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3D printers
show user profile  StevegeK

Almost bought the Ultimaker 2 today, but thought I'd post here first.

You guys got any experience with 3D printing? Got a 3D printer, which one? Experiences with other printers?

I want to go as small and detailed as possible. The Ultimaker 2 seems OK but it could be better I think. Not sure if it can be better under 2500 Euro's tho...

Planning on making parts for my airsoft-gun, perhaps some street art things, and printing some usable tools for the desk. Perhaps even wearables. Was also thinking on printing some (classic) game characters or even the original Red Alert 1 buildings (not for re-sale of course hehe ).

So basically: hobbying.

Any advice/thoughts? Would be cool to see stuff you guys printed!


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8/22/2015 8:16:18 PM (last edit: 8/22/2015 8:16:18 PM)
show user profile  9krausec
If you want highest resolution I'd look into SLA (stereolythography) printing. FormLabs has a consumer SLA printer but it does cost a bit more than the additive 3D printing.

I've never experienced a consumer SLA printer but just by looking into the process and the results that come out of it I'd say it would be a win over the additive type..

That being said it's more expensive, messier and also I'd assume more prone to errors caused by vibrations in its environment.

Do not know about how much more maintenance it would be either.

I've only used a makerbot so that's the extent of my personal experience.

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8/23/2015 1:53:40 AM (last edit: 8/23/2015 1:53:40 AM)
show user profile  Pim4

Interesting read on 3D printer buying

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8/23/2015 8:52:58 PM (last edit: 8/23/2015 8:52:58 PM)
show user profile  StevegeK
9K: Thanks! Saw one of those here in Arnhem, NL on Friday (where I almost bought one) but it was a lot more expensive. I can now get the ultramaker for 1850 euro's (no tax + it's a bit cheaper at the moment) but one of those SLA printers would've cost me 4000 or so. It's way over my budget.

The Ultramaker 2 can do 20 microns which is a lot finer than most consumer 3D printers (ranging from 80 to 200 microns, most of them around 100 or 200). Saw some fine prints and I must say, round edges were actually quite round without too much sandpapering. Was quite impressed.

By registering at 3DHub, I can actually make some money with it to make it repay itself. And it LOOKS like I can get decent results.

But I wanted to check here first.

@Pim4: gonna give that a read now. Need to go potty anyway! :)
Edit: read it, nice read. Very good points! Ultramaker seems in the clear so far...

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8/23/2015 10:26:32 PM (last edit: 8/24/2015 2:14:55 AM)
show user profile  StevegeK
By the way, I see a lot of models being printed with a lot of intentional gaps. Is there a standard way to do this? Or a certain trick... or is it just a LOT of modeling... or some plugin?


Now going on my bike to the 3D printer store. :D And I still have NO idea what to print hehehe :)

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8/24/2015 12:57:25 PM (last edit: 8/25/2015 10:08:46 PM)
show user profile  StevegeK
Okay, a lot went wrong so I've learnt a lot, but still for a first print I think it's OKAY.

Red Alert 1's Mammoth tank!

Not finished yet. The barrels will be replaced by 2 black copper barrels, antenna's and small turret will be added too and a lot of stuff has to be painted black/grey. Buuut just wanted to share a first pic. :) This is FUN tho!

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8/25/2015 9:57:20 PM (last edit: 8/25/2015 9:57:20 PM)
show user profile  StevegeK
HAHAHA this is AWESOME! Look what I just made fit:

Now I'm going to print my own design flashider for my M4! :D whooooooot! :D

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8/28/2015 4:02:19 PM (last edit: 8/28/2015 4:02:19 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Assault rifles? What is this? America!?

>>By the way, I see a lot of models being printed with a lot of intentional gaps. Is there a standard way to do this? Or a certain trick... or is it just a LOT of modeling... or some plugin?

The intentional gaps are left to reduce cost - less material used, less cost. Also, in your last example, it adds strength to the printed object.

As for modelling? I always assumed they were polymodelled like that.

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8/28/2015 4:33:57 PM (last edit: 8/28/2015 4:33:57 PM)
show user profile  luxxeon
The "gaps" are done as a design strategy. They have two purposes. One is aesthetics. It just looks cool. The other, of course, is that the more holes your mesh has, the less materials it takes to print them, and the less expensive they will be to get done.

There's tons of ways to achieve that look. It can be done in 3dsmax, for example, using the Topology tools in the Graphite ribbon, along with some modifiers. I have a very simple, but similar tutorial on my Youtube channel illustrating one possible way to do it.

Here's a different method, but still same principal of creating that kind of look for a bracelet:

There's way more complex ways to get even more spectacular voronoi style holes, but these are just simple examples. 3dsmax is a much more powerful tool than people give it credit when it comes to creating complex math models for 3d print, or renderable props, but the same can be done in Blender or some other packages too. Often, it requires a bit more work in other apps, but still possible. Meshlab also has many tools for creating the kinds of topology patterns you have shown in your examples, but that's a whole other process, involving some deeper knowledge of that specific software.

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8/28/2015 11:20:57 PM (last edit: 8/28/2015 11:22:09 PM)
show user profile  ccampbell
So, I've been meaning to reply to this thread for awhile now, and I see you've already purchased your-self the Ultimaker - Very fun! Congrats.

I've noticed a number of threads over the last few months regarding 3D printing actually so I thought this might be a good time to share a bit of my experience with printers here to help better inform those interested. Not sure I've shared much about what I do anyhow.

So, I own a 3D Printing company in San Francisco(FormURLife LLC) Est. 2012. We design customizable 3D Printed products and we also offer 3D Printing and 3D Scanning services ( We have a few different types of printers here in-house and a few more in-network.

In-House We have..
2 FDM (Cube's)
1 SLA (Projet 6000)
1 Full Color (Projet 660)

... Yep, All 3D Systems machines... I left in 2012 after 5yrs to do my own shitz and I took my motha fuckin printa's with meh

Right... In-Netowrk we have...
1 SLS (SPro60)
1 Wax/Acrylite MJP (Projet 3510 HD)

The In-House printers get used daily and the others just here and there.

For the price range you're were looking at, I personally would have gone for a "FSL PEGASUS Touch". A desktop SLA. But honestly, Ultimaker is a great starting place and first printer.

Another really great SLA machine for those interested is the "Form 1". I recommend SLA for desktop because even at low resolution the parts feel very smooth and finished where FDM machines tend to produce much cruder models. Keep in mind though, SLA parts require time to cure after printing and can be messy on a desktop.

I totally dig the first tank model and I hope that M-4 is your Air soft and not the real thing cause that ABS Will melt all over your barrel after about 3 shots haha.

In my time owning and using SLA Machines, Vibration has never been an issue.

As far as cost to operate, SLA machines come out right about the middle. FDM(Fused Deposition Modeling) being the cheapest then SLS(Selective Laser Sintering) and SLA (Stereo lithography) and finally anything in metal DMLS(Direct Metal Laser Sintering and EBM(Electron Beam Melting).

This isn't due as much to the printing processes as it is the increased labor required compared the same part on another machine and some materials just cost more to produce. Like say... 30kg of 18k gold dust compared to the weed whacker cabling you use in FDM Machines ;D

@LionDebt & @Stevegek
These intricate lattice works like the skull and elephant can be created many ways as Luxxeon suggests. Max is perfectly capable of this. I happen to have met the woman that made that skull at a Rapid Form conference couple years ago and she uses rhino. In my opinion zbrush is probably the single best tool I can think of for this type design work.

As for the handle on the scraper, the lattice work isn't doing squat for the strength here. The kind of strength to weight applications @LionDebt is referring(Bio-mimetic Algorithmically Generated Conformal Lattice Structures) take both topology and application stresses into account just as microstructures and the trabeculated internal structure of bone.

A company named within that I was lucky enough to work with for about a year while researching for our own biomedical and military applications at 3DS for blah-blah and blah... Anyway the really amazing thing about Within though is there unique bio-mimetic generative process to create not just the internal structures optimized for strength to weight but the optimal shape to achieve the least material possible for the required strength, within a given volume... yeah brain twister...

If you want to see the really crazy stuff I'm talking about you can check out Autodesk's recent acquisition of "within" now "Autodesk Within".

Edit: I know this is super long winded, sorry .

$Entrepreneur = if((Designer + Engineer)*Programmer){Problem Solver};

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8/29/2015 2:05:31 AM (last edit: 8/29/2015 5:27:29 AM)
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