on 24/10/2017 17:13:21:

I also have a Geeteech Prusa i3 Pro B printer and am very pleased with it for the price.

<snip> then go straight into the Repetier Host application on a dedicated Windows 7 laptop as I haven't got Repetier Host to work in Linux yet

I built the same kit a year ago and am also pleased with it.

What flavour of Linux are you using? I have Repetier Host running on Linux Mint on two computers and had no problem installing it following the instructions here

Russell

Hi Russell, I'm running Mageia 5 64-bit. To be fair, I didn't try very hard as I had a spare laptop sitting around and thought I'd dedicate that to controlling the 3D printer. Subsequently I've found that the printing often comes to a halt if there are more than one USB device plugged into the laptop - typically the USB to the printer and a Memory stick with the STL file on it. But I think this is a MIcrosoft (oh how I hate to say that word) problem where it merrily and randomly changes the USB Communication number. But knowing that - I just copy the STL file to the desktop and remove the memory stick - then no problem. Yes I could convert the laptop to Linux - but I still have some programs that only run on Windows.

Journeyman25/10/2017 10:52:37
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488 forum posts
68 photos

Neil, I think it is probably the same PSU it's just that I drilled three holes and secured it to the frame as I thought it looked neater, rather than have it just loose on the worktop. You can't see them in the picture but I added diagonal braces to the rear of the frame. I am currently working on a cunning plan to stop the print head moving from side to side in its frame and improve access to the hot end, will report back in due course (bits on route from China).

John

Edited By Journeyman on 25/10/2017 11:09:49

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