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I finally took the dive and ordered a Cube-3D printer from Staples. Here is the link: http://www.staples.com/Cube-3D-Printer-Silver/product_201876?externalize=certona . It is a hunk of change, but prices on printers have gone down drastically since I've started following this. I also like how it's basically 3d printing for idiots and it's supposed to work right out of the box... I highly doubt it will be so though.

My main interest is just to create some low polygon count scifi recreations.

Has anyone experimented with 3D printing? I think I saw some Macross replacement parts on Shapeways not long ago.

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Well the best place so far to get 3D printed objects is shapeways, they kind of cornered that market. However as 3D printers become cheaper in price I'm sure that company will see a shrinking demand. With the right material you can creates just about anything, from a simple toy or piece of jewelry, to a gun. I'm sure we're gonna see some issues with it because of the government, and the joke will go on, "You wouldn't print a car would you?"

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I think even though it's been on the news a few times, it's still primarily a nerd hobby... we definitely got a few steps to go before printing your own car :p (I work for one of the big 3 automakers, trust me!) , or anything I would trust my life with.

I don't know how long it will take them to ship my unit, but I will post some results once I start playing with them. Stay tuned :ph34r: .

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How good is the latest gen of cheap printers? The ones I saw some time ago had a very grainy finish.

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The last time I looked at home based 3d printing solutions, the results almost looked like when you pipe icing onto a cake. It looked like layer upon layer almost like steps. Is this printer able to make stuff without that result?



Looks like the abs cartridges are going for about $50 a piece. The color options are interesting.

Edited by Loop

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I think the "layering" is just how it works. Some of the samples I've seen, not just from Cubify but also the older Makerbot models, are very smooth, whereas others still look like they're made of "spaghetti." My coworker has been doing this for a while, and the suggestion I got to prevent very noticeable layering is to keep things simple. Don't expect to feed it a SDF-1 and expect perfect results B)) .

There are a few tools out there that have algorithms that reduce the complexity of a model. You will get a more abstract representation of what you want, but the results will be "smoother."

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This seems to be a reasonably unbiased demonstration, although they don't review the result you can see the build resolution,

Still a long way off what you can expect as an end result from Shapeways, or other 3D Printing houses.

Edited by Tober

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I've never seen a spool printer that has good resolution. They're probably good for structures but never a finish product. There's a couple of good online printers out there. Shapeways just happens to be economical due to the volume of jobs they get. The quality is a crapshoot though. I think it depends on who's doing the set up. Now that they're opening more locations, the service will get faster but the quality will probably get even more spotty.

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Heh, I tried to start a shapeways thread in here, but it died because I'm waiting for my model to arrive. :p Would it be better to setup a general 3D printing topic in the workshop/models area so it doesn't get so easily buried under the rest of everything?

Have to admit though, that price is pretty tempting. I might have to invest in one of those myself, though I'd rather get something that can make parts a bit bigger, at least 8 inches or so.

Being able to print in ABS is nice, though I wonder how strong it comes out. It's definitely a nice alternative to waiting weeks for Shapeways to get you a part, only to find out it doesn't work.

Edited by Chronocidal

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I don't like the output from most additive printers. Right now the output is just too rough.

However stereolithographic printers which basically shoot a couple of lasers into UV-activated resin are producing some really nice results in comparison. The problem with these at the moment are their relative cost. I'm still looking into getting one myself.

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The Major letdown with 3D-printing your own models is that you spend more time working at the computer than on your workbench, whereas modeling time for me is the time I specifically do not spend at the computer.

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That is true.

I must admit I've only produced a few things for myself via SLA printing. I create 3D models for work as well, so it does feel like work even if I'm creating a cool mesh of something I plan to output myself. Not modeling... Hopefully I can get that to change, maybe.

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I guess how you divide up the work is up to you. For the model I ordered, I didn't bother with cutting any recessed panel lines into the model, partly because I just wanted a quick starter model to fiddle with and see what's possible, but also because I knew I could always scribe them myself.

Will that be more work, and possibly wind up not being as good a quality? Yes, but it will also feel like I've put more work into the finished product when it's done. The ironic part though.. the model probably would have cost less if I cut the details out, because it's just material I didn't need to buy. :p So yes, doing the work at the model level is probably better in general, but it might be less enjoyable for some.

Edited by Chronocidal

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Well the best place so far to get 3D printed objects is shapeways, they kind of cornered that market. However as 3D printers become cheaper in price I'm sure that company will see a shrinking demand. With the right material you can creates just about anything, from a simple toy or piece of jewelry, to a gun. I'm sure we're gonna see some issues with it because of the government, and the joke will go on, "You wouldn't print a car would you?"

Here you go

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already knew allllllllllllllllllllll about it for few months now.

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Have you guys heard of Form 1? Engineers from MIT wanted to make their own 3D printer that's affordable versus the $325,000+ printers out there. I am thinking about getting once, but it may be overboard for toy pieces. The good think about this portable printer is that it produces higher resolution pieces. I'd like to get this for my Gundam, EVA and 1/6 scale kit bashes.

http://formlabs.com/pages/our-printer

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Have you guys heard of Form 1? Engineers from MIT wanted to make their own 3D printer that's affordable versus the $325,000+ printers out there. I am thinking about getting once, but it may be overboard for toy pieces. The good think about this portable printer is that it produces higher resolution pieces. I'd like to get this for my Gundam, EVA and 1/6 scale kit bashes.

http://formlabs.com/pages/our-printer

That looks really impressive, I would love to get a hold of something like that.

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So, have to say I'm pretty impressed that this thing went through. I was fully expecting the tiny little wing cannons to get rejected by Shapeways, but even those came through.

In hindsight, I'd probably make the tails simpler, so I have some revisions to make, but I don't know if I'll order another myself. For now, I'm just happy to see that it came out really nicely.

post-907-0-74443300-1367906097_thumb.jpgpost-907-0-43026200-1367906037_thumb.jpg

post-907-0-87219300-1367906061_thumb.jpgpost-907-0-66833300-1367906083_thumb.jpg

I don't even know what scale this thing is honestly. The game specs say the ship is over 100 feet long, and this is a bit under 7 inches, so it's a something like 1/180th :p This was about as big as I wanted to make it, or the cost would have shot up significantly.

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So it's finally here. Drove down to Staples after work to pick it up.

I have finished the initial calibrations for printer height and installed the software. I like the software.... only complaint was that it basically needs files in STL format, which I could easily convert with Mesh Lab. From there on, you can scale, and rotate the model around any axis.

I'll do a simple print tomorrow, see how things go.

... and now funny story - when I picked it up at the store, the guy asked me jokingly if I was going to print anything dangerous.

post-9883-0-64298500-1368748985_thumb.jpg

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nice how much did that run you? and how much does the resin/plastic cost?

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1300 for the printer. The ABS cartridges cost 50 ea. The plastic is a bit on the expensive side, though the documentation claims it can churn out 13-14 "mid sized" models.

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The Printing is just half of the equation. We Now have the other half! http://www.matterform.net/

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I'm anxious to see how well this thing works. :)

If it's capable of printing anything like that Excalibur model at a bigger size (I'm aiming for about 10 inches long) and using a single spool or less, it'll technically be cheaper to produce than going through Shapeways (minus the startup costs :p).

For something like the YF-19 mod I'm planning, something like this could be far more useful than Shapeways, since you can bypass the entire order/shipping process.

I'm not getting my hopes up too much though, since the plastic "thread" it uses looks pretty thick. It's a huge step forward for home users, but it'll come down to the printer's 3D resolution.

Edit: So apparently those Cube printers can manage a layer resolution of 0.25 mm, since someone made an example object with one on that Matterform site. That sounds like it would work pretty well for larger detailed objects.

Edited by Chronocidal

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@Ghost Train:

Can I actually get my hands on the one you bought? As in, do they ship to Malaysia? I checked the international page, but it doesn't have a branch in Malaysia.

A question about materials: so far, the only place I found that ships 3D printing internationally is a German company called 3D2print. It sells filaments instead of cartridges. Would this work with the machine you bought?

BTW, what's Repraps?

Edited by GU-11

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I have printed 2 models thus far and experimented extensively with the software, and here is a quick review. The results were slightly above my expectations. It's definitely not going to drive real models and toys out of business anytime soon, but with some practice and planning you can get some really sharp looking prints.


Printer:

The machine has a small touchpad to control all basic functionality (much like an office copier/printer ... you get the picture). Through the touchpad it walks you through some basic setup steps like the aforementioned gap setting. Overall, the user interface is good - simple, uncluttered, and intuitive. Once all is setup is complete, and you select the print file, the machine does its thing. Print time varies by model complexity and size. The sample below took about 90 minutes. It's quite amazing to watch though, seeing how the "structural support" is layed out, and then the model is built layer by layer, it might be a good time lapse video to make someday.


During print, the level of noise is acceptable. Definitely less than an airbrush compressor, I don't have tools to measure the decibels, but it's about as loud as an old dot matrix printer. So yeah... your wife / girlfriend / parents / or Fido will be alerted to the noise of your minitature spaceship foundry as they walk past your workshoop or room :) .


There is no discernable smell or anything coming from the device while operating.


Setup and Cleanup:

The instructions on how to set the initial "gap" between the pad and the printjet are a bit misleading. It reads like the gap should be just wide enough for a piece of paper to slide through without friction, but that is not the case. After 2 aborted attempts to print my model getting a "stream failure", I realized that there simply wasn't enough clearance between the pad and the jet. This was easily fixed by setting the gap roughly ~ 1cm.


Right before printing you will need to apply some print glue to the pad.


When finished, cleanup is easy. Soaking the printing pad in a bucket of warm water and just a little bit of soap will rinse off any residue from the "print glue" right off.


Model Quality:

Inherently, some models will print better than others. For models that are longer (or wider) than they are tall(i.e. most vehicles, cars, airplanes, spaceships, etc.) my first thought was to print it like they would appear in a nature, meaning flat against the pad (i.e. an airplane sitting on a runway). As you can see from the picture below, this produces some quality issues: mainly the layering is very visible especially around rounded structures. Problem #2 is that basically the whole underside of this model will have small connectors to the support structures that you will have to manually remove later. As you can see.... in unskilled hands this can spell disaster.


Solution? I went back to the software, reoriented the model with the noise pointing up (i.e. an airplane on a full vertical climb). This greatly reduces the visual effects of the layering, and the number of support structures needed.... except for the rear which now suffers from the same problem.


Like I said, some models work better than others.


The models do feel solid and durable so swoosh to your heart's content with no guilt (you can build lots more if they break :) ). Here are some shots (... and in keeping with the WC theme of this thread):


top_zps03c0c691.jpg


bottom_zpsc301288b.jpg


photo1-1_zps43ba460f.jpg


Some puttying on the back and some paint can definitely further enhance presentation.


Software:

The software is nice. Some basic tools to resize, rescale and reposition the model across the x, y, or z axis. I'm not sure what the healing options does.... I have not had the software complain about any files yet. Once you are done, the software compiles the model into a cube file. Here is a pic:


software_zpsa5d218bd.jpg


Overall, hours of fun, it is about as idiot and patience proof as you can get with this product. If you want perfection though, definitely go with shapeways or something. Fortunately I think the technology will just get better and cheaper if this thing catches on.

Edited by Ghost Train

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Nice review. Very informative.

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@Ghost Train:

Can I actually get my hands on the one you bought? As in, do they ship to Malaysia? I checked the international page, but it doesn't have a branch in Malaysia.

A question about materials: so far, the only place I found that ships 3D printing internationally is a German company called 3D2print. It sells filaments instead of cartridges. Would this work with the machine you bought?

BTW, what's Repraps?

Sorry GU-11, I'm not sure. You can check with the manufacturer : http://cubify.com/ I think they sell the machines and supplies directly from their website. I would not try to use a 3rd party plastic/filament for this.... if someone can ship the machine to Malaysia, then you can certainly obtain the "official" plastic cartridges from them too. Good luck.

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Nice! Not perfect, but definitely a good start. I think if you printed individual parts to build up into something, you could do a lot to minimize the effects the support structure has on the model by making the bottom areas hidden.

I did read a CNet review of the printer that had quite a few issues with the way the software works, mainly that it was very limited in features, and made it difficult to tweak how things were printed. I think they said that some of the features you mentioned didn't exist, so it may have been an older review, and they've made changes to the software. I believe they did say that the layer thickness was fixed at 0.25 mm.

They also made a bit of a fuss about the proprietary spools of plastic that the machine uses, since they seem to be about 3x as expensive as buying the plastic in bulk, but I suppose that's the price you pay for convenience of not having to learn to feed the machine yourself.

How hard is the material to sand, now that you've printed it? And how much of a spool did you use up with those two prints?

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Sorry GU-11, I'm not sure. You can check with the manufacturer : http://cubify.com/ I think they sell the machines and supplies directly from their website. I would not try to use a 3rd party plastic/filament for this.... if someone can ship the machine to Malaysia, then you can certainly obtain the "official" plastic cartridges from them too. Good luck.

Thanks for the link, Ghost Train! I'll email them and see if they do ship to Malaysia.

Incidentally, I found a local company that sells 3D printers, but the contact page insists that I insert a company name and office telephone number. I'm only interested in buying one for private use, not starting an actual company or anything. <_<

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Nice! Not perfect, but definitely a good start. I think if you printed individual parts to build up into something, you could do a lot to minimize the effects the support structure has on the model by making the bottom areas hidden.

I did read a CNet review of the printer that had quite a few issues with the way the software works, mainly that it was very limited in features, and made it difficult to tweak how things were printed. I think they said that some of the features you mentioned didn't exist, so it may have been an older review, and they've made changes to the software. I believe they did say that the layer thickness was fixed at 0.25 mm.

They also made a bit of a fuss about the proprietary spools of plastic that the machine uses, since they seem to be about 3x as expensive as buying the plastic in bulk, but I suppose that's the price you pay for convenience of not having to learn to feed the machine yourself.

How hard is the material to sand, now that you've printed it? And how much of a spool did you use up with those two prints?

Good call on splitting up the pieces... perhaps it's a good time to actually learn to manipulate 3D models. I played a little bit with Blender this afternoon running it alongside a youtube tutorial. I admit that I did not create the Arrow model myself but got it from the web (Please don't sue me :ph34r: ) from this site: http://wcmdf.solsector.net/confed_fighters_hi.htm . Strangely when I import the 3DS in blender it's already neatly separated into various objects, and I can export out individually... will run a few more tests tomorrow.

All told, after 2.5 models, the status bar tells me that there is 90-95% filament left. There is no number, only a bar unfortunately.

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K, good to know. :) Looks like you could print a good number of things that size then.

But yeah, I think the way to make the absolute most of that printing process is to break things up into smaller parts so that the print lines run in the best direction on each section. Shapeways definitely does that with their printing process, because the parts I printed are clearly layered in varying directions from how I oriented the model.

It'll take practice, but you definitely need to dig into the models to break them up in sections that benefit the process. Like, for instance.. the back end of that Arrow model is pretty much flat, except for the nozzles. So, you make the back end the bottom, and make the nozzles separately so they plug in.'

I wouldn't trust the natural divisions in that model though, since I'm pretty sure that's a raw export of the model used in the game. The breaks between parts might not leave you with a solid object. They might be the divisions set up to make debris when it blows up. :lol:

If you want to try printing parts of that excalibur, I can send you that file to see how it's built. Or, I can dig up a good number of random sci-fi objects to print I suppose. :lol: Think I might even have an old original BSG viper model somewhere.

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I've been hunting around for a good 3D printer, and this one called Up! Plus (aka Afinia in the USA) seems pretty good. It won the "Best Overall Experience" award in Make Magazine or something, apparently.

At 1.5k USD, it's not a bad price, and since I was able to find a local online seller, I'm definitely saving up on shipping cost. I'm currently waiting for the UP! Plus 2 (due for release in June this year), which features auto-calibration.

BTW, what autoCAD programs do you guys recommend for a complete beginner like me? I hear Blender is pretty good.

A question on Shapeways: Just curious here. I keep seeing people upload their designs and add-on parts for figures in the website; do they make any money from the downloads?

Edited by GU-11

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Just placed an order for an UP! Plus 2:

UP-plus2-640.jpg

Looked it up because it was the only one with a local supplier, and provided on-site support and a 12 month warranty. Heard plenty of good things about it, and it also has auto platform height and level calibration.

Been tinkering with Sketchup to see if I can come up with some weapons for my figs.

BTW, can anyone recommend a good and affordable 3D scanner?

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