comparison of 3d printers

3D printers, custom projects and parts for enhancing your robot or creating one from scratch.
16 postsPage 1 of 21, 2
16 postsPage 1 of 21, 2

Is it time for a standard 3D printer benchmark?

Yes
5
83%
No
1
17%
 
Total votes : 6

comparison of 3d printers

Post by mantrid » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:15 pm

Post by mantrid
Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:15 pm

Does anyone (magazine/web site etc) do regular comparisons
of the various 3D printers available in the UK ?

I have been looking at these but don't understand the ins and outs yet.
Ideally I want something simple to use that has the best spec but I only
want one if I can uderstand what they really can and can't do before I buy.
I'm able to spend up to 2K gbp.

There are many questions that seem to be deliberately avoided on other forums when I ask such as how much it costs to print and speed of printing and how reliable they are at getting a print right first time.

I keep being told these things vary - but frankly that's not good enough
for a device costing that much.

I suggest everyone quotes times costs and speeds for a standard model using various materials.

I suggest a 2 inch cube and then something intricate that all machines can build for a subjective quality evaluation.
A set of simple benchmarks in other words.

Given the material cost, power consumption initial cost of equipment and failure rate of prints and machines the cost of operation can be estimated in a professional manner.

This assumes anyone is actually serious about selling these things. My experience of the "manufacturers" is that they are not. Hopefully someone here can suggest otherwise.

But for a 2K purchase thats the very minimum I would expect.
Does anyone (magazine/web site etc) do regular comparisons
of the various 3D printers available in the UK ?

I have been looking at these but don't understand the ins and outs yet.
Ideally I want something simple to use that has the best spec but I only
want one if I can uderstand what they really can and can't do before I buy.
I'm able to spend up to 2K gbp.

There are many questions that seem to be deliberately avoided on other forums when I ask such as how much it costs to print and speed of printing and how reliable they are at getting a print right first time.

I keep being told these things vary - but frankly that's not good enough
for a device costing that much.

I suggest everyone quotes times costs and speeds for a standard model using various materials.

I suggest a 2 inch cube and then something intricate that all machines can build for a subjective quality evaluation.
A set of simple benchmarks in other words.

Given the material cost, power consumption initial cost of equipment and failure rate of prints and machines the cost of operation can be estimated in a professional manner.

This assumes anyone is actually serious about selling these things. My experience of the "manufacturers" is that they are not. Hopefully someone here can suggest otherwise.

But for a 2K purchase thats the very minimum I would expect.
mantrid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Post by Gort » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:00 pm

Post by Gort
Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:00 pm

There is a whole special issue from Make magazine on 3d printers and it should be out very soon.

Plastic cost for a object is only a few dollars USD.

Right now if you want a printer which can print in ABS buy the UP! plus.

If PLA only is okay then buy the R2.
There is a whole special issue from Make magazine on 3d printers and it should be out very soon.

Plastic cost for a object is only a few dollars USD.

Right now if you want a printer which can print in ABS buy the UP! plus.

If PLA only is okay then buy the R2.
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by Gort » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:07 pm

Post by Gort
Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:07 pm

Also go to your local hackerspace. That should be a hot bed of the local 3d printer commuity.
Also go to your local hackerspace. That should be a hot bed of the local 3d printer commuity.
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by MOHIT JINDAL » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:50 pm

Post by MOHIT JINDAL
Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:50 pm

Is there any way to make aluminium coated plastic 3D parts ? I mean, first make gear from pla or abs and then apply aluminium coating on it. To make it strong mechanical part. :roll:
Is there any way to make aluminium coated plastic 3D parts ? I mean, first make gear from pla or abs and then apply aluminium coating on it. To make it strong mechanical part. :roll:
MOHIT JINDAL offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:43 am

Post by Fritzoid » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Post by Fritzoid
Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:51 pm

I've had an UP! printer for over a year now and can speak about some of these issues.

First, the cost of plastic is a minor concern. A 1kg. spool cost less than $50 and will last for a couple of weeks even if you print all day and every day.

Second, the print speed is sloooooooooow. Naturally the size of the object is a primary factor but layer size, internal structure and necessary support will all affect print times. Small objects can be printed in a hour or so but larger objects can easily take all day.

Third, the parts are strong but never as strong as injection molding. The whole technology relies on the fact that each layer is properly fused to the previous layer, but in practice this is never perfect and weak areas are hard to avoid.

Prints can fail for a lot of reasons and your success rate has more to do with the object design than anything else. Very small features (under 2mm) will have problems from weak internal structure and insufficient cooling time between layers. Larger objects present a significant challenge due to shrinkage problems when using ABS. To increase the build size and still avoid shrinkage issues the Replicator 2 uses PLA, but PLA is not as strong a ABS.

Where these devices really come in handy is for the creating of the non-structural custom parts that you find in almost any robot. Things like mounting brackets for circuit boards and sensors. They are also very useful when you discover that your original part design will need to be modified later-on due to some unforeseen issues uncovered in testing. If your design your own robots this will happen a lot!

Think about a 3D printer like you might a humanoid robot. It'll cost you around $1500 to start, use up a lot of your time to get familiar with and at the end of the day have limited practical usefulness. So, forget about the cost effectiveness if you can and focus on the creative freedom it brings!
I've had an UP! printer for over a year now and can speak about some of these issues.

First, the cost of plastic is a minor concern. A 1kg. spool cost less than $50 and will last for a couple of weeks even if you print all day and every day.

Second, the print speed is sloooooooooow. Naturally the size of the object is a primary factor but layer size, internal structure and necessary support will all affect print times. Small objects can be printed in a hour or so but larger objects can easily take all day.

Third, the parts are strong but never as strong as injection molding. The whole technology relies on the fact that each layer is properly fused to the previous layer, but in practice this is never perfect and weak areas are hard to avoid.

Prints can fail for a lot of reasons and your success rate has more to do with the object design than anything else. Very small features (under 2mm) will have problems from weak internal structure and insufficient cooling time between layers. Larger objects present a significant challenge due to shrinkage problems when using ABS. To increase the build size and still avoid shrinkage issues the Replicator 2 uses PLA, but PLA is not as strong a ABS.

Where these devices really come in handy is for the creating of the non-structural custom parts that you find in almost any robot. Things like mounting brackets for circuit boards and sensors. They are also very useful when you discover that your original part design will need to be modified later-on due to some unforeseen issues uncovered in testing. If your design your own robots this will happen a lot!

Think about a 3D printer like you might a humanoid robot. It'll cost you around $1500 to start, use up a lot of your time to get familiar with and at the end of the day have limited practical usefulness. So, forget about the cost effectiveness if you can and focus on the creative freedom it brings!
Fritzoid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:00 am

Post by Gort » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:50 pm

Post by Gort
Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:50 pm

Fritzoid, good comments but?

ABS shrinkage is not a issues with the UP! the software takes that into count when printing out an object. The latest versions of RepG are now also doing this too.

I have used brackets both printed on the UP! and ThingOmatic for structural load bearing parts for my Bioloid humanoid and a mechwarfare bot. Both have won metals with these parts on them at robogames for the past two years. So I am surprise that you are having so many issues when printing strong usable parts for a robot.

Have you upgraded your UP! with the latest firmware? Are you printing at 150 microns? Have you tried the parts using the fine and max infill settings? I know it can double or triple the print times but I am getting some awesome and strong prints for my DARwIn-OP!

I agree with everything you said but am curious about those two points.
Fritzoid, good comments but?

ABS shrinkage is not a issues with the UP! the software takes that into count when printing out an object. The latest versions of RepG are now also doing this too.

I have used brackets both printed on the UP! and ThingOmatic for structural load bearing parts for my Bioloid humanoid and a mechwarfare bot. Both have won metals with these parts on them at robogames for the past two years. So I am surprise that you are having so many issues when printing strong usable parts for a robot.

Have you upgraded your UP! with the latest firmware? Are you printing at 150 microns? Have you tried the parts using the fine and max infill settings? I know it can double or triple the print times but I am getting some awesome and strong prints for my DARwIn-OP!

I agree with everything you said but am curious about those two points.
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by Fritzoid » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:48 pm

Post by Fritzoid
Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:48 pm

Hi Gort,

One of the big problems I've had with 3D printing is getting proper adhesion to the build platform using ABS. Medium to large prints have a tendency to pull the raft up at the corners as the lower layers cool down and shrink. This leads to warped prints at best and even failed prints when the whole object comes loose. It's absolutely necessary to use either perfboard or Kapton tape to have any chance of success. Long platform warm-up time and careful height calibration are also needed to optimize adhesion to the platform.

As for strength, I may have overstated my case a bit. ABS is pretty strong stuff and most parts that I have printed are quite robust. However it is important to design/print objects that have at least 2-3 mm of material at all points. In practice this means good wall thickness and drill holes set back from the edges by 2 mm or more. Try printing these tweezers http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1855 or this Ping mount http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19256 for example.
Hi Gort,

One of the big problems I've had with 3D printing is getting proper adhesion to the build platform using ABS. Medium to large prints have a tendency to pull the raft up at the corners as the lower layers cool down and shrink. This leads to warped prints at best and even failed prints when the whole object comes loose. It's absolutely necessary to use either perfboard or Kapton tape to have any chance of success. Long platform warm-up time and careful height calibration are also needed to optimize adhesion to the platform.

As for strength, I may have overstated my case a bit. ABS is pretty strong stuff and most parts that I have printed are quite robust. However it is important to design/print objects that have at least 2-3 mm of material at all points. In practice this means good wall thickness and drill holes set back from the edges by 2 mm or more. Try printing these tweezers http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1855 or this Ping mount http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:19256 for example.
Fritzoid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:00 am

Post by mantrid » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:09 pm

Post by mantrid
Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:09 pm

Fritzoid/gort

Many thanks for your comments. These are exactly the sorts of issues
I'm interested in.

To give a little more info - my interest in these stems from an electronics prototyping need. I'm interested in circuit board mounts and small enclosures mostly. I'm looking for something I can use to create attractive small functional prototypes with for presentation purposes.

I can get this sort of thing made for less than £90GBP so I'd have to do 20-30 before I recoup the costs (frankly unlikely - I do maybe 2-3 a year) . However being a one man band it would be nice (and fun to be honest) to keep it "in-house".

Costs are a question as 2 people I spoke to said they could only get 1 print in 5 to come out well. At that rate the materials and usage would start to make an impact. (not to mention the time)

A bit of a learning curve is expected but I dont want something that fails
to print all the time or breaks down every 10 prints and needs parts or repairs (maintenance is expected of course). I want to use one but I'm not interested in making it a full time hobby in other words.

I've had a look around and can see a number of these machines but
have very little info on how to make a serious choice.
There are far more of them on the market than I thought initially (I've seen about 20 now I think)

I have been looking at these: http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/catalog/3dtouch
I was thinking the 3dTouch dual head model.
One thing that attracted me was the UK manufacture.
Any comments on them would be welcome.

There seem to be a number of materials being used - PLA/ABS and even plastic wood - it would be nice if machines could do more than 1 material.

Also the software is a concern - There seems to be a fetish about ram sticks - thats irrelevant to me - I'd be happy to leave a laptop connected
but I am interested in how easy various software is to use (the machine software) and what the issues are concerning it. Can some do more than others - and what useful functions should I be looking for?

I tried to get a look at the replicator2 but it wasn't being shown at the trade show I visited. They didnt seem all that keen to sell them either.

Your concerns about 2mm wall thickness are well taken. This type of issue
is important in many designs for plastic components and isnt just related to 3D printing. In fact reading through some texts on plastic materials design methods seems a good idea before using these things.

The adhession issue seems to be a common concern - I've seen all manner of techniques suggested to combat this. It seems to be one of the main issues with the technology.
The question I would have is - does a hot/heated base eliminate the problem or not?

If not a device without one is worth buying
If it does eliminate it a device without one isnt worth having
If it only sometimes helps I'd still want it to reduce the issue

Clearly this is an emerging technology but these are all questions I think
we can be asking at this stage?
Fritzoid/gort

Many thanks for your comments. These are exactly the sorts of issues
I'm interested in.

To give a little more info - my interest in these stems from an electronics prototyping need. I'm interested in circuit board mounts and small enclosures mostly. I'm looking for something I can use to create attractive small functional prototypes with for presentation purposes.

I can get this sort of thing made for less than £90GBP so I'd have to do 20-30 before I recoup the costs (frankly unlikely - I do maybe 2-3 a year) . However being a one man band it would be nice (and fun to be honest) to keep it "in-house".

Costs are a question as 2 people I spoke to said they could only get 1 print in 5 to come out well. At that rate the materials and usage would start to make an impact. (not to mention the time)

A bit of a learning curve is expected but I dont want something that fails
to print all the time or breaks down every 10 prints and needs parts or repairs (maintenance is expected of course). I want to use one but I'm not interested in making it a full time hobby in other words.

I've had a look around and can see a number of these machines but
have very little info on how to make a serious choice.
There are far more of them on the market than I thought initially (I've seen about 20 now I think)

I have been looking at these: http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/catalog/3dtouch
I was thinking the 3dTouch dual head model.
One thing that attracted me was the UK manufacture.
Any comments on them would be welcome.

There seem to be a number of materials being used - PLA/ABS and even plastic wood - it would be nice if machines could do more than 1 material.

Also the software is a concern - There seems to be a fetish about ram sticks - thats irrelevant to me - I'd be happy to leave a laptop connected
but I am interested in how easy various software is to use (the machine software) and what the issues are concerning it. Can some do more than others - and what useful functions should I be looking for?

I tried to get a look at the replicator2 but it wasn't being shown at the trade show I visited. They didnt seem all that keen to sell them either.

Your concerns about 2mm wall thickness are well taken. This type of issue
is important in many designs for plastic components and isnt just related to 3D printing. In fact reading through some texts on plastic materials design methods seems a good idea before using these things.

The adhession issue seems to be a common concern - I've seen all manner of techniques suggested to combat this. It seems to be one of the main issues with the technology.
The question I would have is - does a hot/heated base eliminate the problem or not?

If not a device without one is worth buying
If it does eliminate it a device without one isnt worth having
If it only sometimes helps I'd still want it to reduce the issue

Clearly this is an emerging technology but these are all questions I think
we can be asking at this stage?
mantrid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Post by mantrid » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:20 pm

Post by mantrid
Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:20 pm

MOHIT JINDAL wrote:Is there any way to make aluminium coated plastic 3D parts ? I mean, first make gear from pla or abs and then apply aluminium coating on it. To make it strong mechanical part. :roll:


Hi Mohit
I can't speak to the structural integrity (not having seen your component etc) but have you thought about glueing an aluminium plate?

You could perhaps heat it up enough to make a vey small shaped indentation then use a a bonding agent to hold it in place. That may help depending on the design - or - I dont know - how about printing a component in 2 halves - glueing an inset in place then printing the final part on top? (just ideas - I've no idea if thats possible with these printers)
Or perhaps with ABS/uPVC you could use a thixotropic solvent to "seal" the 2 halves together. (Try order code SAO253106 from CPC/farnell if you are in the UK)
MOHIT JINDAL wrote:Is there any way to make aluminium coated plastic 3D parts ? I mean, first make gear from pla or abs and then apply aluminium coating on it. To make it strong mechanical part. :roll:


Hi Mohit
I can't speak to the structural integrity (not having seen your component etc) but have you thought about glueing an aluminium plate?

You could perhaps heat it up enough to make a vey small shaped indentation then use a a bonding agent to hold it in place. That may help depending on the design - or - I dont know - how about printing a component in 2 halves - glueing an inset in place then printing the final part on top? (just ideas - I've no idea if thats possible with these printers)
Or perhaps with ABS/uPVC you could use a thixotropic solvent to "seal" the 2 halves together. (Try order code SAO253106 from CPC/farnell if you are in the UK)
mantrid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Post by Gort » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:35 pm

Post by Gort
Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:35 pm

I can not wait until this guide comes out it may answer a lot of peoples questions:

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Ultimate_ ... 357377.htm
I can not wait until this guide comes out it may answer a lot of peoples questions:

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Ultimate_ ... 357377.htm
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by mantrid » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:11 pm

Post by mantrid
Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:11 pm

Gort wrote:I can not wait until this guide comes out it may answer a lot of peoples questions:

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Ultimate_ ... 357377.htm


Good link - thanks Gort. If they do half of what they intend and do it well it should solve a lot of issues.

Of course some of us wont be satisfied until we can plug one in and say, "Tea, Earl Grey - hot"... :)
Gort wrote:I can not wait until this guide comes out it may answer a lot of peoples questions:

http://www.makershed.com/Make_Ultimate_ ... 357377.htm


Good link - thanks Gort. If they do half of what they intend and do it well it should solve a lot of issues.

Of course some of us wont be satisfied until we can plug one in and say, "Tea, Earl Grey - hot"... :)
mantrid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Post by Gort » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:32 pm

Post by Gort
Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:32 pm

Cool

mantrid,I don't understand the high failure rate of your two friends?

My hackerspace got one of the original Makerbot cupcakes and my success rate on that printer was a lot better than 20%!

Maybe I should start doing 3d printing classes or seminars ?
Cool

mantrid,I don't understand the high failure rate of your two friends?

My hackerspace got one of the original Makerbot cupcakes and my success rate on that printer was a lot better than 20%!

Maybe I should start doing 3d printing classes or seminars ?
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by mantrid » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Post by mantrid
Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Hi Gort - yes its a bit poor.
1 of them was on a blog and the other - somewhat disturbingly - was on a stand selling them at a trade show when I asked about repeatability. Rather stupidly I didn't take much notice at the time so can't recall the maker.

A tutorial is not such a bad idea. But do yourself a favour and write a book first then do the online tutorial based on it. A tutorial on anything is far more work than it appears and you'd deserve some sort of recompense.
(A book with the right publisher would do that - and the market is about ripe for it)
Hi Gort - yes its a bit poor.
1 of them was on a blog and the other - somewhat disturbingly - was on a stand selling them at a trade show when I asked about repeatability. Rather stupidly I didn't take much notice at the time so can't recall the maker.

A tutorial is not such a bad idea. But do yourself a favour and write a book first then do the online tutorial based on it. A tutorial on anything is far more work than it appears and you'd deserve some sort of recompense.
(A book with the right publisher would do that - and the market is about ripe for it)
mantrid offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm

Post by Gort » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:37 pm

Post by Gort
Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:37 pm

It just surprises me about how much trouble people in the robotics community have with their 3d printers?

I would say that you need to go to your local hackerspace or go to a maker faire. The best way to learn how to use a 3d printer is to talk to people who have one.
It just surprises me about how much trouble people in the robotics community have with their 3d printers?

I would say that you need to go to your local hackerspace or go to a maker faire. The best way to learn how to use a 3d printer is to talk to people who have one.
Gort offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
User avatar
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:00 am
Location: KC, MO, USA

Post by MOHIT JINDAL » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:57 am

Post by MOHIT JINDAL
Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:57 am

Hi; Please see the 3D part print on http://robosavvy.com/Builders/MOHIT JINDAL The image is FlexSpline.jpg.
It is broken from the gear teeths area. :cry: Becauuse the wall is very thin.
Any suggestions ? :roll: Can I apply Kapton Tape on inner wall ?
Image
Hi; Please see the 3D part print on http://robosavvy.com/Builders/MOHIT JINDAL The image is FlexSpline.jpg.
It is broken from the gear teeths area. :cry: Becauuse the wall is very thin.
Any suggestions ? :roll: Can I apply Kapton Tape on inner wall ?
Image
MOHIT JINDAL offline
Savvy Roboteer
Savvy Roboteer
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:43 am

Next
Next
16 postsPage 1 of 21, 2
16 postsPage 1 of 21, 2