Author Topic: Small 3D Printers  (Read 362 times)

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Small 3D Printers
« on: January 08, 2020, 02:07:27 PM »
I've been following Jo's well documented build thread on her trials and tribulations of the inexpensive 3D printer she's assembling. I have a question about small 3D printers, but didn't want to derail her thread.

Several years ago I purchased my Sherline lathe and mill.  They both worked perfectly right out of the box. No tweaking necessary. That was a huge help for someone, like myself, that was totally new to machining, in that I didn't have to deal with equipment issues in the process of learning a new challenging skill.

Based on my experience with my Sherline equipment, I'm thinking it would be good to apply the same theory to a 3d printer. So my question: Are there small 3D printers out there that work perfectly right out of the box?

I've been looking at some YouTube videos on various small 3D printers to try and get a feel for this whole genre, but I'm discovering that I "don't know what I don't know.  :thinking:

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Online AOG

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2020, 02:16:23 PM »
Yes there are but you will pay for it.  The Pursa I3 mk3 works right out of the box but you will pay a thousand bucks for the privilege. The kits are about 800 bucks if you are willing to put in the work to assemble it.

Tony

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 02:27:51 PM »
Yes there are but you will pay for it.  The Pursa I3 mk3 works right out of the box but you will pay a thousand bucks for the privilege. The kits are about 800 bucks if you are willing to put in the work to assemble it.

Tony

Exactly the info I'm looking for Tony. Thanks.

Also, I noticed that you are using a" Flashforge Creator Pro" in your "Ford Flathead V8" build thread. How does that fit into the "food chain"?

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".

Offline Domagoj

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2020, 02:43:57 PM »
I got myself an Elegoo Mars. It's a UV resin printer, not filament extrusion type, but it's much better at doing small features.
It's pretty much plug and play (just a 2 minute initial calibration required). The printer itself is fairly affordable, but the resin is about an order of magnitude more expensive than filament. Also the print volume is very small compared to filament printers, even the ones the smaller end. For me, however, the print resolution was the main reason for picking that type. This is what is achiavable without much fuss.


The model is sitting on a metric ruler (the lines are 1 mm apart).
Yes, it does require a bit of testing to figure out exposure times and support placement and size, but there is no tweaking when it comes to machine itself, since it's a single axis, self leveling system.

Online AOG

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2020, 03:02:53 PM »

Also, I noticed that you are using a" Flashforge Creator Pro" in your "Ford Flathead V8" build thread. How does that fit into the "food chain"?

Jim

The Creator Pro is an older design. For its day it was quite nice but it’s missing things like auto bed leveling removable print surfaces etc. I have no complaints about the quality or accuracy of the prints but it took quite a bit of tweaking to get it there. There are better “good out of the box” options available in today’s market.

Tony

Offline ddmckee54

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2020, 05:58:21 PM »
Jim:

As stated earlier, yes there are 3D printers out there the will print well right out of the box, but you need to pay for it.

My first 3D printer was a US $300 Prusa I3 clone kit.  It required a LOT of work to get it running, let alone get it running well.  My second printer, and current printer for that matter, is a refurbished Monoprice Ultimate Maker that cost US $400 - this is a rebranded Wanhao D6.

I would expect any printer that cost more than US $600 would work well right out of the box.

The printers that cost between US $300-$500 will probably work OK right out of the box but will require some tweaking to get good performance out of them.  You also might have to do some assembly of the printer.  My refurbished Wanhao D6 clone is an example of this.  It didn't require any assembly, and it printed OK straight out of the box - slowly.  The part cooling fan was mostly useless, this is a known issue with the D6.  I had to print slowly in order to give the previous layer a chance to cool.  Once I replaced the stock cooling fan, then printed and installed a more effective cooling duct, I was really able to crank the print speed up.

The lower end printers, US $300 and below, will usually require a great deal of assembly, and have parts of less than stellar quality - my first printer fits in this category.  It was the 3D printer version of Ikea flat pack furniture, I had to assemble it all.  Only the electronics came pre-assembled.  Once I got it printing, I didn't print anything other than upgrade parts for the printer for several weeks.  Since I was a complete beginner, and had nobody else around that knew anything about 3D printers other than YouTube videos, I was pretty much on my own.  When first starting out you will get many failed prints due to your own mistakes, and I made them all - many times.  I eventually determined that this is as good as it's going to get, and started looking around for things to print that I could actually use.

Bottom line, you get what you pay for.  If you are willing to pay an arm and a leg, then expect it to work right out of the box and have all the bells and whistles.  If, like most of us, you're more on the cheap as chips end - then expect to have to put some effort into getting it working properly.

Don
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 07:56:54 PM by ddmckee54 »

Online crueby

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2020, 06:58:02 PM »
I got myself an Elegoo Mars. It's a UV resin printer, not filament extrusion type, but it's much better at doing small features.
It's pretty much plug and play (just a 2 minute initial calibration required). The printer itself is fairly affordable, but the resin is about an order of magnitude more expensive than filament. Also the print volume is very small compared to filament printers, even the ones the smaller end. For me, however, the print resolution was the main reason for picking that type. This is what is achiavable without much fuss.


The model is sitting on a metric ruler (the lines are 1 mm apart).
Yes, it does require a bit of testing to figure out exposure times and support placement and size, but there is no tweaking when it comes to machine itself, since it's a single axis, self leveling system.
I had not known that there were consumer-level resin ones out there - how sturdy/stable are the finished parts?

Offline Domagoj

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2020, 07:43:20 PM »
I can't testify as to how stable the prints are long term, since I've only had it for a few months, but during that time there has been no measurable change in size or color. The cured resin doesn't melt, but at about 150°C it starts to delaminate. On the chemical side, it seems to withstand acetone, alcohol and medicinal petrol, short term, at least.

The standard resin (Elegoo Gray, in this case) is fairly brittle, and not suitable for dynamic load. There are various other resins as well, including elastic ones, the ones designed for higher mechanical load, transparent ones, even ones that can be used for casting (they melt/evaporate/burn away).

The resins I tried (Elegoo Gray and White) machine very nicely, but thin features tend to break if the feed is excessive.
I could print some test pieces and do some destructive testing if you guys want it, but we'd need to design the tests (I don't have access to suitable equipment, so it would need to be something fairly simple). Or I could print them and send them if somebody has access to such equipment.

Offline ddmckee54

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2020, 08:05:13 PM »
Chris:

Anycubic has a resin printer for less than $250, but the build area is fairly small 115mm x 65mm x 155mm.  If the resins weren't so pricey, and they didn't smell so bad, I'd be tempted to get one.

Don

Offline gerritv

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2020, 08:16:37 PM »
I am very pleased with my Creality Ender 3 Pro. Only addition is a better flow manifold for the filament cooling fan. I level the bed maybe once a month, depending on how often I move the machine about. ABL is in my experience yet another thing to mess with.

Cura 4.4 works well, CHEP (on YouTube) has some good advisory videos on getting settings best for the machine. Those methods apply to any filament machine, you print specific objects, observe the artifacts and then tweak settings. Teaching Tech on YT also has some good videos and test pieces.

Be prepared to make specific profiles for each filament, esp. different brands.

While the above is a perhaps a bit disheartening, I consider it along the same lines as operating a mill or lathe, you will have to experiment with feeds and speeds, per material and cutting bit. Once dialled in however you can print to your hearts content, always checking that you have enough filament on the roll to finish your print :-)

Gerrit

Top photo is anE355/U2 collet rack for my Alexander grinder collets, second photo is a right angle viewer for assisting in aligning and grinding four facets on small drills, also for the Alexander. Neither were within my patience level to machine out of solid, esp. the viewer as I had no idea if it would actually work as drawn (it didn't, I printed 2 more modifications before it was ok)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 08:20:34 PM by gerritv »
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Online crueby

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2020, 09:12:52 PM »
I can't testify as to how stable the prints are long term, since I've only had it for a few months, but during that time there has been no measurable change in size or color. The cured resin doesn't melt, but at about 150°C it starts to delaminate. On the chemical side, it seems to withstand acetone, alcohol and medicinal petrol, short term, at least.

The standard resin (Elegoo Gray, in this case) is fairly brittle, and not suitable for dynamic load. There are various other resins as well, including elastic ones, the ones designed for higher mechanical load, transparent ones, even ones that can be used for casting (they melt/evaporate/burn away).

The resins I tried (Elegoo Gray and White) machine very nicely, but thin features tend to break if the feed is excessive.
I could print some test pieces and do some destructive testing if you guys want it, but we'd need to design the tests (I don't have access to suitable equipment, so it would need to be something fairly simple). Or I could print them and send them if somebody has access to such equipment.
Interesting. We used 'prints' from an earlier industrial version for prototyping parts for new inkjet printers, to test things before commiting to the huge expense of moulds. I dont know what kinds of plastics they were, just the highly technical chemical formula of 'yellow'!  Amazing how this field is developing new technology so fast.

Offline Domagoj

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 09:45:32 PM »
If the resins weren't so pricey, and they didn't smell so bad, I'd be tempted to get one.

I don't know about Anycubic, but Elegoo stuff doesn't smell all that bad. During printing there is almost no smell at all, only a bit once you open the hood.
As for the price, yeah it's costly. For my own book keeping (and a couple of orders for friends) I eyeball the printing price to around €150/kg, which includes resin, shipping, customs, losses due to clean up, alcohol for cleaning and, of course, a failed print every now and then. C'est la vie. Perhaps the prices will drop in a few years.

Interesting. We used 'prints' from an earlier industrial version for prototyping parts for new inkjet printers, to test things before commiting to the huge expense of moulds. I dont know what kinds of plastics they were, just the highly technical chemical formula of 'yellow'!  Amazing how this field is developing new technology so fast.
Yeah, just 15-20 years ago, these thing would have two additional zeroes on the price tag.

Offline Admiral_dk

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2020, 10:24:58 PM »
There is a new Prusa Mini on the way (shipping really soon - but a big que) - about half the price of the original MK III. The printing area is only slightly smaller and a much newer controller with WiFi etc.

https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/3d-printers/994-original-prusa-mini.html?gclid=CjwKCAiAmNbwBRBOEiwAqcwwpSKXf4_15DfPuBOuhSpFTpKw1SLOYajWOV4SCVxAV1DZn3PoOiZ67RoCQlAQAvD_BwE

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: Small 3D Printers
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2020, 02:54:27 AM »
Thanks all for all the input. I've learned a lot today. Also spent some time checking out Tinkercad.

Admiral.......I'm thinking that the Prusa Mini might just be the "Sherline" of 3D printers! They seem to have a big backlog already. If I were to order one today, it would be at least April or May for delivery. That's a good sign I think.

I have no idea what I'd use a 3D printer for, if I get one, but I remember thinking that about my Sherline lathe and mill and that's worked out pretty well.  :)

Jim
Sherline 4400 Lathe
Sherline 5400 Mill
"You can do small things on big machines, but you can do small things on small machines".