64 Replies Latest reply on Nov 12, 2018 2:18 PM by Shawn Stugard

    Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.

    Shawn Stugard

      Ok, so SolidWorks and 3D printing go hand in hand right?


      Let's hear about your printer. Did you build one? buy one? which one? why?


      Coolest print? Dumbest print? Biggest headache? Most egregious use of printer at work (think photocopying your butt at the office party)?


      What materials are you playing with?

        • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
          Shawn Stugard

          I built myself a Folger Tech Kossel (Delta style) RevB printer a couple years ago. It took me 4 or 5 evenings (at least 2-3 hours each) to build it. That was one of the most fun projects I've ever done, in fact once l was finished my impulse was to immediately order another kit, but logic prevailed and I didn't do that.


          Building a kit was really, really cool, especially since the kits have a bit of "Mom and Pop" flavor and leave some things to your imagination. There were some challenges and minor irritations along the way, perfect for me, since I love solving problems. The kit designs always have room to improve and most of the time they provide STL files for all of the printed parts. Some of the steps are very fiddly, like tiny m3 screws that mounting in awkward locations where fingers like mine do not fit. I had to modify/make tools to get a couple of those in place, but it was major fun. So if you are into customizing things, this is likely the hobby for you.

          • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
            Anna Wood

            I have a BCN3D Sigma.  Have had it since early 2017.


            While not a 3D printer....  Just finishing the build on a CNC Router Parts, Benchtop Pro CNC Router.  Should be able to fire it up this weekend.

              • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                Shawn Stugard



                   The BCN3D looks pretty cool! I like the independent heads, great innovation.


                I would really like to build a CNC router at some point. I had access to several giant (10' x 20') CNC routers at a former employer and I really miss being able to process sheet goods so easily. Very jealous, hope it goes well for you.

              • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                Frederick Law

                My first one:



                Nice little printer.  Easy to carry and take it anywhere.



                Small build size: 100x100x100


                Software don't get update.

                No heat bed.  Any print larger than 50mm will warp.

                Steppers are weak.  Extruder can't pull large roll.

                Need calibration all the time.  Spend more time calibrating than print.  Remember print was slow.



                Get machine shop at work to make a grounded steel bed.  The stock plastic one was never flat.

                Also add a cup heater to heat the bed.  No control just on and off.

                More consistent print but It'll print for a few days then start acting up again.



                What I got it to before I get another printer.

                • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                  Ronald van Til

                  I've got a Velleman K8200 kit printer. Needed to make some modifications, but printing quite nicely since that.


                  Modifications done: Glass print surface, converted heated bed to 24V instead of 15V, changed Z-axis from simple threaded rod to trapezium threaded rod, changed printhead to E3D head, changed belts and pulleys to better quality finer pitched ones and a lot of small things I forgot.


                  Don't use Solidworks for printing (running Win7), I use Cura, Slic3r and Repetier host.


                  Printing PLA (various sorts), PETG, TPE (flex rubbery stuff), ABS and tried nylon with little succes (bad adhesion to print surface).


                  Using it for fun...


                  Dummy cilinders for my 33cc 3 cilinder radial...


                  New greenhouse for my little crashed B25....


                  Nice toy....

                  • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                    Mark Kaiser

                    We are on our second commercial printer.  We had a Dimension BST for a good number of years, and recently donated it to our local High School, replacing it with a Markforged X series.  The Dimension was a very reliable printer as long as you gave it parts it could build (obvious I hope).  No maintenance, adjustments, until the head started wearing out late in life.  Only one type of material possible with it.  Not very strong for anything beyond show and tell.


                    Decided on the Markforged for material strength options.  We have the model with two extrusion heads, and can reinforce builds with carbon fiber, kevlar, or fiberglass.  If you do it right, supposed to rival the strength of Aluminum.  For the price vs. material strength, Markforged has it nailed.  Printer hasn't been quite as reliable as the Dimension, and has some quality issues where support material interface is (vs. Dimension).  Very impressed with just the base material durability, and ease of support removal though.  Still learning alot on this printer.  Base material is a choice between Nylon and their Onyx, we use the Onyx mostly.  Not supposed to be able to switch between the two with same nozzles.  We have once.


                    Haven't made too many not for work fun parts.  Snuck in some kid school project parts, have a couple 'only able to 3d print, not manufacture real world' for show and tell. 

                      • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                        Ronald van Til

                        Had a look at the Markforged printers recently at the introduction of SW2019. Onyx looks very promising and print quality also is looking very good. Price of the Onyx is a bit steep though. When I need more serious parts I order them at Materialise in Belgium, takes a few days, but quality has always been spot-on. Using my trusted Velleman only for playing around.

                        • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                          John Layne

                          Can you divulge the price you paid, or a ballpark figure for the Markforged printer, just curious?

                          Our company has an Objet 30 Pro; we've had it for about five years. It had a few issues initially, with print heads, and now tends to go out of calibration on a regular basis (probably due for a $2,000 + head change).

                          Material costs are high, and we keep it in a room that is air-conditioned 24/7 to reduce issues.  Changing to a different material is also somewhat wasteful as it purges the new through the system displacing the old.

                          Overall it's been beneficial to the company. Having not to wait for a bureau is beneficial. More importantly, the designers use the in-house printer more than they would an external as a supplier as they are less concerned about getting approval for the cost involved (allows them to iterate faster)

                          We are in the market for a machine with a larger build volume ( current BUILD SIZE 294 x 192 x 148.6 mm (11.57 x 7.55 x 5.85 in.)).


                          Would love to get an HP Multijet fusion usable nylon parts fantastic tech. Unfortunately a tad expensive.


                          HP 3D Printers and Printing Solution | HP® Official Site

                        • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                          Craig Schultz

                          We purchased a FormLabs 2 printer about 2 months ago.


                          Trying most of the resins.  The engineering group of resins is the most stable.  The plain resin we got had issues which were resolved quickly with FormLabs.  The parts are easy to clean up and finish. 


                          We also have a Connex 3000 which our group doesn't use any more.  FL is just easier to use for their layout software and the finishing process. 

                            • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                              Shawn Stugard

                              I'd love to play with a resin printer. I contracted with a company that had an incredible prototyping dept. They had some sort of resin printer that printed the clear windows on the prototypes and I was amazed at how crystal clear they were, with absolutely no banding. They looked like molded parts. I know DLP printing is getting better and cheaper, hopefully it will get down to the few hundred $$ I'm willing to pay for a hobby printer.

                            • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                              Chris Saller

                              I recently purchased a DIY Prusa, built it, the software was corrupt. Support was crap. After a couple weeks of back and forth of louse support and trial and error of lousy software, I returned it.

                              Now, I'm looking to purchased a new printer within the next few days. I want a dual extruder, but trying to stay below $1k (if possible).

                              I'm looking at these two:


                              • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                Frederick Law

                                My second printer:


                                The M3D fit on the print bed with room to spare.



                                Got the Sunhokey i3 from Kijiji for $200.  Pretty good deal.

                                From my experience on the M3D and some research, I kind of know what I want from a 3D printer.

                                Heat bed, gotta have for any large print.  Any material will benefit.

                                Bigger size.  A 4" cube is not much for parts.

                                Better software.  The ability to use any software is key.  Updates, features, ease of use.

                                I was using octoprint and sli3er on the M3D for a while.  Now I use CURA.

                                An open platform so the printer is easy to upgrade and modify.  Arduino, Repetier Firmware fit the bill.


                                The last owner don't know how to set it up properly.

                                The acrylic frame is weak.

                                With some tweaking on the firmware and adding a few support, the printer got really reliable.



                                Time for more upgrade, dual extruder:



                                With proper cooling and insulation, the dual E3D clone print above 250C and heat up in a minute.

                                The ATMega256 has enough control for 2 extruders just need to reconfig firmware and run the dual z-axis steppers in series.

                                Also stretched the y-axis so I don't lose print area with 2 extruders.

                                While playing with the firmware, I set it up for higher speed.  Default was 60mm/s, I set it to 300mm/s.  This allow experiment on how fast it could go.

                                The result is amazing.  From 60mm/s max 30mm/s print to 200mm/s max and 100mm/s print.  I've cut most of my print time in half.


                                I mostly print with HTPLA V3.  Its easy to print with high stregth and 100C+ resistant after heat treating.


                                PETG are great.  Printed cover for my coilovers, they lasted 2 years and still working:



                                Some dual color print:



                                • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                  Dave Bear

                                  I know very little about 3D printers to be perfectly honest but I've often thought about them.

                                  As a youngster I used to do a lot of plastic model kits, you know, Tamiya, Airfix, that sort of thing. And now with using SolidWorks to create both my V12 engine and the Truck that I'm currently doing I've often thought if it was possible to 3D print these to a certain scale and then actually build them. Some of the parts would be pretty fine (thin) in places though. In reality, it's all a fantasy, as I don't have the space or expenses for a printer anyway but I reckon it would be really cool to have designed and then actually constructed something totally from scratch.



                                  • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                    Chris Saller

                                    The first time I ever saw a 3D printer...

                                    I believe it was 1986, I was working at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, CA.

                                    It was some type of SLA. I remember seeing it, but I was not part of that group and I don't know what it was used for.

                                      • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                        Shawn Stugard

                                        Soon after highschool (1996 or so) I was working at local computer store fixing/building PCs and one of our clients was an engineering firm up the road. One of the guys came in with a couple "impossible" parts from a stereo lithography machine, like a bolt with heads on both ends and a nut spinning on the shaft. I was pretty damned impressed at the time. When affordable 3d printing became a reality, I was all over it.

                                      • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                        David Tiefenbrunn

                                        I run 2 Monoprice Maker Ultimate MK11 printers.
                                        Printing with ABS.  Had to add a second cooling fan, MicroSwiss hot end, and Bond Tech BMG extruder upgrades.  Also added lexan covers to enclose the build space.  Also added a jam nut to the Z axis home switch screw.  Tightened a lot of screws. They are rebranded Wanhao Duplicator 6.


                                        They work pretty well now.

                                        There is a learning curve on tweaking the settings to get decent quality prints.  And designing your models to get the best results.

                                        Generally, the bottom layer printed is the crummiest finish, and the top is the best.  Overhangs are the worst.

                                        • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                          Dwight Livingston

                                          Here at work we have a couple of Stratasys printers, a Fortus 380mc and an older Dimension Elite. The Fortus runs almost full time.


                                          I've thought about getting a printer for home, but I already have more things to do than I have time for.



                                          • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                            Shawn Stugard

                                            Question about controllers...


                                            Does anyone know of good quality RAMPS or MKS gen (not SBASE) control boards? So many cheap boards out there, I'd like to find one with upgraded MOSFETs and higher amperage molex connectors (automotive fuses would be nice too). There is a place out of Spain that makes such a thing, but I'd really like to find something stateside.


                                            Barring knowledge of the above, feel free to share your experiences with other controllers. If they are 32bit, please let me know what firmware you are using.

                                              • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                                Frederick Law

                                                Amazon got lots of boards but never know where they're manufactured.


                                                My printer use MKS Gen 1.4 and Repetier firmware.

                                                Repetier is easy to config since you can do that on their website before downloading the firmware.



                                                I added a Watt Meter to check current draw.  Try to see if my power supply got enough power for more extruders.

                                                First thing I found was large voltage drop when everything start to warm up.  Change the wire from power supply to board to 14ga and it got better.

                                                Since I ran the printer above 100 mm/s, the stepper drivers heat up fast.  Added a fan to cool them down.

                                                • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                                  Shawn Stugard

                                                  I'm looking pretty hard at the Azteeg X5 mini WIFI.


                                                  Seems like a good quality board with lots of extras (wifi, software adjustable stepper voltage, etc). I would need to transition over to Smoothieware, but that seems to be the price you pay for a 32bit board (until Marlin 2.0 is ready).

                                                • Re: Watercooler: Let's talk 3D printers.
                                                  Frederick Law


                                                  Almost forgot I have a diamond mixing head.

                                                  Need to re-assign a few pins on the MKS Gen 1.4 to get more stepper control.

                                                  Hopefully I can do it without using I2C to another board.