Affordable 3D printer

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TheAtomicSoul

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've got a Makerbot (sing extruder that I've had to put together myself.)
Once I finalize putting it together I'll start posting some of the things I'm going to make with it!

These are really nice to have though you have to be able to work in a 3D program in order to produce anything (unless you're content on printing items other people designed.)
 
They are neat toys that's for sure, especially for a hobbyist.

Now, me being someone who has worked with higher end printers such as Z-Corp and Objet, I can never use a maker bot. The steps are way to big. It doesn't show as much on larger parts but with smaller parts the steps don't look so hot.

With that being said, pretty soon their layer thickness will be able to get much smaller. When Z-Corps first came out it was considered an affordable office printer for engineers. A few years later the Maker bot comes out, affordable for hobbyists. Now other companies are coming out with 3-D printers affordable for a hobbyist.



Solido – $2,950 3D Printer

Personally, I feel this is a much better system. I have no idea what happened with them since I can't find anything from them that's not from 2010, but unlike the makerbot this actually makes solid parts, where the maker bot is just small diameter tubes wrapped around a bunch of times to make a part. Then again, I feel maker bot will always be king of the hill when it comes to price.

I really want to see them release an at home printer that can both 3-D scan and print.

*shrug* at this rate we'll all have jet packs in 10 years :p
 

zenix

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
i was at the makerbot hq in brooklyn thursday, and also shapeways.... the replicator is awesome. you can print solid parts with the makerbot, just set the fill to be 100% solid instead. most of the time people set it lower to save time and plastic. the replicator, which is makerbot's new printer, has two extruder heads, and can print two colors/multiple materials. it comes assembled for $2000. it's much much better than the pics you've posted, which seem to be from the earliest makerbot cupcake models
 

epilepticsquirl

Sr Member
How's the quality on the new replicator? I couldn't tell from the vid Bre posted but my initial impressions are that it's pretty good for what it is. Like any of these DIY printers I know the quality is related to how much time you get it calibrated; but it's exciting to see these options starting to pop up!
 

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zenix

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
replicators come prebuilt and precalibrated. it's so much better than the old ones
 

Drewid

Well-Known Member
Hmmm, that adds a new candidate to the mix. I've had my eye on this one for a while now:

BFB-3000 Plus 3D printer | Bits From Bytes

It's ~$3,000 and can print in one to three colors/material (cost does up the more spools you add). It's also got a very large (for the price) build table. I just haven't seen too many reviews of it.
 

td2253

Active Member
Hmmm, that adds a new candidate to the mix. I've had my eye on this one for a while now:

BFB-3000 Plus 3D printer | Bits From Bytes

It's ~$3,000 and can print in one to three colors/material (cost does up the more spools you add). It's also got a very large (for the price) build table. I just haven't seen too many reviews of it.
Hey Drew,

My sister-in-law's boyfriend bought one of these 3D printers. He is a mechanical and engineer and he designed a steering mechanism for skateboards using this printer and he successfully printed the part and is now awaiting his patent for it. It uses a filament type medium that is melted and squeezed down on the plate. He said the part he made took about 4 hours to fabricate.
 

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Drewid

Well-Known Member
Hey Drew,

My sister-in-law's boyfriend bought one of these 3D printers. He is a mechanical and engineer and he designed a steering mechanism for skateboards using this printer and he successfully printed the part and is now awaiting his patent for it. It uses a filament type medium that is melted and squeezed down on the plate. He said the part he made took about 4 hours to fabricate.
That's good to know. Do you know if he has any pictures he'd be willing to share? I'd love to see the detailing/smoothness of the part.
 

jtokash

New Member
I own a PP3DP Up! 3D printer.

The printer comes preassembled and pre-tested. The accuracy is .2mm. They are currently selling for $2690.

I'm very happy with the device. See below for caveats on 3D printers in general.

The Up! is well supported by its manufacturer - there have been several major updates to its hardware, firmware and software over the life of the device and all of those updates have been made available to current owners. The latest round of hardware updates, for instance, can be purchased for $100.

The forums are great, with lots of active Up! users. Not as big or active a community as the RPF, but a good group of people.

A word of caution about 3D printers. Operating and maintaining a molten plastic 3D printer (like the Up! or the Makerbot) can be time consuming. You may have to change settings in order to get a particular model to come out the way you want. The support material required for certain shapes is usually the same material that the shape is made from and can be difficult to remove. Support material removal often damages the model cosmetically. Keeping the model at a good temperature throughout printing is important to prevent warping and can be very tricky. The jury is out on whether or not molten ABS is OK to be around, but ventilation can impact the temperature. Do a search on google for 'perfboard raftless kapton plate tape' to see how much experimentation the community has been through to resolve all kinds of issues.

Options like Shapeways and i.materialise.com use a much different technique (Lasers and powder) to build models - they produce cleaner, more accurate models and can output some complex shapes that are not possible with current 'home' 3D printers. Per model, they are much more expensive, but you have to print a lot of models to approach the $2000-$4000 price tag of these home printers. Turnaround time is also an issue. i.materialise has an expedite option for one of their materials, but you are looking at 2-5 weeks turnaround from these services depending on the service, the material, etc. Online options also give you more than a dozen materials to choose from (including SILVER).

Edit: I should also mention PLA. PLA is an alternative material that many people are using instead of ABS with good results. I haven't used it myself, but my understanding is that you use higher temperatures, it's safer to breathe and it warps less than ABS. I also hear that it smells worse and makes support structure harder to remove.
 
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td2253

Active Member
That's good to know. Do you know if he has any pictures he'd be willing to share? I'd love to see the detailing/smoothness of the part.
I'll see if I can get some pics of the part from him. He said that he had to modify the CAD drawing (Solid Works) a little to compensate for some imperfections from the extrusion method.
 

OB10

Sr Member
There are also the Reprap and the Thingamatic, if you don't mind doing the building yourself. I think some of the Repraps can be built for around $500, around $200 for the plastic parts (bought from someone else with a 3D printer, like off ebay), and $300 for the electronics and hardware. I saw one of the Prusa models a couple months ago at a local makerspace, and it was pretty darn cool. One of the guys from our makerspace went down to Kansas City to one of their makerspaces (The Cowtown Computer Congress), and one of the guys had built a Thingamatic and done a lot of tweaking. Apparently you had to look really closely to see that it wasn't injection molded.

I can see within a couple years, we're gonna have another subforum about 3D modeling and printing.... :D
 
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Daemon324

Active Member
The local community college here in Battle Creek, MI has a 3D Printer as well. Can't remember the brand, but I think it's a more or less defunct company. The pad is something like 12"x12" with I think it was an 18" height, but since it was for an educational purpose, I think the price was like $2.5K or something. The thing I think usually went for something like double that. The steps were like 1/100th of an inch, and the bare minimum thickness for a STABLE part was like 1/32 of an inch I think. Can't remember off the top of my head. Of course it was for the CAD classes, so the minimum thickness wasn't a problem.

I HAD thought about making something lke a helmet build from it. Problem was the thing had to be broken down into smaller pieces and glued together (not that great of a prospect) and the amount of support material (grey, very brittle ABS) would have driven me nuts to have to take off. Plus, if the curve is on its side (like a ZX or ZY plane) it looks f*cked up. Even on the toys its apparent. Granted they were probably larger step sizes, but still, you know?

Even if you did something, like say, a blaster replica from SW, and I mean a smaller pistol, not a rifle, the thing would still suck to pull off from not so much the AMOUNT as the placement of the support material. And this would be on any machine.

Still, I can't wait till you can buy a nice (in today's terms) 3D Printer relatively cheap.
 

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