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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    See title. I'm at least somewhat interested in getting a 3D printer, but...

    1) How much does a decent one cost?
    1a) How much does the printing material cost?

    2) How much space do they take up?

    3) How tough are they to use?

    4) Can I use Blender with them?
    4a) And any Blender tips for better modeling?

    5) Anything else I should know?
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Just FYI, we have a 3D Printing thread in Arts and Crafts. I don't know if it'd be better in Grumpy Technology or not, but there you are.

    My son has an Anycubic Photon. It's very roughly 20 cm x 20 cm by 35 cm. It's a resin printer, which I think generally gives better resolution than the solid stock printers.

    It's not too hard to use, and can read .stl files. It's got a pretty good app for adding printing supports, and is fairly easy to use.

    Unfortunately, we're having some trouble with ours, getting the prints to stick to the build plate, rather than the bottom of the resin tray.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Just FYI, we have a 3D Printing thread in Arts and Crafts. I don't know if it'd be better in Grumpy Technology or not, but there you are.

    My son has an Anycubic Photon. It's very roughly 20 cm x 20 cm by 35 cm. It's a resin printer, which I think generally gives better resolution than the solid stock printers.

    It's not too hard to use, and can read .stl files. It's got a pretty good app for adding printing supports, and is fairly easy to use.

    Unfortunately, we're having some trouble with ours, getting the prints to stick to the build plate, rather than the bottom of the resin tray.
    We do? Ah dang, thatís my bad!

    I should probably post this there, then. Thank you, though, for your advice!
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    1) A decent FDM printer probably in the 700 euro region. You get Chinese knock offs for considerably cheaper.
    Cost of material is somewhere along the 6-10 euro per kilo range.

    2) Depends on the printer. But reserve about a cubic meter of space.

    3) In of itself not very. But it is a super fidgety business to be in. It's not a tool, it's a hobby really.

    4) What you create a file in is secondary. The main question is what the printer takes. You always have to go through the printers own software. But yes you can sue Blender though it probably isn't as good at more "mechnical" stuff. I've messed about a bit in Autodesk Fusion 360 (which IIRC was free for personal use) and Blender but am not a designer so the latter was... challenging.

    5) A lot. First off what you intend to use it for. If you are making gaming miniatures you might want a resin printer, though they are messy to work with and expensive to replace parts in. The screen doing the printing needs to be replaced. Think about the size of stuff you want to make too. And realise it takes *ages* to print stuff and you'll be messing up so much doing it.

    We had one to try out at place I worked and the sad thing is eventually ran out of stuff we wanted to try and make.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2021-02-03 at 06:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post

    4) What you create a file in is secondary. The main question is what the printer takes. You always have to go through the printers own software. But yes you can sue Blender though it probably isn't as good at more "mechnical" stuff. I've messed about a bit in Autodesk Fusion 360 (which IIRC was free for personal use) and Blender but am not a designer so the latter was... challenging.
    We had one to try out at place I worked and the sad thing is eventually ran out of stuff we wanted to try and make.
    I've used Blender and the printers softerware ("*.stl" files bridging the gap).
    The one lesson I've learnt is that making something that 'looks' 3D is a very different to something that prints 3D. In particular the boolean tools to join/cut a mesh while making sure every corner is intact and inside and outside are preserved becomes very important, once the structure is broken you can't "just fix it" at face level
    (I'm sure it's probably bad practice and messes up any shadow rendering anyway).

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    My brother and I once built a 3D printer, the cost of all the things was about 400 euros. The resin was cheap but the apartment was too humid and the plastic absorbed too much water and became useless to print with.

    The salient point I'd like to make is that unless you have something specific you want to print (like a bunch of unique minis you can't buy anywhere) it's not really worth having. It kinda just stopped being fun after a couple of weeks and went into aforementioned disrepair.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    My brother and I once built a 3D printer, the cost of all the things was about 400 euros. The resin was cheap but the apartment was too humid and the plastic absorbed too much water and became useless to print with.

    The salient point I'd like to make is that unless you have something specific you want to print (like a bunch of unique minis you can't buy anywhere) it's not really worth having. It kinda just stopped being fun after a couple of weeks and went into aforementioned disrepair.
    It sounds like that's not universal advice, though, and your specific issues may not translate to other people. And in any event, you could have just gotten another spool of filament (assuming it was an FDM printer and not resin, because resin has fewer problems with humidity so Im making a guess here) for what, 20 euros and then built an enclosure for it for humidity control. Still can do all that if you still have it, that would probably fix all your issues and us an inexpensive way to use it again.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    It sounds like that's not universal advice, though, and your specific issues may not translate to other people. And in any event, you could have just gotten another spool of filament (assuming it was an FDM printer and not resin, because resin has fewer problems with humidity so Im making a guess here) for what, 20 euros and then built an enclosure for it for humidity control. Still can do all that if you still have it, that would probably fix all your issues and us an inexpensive way to use it again.
    I think you miss the most salient point there. The last bit. If you don't really have things to do continually you tend to lose interest and it becomes ever more challenging to get going. It's possible to dry out filament again. And you can get a cheap Ikea container and throw some silica pads in it and it keeps. But there's also the maintenance of the machine. You need to keep calibrate it. Clean it, etc etc etc. Eventually you end up with a situation where the work you need to do to get going again is more than your casual interest in printing.

    I know this is in part what happened at my job. After a while we struggled for good ideas to try out with it and it kinda ended up just sitting there. When i left it needed new pipes installed in the heater unit and I doubt anyone left there will be able to sort it out. I never really had the spare time to fix it for something we didn't really use.

    And it's not just my experience, I've heard similar things form a friend (we talk about it sometimes, he also sort of would want one but his second-hand stories also keep him away) whose colleagues also thought the idea of 3D printing was so cool. Eventually the shine wears off and you get to a point where you find if you really need on or not.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2021-02-14 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I think you miss the most salient point there. The last bit. If you don't really have things to do continually you tend to lose interest and it becomes ever more challenging to get going. It's possible to dry out filament again. And you can get a cheap Ikea container and throw some silica pads in it and it keeps. But there's also the maintenance of the machine. You need to keep calibrate it. Clean it, etc etc etc. Eventually you end up with a situation where the work you need to do to get going again is more than your casual interest in printing.

    I know this is in part what happened at my job. After a while we struggled for good ideas to try out with it and it kinda ended up just sitting there. When i left it needed new pipes installed in the heater unit and I doubt anyone left there will be able to sort it out. I never really had the spare time to fix it for something we didn't really use.
    No, I got all that. I just disagree - neither I nor my friends with 3D printers had any specific need, we just either find neat things or so quick and dirty repair work as needed, and never tire of it. And it's not as if there aren't sites dedicated to functional print ideas. And that's ignoring the potential gift-making aspect to make holidays or birthdays more opened to with options.

    Having nothing to print is a person-to-person thing, many budget printers (such as the Creality lines) are more or less good to go out of the box and cost around 200 USD, and unless you're burning through spools the maintenance isn't quite as bad as you're making it out to be.

    Sure, 3d printers are not for everyone and they're are plenty of reasons to not get one, but I found the reasoning there mostly flawed - they had a bad personal experience and gave up on it so they recommend against it in general unless you're printing constantly and with purpose. I disagree with that.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-02-14 at 06:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    See title. I'm at least somewhat interested in getting a 3D printer, but...

    1) How much does a decent one cost?
    1a) How much does the printing material cost?

    2) How much space do they take up?

    3) How tough are they to use?

    4) Can I use Blender with them?
    4a) And any Blender tips for better modeling?

    5) Anything else I should know?
    1) About USD $150 to "How much do you have?". I picked up a ~$300 PLA one a couple years ago.
    1a) PLA runs USD $20ish per kilo. If you're printing hollow a kg is a lot of plastic.

    2) Call it 50cm on a side? Plus a spot for the spool at say 25 cm long, 15cm wide, 30cm high. About... 2 small laser printers (I got tired of drying ink wrecking printers some years ago). It's sitting next to me at my computer desk, just above the printer.

    3) Initial setup was fine, about as challenging as putting together a computer form parts. Getting the settings dialed in took longer and the plate leveling was the biggest deal. But now I only check the plate level once a month at most.

    4) Yes. I use Blender for models and an application called Cura for the slicing.
    4a) I tend to modify stuff I download, no holes and correct inside/outside checks are the biggest thing. Blender has a 3d modeling plugin that's pretty useful.

    5) The PLA one has no scent and is quiet enough I can run it overnight next to the living room and people sleeping upstairs can't hear it. I've printed bobbins for spinning wheels, a miniature working printing press for my mother, a dozen glow in the dark airplanes for a kid's room, an interior part for a fancy coffee making machine, glow in the dark T-Rex skull, countless minis for games. A few years in and I'm not bored or at a loss for what to do with it at all. But be a little picky about your plastic suppliers, raw material quality makes a difference,
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    It sounds like that's not universal advice, though, and your specific issues may not translate to other people. And in any event, you could have just gotten another spool of filament (assuming it was an FDM printer and not resin, because resin has fewer problems with humidity so Im making a guess here) for what, 20 euros and then built an enclosure for it for humidity control. Still can do all that if you still have it, that would probably fix all your issues and us an inexpensive way to use it again.
    We could've. We still can. The printer still exists. Why bother tho? So I can print one thing every third year? It's cheaper and less hassle to pay someone else to do it. If YOU have lots of cool ideas and things you want to print then GOOD FOR YOU, you have a reason to own a printer. Congratulations. I don't. I don't regret building the printer, it was a fun project. But if I had bought a fully functional printer instead of building it from scratch it would've been a waste. Not necessarily for you. But FOR ME it would've been.

    Some people are more like you in this regard.
    And some people are more like me. So I think my advice stands.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    See title. I'm at least somewhat interested in getting a 3D printer, but...
    Do! They're a blast! I'm up to six of the suckers at present.

    1) How much does a decent one cost?
    Probably the best price/money at present is an Ender 3, which runs around $180.

    This can do fairly good stuff for an FDM printer, but some assembly is required, and it has an average sized build plate. Generally more convenience/options can be had, but at significantly escalating cost or effort.

    1a) How much does the printing material cost?
    Microcenter will generally sell you a roll for about $19. It'll last a couple weeks of near constant printing.

    2) How much space do they take up?
    This will depend, to some degree, on size. A 2 ft x 2 ft square will generally suffice for most hobbyist models, though.

    A note, they take some time to print, and either (FDM) emit noise or (resin) emit fumes. You probably don't want them in your bedroom.

    3) How tough are they to use?
    Assembly will probably take a couple hours for the first one. If the manual is confusing, youtube has you covered. It's not nearly so bad as they used to be. Bed leveling and other such tweaks are fairly easy to handle, and some machines do them automatically. Printing is fairly easy. Usually it's a flash card or usb drive.

    Download model or make it in a 3d app -> Load in slicer -> save to drive -> stick drive in printer -> print

    4) Can I use Blender with them?
    4a) And any Blender tips for better modeling?
    Sure. Or any other 3d modeling program, really. I *mostly* use Milkshape, an obscure and now no longer updated app, but use whatever you like. .stl is the fairly standard file format for 3d printing files, but conversion between file times is quite easy.

    I find Blender to be...less user friendly than some other apps, but occasionally resort to it for some things. If you learn it, it's really powerful, though.

    5) Anything else I should know?
    Meshlab is a pretty great app for scaling, file conversion, etc, and it's free.

    Keep all rolls of plastic or bottles of resin sealed until you intend to use them. Water/UV exposure will result in printing problems and lower average quality.

    Don't buy any plastic accessories for your 3d printer. Somebody probably made a model and threw it up on thingiverse. Just print it.

    Quality:
    Maximal quality for an FDM printer is determined by two things. Layer height and nozzle width. The maximum detail you can get on either horizontal axis is about double the nozzle width. The vertical detail is determined by layer height. This means that for some prints, you can get a lot more detail where you care about it by changing orientation. Nozzles and layer height can be adjusted, but going smaller to get more detail will increase print time.

    Maximal quality for a resin printer is determined by pixels per inch. 2k or 4k resolutions are common, and more pixels is certainly better, but if the bed size is also bigger, you may not see any better resolution because the ratio isn't any better.

    For the above and other reasons, you're usually better off going medium to small for your first printer. Extremely large may seem useful for printing large items, but speed and quality are honestly great for everything.

    Even with an obscene number of printers, I generally have a backlog of things to print. Though in fairness, it is also not uncommon to have a printer than needs me to do something on it that I just haven't gotten to.

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    The first thing Iíd really be interested in printing is these:

    https://www.patreon.com/m/2796010/posts

    But I also donít want to deal with resin to start. Would an Ender 3 work, think you?
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    The first thing Iíd really be interested in printing is these:

    https://www.patreon.com/m/2796010/posts

    But I also donít want to deal with resin to start. Would an Ender 3 work, think you?
    Definitely. Lot of overhangs on those, though.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    The first thing Iíd really be interested in printing is these:

    https://www.patreon.com/m/2796010/posts

    But I also donít want to deal with resin to start. Would an Ender 3 work, think you?
    Depends on scale. An Ender 3 can print 32 mm miniatures, but you lose a fair bit of detail at that size(assuming standard nozzle and layer height. Mods exist to increase detail)

    If you go to say, 72 mm, detail gets a *lot* better. I'll try to toss up a picture of a comparison pic later tonight for reference. There's a fantasy miniature subscription service I enjoy, they do like 30 models/month for about $15, and the quality is pretty awesome.

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    Thumbs down Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Depends on scale. An Ender 3 can print 32 mm miniatures, but you lose a fair bit of detail at that size(assuming standard nozzle and layer height. Mods exist to increase detail)

    If you go to say, 72 mm, detail gets a *lot* better. I'll try to toss up a picture of a comparison pic later tonight for reference. There's a fantasy miniature subscription service I enjoy, they do like 30 models/month for about $15, and the quality is pretty awesome.
    Can also upgrade nozzles. I got a 0.2mm when I changed out for an all-metal hot end. On a related note, Micro Swiss is awesome.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-02-17 at 03:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Should I Get A 3D Printer? Costs, Spacing, And Other Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Can also upgrade nozzles. I got a 0.2mm when I changed out for an all-metal hot end. On a related note, Micro Swiss is awesome.
    Oh, for sure. Modding 3d printers is almost a hobby unto itself. People make them print all kinds of stuff, swap parts, expand the bed size, etc.

    Anyways, picture as promised.



    Blue's a bard in 72 mm off an Ender 3, white's off the Creality 002H resin printer.

    Basically, at 32 mm on FDM, the figure is recognizable, but details such as the hat are, while visible, chunky enough that you might think they're a print error instead of detail. At 72mm FDM, the hat translates well. On resin, you can see the individual coins sitting in the bottom of the hat.

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