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Author Topic: 3D Printers: Need advice for 3D printing business  (Read 713 times)
foggyb
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January 18, 2013, 04:52:27 AM
 #1

What the title says.

I am part owner in a well-established manufacturing facility with existing 3D CAD/CAM and CNC router capability.

Should I go with DIY kit such as this: http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Prusa , or is a commercial unit the way to go (such as: http://www.3dprinterscanada.com/3d-printer-comparison.php), and why?

What are perishable costs going to be?

Maintenance issues?

Is it a good idea to have lots of cheaper units in order to boost production?

How good is the print quality, and what machines are the best in terms of speed and quality of print?
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Matthew N. Wright
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January 18, 2013, 05:04:58 AM
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I'd also very much like to know this information. As 3D printing becomes more mainstream and cheaper to do from home I'd like to participate and learn as well. Here in Korea a hackerspace has opened up and 3D printing seems to be one of their main attractions.

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January 18, 2013, 05:59:14 AM
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It depends on whether you want quality or save money. The repraps are cheap at about half the cost, but their resolution and quality is kinda crap compared to the commercial units.

Perishable costs?

There's not much maintenance in these. As long as you stick with the materials designed for them, they'll work for quite a while. Otherwise you may damage the nozzle, and some materials with metallic ingredients may even dissolve it over time

Again, depends on what you need them for. The main difference between cheap and expensive units is resolution, not production time. Meaning cheaper units will have small ridges all down the sides (the sides of the printed flat pancakes will stand out), while higher resolution expensive ones will be more smooth. If you are planning to sell printed items, customers may prefer better quality smoother prints. You can also sand the lower quality ones, or have the customers do it, but that will cost more time/money.

Makerbot 2 is currently the highest quality home 3D printer available. Really high resolution, and the final prints come out pretty smooth. The final products will look good enough that you won't need to sand them, or even really notice the grain. It's also the most expensive one out there, though.

In summary, I would go with commercial, and steer clear of Makerbots for now. They'll cost you more in lost business from the low quality.

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