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Guide to Personal 3D Printers
Retrevo ^ | 1/10/13 | Andrew Eisner

Posted on 01/13/2013 8:38:15 PM PST by null and void

Guide to Personal 3D Printers

3D Systems’ Cube 3D
There is an emerging new category in the gadget world. The products are called 3D printers and although still evolving, they are becoming relatively affordable and quite workable. The term and the idea of a personal 3D printer came from the work of two MIT grad students who in 1995 modified an inkjet printer to deposit layers of plastic in a process sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing. RepRap was also early on the 3D printer scene with an open source 3D printer project that helped inspire an early 3D printer from MakerBot called the Cupcake CNC machine. The Cupcake has since evolved into the high quality, $2,000 Replicator 2, 3D printer. Although there are many different varieties of 3D printers ranging in price from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, we’re going to look at what goes into the more “affordable” versions.

Note: Be sure and check out our roundup of affordable 3D printers.

Start With a 3D Modeling Application
Source: Autodesk (Left) / FreeCAD (Right)
To produce something with one of these 3D printers you need to start with a “printable” file that you can download from somewhere like Thingiverse or generate your own file with a 3D modeling program like AutoCAD from Autodesk. There are also plenty of other applications like Sketchup a free 3D modeling program or FreeCAD as the name says, a free and open source modeling program. From a CAD program you generally move to an STL (Standard Tessellation Language) industry-standard file format that can be read by the 3D printer application. Tessellation, by the way, is a term associated with the manipulation of polygons in rendering complex 3D models in computer graphics applications and now, in 3D printing.
Fused Filament Fabrication
Most of the “affordable” 3D printers work on a principal similar to inkjet printers but instead of laying down dots of ink on paper to build a 2D image, most of these 3D printers lay down successive layers of plastic to form a 3D object. The technology is referred to as fused filament fabrication or additive manufacturing as it feeds a plastic filament through a “print head” similar to a hot glue gun. One drawback to these first generation affordable or desktop 3D printers is that “printing” an object can take a long time. With “print” speeds measured in cubic centimeters per hour, a typical small model might take about an hour on a 10 cm-cubed per hour printer. Of course, printers using thinner layers in the 100 micron range, that produce finer details will usually take longer to print than a printer using thicker, 300 micron layers. 3D printers commonly have a heated bed that helps prevent models from warping during the printing process. The Cube 3D printer includes a water soluble glue to hold the model to the platform that releases the model when dipped in water.
How Much Plastic Does It Take To Make A Yoda?
Source: Solidoodle GalleryMost 3D printers use 1.75mm or 3mm filaments of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PLA (polylactic acid) while some printers also use PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Filament generally runs around $20 a pound. The Solidoodle folks say the small 3-inch wide Yoda model shown above used about 40 cents worth of filament.
Recycle Old Plastic Bottles Into Filament

There are people working on ways to lower the cost of filament using do-it-yourself extruders like the Filabot that can make filament out of recyclable plastics. Imagine grinding up an old soda bottle and feeding it into your own extruder to produce a 3D model.

Who Needs a 3D Printer?

The question of why anyone would need their own 3D printer reminds of the same question asked many years ago why anyone would need a personal computer. The Christmas cookie video shows what can be done with a 3D printer with some imagination and a “modified” 3D printer but it goes to show that when you put a new tool in front of imaginative people there’s no telling what can happen.

Ready-To-Print 3D Libraries
One a more practical level there are new sources appearing all the time for 3D models to print. One of the more popular sites is called Thingiverse that has a wide assortment of files you can downdload and print. Some other sources include 3Dvia and 123D
Check Out Our Roundup of Affordable 3D Printers
Here’s a roundup of 3D printers in the $500 - $2000 range along with videos that show how they work.


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Computers/Internet; Hobbies; Science
KEYWORDS: 3dprinter; 3dprinters; art; design; modeling; plastic; printing; sculpture
Lots of links and videos, you may want to book mark this one.
1 posted on 01/13/2013 8:38:24 PM PST by null and void
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To: null and void; AD from SpringBay; al_c; AnalogReigns; archy; bmwcyle; Boogieman; bigbob; ...

3-D Printer ping


2 posted on 01/13/2013 8:39:30 PM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void
Thanks for the thread. Please add me to your ping list.

Have you read 'Makers' by Cory Doctorow?

It's available for free download, although I did also buy a copy.

/johnny

3 posted on 01/13/2013 8:45:41 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: null and void

Marked! I’m getting one after I start working again.


4 posted on 01/13/2013 8:49:37 PM PST by Clock King
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To: null and void

I am going to print an idol of myself and have the locals worship me as their God.

/joke


5 posted on 01/13/2013 8:51:42 PM PST by Berlin_Freeper
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To: null and void
I go to the website 3ders.org often. They also have a list of a lot of printers , and a lot of articles on things people are doing with them.
6 posted on 01/13/2013 9:03:38 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: null and void

the next gen of kids will have the coolest toys, imagine producing toys and remote control vehicles of your own design


7 posted on 01/13/2013 9:03:47 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: null and void
Yeah, but can it generate an Hawaiian Birth Certificate?
8 posted on 01/13/2013 9:04:43 PM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Welcome aboard.

I’ll check out the book.


9 posted on 01/13/2013 9:10:40 PM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: F15Eagle

No, but it can make a model of Obama that is as useful, if not more so, than the real thing.


10 posted on 01/13/2013 9:16:11 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: null and void

I don’t see this as being any more than a novelty in the consumer retail segment if the existing printer model for consumables is followed. The real profit center is the toner cartridges and not the printer itself.

The same thing will happen with feedstock for these 3D printers, rendering any output uneconomical. Better encourage an open source means of providing usable plastics. The “green” angle might be of some use even if it’s a sort of subterfuge.

This will have the effect of preventing the price of the 3D printer unit itself from falling to really accessible, cheap levels, but that itself would be a subterfuge as it is with computer printers. Or cell phones, for that matter.


11 posted on 01/13/2013 9:20:21 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: null and void

thanks for the thread please add me to your ping list


12 posted on 01/13/2013 9:21:00 PM PST by Fellow Traveler
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To: null and void
This is a boon to small inventors. Up until now if you wanted to have a prototype built you had to have a large run done. And then what happens if you find a design flaw? What looks good on paper can not work very well in real life. $10,000 just went down the drain.

With this you can make "a" prototype and test it without going to the expense of having a mold made.

13 posted on 01/13/2013 9:26:19 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Promotional Fee Paid for by "Ouchies" The Sharp, Prickly Toy You Bathe With!)
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To: Fellow Traveler

Done!


14 posted on 01/13/2013 9:26:57 PM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void

I’m going to make a million making 3D Yodi.


15 posted on 01/13/2013 9:32:18 PM PST by this_ol_patriot
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To: null and void

But will it make 3d cookies?


16 posted on 01/13/2013 10:19:38 PM PST by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

You didn’t click through, didja?


17 posted on 01/13/2013 10:23:25 PM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void

bookmark.


18 posted on 01/13/2013 10:33:28 PM PST by dadfly
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To: null and void

Nice article. Please add me to your ping list.


19 posted on 01/13/2013 11:50:50 PM PST by OldNewYork
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To: null and void

Interesting. Please add me to your ping list.


20 posted on 01/14/2013 1:04:37 AM PST by THX 1138 ("Harry, I have a gift.")
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To: null and void

If the printers used wax instead of plastic, it would be useful for the lost wax method of casting. Are there any that do use wax?


21 posted on 01/14/2013 1:20:35 AM PST by ResponseAbility (The truth of liberalism is the stupid can feel smart, the lazy entitled, and the immoral unashamed)
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To: ResponseAbility

>> Are there any that do use wax?

Yes. Google it. Also videos on youtube.


22 posted on 01/14/2013 1:54:36 AM PST by expat1000
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To: ResponseAbility

Clicked post too soon. Just Google on: wax 3d printer


23 posted on 01/14/2013 1:55:25 AM PST by expat1000
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To: null and void

Very informative, I may buy two different types, one that does small objects cheaply and another large enough for some particular pieces of equipment in short supply nationally.

You may add me to your ping list.

Communists will hate this, it takes their control completely away.


24 posted on 01/14/2013 1:58:07 AM PST by Eye of Unk (AR2 2013 is the American Revolution part 2 of 2013)
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To: expat1000

Thanks. That was an interesting subject. I didn’t take long enough to research prices for the more professional models since this is pie in the sky stuff for me anyway.


25 posted on 01/14/2013 4:16:45 AM PST by ResponseAbility (The truth of liberalism is the stupid can feel smart, the lazy entitled, and the immoral unashamed)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

26 posted on 01/14/2013 4:28:52 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: AdmSmith; Big Giant Head; grey_whiskers; Brandybux; dfwright; Bikkuri; Dacula; BuddaBudd; mbj; ...

27 posted on 01/14/2013 4:29:01 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

28 posted on 01/14/2013 4:29:35 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: RegulatorCountry
I don’t see this as being any more than a novelty in the consumer retail segment if the existing printer model for consumables is followed. The real profit center is the toner cartridges and not the printer itself.

The same thing will happen with feedstock for these 3D printers, rendering any output uneconomical. Better encourage an open source means of providing usable plastics. The “green” angle might be of some use even if it’s a sort of subterfuge.

This will have the effect of preventing the price of the 3D printer unit itself from falling to really accessible, cheap levels, but that itself would be a subterfuge as it is with computer printers. Or cell phones, for that matter.

Or, as the original post says...

Recycle Old Plastic Bottles Into Filament

There are people working on ways to lower the cost of filament using do-it-yourself extruders like the Filabot that can make filament out of recyclable plastics. Imagine grinding up an old soda bottle and feeding it into your own extruder to produce a 3D model.

29 posted on 01/14/2013 6:58:23 AM PST by eartrumpet
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To: null and void

The list seems quite limited:

http://store.qu-bd.com/category.php?id_category=13

These QU-BD printers are certainly within the price range the article purports to cover, but were left out.

This firm’s approach is of most interest to me because they are planning to introduce a 3D printer based on the technology base above, but which can be retrofitted with a CNC milling cutter head which seems QUITE powerful.

The combined unit (additive plastic extruder) plus milling cutter head is slightly over the $2K cutoff for the article, but the “additive only” model is <$1500, with larger print area than the above linked additive units.


30 posted on 01/14/2013 7:05:11 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: RegulatorCountry
"The same thing will happen with feedstock for these 3D printers, rendering any output uneconomical. Better encourage an open source means of providing usable plastics."

Already being done.

31 posted on 01/14/2013 7:08:14 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: RegulatorCountry
The “green” angle might be of some use even if it’s a sort of subterfuge.

EVEN IF it's a subterfuge?? Get something you need while screwing the green weenies? Sound like winning the, er, double crown to me.

32 posted on 01/14/2013 7:41:39 AM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Eye of Unk
Communists will hate this, it takes their control completely away.

Anything Commies hate, HAS to be good!

33 posted on 01/14/2013 7:45:12 AM PST by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: OldNewYork

Added.


34 posted on 01/14/2013 8:02:20 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: THX 1138

You’re added too.


35 posted on 01/14/2013 8:03:35 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: Eye of Unk
You may add me to your ping list.

I may.

(I did)...

36 posted on 01/14/2013 8:05:18 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: Wonder Warthog

The first 4-banger electronic pocket calculators were over $100. Give it time.


37 posted on 01/14/2013 8:07:42 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: ResponseAbility
If the printers used wax instead of plastic, it would be useful for the lost wax method of casting. Are there any that do use wax?

Yes, There was an excellent article in a publication that doesn't allow FR postings. I can't find it at the moment, but when I get back this evening I'll see if I can at least get you a link.

38 posted on 01/14/2013 8:34:17 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void
The first 4-banger electronic pocket calculators were over $100. Give it time.

My dad bought a Texas Instruments simple calculator for his office to use in the early 70s. It was $300. Several years later, he saw the same one hanging by the checkout counter at the grocery store for $8. My current one is clear plastic, solar powered, has more functions, and was $1.

39 posted on 01/14/2013 9:08:50 AM PST by eartrumpet
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To: null and void
"The first 4-banger electronic pocket calculators were over $100. Give it time."

I think I paid $350 for my first. It did "slightly" more than four functions (I think it could do squares and roots, and maybe even natural logarithms and exponentials). Paid for itself in speeding up number-crunching for my dissertation data. Even at that, it was way cheaper than the Hewlett Packards that came out somewhat earlier.

But my point had nothing to do with how much the printer(s)cost......just the fact that some appear to have been left out of the review, and adding it to the thread.

I think the idea of having a unit that will do both additive 3D AND milling is quite an innovative approach that makes excellent sense.

\ I'm going to try to convince my business partners to spring for one.....if not, I'll probably spring for one for myself.

40 posted on 01/14/2013 9:50:27 AM PST by Wonder Warthog
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To: null and void

****Yes, There was an excellent article in a publication that doesn’t allow FR postings. I can’t find it at the moment, but when I get back this evening I’ll see if I can at least get you a link.****

That would be much appreciated.


41 posted on 01/14/2013 10:36:34 AM PST by ResponseAbility (The truth of liberalism is the stupid can feel smart, the lazy entitled, and the immoral unashamed)
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To: null and void

“The first 4-banger electronic pocket calculators were over $100. Give it time.”

IIRC, they were about $400, as were the first digital watches. I now have a Casio which handles both tasks.

Walmart $14.99


42 posted on 01/14/2013 10:38:34 AM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: Wonder Warthog

I first saw the ShopBot CNC router at the Furniture Manufacturing Show in Greensboro, NC about 12 -14 years ago. Their booth was across the aisle from a $250k CNC router. The least expensive units, other than the ShopBot, were about $35k

The ShopBot in those days was $3995 and placed CNC routing within the reach of small shops and serious hobbyists. New products and new businesses followed.

http://www.shopbottools.com/products.htm

Adding CNC milling to 3D printing is a great idea. What about adding a MIG additive “printhead”?


43 posted on 01/14/2013 10:47:50 AM PST by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: null and void

When will 3D printers replicate themselves ?


44 posted on 01/14/2013 10:52:50 AM PST by mike_9958
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To: null and void

Thanks.


45 posted on 01/14/2013 12:01:11 PM PST by OldNewYork
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To: null and void

I bought a CupCake when they first came out. Please add me to the 3D printer list. Thanks!


46 posted on 01/14/2013 3:59:16 PM PST by beef (Who Killed Kennewick Man?)
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To: beef

Done.


47 posted on 01/14/2013 6:27:23 PM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void
good project!
48 posted on 01/15/2013 10:39:56 AM PST by archy
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To: ResponseAbility
****Yes, There was an excellent article in a publication that doesn’t allow FR postings. I can’t find it at the moment, but when I get back this evening I’ll see if I can at least get you a link.****

That would be much appreciated.

Couldn't find it. Sorry.

49 posted on 01/15/2013 11:20:12 AM PST by null and void (Confiscating guns enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void
The first 4-banger electronic pocket calculators were over $100.

Absolutely right.

Just today I happened to be looking through one of my early '70's issues of National Lampoon. There was an ad in there for a calculator. Why, you could add, subtract, multiply and divide with this thing! (we're talking 1973 here).

Price? $49.95, and that's in 1973 dollars.

You watch. In 5-10 years, maybe sooner, these things will be under $100.

50 posted on 01/15/2013 9:13:59 PM PST by THX 1138 ("Harry, I have a gift.")
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