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'Wheeler Dealers' digital printing

At last!..a real useful use of digital printing machine

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Bob Stevenson10/12/2017 15:17:21
233 forum posts
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I have just watched a 'Wheeler Dealers' edition in which 'big Ed' works up a veteran Darraq car (owned by Haynes Publishing) for the Brighton Run.

The car has original oil lamps which obviously must not be damaged or altered so Ed borrowed a £120,000 digital printer which took 15 hours to make two identical lamp inserts from plastic which were then fitted with LED light fittings and battery holders.

The work was excellent and does make me think that in a few years there might actually be a use for digital printing to make worthwhile one-off parts like this. Obviously, the cost is presently prohibitive for ordinary users but this does show what might be possible eventually, being as the 'useless plastic widget brigade' have come to a halt at the moment, or so it seems to me!

Neil Wyatt10/12/2017 16:42:58
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Posted by Bob Stevenson on 10/12/2017 15:17:21:

I have just watched a 'Wheeler Dealers' edition in which 'big Ed' works up a veteran Darraq car (owned by Haynes Publishing) for the Brighton Run.

The car has original oil lamps which obviously must not be damaged or altered so Ed borrowed a £120,000 digital printer which took 15 hours to make two identical lamp inserts from plastic which were then fitted with LED light fittings and battery holders.

The work was excellent and does make me think that in a few years there might actually be a use for digital printing to make worthwhile one-off parts like this. Obviously, the cost is presently prohibitive for ordinary users but this does show what might be possible eventually, being as the 'useless plastic widget brigade' have come to a halt at the moment, or so it seems to me!

!!!!!!!!!!

I'm pretty sure my £270 printer could make LED & battery boxes... I would say it's one of my most useful tools and has made dozens of items for home, workshop and hobbies that woudl ahve been difficult or impossible to do affordably otherwise.

Here's a combination of battery box and LEDs I printed:

lamp rot.jpgExample is this part of a model steam engine, made by lost wax casting using a 3D printed pattern. It may look a bit rough in close up, but it's only 1 1/2" high

lost wax.jpg

For £120K I would have expected a machine to laser sinter a brand new pair of lamps!

I even made clips to repair my steplad's clothes horse last week.

Neil

Bob Stevenson11/12/2017 19:13:52
233 forum posts
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Neil......I know you are an enthusiast for 3D printing and I respect that,....However, it's essentially a 'backlane' technology at the moment and only used in Industry in very specific areas such as producing wax masters for investment casting of stainless steel......50 bayonets in one 'tree' for example, would be difficult by other methods.

I have recently been shown several foundry patterns made by(domestic) printing to make brass clock parts but in every case they have been crude and of poor quality. Two weeks ago I was shown a pattern for a clock face bezel which was visibly unwravelling due to poor adhesion of the plastic strands to eachother.......

Small time 3D printing is roughly equyivalent to the early home computer era when the big question; "What can you use it for?" was usually answered by......"You can put your recipes on it". So, less useful than a school excercise book then!!

If you had seen the 'Wheeler Dealers' prog you would have seen that the plastic lamp inserts were made without ANY 'texture' or grain being apparent...so, just like injection moulding in quality. The machine was unimpressive floor sanding unit but did the job effectively. to make the parts by subtractive machining would have been very time consuming with most of the material going in the bin. 3D is essentially a fascinating but currently useless hobby which has potential as yet unrealised.......

...........But I'm watching with great interest!

Neil Wyatt11/12/2017 19:32:23
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Well Bob, is this smooth enough for you?

Printed at 0.001" resolution on my not-£100,000 printer. Not perfect, but as good a finish as a CNC mill could do:

1 thou print.jpg

SillyOldDuffer11/12/2017 19:56:56
2923 forum posts
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Posted by Bob Stevenson on 11/12/2017 19:13:52:

...

3D is essentially a fascinating but currently useless hobby which has potential as yet unrealised.......

...

Oh dear. I've somehow turned a few millenia of metalworking progress into a fascinating but currently useless hobby!

smiley

Oldiron11/12/2017 20:03:51
200 forum posts
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Never did get the idea of Wheeler Dealers. If they were a Bona Fide business they would have gone bust after the first program.

Chris Trice11/12/2017 23:24:14
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It's not about making money from the venture. It's about restoring classic cars to their former glory and not making a loss doing it.

Vic11/12/2017 23:36:00
1628 forum posts
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From what I’ve seen we’re decades away from affordable 3D printers producing anything other than weak poor quality “prototype samples”. They had a 3D print of a prosthetic on TV last year that I guessed was too weak to do the job and straight away it failed in use. I could have told them not to bother. Even model makers despair at the surface finish straight from the printer. The best use I’ve seen for 3D prints are as masters for subsequent casting in metal.

Mick Charity12/12/2017 03:54:34
206 forum posts
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To say that home 3d printing is currently a useless hobby is not just wrong it's horribly wrong.

History is full of the names of the greats who invented the turning points yet it forgets the countless 1000's who were tinkering in the same field at the time.

We are the new pioneers (coughs) who are driving progress forwards until the day you can really press a button & another useless consumerist gadget appears as if by magik.

If you cannot think of anything to build then you lack imagination !

Bob Stevenson12/12/2017 08:44:20
233 forum posts
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I would genuinely defend anyones right to take up digital printing as a favourite hobby. As hobbies go digital printing seems to me to have a lot going for it that is good and interesting....it's not for me personally because I'm seriously into making clocks and some other stuff...but, if you can get excited about the technology and the ancilliary skills needed then why not see what you can make it do......

What I personally find dificult to take to is the almost religious fervour of many of the devotees and the automatic assumptions of excellence in the widgets, along with farcical claims of a the domination of 3D printing which is always (for several years now) just about to dawn on an unsuspecting world to wipe away all of this ancient technology that we currently use to machine eningeered components. Some of these claims have been beyond ridiculous.....every house will have a printer and there will be no need to actually buy anything tangible,...you will simply pay for the file to be sent and your new possesion will begin to take shape in the plywood printer installed on your sideboard........ People in space stations will print any spare part that is needed.......... And, the latest idea from the web I see, is that we shall soon be able to 'print' Christmas Dinner along with all the trimmings!

More serious is the recent 'initiative' to provide disabled children around the world with artificial hands that they can just 'print out' as needed.....I think 'Vic' alluded to this in his post above. Highly admirable tho' this is it completely ruined a very sound idea becasue there is indeed a great opportunity for children to gain modern prosthetics mass produced by current technologies that actually work with the interchange of components and ability to 'grow' along with the young users.......but, 3D printing has succeeded in dooming this great idea to be stillborn, so poor are the resulting printed parts......

And Neil,.........No, I'm not that impressed by the surface of that widget...and neither should you be! PLEASE take a look at teh work from a good precision mill, let along a top line CNC one. We have a Aciera F1 in the workshop that can knock that into a cocked hat, frankly, and the components are made of brass not some ticky-tacky. At last years 'Ally-Pally' show we met a man representing a company using 3D to print high quality foundry patterns for investment casting of very complex components...the 'new' cleverness was that the printer corrected for the shrinkage of the final aluminium cast......however the printer was a unit costing several hundred K£....this is where the future might lie.....

Neil Wyatt12/12/2017 08:55:50
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Posted by Vic on 11/12/2017 23:36:00:

From what I’ve seen we’re decades away from affordable 3D printers producing anything other than weak poor quality “prototype samples”. They had a 3D print of a prosthetic on TV last year that I guessed was too weak to do the job and straight away it failed in use. I could have told them not to bother. Even model makers despair at the surface finish straight from the printer. The best use I’ve seen for 3D prints are as masters for subsequent casting in metal.

Maybe, I've sold things with 3D printed components so I hope you are wrong...

For myself I've recently printed a box for five foot switches to go with an amplifier. To test it I jumped up and down on top of it (13 stone) and didn't damage it one bit. I have another case for an effects pedal, 3mm wall thickness (that's hollow too) and 2.5mm thick for the press plate. Not as strong as the other box, but it takes my weight balanced on one foot.

There are plenty of people with 3D-printed plates in their skulls because they work better than metal ones!

Surface finish needs to be matched to the purpose. An as-cast finish isn't right for some metal parts, but that doesn't invalidate casting as a way of making parts.

Bear in mind that home 3D printer technology is only about 12 years old - relatively few people know how to get the best from their printers and the materials.

Neil

Martin Kyte12/12/2017 09:50:27
1287 forum posts
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Thinking laterally,( I'll get up in a minute), as a consequence of youngsters getting into 3D printing just think of the CAD literate workforce it's producing for the future.

regards Martin

Mike Poole12/12/2017 10:20:11
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1353 forum posts
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Bob, I think you are taking a bit of a pessimistic view on 3D printing. I have only looked as stuff at the ME shows but I am pretty impressed. I would put my money on it being a winner, it is going to get better and faster. A friend works in the rapid prototyping industry doing serious stuff and printing has its place. I think the problems you have encountered are probably caused by a poor setup or faulty equipment.

Mike

Farmboy12/12/2017 10:58:03
67 forum posts

3D printing is surely still in its infancy. Once it gets to the molecular scale ( like the Replicator in one of Isaac Asimov's sci-fi books ) all bets are off nerd

It won't even be limited by your imagination once artificial intelligence takes over ...

Brian G12/12/2017 12:33:35
271 forum posts
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I keep looking at 3D printers, but having used SLA for prototyping the output from the domestic machines always looks disappointing (but very inexpensive) in comparison. Perhaps something like the Wanhao Duplicator 7 **LINK** would be a suitable compromise?

Brian

EDIT: I wonder if in 50 years time model engineers will be using ex-industrial SLS machines, and talking dubiously about manufacture by nano-machines.

Edited By Brian G on 12/12/2017 12:36:41

Chris Trice12/12/2017 12:43:17
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By profession, I'm a model maker and animatronic engineer in the film industry. We are increasingly using 3D printing but like any process (vac forming, fibreglass moulding, machining) it is good for what it's good at, not everything, not yet. I've not yet seen a 3D printed item printed on a budget printer that was devoid of layers that didn't need sanding off if the importance of the piece was visual. However, for making up special box and cable connectors for servo's in animatronics where finish of the internal mechanical components isn't important, they're very handy. The biggest advantage in my experience is the ability to block something out that is truly symmetrical like a car body and a recent ability that impressed me was scanning an actor and 3D printing him using a powder based 3D printer which also coloured the print too. In the high end one we were using, a photo of a 1/4 scale actor was indistinguishable to a photo of the actual actor. That was the point I felt like a dinosaur on the edge of extinction. BUT 3D printing is not the answer to everything.... yet.... and probably won't be for a long time. I'm assuming Neil's item was printed on a filament printer and by their standards, it's pretty good but I also have some sympathy with Bob's opinion because in "our" model making terms, it isn't. That's because that particular example is actually harder to clean up to our required standards than to fabricate it using other methods, which comes back to my original point that 3D printing is good for some things but not the answer to everything. For master patterns, it's great for generating shapes but we usually work them, make them as near perfect as we can then mould them in different materials.

Vic12/12/2017 14:41:39
1628 forum posts
9 photos
Posted by Mick Charity on 12/12/2017 03:54:34:

To say that home 3d printing is currently a useless hobby is not just wrong it's horribly wrong.

History is full of the names of the greats who invented the turning points yet it forgets the countless 1000's who were tinkering in the same field at the time.

We are the new pioneers (coughs) who are driving progress forwards until the day you can really press a button & another useless consumerist gadget appears as if by magik.

If you cannot think of anything to build then you lack imagination !

Agreed, nothing wrong with 3D printing as a hobby if it keeps nerds happy in their bedrooms. Just don’t expect the finished product to be anywhere near as good as items made on machines costing a hundred times the price.

**LINK**

Journeyman12/12/2017 15:02:40
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Posted by Vic on 12/12/2017 14:41:39:

Agreed, nothing wrong with 3D printing as a hobby if it keeps nerds happy in their bedrooms. Just don’t expect the finished product to be anywhere near as good as items made on machines costing a hundred times the price.

**LINK**

Well, this "nerd's" 3D printer lives in the workshop alongside the lathe and milling machine where I have to say I think it is quite a useful addition to the tool selection. Have made useful bits, which are still functional, for indoors, garden and workshop. What's more I quite enjoy playing with it (the printer that is) making the usual selection of useless artifactscheeky

John

Mick Charity12/12/2017 16:51:19
206 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by Vic on 12/12/2017 14:41:39:

Agreed, nothing wrong with 3D printing as a hobby if it keeps nerds happy in their bedrooms. Just don’t expect the finished product to be anywhere near as good as items made on machines costing a hundred times the price.

**LINK**

We are no more 'nerds' than you are a spanner monkey.

We know what they can produce & we know the limited qualities of the items they can produce, we already have one !

Nick Hulme12/12/2017 18:01:36
523 forum posts
26 photos

I have a swivel castor housing on the house vacuum which I printed several months ago, it's holding up nicely
That seems a perfectly practical application :D

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