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3D printing - thinking of buying a machine...

Discussion in '3D Printing' started by jhiker, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Speaking as a Photon owner:
    • Spares: I can get these directly from Anycubic in China or from Amazon. I use Amazon since I have Prime and get it next day. I personally feel the spares are well priced.
    • The Anycubic supply their own slicer. Most users switch to Chitubox (seems to be the Simplify3D of SLA/DLP slicers). Chitubox has far superior support structures, allows hollowing of models and the addition of drainage holes. Both slicers allow for 3rd party resins.
    • You can use just about any resin. I stick to Anycubic blue and gray, mainly because of price but also because they are easy to work with (some resins are very unreliable). Anycubic resin generally goes for about £35/litre.
    The current array of DLP printers are pretty much exactly the same. In the end you pick a brand but the technology underneath is the same. Likewise for SLA printers.
  2. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Crib sheet!!.

    ^^ This has the settings for a variety resins, colours, layer heights, etc.
    ajayre likes this.
  3. MikeHenry

    MikeHenry Alibre Super User

    Thanks Michael and BigSeb - lots of useful feedback and info in these recent posts. This seems to be a good time to start researching the mid-range DLP printers that are starting to come onto the market. For the budget-conscious, it seems that Anyphobic, Elegoo Mars, and Epax are all pretty much comparable. I'm starting to really dig into the research now and trying out various slicers as I find them and time allows.
    bigseb likes this.
  4. aptivaboy

    aptivaboy Senior Member

    I just ordered an Epax X1 the other day. It should arrive on Thursday. In comparison prints, the Epax seems to produce parts with slightly more fidelity than the Elegoo Mars, although they both have the same guts. It seems that several printers are using the same basic parts from a supplier in China, then repackaging them with different cases, windows, etc. This would account for the varying print size, as well. Epax seems to include a more stable frame and claims to have no Z axis wobble. We shall see, but the higher quality prints made and shown on the Epax owners' Facebook page look nearly injection molded.
  5. VoltsAndBolts

    VoltsAndBolts Senior Member

  6. mrehmus66

    mrehmus66 Member

    I've had a Qidi X-one for two years. It prints fantastic and is very reliable. The frame is solid metal, the print area is a 5.9" cube. They do make larger models as well. The newest model is about $230 from Amazon. Customer support is fantastic as well. Qidi is a Chinese company.
    The one time I had a problem with my printer, they sent me a new stepper motor and the tools necessary to install it plus a video showing how to do so. I sent them a problem report on a Friday and had new parts from China on the following Wednesday.
  7. morgandc

    morgandc Member

    Whichever you go with....choose a commercial machine with great support. 3D printing still has some art to it, and getting a successful print taking into account each part/machine/air temp/configuration add up to be a job all on their own. When I do design work my 3d Printer is priceless, but it also makes me want to throw it in the trash :) I assumed that moving from FDM to SLS would take these issues away, but talking to someone that knows....SLS has its own challenges.
  8. morgandc

    morgandc Member

  9. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

  10. Uman

    Uman Senior Member

    3Dprinters are evolving and the features I look for are speed, precision, part appearance, part removal and printer cost.
    Most printer produce accurate prints and minor faults can be adjusted out with a good slicer.
    But most printers are slow, painfully slow.
    Bed heat up, print speed, bed cool down, part removal and bed prep for next print are all factors that affect print time.
    We run parts for light production in business to business applications.
    Users in this arena are tolerant to 3Dprinted parts and even admire them as cool new technology.
    We build products that could never be economically built using injection mold.

    Here are my thoughts from a production stand-point....
    We use Prusa MK3 printers with PETG filament.

    The Prusa bed size is just right to build one or several parts.
    Too many parts on a bed increases print time; two small printers will print twice as fast as on large printer for multiple parts.

    We have a small print farm with four Prusa MK3 printers running 10-hours a day.
    The Prusa is $900 (1+) and can add more with demand.

    These little machines are perfect, because...
    Prusa also has a precise and accurate and provides their own Slicer with advance features.
    The printer has a magnetic removable flex build plate.
    The flex plate has an orange peel texture that has a nice appearance.
    A removable flex plate also enhances speed, since build plate cooling is not required for part removal.
    The removable textured flex plate is a must for speed and appearance.

    The printers were modified.
    The filament spool is mounted on a remote rack while in use and stored in dryer each night.
    The hot end of the Prusa was replaced with a Mosquito magnum and heater.
    The Magnum increases the max volumetric speed for PETG from 8 to 20 mm3/s +.
    This is a huge increase in print speed for large models.
    What took 8-hrs to print now takes 5-hr and we can make two runs in a shift.

    The best part is a used Prusa is easy to re-sell on ebay.
    As new printers with the latest features are available, we can replace the whole lot at a low cost.

    Just my thoughts on this subject.

  11. MikeHenry

    MikeHenry Alibre Super User

    Do you have any problems with PETG warping on the MK3, especiall with large footprint, rectangular objects?

    My aging Zortrax M200 has problems in that area when printing in ABS with any X or Y dimension greater than about 3".
  12. GDBranch

    GDBranch Senior Member

    On my Mk3 PETG tends to stick too well to the PEI build plate. I've had ABS warp at the corners but never with PETG.
  13. MikeHenry

    MikeHenry Alibre Super User

    Thanks for the report. Is PEI supposed to be the build plate that releases easily or am I thinking of one of the other build plates that they sell?

    On edit: Should have done my own research - according to the Prusa FAQ, the powder coated build plate is probably better for PETG and they admit that the PEI plate is more tenacious.
  14. Uman

    Uman Senior Member

    I use the textured PEI build plate on a MK3 and print primarily with PETG. Since the MK3 has a magnetic build plate that is removable, the parts pop right off with a simple flex of the plate. I have printed large parts with tall walls out of PETG that cover the entire build plate area and experience no warpage. The removable build plate is a MUST feature for any printer going forward and the texture surface adds a beautiful surface that conceals build plate imperfections an wear marks.
    Eddy So likes this.
  15. GDBranch

    GDBranch Senior Member

    Here's a link to an interesting video about Joseph Prusa and the history of his machines.

    At the 22.49 point he shows you his print farm of 500 Prusa Mk3's creating printer parts. I believe he uses the textured plate exclusively and all printed parts are now PETG with the exception of the part fan nozzle which has to be ABS due to heat.
    I've had a Mk2 that I built from a kit in 2016 that still works flawlessly after a lot of thrashing.
    When the Mk3 came out I bought one in 2018 and it gets it's share of workouts.
    I've ordered upgrade kits to bring my Mk2 closer to Mk3 specs so I can use the removable build plates. At the same time I'll be upgrading 2 of my customers machines that are flogged 8 hours a day 5 days a week.
  16. MikeHenry

    MikeHenry Alibre Super User

    Sounds like just what I am after. I just ordered some PETG filament from Prusa and will check it out on my old Zortrax M200. Eventually the M200 will be probably be replaced with a Prusa Mk3 and I'll probably order that with both types of build plates.so I can see which works better for me.
  17. Uman

    Uman Senior Member

    Which ever printer you have, you want a high performance hotend like a Mosquito Magnum. High performance hotends can double or triple the printers max volumetric speed; this is the rate the hot end melts the filament and is usually the determining factor for print time on large objects (small parts not so much); of course the printers stepper motors must not be a limiting factor. I would expect the next generations of printers to incorporate these as stock items.
    You just want to make sure the swap mod maintains the same nozzle height so as to not affect the printers firmware.
  18. MikeHenry

    MikeHenry Alibre Super User

    Hmm, I hadn't even thought about 3rd-party hot ends, but will look into it. Thanks for the heads up.
  19. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Unless you're gonna print high temp materials a specialised hot-end isn't necessary.
  20. Uman

    Uman Senior Member

    Only if you want results like this.
    This part is 8 inches diameter.
    PETG; Solid print, 100% infill.
    Print specs: .4mm nozzle, .3mm layer @ 150 mm/s
    What use to take 5hr with standard hotend now takes 3.5hr with Mosquito Magnum.
    Note the texture build plate; the part face against the plate has that same finish.


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