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HomeScaleAircraftScale HeliScale Helicopter Main Discussion › 3D printing advice wanted
07-03-2018 07:45 PM  4 months agoPost 1
ssmith512

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Indianapolis, IN USA

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Fellow crazy people,

I have decided to take the the plunge and get into 3D printing to further my enjoyment of this hobby. So I am in the middle of reading, researching, learning what I can in order to make as an informed purchase as possible.

I am wanting advice/suggestions from those with experience on what I should look for in a printer, what I should stay away from and any experiences you can pass on to help steer me in the right direction.

I know that I do not want a "cheap introduction printer" or clone, but certainly cost is a factor that I am comparing. I want something I can grow into as I learn and become more proficient. Right now I see the main use for the printer being instrument panels/cockpit details, and of course small exterior details that would otherwise be difficult to model due to size, complexity of shape or quantity (needing lots of small things that are identical). So dont need a printer that has a large print volume (in fact would prefer one with a small footprint). Detail of print quality is high on my list of requirements. Sanding tiny 1mm sized toggle switch details on an instrument panel to remove layer lines is kind of out of the question, so resolution is paramount to minimize post printing processing as much as possible.

Another big question relates to printing material. HOLY COW there are a bagillion options!! What little I know is that PLA may be the easiest to work with, but has a low temp resistance and may not be the best material to use as it could deform/warp on a hot summer day at the flying field. ABS may be better but the fumes during printing are toxic? So any advice on materials will be GREATLY appreciated.

So far, my research has pointed me to the Dremel 3D45, the Prusa i3 Mk2S and the Creality CR-10S as potential candidates.

Thanks in advance!!!

Steve

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07-03-2018 10:26 PM  4 months agoPost 2
coptercptn

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Mesa AZ. USA

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Finally working on putting my Prusa mk3 together... I’ll let you know how it works out

Home of the "Sea Cobra".....

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07-04-2018 12:31 AM  4 months agoPost 3
helicrunch

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Rock Hill sc

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i have a prusa I3 and it is not great for small detail parts like you want,
I tried to use it for stuff like that and it sucks.
the dremel printer is the same as i have a friend that has one that i used and its about the same as the prusa.
3D printing is one half of the equation you have to be able to draw in 3d a skill i have yet to master.
right now its faster to make the parts the old fashion way with lathe and mill then make molds for casting.

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07-04-2018 12:58 AM  4 months agoPost 4
Magnumeng

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Good old NC

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I have an Anet A8... total invested is 250 (180 for the printer and 70 in recommended mods for safety). Have only been able to print PLA successfully, Have not figured out the ABS yet. Detail is okay, but it is not scale quality by any means.

But for 250 what do you expect..

TDR, Kontronik Kosmik Cool 200, Kontronik 750-56, CGY750,
Team KBDD

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07-04-2018 12:46 PM  4 months agoPost 5
Peter Wales

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Orlando Fl

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Hi Steve,
If you want to print instrument panels, forget FDM printers (the ones with a plastic wire) They will never be accurate enough for the tiny details you want to make.

You need a SLA or DLP printer. These use a liquid resin and harden it with a UV light. The SLA uses a single light source and some fast optics, the DLP uses a UV chip which projects the whole layer at one time. They both have the same disadvantage in that they need supports for the overhanging parts. You cant suspend a liquid in mid air while it sets. My SLA printers use a soft material which can be washed away with water. Most DLP printers I have seen print small rods to build on and you end up cutting them off and sanding smooth.

DLP printers like to build in a liquid bath and the finished produce rises up like magic, but some work the other way round. Either way, the finished product needs the resin cleaning off in a post processing system, usually an ultrasonic cleaner. My SLA printers use a gadget like a small sand blaster cabinet but it squirts water not sand.

Its a pity you are not closer as I have a spare SLA printer I can do you a great deal on, but I am not shipping it so you would have to come and get it.

If all that sounds like a lot of work, then the best solution is to use a bureau like Shapeways to get your designs made to the high quality you want.

Peter Wales
http://scalehelicopters.org

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07-06-2018 04:11 PM  4 months agoPost 6
ssmith512

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Indianapolis, IN USA

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Thanks for the info Peter. I just started reading up on SLA and DLP style printers. I see what you mean now about their finer resolution ability, and of course that comes with the requisite price tag. Having ZERO experience with 3D printing and 3D design, maybe I should I look at a "cheap" small FDM style printer to "learn" 3D printing / 3D design and gain some experience (heck an Ender 3 is only $200) and then once I have more experience with printing and design and more confidence, the DLP or SLA printer would then be what I need?

Thanks also for the offer on your SLA printer, it is definitely a bummer I am slightly more than walking distance from you, otherwise I would take you up on your offer in a heart beat (and then bug you constantly on how to use it )

Steve

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07-08-2018 02:15 AM  4 months agoPost 7
eeeeky

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Roosevelt UT USA

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As Peter mentioned, the SLA printer is the way to go for detail. However, the ender 3 is KILLER for the money. You can also replace the stock .4mm nozzle with a .1 or .15, and spend a small amount of time tuning, and youll have GREAT success. I have 3 tevo tarantulas, which are only $190. They work good out of the box, but with some mods and tuning they are quite good. Now that ive had them for a while, i dont know how i ever got by without one.

Lets Fly!

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08-20-2018 03:36 AM  85 days agoPost 8
Joel Rosenzweig

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Marlborough, MA - USA

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Steve,

As Peter said, for high resolution an SLA or DLP printer is the way to go. I am using a Form Labs Form 2 SLA printer. In addition to printing high resolution parts that just need primer to finish them off for paint, there are a variety of resins available that have different material properties that are of interest depending on what you end up doing.

For non-load bearing, high detail parts, I use their "White" or "Black" resins. For clear parts (like lenses for nav lights), I use "clear", and it can be sanded and finished to be optically clear. One of the Form Labs engineers published an article describing how he made an entire camera with 3D printed parts and created his lens with the clear resin. It's amazing stuff. There's a "tough" resin, which is not brittle compared with the standard white and black resins. It will deform under load instead of crack. Then there's a rubber resin which allows you to make rubbery parts with an 80 durometer elasticity rating. There's a high-temperature resin suitable for making parts that need to withstand flames or engine bay temps, and a few other speciality resins that are amazing. It's worth a read.

The resin costs between $150 and $175 a liter for most resins. Some are more expensive. There are 3rd party resins available for 1/2 the price, but I haven't tried those yet. The printer itself is $3350.

It's not a cheap printer, but it will do exactly what you are seeking. So if you get over the sticker shock, it is worth a look.

There are other SLA printers and DLP printers to look at that are less expensive. I haven't used any others, so I don't have any to recommend. The Form Labs printer has been an amazing tool for me.

I have a filament printer, too. A Flash Forge Creator. For what it is, it works well, but the finish on filament parts is nothing like what you get from an SLA printer. For some types of things I make, the object is not seen, or the aesthetics just don't matter, so the filament part is great. The Prusa i3 Mk2/Mk3 is an exceptionally good filament printer. I acquired one for our Maker Lab at work. I'm impressed with the finish quality of the parts. It's still a filament printer, but as far as filament printers are concerned, it's top notch.

Good luck.

Joel

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08-20-2018 08:04 PM  85 days agoPost 9
ssmith512

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Indianapolis, IN USA

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Thanks for the info Joel!

I just finished putting together my Prusa mk3. Am in the process of learning the ins and outs of 3D printing and have printed the requisite tree frog and benchy boat. It is a cool little machine. Bought some PLA, PETG, ASA and nGen to play around with. I am pretty sure PLA will not work as a final product due to its very low glass transition temp, but is cheap and seems to be easy to work with and will work well for my "testing" and "prototyping" as I navigate my way through the learning process. An SLA or DLP may very well be in my future, but I figured I would at least learn the 3D printing world on an FDM machine. Who knows, maybe the FDM machine coupled with "traditional" modeling methods may end up working well for me.

Steve

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08-20-2018 08:12 PM  85 days agoPost 10
Joel Rosenzweig

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Marlborough, MA - USA

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Steve,

I have no doubt you will make good use of the Prusa and will create some excellent parts through some process that you develop. And yes, you will learn a lot as you do so!

Joel

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08-22-2018 11:55 AM  83 days agoPost 11
NickC

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Leicestershire UK

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Steve
All the above advice is really good. You don't mention where your at with 3D drawing. It's really worth getting into that first and as Peter said use Shapeways at least for a few parts to get the hang of what will and won't print.

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08-22-2018 01:37 PM  83 days agoPost 12
ssmith512

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Indianapolis, IN USA

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NickC
Steve
All the above advice is really good. You don't mention where your at with 3D drawing. It's really worth getting into that first and as Peter said use Shapeways at least for a few parts to get the hang of what will and won't print.
Thanks Nick.

I actually started learning Fusion 360 a few weeks before I purchased the printer. Found a couple really good tutorials on the youtube to help with the learning process. So far so good. Just finished designing a super simple "instrument panel and console" for my new Heli-Baby NT I just got. Now playing around with different materials/nozzle sizes/resolution settings. It's a long process, as nothing about 3D printing is fast LOL!

Steve

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