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Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:04 pm
by SteveHGraham
I didn't know where to post this, but the topic is close to CNC, so here I go.

Are affordable 3D printers getting to the point where they are actually useful? I was just looking at plans for a bench power supply, and they call for a printed case. Annoying.

When I looked into printers a couple of years back, the plastic was weak. I saw people on Youtube bending printed parts and causing them to separate into layers.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:22 pm
by John Hasler
I've seen parts made with affordable 3D printers that seemed strong enough for a power supply case. According to friends who have 3D printers they require careful tuning to get acceptable quality. Appropriate choice of material is important.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:49 pm
by SteveHGraham
I am reading up on it, and I finally found some useful information. Some company that sells plastic filament did a test where they printed hooks from various substances and then suspended weights from the hooks. From what I see, I think the current technology is worth a $200 investment in a printer kit.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:35 pm
by DavidF
I 3d printed the coupler in my vacuum pump 3 years ago with intentions on replacing it with the proper part. But so far the if its not broken dont fix it rule is still in effect. Also have a 3d printed part in my washing machine for the past 4 weeks because it was on back order. Depends on what you want and need I guess. No regrets here.....

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:13 am
by NP317
SteveG:
Whatever printer you get, there will likely be a discussion group about it.
I have a friend who has extensively modified his already-good 3D printer, based on community input on the pertinent group.
It now prints excellently, two-color and multiple durometer/melting temperature plastics, even.

The discussion groups provide a significant research resource for making your decision.
And new/improved printers are appearing at least monthly...
~RN

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:48 am
by chucketn
I've had my under $200 Anet A8 for just over a year, and no regrets, other than a few designs that didn't work. I have a box of failed prints, and those poor/bad designs. I admit it took a while to get the printer dialed in, but so did my Iathe and mill. I have learned to use Fusion 360 since getting the printer, and really, really, like having the ability to design and prototype parts before committing to metal. My favorite use is printing patterns for sand casting in aluminum.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:13 pm
by SteveHGraham
I'm going to try an Anet A6 and see what happens.

I am hoping to get better at Fusion 360 as a bonus.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:04 pm
by ctwo
If you didn't buy it yet, I just got a Creality Ender 3. It worked as expected right out of the box using default Cura settings. I printed a 1" "turners cube" as a dimensional verification, and we were less than 20 thou large, mostly at the footing which spread a bit. I got it for ~$195 shipped. I'm using FreeCAD as I am suspicious of AutoDesk's motives, and I do not like cloud solutions or ones that require you be tethered.

The cube here is upside-down. You see the vertical circles actually sagged on top from no support, but the horizontal circles are good. I was expecting that. It's only 25 thou thick walls, which now I do not recall how close those were, but very close.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:47 pm
by Geezer
Our son , designed and printed over 100 pieces
for this assembly of the Santa Maria last year.
Using wood filament , very solid.

Santa Maria.jpg

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:54 pm
by SteveHGraham
I put an Anet A6 together, but I can't get it to work. Apparently, the free software either likes your computer, or it doesn't, and debugging the problem is the end user's job. I have no idea how to make it run.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:05 pm
by ctwo
What computer sw is involved? I use FreeCAD for design or just download thingiverse designs, both in STL format. That is printer independent. Then I use a slicer, Cura so far, to make the gcode. The slicer has to know some simple things about your printer though. The gcode goes to the printer via microSD.

Re: Are 3D Printers Finally Practical?

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:15 pm
by NP317
SteveHGraham wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:54 pm
I put an Anet A6 together, but I can't get it to work. Apparently, the free software either likes your computer, or it doesn't, and debugging the problem is the end user's job. I have no idea how to make it run.
Find the internet discussion board for your printer.
There are sure to be solutions available from other owners who have experienced the same or similar issues.
~RN