Personal 3d printers?


Just wondering if anyone on here has their own 3d printer and could share some successes/lessons learned? I built an Ultimaker a few months back and I love that I'm able to model something in Rhino and have it sitting on my desk an hour later. Ultimaker is known for fantastic resolution but can be quite temperamental when it comes to tuning.

I'm in the market for a second one now, and I am willing to sacrifice resolution for reliability if anyone has thoughts. 

Nov 7, 12 4:56 pm

How much did the project cost you, total?  Also, what persuaded you to go for the Ultimaker over a Makerbot?

Nov 7, 12 5:25 pm

I don't have one yet, but I am thinking about the new Makerbot. They appear to be the most popular company out there, so one would assume reliability has a part in that.

There is also Form 1 that was on Kickstarter recently that looks pretty promising. They certainly have the money now.

Nov 7, 12 5:57 pm

I chose the Ultimaker ($2,000 with 4kg of PLA) over the Makerbot because at the time the Makerbot's best resolution was 300 microns or .3mm. This often looks cheap and the solutions for smoothing surfaces are far from ideal (acetate). I normally print at 100 microns, which is what the new makerbot is capable of, so perhaps that could be a possibility since I don't want to go through the process of building a 3d printer again. It also looks like the replicator2 is an Ultimaker with a metal frame, several companies have adapted their design now.  

I also like the Up! printer because it has the fewest moving parts which is generally a good thing in 3d printer. The solidoodle is quite affordable if you're looking for an entry level printer and is capable of quality similar to the older Makerbots.

Resin based printing, or SL printers like the Form 1 have been popping up over the past year. They deliver fantastic results but they are unbelievably slow and often have much smaller build areas. I'd definitely keep an eye on SL printers in the future as they become cheaper. One of the big hurdles aside from print speed will be the high cost of resin, hopefully that comes down in price.  

Nov 8, 12 8:49 am

what do you use your printer for?  Is it something that can be profitable, or mostly just fun?  if it's for architecture, are you printing a building model, or do you make a whole building model in smaller pieces and then sort of assemble it, or mostly just look at details?  how big does it print?

Nov 8, 12 9:23 am

I originally purchased it for both fun and possibly starting a small venture of selling various lighting products. I quickly realized that everyone with a makerbot was already selling crap on etsy...low resolution, plagiarized designs of everything you could think of. Unfortuantely, one printer is no way to run a business and if you actually want to turn a profit you'd need at least 3 or 4 printers especially since maintenance is a constant process and any down time is money lost. 

I have successfully used it to work out connection details as well as shading systems that I can then present to clients because it's much easier to sell something that you can hold in your hand over an image on a screen. Building models are often cumbersome but they can be printed in pieces depending on scale. 

My current printer is capable of 8.5in cubed but I haven't pushed it that far, my largest piece was 4x4x8 at high detail and that took over 14  hours to print even at higher print speeds. 

Nov 8, 12 10:15 am

if there is a marketing potential the 3d model could be worthwhile for architectural design.  find the client that likes new shiny (read: matte plastic) stuff and say 'sure, that architect has sketchup, but i have this little model thingy."  also, i think your comment about holding something is absolutely true.  i suspect the small size and cost of raw material might make this still prohibitive for selling building-scale design.  it really does look fun though.

Nov 8, 12 3:33 pm
t a z

Not sure how up-to-date this site is, but it has a lot of useful comparison info:

Nov 8, 12 7:31 pm

Thanks! Here's a graphic similar to what you posted. 

Nov 8, 12 7:53 pm

That is an incredibly useful resource.  Thanks!

Nov 8, 12 9:31 pm
t a z

buildatron vs fablicator...  hehee

Nov 8, 12 10:07 pm

wait another year or two for the prices to drop down significantly ;) 

Nov 9, 12 9:10 am

I built a RepRap Pursa Mendel myself, and while it is quite a bit of work to get functioning well, it's a sweet little machine that is by far the cheapest competent 3d printer out there. If you don't want to break the bank, like to building things, and have some knowledge of electronics you should definitely check out . I'd guess it would take me two full weeks to build, I built it over 4 months on weekends though.

Nov 10, 12 5:32 pm

I've been seriously considering that option, how many hours would you say that build took you?  Also, was it difficult "calibrating" the machine after you got it working?

Nov 11, 12 3:25 pm

I own a 3d printer which is 3dstuffmaker brand It uses the latest technology to provide same accuracy as ultimaker and makerbot. But the specialty with 3dstuffmaker is very low cost when compare to other 3d printer brands.  It has larger print area than other printers.

Best Regards
David Paul

Dec 12, 12 6:08 am

Staples will start doing 3-d printing now.

Dec 12, 12 7:01 am
accesskb  around $350 .. will start shipping soon but available for purchase already

Dec 12, 12 7:03 am

What are people making on Etsy that they can be making money from? 

Dec 12, 12 4:09 pm

My friend does $400/mth of business on there, so it can be profitable if you know how to market your stuff.

And I just bought a Prusa Mendel kit from MakerGear; we'll see how the build goes!

Dec 13, 12 3:58 am

Arguably the most successful are two MIT grads that founded Nervous System

They do quite well...

Dec 13, 12 8:33 am

^ quite well is probably an understatement.  too many wannabes on etsy trying to create work like them :P

Dec 14, 12 8:01 pm

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Jan 21, 13 11:16 pm

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