Do I wanna get into 3D printing?

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by matthunter, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    I've been toying with the idea since this baby popped up in my Amazon feed:

    http://amzn.eu/3K9TSKK

    Under £400 so about the same as springing for a PS4, which I did recently on pure impulse. And I like the idea of printing out Trek and other sci-fi models, but I'd have to use downloaded templates or learn how to create my own, so not sure how much use I'd get out of it.... How easy would it be, for those in the know, to take top/side/front/rear images and produce a 3D model? Are we at the point yet where you could take video of an object rotationally and convert that to 3D scan?
  2. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    You might want to check this one out. I ordered one, but haven't finished assembling it. Life sort of got in the way. But it does get great reviews. And it's only $139.99, but you do need to assemble it yourself.
  3. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    I'm a bit wary of un-enclosed models as I have inquisitive pets, plus they do appear very easy to accidentally knock over. And noise issues, of course, given you need to leave jobs for hours and I would be operating this inside the house (no garage).
  4. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    The printer in the link would be really hard to knock over, and both are not enclosed.The one from Amazon has a nicer look to it, but is still open on the sides.
  5. Soma

    Soma OMG WTF LOL STFU ROTFL!!!

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  6. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Depending upon if you've got an iPhone or an Android phone, there are a variety of apps you can use to photograph something and then generate the files to 3D print a model of it. The Autodesk apps for iPhone are said to be disturbingly easy to use.
  7. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    I gave Qlone a quick try - it's out on iOS and being rolled-out on Android (you can use it, but not export scans to other software or printers yet). Scanned a USB stick - not perfect but I think that was my haphazard scanning (handheld)... you have to print a calibration map that you place the object on, then move the phone around it until all the tiles of a "scan bubble" have disappeared. Since I was doing this on a workbench, I couldn't step around it so had to rotate both the mat and move the phone. Setting up a stand for the phone should be no problem though and then just move the mat. Even so, you could tell what the image was, it was just a little bulged in some places.

    Which, if we ever can scan Kelly LeBrock, might work out even better.
  8. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    You could probably buy a turntable (record player) off of ebay or craigslist for cheap, all it it needs to do is turn. Print the calibration and attach it to the turntable and mount the phone on a hands free device. That will keep both the phone and scanned object steady. Lacking the turntable a lazy susan would also work.
  9. Minsc&Boo

    Minsc&Boo Fresh Meat

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    D&D pieces?
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  10. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Yes, Baba, you can do these via 3D printing.

    https://www.shapeways.com/marketplace/games/tabletop-wargaming/

    I've previously ordered a few WH40K starships (for use with Battlefleet Gothic) from Shapeways, and the detailing varies but the right seller makes all the difference - got a Dauntless-Class Light Cruiser and a Lunar-Class Cruiser which are perfectly scaled and very detailed, but some other sellers are off-scale or quite blocky.

    Just ordered my first piece of 3D printed metal - a student of mine just submitted their Ph.D thesis so have ordered a pendant in the shape of a DNA double helix in 14k gold-plated brass as a present.
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  11. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    I also checked out Thingiverse, which has lots of free .stl files for download. They have a great Millennium Falcon template plus a few other show designs (Orville, the SG-1 human battlecruisers, SW fighters, BSG Vipers) and a good template for WH40K battlecruisers which I very much would like to print.

    Could do with some idea of how much PLA each print would use... a spool looks like it comes in about £35-40, so if you only get one model per spool then the lower cost of the printer is going to be the lesser concern in the long run. If a spool will last for 3-5 prints or more, it's looking OK.
  12. Minsc&Boo

    Minsc&Boo Fresh Meat

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  13. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    Unless you can get the spools for a very low price, it may not be cost effective to print SciFi models. From what I understand, custom printing and prototyping is where profit can be made. Printing out parts as test models and custom pieces for people who may need or want a few pieces for personal or prototyping is where most 3D printing makes money.
  14. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Actually, looks like you can get a 1kg spool of white PLA for £22 and black PLA (which you could use to test print, or even for main prints if the colour doesn't matter) for £15 which isn't so bad.

    In terms of the models, I'm more after custom ships that you can't get in the shops. The Warhammer ships I mentioned, for example, have been discontinued by the manufacturer for several years. I've bought prints from Shapeways but figured it'd be nice to be able to do it myself and possibly cheaper in the long run too. Here are two of the ones I've bought, with D20 for scale:

    41970604010_9bb07a80f9_z.jpg
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  15. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    So, after some deliberation (and the price dropping to £350) I took the plunge!

    New toy:

    41556905_10155621690061606_3204255935954419712_o.jpg

    First print underway! Went with something simple from Thingiverse which has tons of free downloadable STL files:

    41502717_10155622036066606_8013412503268622336_o.jpg

    Finished article!

    41589701_10155622053026606_331962394584547328_n.jpg

    Used about 5g of PLA from a 600g spool (standard spools are 1kg and around £12-20 depending on colour. So easily enough for a set. But next up is a Batman cookie cutter because fuck it, cookies!

    41450681_10155622086706606_2572016559341961216_o.jpg
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  16. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Cookie time!!

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  17. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    One last print for tonight - took nearly 3 hours but am really pleased with it:

    20180910_215140_resized.jpg
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  18. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Nice Deadpool in disguise as Spidey! :techman:
  19. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Hand Solo

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  20. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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  21. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Dish has to print as a separate component from this model, hadn't gotten round to it. There is one with it integrated but you have to print the ship as two halves and glue together, and I'm getting a small amount of warping at the base for wide models that means the two ends aren't quite flat.

    For the same reason, I found it's better to print those Imperial cruisers from post #14 engines up using support sprues (the print software will add these, though it can go overboard and you need to manually adjust) rather than cutting the model in two lengthwise and printing both halves.
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  22. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    I kinda like the NX-01 Refit that they later dubbed the Colombia-Class in the Rise of the Federation novels, so printed one out (needs a bit of filing down):

    20180923_091158_resized.jpg

    And being on an Enterprise-era kick, I also like the EM-33 plasma pistol - supposedly less advanced than the phase pistols but fuck it, it looks beefier and they based the MACO rifle off it so Imma go with it's the Magnum of the 2150s.

    20180927_194126_resized.jpg

    I've got a BIT of leeway on print sizes - the length of the gun is at max but I could widen it and increase the height to make the grip a better fit.

    I started printing a Vulcan ringship but the nozzle clogged halfway through and then I preferred to print the EM-33. But soon.
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  23. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Dinklebot! Or Nolandroid, depending on preference:

    20180930_133326_resized.jpg
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  24. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Been playing around with a lot of prints, but here's my biggest project so far - not finished yet (gotta print some of the decorative bits and bobs) but all the major bits now done. Imperial plasma pistol from Warhammer 40K but at full-scale (well, 87% of the intended size as some of the pieces still don't fit my print area at any more than that, but this is still holdable). Comes as about a dozen pieces. Had to file one or two down to get a good fit but otherwise assembles quite well. Gonna spray the white parts gunmetal before final gluing, but the blue PLA works nicely for the plasma coil.

    20181028_132212_resized_1.jpg
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  25. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Been a while.

    Print me the idol - I throw you the whip!

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  26. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Colour filament adventures!

    20190308_190713_resized.jpg
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  27. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Another big project - fuck you Forge World, I'm not paying £400 for a resin version! About £15 worth of PLA, two cans of car spraypaint and some superglue later and the printer has paid for itself!

    20190604_123614_resized.jpg
    20190604_123634_resized.jpg

    Just gotta add the landing gear once the paint dries. And possibly some weapon points upfront, but need to grab some files from a different model for those.
  28. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    Anyway, so this thread isn't just "here's what I'm printing this week/month", some aftermarket info.

    I wouldn't buy this printer again. I love it, and I'm gonna run it into the ground, but there's a reason for the long gap in posts above - around November last year, it got a serious filament clog. Couldn't shift it using any of the "easy access" methods, so the recommended next step (by the manufacturer) was to remove the brass filament nozzle and check the Teflon tube inside. A replacement tube was provided. Many issues arose with this:

    1) you have to remove the nozzle when it is fully heated i.e. 220C.

    2) you need to do this with a socket wrench whilst holding the heating element block stationary with a spanner.

    3) the heating block is covered in some form of thermal tape which tends to slough off when trying to do this.

    4) the cat-protecting enclosure I liked also prevents you easily getting both hands/tools into the area to do any of this.

    Anyhoo, I eventually managed to get the nozzle off and clear the clog, but I couldn't hold the heating block stationary and it twisted. This meant that, when I went to replace the nozzle, I couldn't fully tighten it as the heating block was now also rotating and risking shearing the thermocouples. Whilst the filament was now flowing OK, the nozzle was now ~0.4mm lower down than it should be, and thus digging into the tape on the print bed. The auto-calibration routine on the printer can't spot this.

    I let the printer lapse whilst I sought professional engineers to repair it, but many said they wouldn't take Flashforge printers as they were too unreliable to re-certify... or wanted ~£150 plus shipping for the job, for a printer worth ~£300 (price has dropped further)...

    Eventually I decided to just experiment and discovered I could just set the Z-axis in my print software to start 0.5mm up so the print starts "in the air", which in reality is the new "ground" for my lower-seated nozzle. This works fine, unless the object requires brim or base, as those are hard-coded to start at zero. Supports can be added and set to the new 0.5mm ground level though. So the printer is working again and has been churning out lots of Warhammer 40K stuff lately, culminating in the Thunderhawk dropship in the above post.

    I think the engineers are being a bit hard on Flashforge - aside from this issue which pro engineers could have resolved easily, my printer has needed no maintenance since purchase - hardly ever jams or suffers layer issues. The nozzle is not worn, despite folk saying you should upgrade to tougher materials than brass...

    And the machine itself and software are extremely easy to use and convenient - wifi streaming of prints to the machine, and it stores all prints in local memory too so once you've printed one of a set of objects, just select it again and hit go rather than needing to fire up the PC and the software again.

    But if I were replacing it? I'd look at this https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creality-Printer-Upgrade-Cmagnet-Certified/dp/B07PJQNNGP/ or one of it's variants. I know I fussed about enclosure but I now agree with Ed629... plus a degree of self-assembly shouldn't be beyond me (I've tinkered in enough PC innards) and would help ensure I understand the parts well enough to do stuff like nozzle replacement should I need too. Other pros - cheaper, larger print bed (14x14x14cm on my current one meant some of that Thunderhawk had to be sliced into smaller bits) and heated bed (helps prevent warping at the base).
  29. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    A friend of mine is actually making some decent coin printing stuff he finds on Thingiverse and selling it online. I don't personally think it's hugely cost-effective to spend 2 days printing a spaceship and selling it for 60 bucks, but he's happy.
  30. matthunter

    matthunter Antira

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    The actual amount of physical labour is minimal, and the PLA and electrical costs are low once you've outlaid for the printer, so it could be a viable sideline. Like I say, when the official models cost £400 and you can print one for £40, you can tack on £10-40 profit and still hope to find customers.

    I'm just interested in how much Games Workshop/Forge World have gone down the profit route from the days when I could spend £30 on plastic troops and expect a box of 20-30 models, and today the same would only buy me 5-10, and as for vehicles...