I'm about to pull the trigger on getting a 3d printer, and I was just
wondering if any other woodworkers had used one? I'm thinking it
would compliment the woodshop in that would allow me to easily make
those finicky little things that seem to take forever otherwise
(clasps, pulls, specialized shelf-supports, runners, jig parts, etc).
Of course I haven't gotten one yet, and I really can't tell how strong/
accurate these things are but I'd love to hear from someone who's
ahead of me in this
What do you mean by a 3-D printer? One that prnts in 3-D or one that will
actually model somethng in real world the object beng printed (sort of an
NCS output bed? The latter are very expensive and the former you still need
the colored glasses to see the 3-D. Or have I missed completely?
3D printers print incredibly thin layers of glue and spread a layer of
whatever "powder" they build with on the laid down glue lines.
This allows you to build something in very thin, finely detailed
How strong/durable the end product will be is determined by the
materials used (glue and powder).
Never played with one of these, but you can find demos on youtube and
there's a "How It's Made" or "How Do They Do It" episode that shows a
3D printer used to make a model of something (memory is the second
thing to go; don't remember what's first ;-)
Here's one of the most interesting applications I've seen - marrying a
3D printer to an ultrasound machine to "print" an accurate replica of an
Yes, I live near the UK epicenter of DIY 3D printing, and I still
don't have one.
3D printing means either a commercial machine ($$$), using Shapeways
as a bureau service (you really should give this one a try) or else a
Makerbot. A few people, a friend of mine included, are also doing DIY
laser sintering, but this is an exercise in geekery, not a credible
way to make anything (even to the extent of a Makerbot).
The Makerbot is a hot-melt glue gun, attached to an XY table. It
squirts ABS plastic and makes robust lumps of ABS, slowly. It has long
sucked. The finished prints are lumpy and ugly, and did I mention that
whole thing with the slowness? You can't wait for anything big, you
can't get a surface to make anything small with a useful finish.
However it has now changed. The new Mk7 extruder head for the Makerbot
is not only better controlled (the stepper motor that appeared
recently) but it's now working with a filament that has a quarter of
the previous deposition rate - so surface finish is now becoming
useful. The ability to build "diagonally" is also improved. so the old
promise of being able to make large hollow shapes is starting to look
realistic. Speed is still an issue, and the thinner filament doesn't
help that, but at least now you can make something worth having at the
I'm now thinking once more about getting a Makerbot. This is just for
the geek points, because I'm not going to try and justify it as being
in any way useful.
If you're into this stuff, also take a look at Thingiverse.
Check out stratasys.com. They make some really nice printers and you can
get better info from them. Most newer 3d printers actually print the
material directly to a surface plate. Durability depends on the material
you use to print with.
Take a look at the following links.
www.objet.com and www.zcorp.com
The first link is for actual 3D printers and the second one is a company
that was highlighted on an episode of This Old House. The homeowner for the
project actually works there or is the owner and printed a 3D scale model of
his addition in color. He also showed a model of a gadget with working gears
that required no assembly. The reason being that the prototype is printed in
layers, so each "part" is actually a separate component as it gets printed.
If any of this is the real deal, then they've come a long way in a
relatively short period of time. I had seen similar printers in the past
elsewhere, but with nowhere near this capability.
Just think of the possibilities. I can't count how many times I've had to
trash a perfectly good item simply due to a broken "plastic" part. Of
course, we no longer fix anything anymore in our disposable society. Maybe
this is just what we need? It may not be ready for primetime just yet, but
it's getting there.
Hopefully, some of the SketchUp and CNC gurus here in the group will provide
some feedback. I'd be interested in their comments.
The usual disclaimer applies, as I have no affiliation with either company
etc., I simply find it fascinating. Hope you find it of interest too.
Have you priced any of this equipment yet??? I am clueless about what
it would cost. If it is still expensive, I would not suggest buying one
for the sake of being able to repair something because of a broken part.
I would think that a 3D printer is probably going to be way more
expensive than tossing a broken item because of a broken part and buying
new. You also have to consider the expense of actually running the
printer after getting one. Ink is not cheap, I suspect the materials
used in a 3D printer will not be either. And will those repair parts
you make be tough enough to replace the part your are replacing?
Now if you "just want one" go for it! BUT don't buy one on the
assumption that it will save you money.
OK.....Now I see that a desk top model starts at about about $20K.
What's $20K for a part for a $100 model locomotive? ;-)
There's one available called RepRap that's a DIY sort of 3D printer. It
looks to run less than the $1K mark for a kit. Media is on the order of
$10-20 per pound, however far a pound of plastic media goes.
I didn't look at tolerances or much else, so I don't know if it could
make an exact duplicate of a gear or something like that.
Cloning has been outlawed in many countries!
"Leon" wrote in message
May be you could buy a printer, disassemble it and print all the parts
of the printer several times, and make new printers!
One of the things the guy who invented the RepRap encourages is printing
another set of parts to sell/give away/distribute. Even if you had all the
printed parts, I'm sure the control boards and motors would still require a
several hundred dollar investment.
Someone across on the Gingery machines mailing list seems to be building
Take a look at:
and other pages.
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and grt the ongoing discussion
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