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Anyone used online 3D printing services


Gone West
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Hello, my husband used the service for making knobs for the music equipment.

I think the different plastic available - some softer, some more brittle.

You just send 3d file and then get printed. I think its good idea to make one to test it then print lots.

I can ask him which website he used.

 

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I've been looking at buying a cheap 3D printer if my son is allowed to do a project at school. I won't be offering a printing service but I've been doing some research recently.

 

How strong do they need to be? Strength can vary depending on the material (PLA, ABS, Nylon etc) and the direction of the layers. Sometimes the adhesion between layers isn't great and they fail along the "grain". Might be ok if the hooks are printed laying on their side and load isn't huge.

 

Looking at getting Fusion 360 to do our design(s). It has a free license for experimenters. 

 

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@Onoff No I haven't done anything yet. I was trying to gauge how straightforward it would be to have them made and what the cost would be. The item is a small extension piece for the top of a vertical blind to allow it to be used on a steep slope. I was thinking possibly ASA as there might be a lot of UV degradation.

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ASA looks like the right material to use. Rigid.ink says it has good UV resistance. 

 

As I understand it the design software (the slicer?) will tell you how long the print will take and how much material it needs. I expect they charge by the hour. I doubt the material will cost much. Whole 1kg reel is about £25.

 

Edited by Temp
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Googling 3d printing services finds loads but to get a quote most want to upload your design. However I found this place that will estimate cost based on dimensions before you have the design files...

 

https://www.3dprint-uk.co.uk/pricing/

 

I tried entering 20mm x 10mm x 5mm, 2 bodies (whatever that is), qty 10, white nylon and it said £40.

 

Edited by Temp
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Just for info the cheapest printer I've seehn is a clone of the Anet A8 made by CTC on eBay for £90. However it needs assembling and some FETs boards adding (£12 from Amazon) to prevent a known fire risk. You also need an SD card and reader for your PC. A reel of ASA filament is about £25-30 on Amazon. So if you have time you might DIY for say £150? However that printer is pretty basic. Most people who buy one end up printing upgrades to improve it or even replacing the wooden frame with aluminium extrusions. 

 

Edit: Not sure if that printer will print ASA. 

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Have taken the plunge and ordered an Anet A8 kit. Arrived yesterday. It's a heck of a meccano job and I've already managed to break a £2 part. The linear bearings felt like they were full of sand. Clean out with WD40 and re oiling improved them a bit but will replace with Drylin bearings from Amazon. Can see this is going to be a bit of a project.

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On 24/01/2019 at 13:16, JSHarris said:

Really interested to hear how you get on with it, as I've been toying with the idea of getting something similar for a fair time now, as there seem to be lots of potential projects that would be made simpler with a 3D printed part.

 

Will try and post updates.

 

The A8 is a real experimenters project. It has problems which I'm sure you wouldn't have difficulty recognising and solving but it wouldn't be something I would give to say a 14 year old as a present unless they understand electronics. The mains power supply for example just has a small plastic flap covering the 220v screw terminals and no mains switch. The FETs on the control board are also prone to overheating so many people fit add-on MOSFET boards. I'm doing that from the outset. Again I know you could do this but it gives you an idea of the overall quality. 

 

I'm also replacing the supplied linear bearings with Drylin bearings. 

 

Reviews say that if you put in the effort the A8 gives good results for the money. To be honest I think printers like the Creality Ender 3 are probably better if you want something that needs less fettling. The main difference between the two is that the Ender 3 already has a metal frame. The Extruder is also a remote/Bowden tube type where as the A8 has the Extruder mounted on the head (eg a direct type). Both have advantages and disadvantages. The Bowden tube type has less precise control over how the filament is extruded/retracted but the head is lighter so can be moved faster...or so they say.

 

Think it will be at least a week before mine is ready for a test print.

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1 hour ago, Temp said:

 

Will try and post updates.

 

The A8 is a real experimenters project. It has problems which I'm sure you wouldn't have difficulty recognising and solving but it wouldn't be something I would give to say a 14 year old as a present unless they understand electronics. The mains power supply for example just has a small plastic flap covering the 220v screw terminals and no mains switch. The FETs on the control board are also prone to overheating so many people fit add-on MOSFET boards. I'm doing that from the outset. Again I know you could do this but it gives you an idea of the overall quality. 

 

I'm also replacing the supplied linear bearings with Drylin bearings. 

 

Reviews say that if you put in the effort the A8 gives good results for the money. To be honest I think printers like the Creality Ender 3 are probably better if you want something that needs less fettling. The main difference between the two is that the Ender 3 already has a metal frame. The Extruder is also a remote/Bowden tube type where as the A8 has the Extruder mounted on the head (eg a direct type). Both have advantages and disadvantages. The Bowden tube type has less precise control over how the filament is extruded/retracted but the head is lighter so can be moved faster...or so they say.

 

Think it will be at least a week before mine is ready for a test print.

 

What did it cost out of interest?

 

I see Aldi have one in again:

 

https://www.aldi.co.uk/balco-3d-printer-/p/086887240233900?

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1 hour ago, Onoff said:

 

What did it cost out of interest?

 

I see Aldi have one in again:

 

https://www.aldi.co.uk/balco-3d-printer-/p/086887240233900?

 

There are several companies making clones of the A8. There was one on eBay for around £90 that has a wood frame...

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CTC-A8-MK8-Extruder-Assembly-LCD-DIY-3D-Printer-Kit-Reprap-220-220-240mm-Print/273531933538?hash=item3fafc61362:g:aUEAAOSwyKhbZWD4&redirect=mobile

 

I went for this Anet version which has an acrylic frame at £104....

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Anet-A8-Assembly-Acrylic-Frame-LCD-DIY-3D-Printer-Kit-Reprap-220-220-240mm-Print/113022998680?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&redirect=mobile

 

but have added another £25 in upgrades. The MOSFET upgrade is virtually mandatory.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Upgrade-Bearing-instead-Printer-RJ4JP-01-08/dp/B079M88FF8/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1548512185&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=drylin+bearings&psc=1

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/TopDirect-Module-Expansion-Current-Printer/dp/B078HGFDT6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1548512217&sr=8-2&keywords=A8+mosfet

 

And a reel of filament at £18.

 

So total to get up and going about £150ish.

 

If it works ok I plan to upgrade the frame making it an AM8 (so called "All Metal 8"). There are metal kits for this from about £60-£70 on eBay but you also have to print a lot of plastic bits on your A8 as well. Someone called  Pheneeny posted the design for this on Thingiverse awhile back and others have improved the design...

 

https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=Am8&dwh=305c4c6d5c1bb08

 

So to I think by the time it's got a metal frame it will be nearer £225-250.

 

You can (currently) buy a Creality Ender 3 kit which I think has a metal frame for £150 from gearbest so the route I'm taking isn't the cheapest.

 

Edited by Temp
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One of the impressive things in 3D printing is "print in place" which involves printing moving parts ready assembled. One of the most impressive I've seen is this "iris box". Skip ahead to about 2:15 if you get bored watch it being printed.

 

 

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Spent another evening assembling my printer. Getting there slowly. Got all the mechanical bits assembled but I can see somethings will need tweaking. It has two threaded rods one either side to raise and lower the head vertically (z-axis). Instead of linking these two rods together with a toothed belt each one has its own stepper motor. This means if you accidentally turn one side manually the Y-axis rails are no longer parallel with the print bed. I can't help feel this is all going to need adjusting before every print to ensure everything tracks parallel. 

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10 hours ago, Temp said:

Spent another evening assembling my printer. Getting there slowly. Got all the mechanical bits assembled but I can see somethings will need tweaking. It has two threaded rods one either side to raise and lower the head vertically (z-axis). Instead of linking these two rods together with a toothed belt each one has its own stepper motor. This means if you accidentally turn one side manually the Y-axis rails are no longer parallel with the print bed. I can't help feel this is all going to need adjusting before every print to ensure everything tracks parallel. 

Most machines, at least any that I have had anything to do with, go through a "homing" sequence at power up, driving each axis until a home switch is found and setting that as the zero datum.  Such a homing sequence would synchronise the 2 stepper motors.

 

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