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 Post subject: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:49 am 
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Hi all

I work at a school. Today I learned that the tech department just brought a new 3D printer and not only would be happy for me to use it as I wanted, but would actually like me to. My only costs are the plastic. This is really cool, right? I know very little about 3D printing apart from that I can print twisty puzzles on it from stl files, and that if I ever wanted to design something of my own I'd have to learn solidworks or something similar (I can get solidworks free through the school as well). All of this sounds amazing to me. So is this good? Have I missed anything? It seems almost too good to be true.

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:36 am 
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Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
rline wrote:
So is this good? Have I missed anything? It seems almost too good to be true.

Maybe you missed that you'll now be learning Solidworks in your spare time, and will learn how the 3D printer works.
And then will be the expert all the colleagues and students can turn to when they want to 3D print. :roll:

Any info on the tolerances of the machine? Whether it's really good for puzzle making?

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:04 am 
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Splinter wrote:
rline wrote:
So is this good? Have I missed anything? It seems almost too good to be true.

Maybe you missed that you'll now be learning Solidworks in your spare time, and will learn how the 3D printer works.
And then will be the expert all the colleagues and students can turn to when they want to 3D print. :roll:

Any info on the tolerances of the machine? Whether it's really good for puzzle making?

Not yet. I just found out about it today. My plan is to print something from a free stl file, such as the 1x2x3. See how that comes out. I can try and find the model/brand/tolerances etc. I know nothing about any of that, of course.

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:55 pm 
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Splinter wrote:
Any info on the tolerances of the machine? Whether it's really good for puzzle making?
Based on the "My only costs are the plastic" I'm guessing an FDM printer, with the resolution that implies: Good for masters with preparation, not suitable for well moving puzzles without using solvent.
Had he said "My only costs are the powder" I might guess SLS.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:07 am 
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If they indeed got a commercial FDM machine then the plastic can actually be quite expensive, upwards of $70 per puzzle. That's somewhat cheaper than Shapeways but the parts you do get from FDM are in my opinion quite inferior to SLS. They're very much less strong and most often require solvent smoothing.
That said it's still an awesome opportunity for you to get some puzzles made.

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:32 am 
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Hi Dave and Tom

Forgive my ignorance. The material is definitely plastic and not powder. I don't know whether it's FDM or what that is (I googled it and discovered that it means Fused Deposition Modelling, but that doesn't enlighten me at all.

Quote:
If they indeed got a commercial FDM machine then the plastic can actually be quite expensive, upwards of $70 per puzzle.

Well the fact that a roll cost $50, and they looked at a standard size cube and thought that a roll would make between 5 and 10 of them, I'm guessing it's probably a very low-quality printer :?

Quote:
That said it's still an awesome opportunity for you to get some puzzles made.

I hope so. I've downloaded your 1x2x3 file, Tom (thanks!) and am going to try it on there. I suppose that's the best way to tell how it's going to be.

So, worst case, you guys think it might at least be good for giving me an idea of what a properly working puzzle might look like physically?

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:34 am 
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rline wrote:
Well the fact that a roll cost $50, and they looked at a standard size cube and thought that a roll would make between 5 and 10 of them, I'm guessing it's probably a very low-quality printer :?
Industrial FDM printers are like inkjets: The money is in what is printed! They have special chips and counters so the cartridges of plastic filament can't be refilled. The cost of the plastic itself is far less than their mark up. But that is how their business works. If yours is a DIY rep-rap or other sort of FDM it won't have those complex cartridges as it won't have that business model.
So for you it might not be so expensive.
rline wrote:
So, worst case, you guys think it might at least be good for giving me an idea of what a properly working puzzle might look like physically?
Many of the puzzles Claus prints are FDM. My Blue Thunder was FDM. Here you can see how I prepared (damaged) FDM parts to make my gigaminx masters, and here my Pillowed and Inverted 2x2x2s.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: My New 3D Printer...Sort of
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:09 am 
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Thanks Dave for the explanation, and particularly those links. Fascinating! I think I'll just give it a print and see what happens.

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