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Topic: Just ordered a 3D printer (extrudes ABS plastic)
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (May 20, 2011 01:28PM)
Got the Thing-O-Matic from http://www.makerbot.com

It actually "prints" by extruding melted ABS plastic (the same material they make Lego bricks from) and builds up an object one layer at a time. It's got a high enough resolution to print pretty small parts, like gears, and while the build area is only a 4" cube, you can design larger objects to be modular and piece together.

I'm excited- this really opens up a ton of possibilities; anything you can imagine, you can make.
Message: Posted by: lin (May 20, 2011 03:02PM)
Cool! I'm going to the Bay Area Maker Faire tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing one in action--can't wait to see what you come up with!
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (May 20, 2011 03:23PM)
The first one I ever saw was at the SnowMasters facility in Alabama. Pretty neat machine.
Message: Posted by: Michael J. Douglas (May 20, 2011 05:54PM)
Neato! What do you have in mind to make?
Message: Posted by: BCS (May 20, 2011 06:00PM)
Those are way cool... a lot of the loudspeaker companies I use to REP had very large ones to make proto types with. This was 20 years ago and the cost was around a million bucks.

Have fun with it!!!
Bruce
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 20, 2011 06:43PM)
I think that is the greatest magic trick on could ever do in a show. Now that is real magic!

You could make billiard balls with gimmicks, large coins, thimbles.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 20, 2011 06:56PM)
Yes, I want to see what you come up with, too. Looks like a fun toy, er.. tool! :)
Message: Posted by: jazzy snazzy (May 20, 2011 07:01PM)
You could make action figures of ALL OF US!
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (May 20, 2011 07:52PM)
Well, I've still got to wait four weeks for delivery- which gives me time to clear up some space, and learn the software. I may learn blender, but I've still got 3DS MAX laying around somewhere to fall back on. I knew you guys would have some great ideas, too, which is why I mentioned it here. Heck, I may even do prototyping for interested people (though the Thing-O-Matic is designed to be capable of small production runs, too.)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 20, 2011 08:44PM)
[quote]
On 2011-05-20 20:01, jazzy snazzy wrote:
You could make action figures of ALL OF US!
[/quote]

Ding, ding, ding... we have a winner!!!
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 22, 2011 11:11AM)
The Web site was a little vague... does it come with its own modeling software, or you you use a 3D program first and then use the included software to convert the format?
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (May 22, 2011 02:17PM)
Need your own modeling software, but nearly any program will work- Google Sketchup, Blender, 3DS Max, Rhino, etc. There's open source/free modeling programs out there. You can also use an iPhone or web cam and some open source software to make 3D scans of objects.

Plus there's free objects out there already formatted for printing, but most people would want to customize their prints.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 22, 2011 06:25PM)
Cool. Thanks.

Can't wait to see what you come up with...
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Jul 7, 2011 12:35PM)
Resurrecting this one, since I finally got the thing. Took me about two weeks to put it together, and I finished just before I left for the 4th of July weekend, so I've only had a short amount of time to play with it. Still calibrating the various settings, but it's capable of quite a lot of stuff. Here's a link to my FB album with some pictures of some of my first few prints:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1940514990647.2102391.1175607820&l=4595a0709a

Although I didn't actually design those objects myself, once I get some more spare time I've got a short list of stuff to do so I really learn the system. Included on that list is some new PVC connectors that aren't available in stores- 45 degree corners, for example- which could really take some of those PVC Illusions to the next level!
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jul 7, 2011 08:33PM)
[quote]
On 2011-05-22 15:17, EsnRedshirt wrote:
Need your own modeling software, but nearly any program will work- Google Sketchup, Blender, 3DS Max, Rhino, etc. There's open source/free modeling programs out there. You can also use an iPhone or web cam and some open source software to make 3D scans of objects.

Plus there's free objects out there already formatted for printing, but most people would want to customize their prints.
[/quote]

Poser? DAZ Studio?
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Jul 7, 2011 08:59PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-07 21:33, Steve_Mollett wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-05-22 15:17, EsnRedshirt wrote:
Need your own modeling software, but nearly any program will work- Google Sketchup, Blender, 3DS Max, Rhino, etc. There's open source/free modeling programs out there. You can also use an iPhone or web cam and some open source software to make 3D scans of objects.

Plus there's free objects out there already formatted for printing, but most people would want to customize their prints.
[/quote]
Actually, I've exported two different figures from Poser into Blender, then exported them as .stl files to test how well the printer would handle them. Those figures are rather poly-heavy and need some work (especially the Victoria 4-based figures from Daz Studio) to make them printable, but they do print fairly well once you weld redundant vertices and reduce the poly count a bit.
Poser? DAZ Studio?
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Jul 8, 2011 07:12AM)
So when do I order my Great Nippulini action figure (needs to come with anvil and little chains).
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Jul 8, 2011 10:03AM)
Heh, give me a chance to work on some articulation... otherwise you'll just be getting a figurine.

On another note, one of the things the printer can do pretty well is manufacture gears and mechanisms of all sorts, which are durable and lightweight. (One guy's even designed and printed a mini-lathe with it.) At first I thought it wouldn't be much help with illusions- now I'm realizing I'm able to make the special mechanical components some of them require fairly cheaply and easily. Hmm, I could do automatons... :comply:
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jul 8, 2011 09:30PM)
How smooth can the 'prints' come out? The prints in the photos have surfaces that look like "step pyramids."
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Jul 9, 2011 12:55AM)
Depends on how much postwork you're willing to do. The extruder nozzle is 0.4mm, and the machine can theoretically go down to 0.2mm layer height. After that, it's up to you how smooth you want to sand it... or in extreme cases, you can spray the print with acetone, slightly melting it and making it very smooth.

If you print raftless, the bottom part, which touches the build platform, can be very smooth indeed.
Message: Posted by: MCM (Feb 20, 2012 09:39AM)
How fast could you print out a "rough" item that had a discernible but simple shape (ball, square, cone, etc)? The size would be 3 or so inches tall. And, can you touch it once it is done? And, what is the cost of the biodegradable or "lego" plastic for such an item?
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Feb 20, 2012 01:26PM)
[quote]
On 2011-07-09 01:55, EsnRedshirt wrote:
Depends on how much postwork you're willing to do. The extruder nozzle is 0.4mm, and the machine can theoretically go down to 0.2mm layer height. After that, it's up to you how smooth you want to sand it.
[/quote]

I'm surprised that everyone has some grasp of 3D. It's becoming easier to understand. EsnRedshirt is correct.

The resolution can be configured to STL (Steriolithography) a standard for 3D but not the only one, meaning that it will do layers in .002. This is the same res. as older CAT scans (replaced by CT)
If there are steps in the final product it's because of the nozzle and pressure on that particular machine. When we machine objects using a spindle there are no steps, depending on the tool-path strategy. That's a vital component of machining, the strategy for which your tool moves including feed, speed and step-over. I don't believe the printer has those abilities but I could be wrong.

I would like to see a few projects too.
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Feb 23, 2012 04:08PM)
My printer's outdated now- they've produced a new model called the Replicator, that's got two extruders, and a 4"x4"x8" print area.

MCM, speed is entirely dependant on size and infill. A calibration cube that's 1"x1"x0.5" will take 10 to 15 minutes depending on settings. You can touch it as soon as it's done- but you wouldn't want to. The extruder head the plastic comes out of runs around 200 Celsius, and the build plate it prints on heats up to 100 Celsius. That's 392 degrees and the boiling point of water, respectively. Takes a few minutes for an object to cool enough to pull off.

Jay- there are some people working on high speed controller software for the makerbots that can get a layer height that's down to 0.10mm. But yes, the step is a limitation of the machine. However, I should note the steps are only on the vertical plane; it can do very precise circles horizontally. The standard software does include variables to adjust feed rate, layer height, and platform speed. Of course, your mileage may vary- it takes a lot of patience and time to tweak the settings to perfection.

Anyone wanting to see a bunch of different projects can check out http://www.thingiverse.com; There's literally hundreds of projects there to view (and even download and print- if you have the tools to do it.) Check out the remote control turtle shell racer (a la Mario Kart), it's pretty awesome: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10526