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  1. #1

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    Anyone into 3D printing?

    From programming to electronics, then making robots & CNCs, then flying multirotors (drones), and now.... 3D Printing

    For a long time I wanted to get a 3D Printer and now I finally did! yeey
    I did a lot of reserch, and I got the Mendel90 kit because of so many good reviews, and the way it's built.
    I got the printer kit a few weeks ago, and it took me 5 days to build it (after work mostly), and a few hours to figure out how to calibrate it. So it was difficult at the beginning, but now that I got it calibrated, and learned the basics, I am printing new things every day.

    Here is something I made recently (downloaded the 3D files from Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:90302)


    Here is another cool maze: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:201097
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    I also started to learn to use 3D design software (like Sketchup), and successfully went from the 3D design to the actually printed real thing, so that is very exciting when you can design something on the computer and make it real and hold it in your hand

    So, anyone here got a 3D Printer? and what are you printing with it?

  2. #2
    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Not yet, but eventually when home printers can do tiny details as well or better than the current commercial printers I'll pick one up.

    A guy I know has been selling HO scale models on Shapeways for a couple of years now. They're still a bit crude, but 3D printing can give us models of somewhat obscure prototypes that would never be commercially viable if produced using injection molded plastic where the dies can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.

    One of Volkmar's projects I bought off Shapeways and have been working on:

    Fort Wayne-Lima Interurban - carbody
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    My boss has one that he designed and built himself. The problem is finding a use for it. Ideally, we'd like to have something that we'd want to use frequently, and which could be readily built in this fashion. I work in the realm of fish, so plastic items are not a bad thing. We have yet to come up with something useful, though.
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    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    How about little suits filled with water so they can get about on dry land?
    You could take your fish for walks.

    I imagine it would be more fun than dragging a gasping fish around on a string.
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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruff View Post
    I imagine it would be more fun than dragging a gasping fish around on a string.
    Isn't that called fishing?

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    We one-upped a guy at one site I do work for off and on in St. Louis.

    One programmer saw some weird polyester underwear from China on one of those... "Chinese Amazon" sites. He bought them and as expected they are nasty things, nobody would seriously wear that stuff. The fabric feels like it is woven from very fine fishing line and there isn't really any waistband or binding tape at the leg holes, just a sort of sharp edge.

    But there's a really gullible manager over a clerical unit in the building. He styles himself as a technically literate person which in his case means he buys a lot of useless gadgetry (latest iPhone, those absurd electronic "fitness" bands, and other impractical consumer crap). He loves to wander the building poking his nose where it isn't wanted and showing off his laest toy.

    When he came by a couple weeks ago when I was there we had "Chinese underwear boy" tell him that these spiffy drawers had been 3D printed. Of course he bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    If only they were his size, we might have gotten him to take them home and wear them. Though I'm not sure that Pepto-pink is really his color.

  7. #7
    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    3D printed fish excursion mobile.



    The wheels turn little impellers to aerate the water.

    This is just a mock up of course. The real thing would be transparent.
    Last edited by Gruff; Feb 7th, 2015 at 02:44 PM.
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    I am a little late to your party. But I just bought a cheap quadcopter to start messing around with before I go and buy an expensive one.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    According to someone on youtube this one handles (at least control wise) the same as a DJI Phantom that I was looking at buying.

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    I am planning to 3D print a quadcopter, and I will use the Naze32 flight controller. I have not decided if I should design my own 3D quad to print, or download something from the internet. I really want something that can fold, and maybe something that has integrated gimbal for the GoPro camera.

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    1) The ad at the top of the page is for a Makerbot Replicator, a desktop 3D printer.
    2) They now sell 3D printers at Sams Club. Wasn't sure what brand it was, so went to look it up, turns out it's the very same Makerbot that's being advertised at the top. Looks like they have 2, the mini is going for $1,200... the full sized one you'd have to contact the local club for a price.

    Up until a little while ago, I've wondered what I do with one if I had one. I think though I'd probably make things to use to make other things. I'd probably churn out custom Lego pieces, model trucks, cars, trains, buildings. I also have a couple of concept ideas for an engine that I'd probably build as scaled versions just see if they are viable. Far easier and cheaper than getting a decent aluminum block milled.

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    My printer is Mendel90, and I got it for many reasons:

    The Makerbot mini can only print 10.0 x 10.0 x 12.5 centimeters, and it costs between $1,200 and $1,400 (depending where you buy it from), and Makerbot Replicator 2X is 24.6 x 15.2 x 15.5 cm, and it costs $2,500 (but it's a dual extruder)

    Mendel90 is a kit (so you have to build it yourself), it cost me $1,200, and the print size is 20 x 20 x 20 cm. I received my printer 4 days after I order it (and about 5 days to build it, mostly after work), and from what I read on the net (on one instance) it took 6 weeks for someone to receive their Makerbot.

    Mendel90 is easily modifiable, but with Makerbot (and most other printers) you are stuck with what you get, some of them they even force you to buy their own spools of plastic that are double the price of regular spools.

    I am not saying that my Mendel90 is the perfect 3D printer, but compared to others, I think it's one of the best out of the existing options (with similar price range)

    I already printed a few things (a few parts per day), and I was surprized about the print quality. A lot of the components of the priter itself ARE 3D PRINTED if you take another look at the printer, all the components that are white are 3D printed... so the printer can print it's own parts so technically this printer should have the name "replicator".

  12. #12
    PowerPoster SJWhiteley's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Hmm. How long will it be that we can create self-replicating printers. The printer takes raw materials, creates the parts for itself and an assembly line, and the parts the printer spits out to create another printer and assembly line...
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    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Self Replicating is probably many years down the road. I hear they are currently developing a printed car for the masses.

    Printing in metal is possible these days though it costs a bundle. Some metals are more difficult than others.
    There are several different technologies in the field, laser sintering is just one of them.
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  14. #14
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    There was a story I read a few months back where someone is 3D printing a house... It's being built in section, since the custom (obviously) printer is only so big, and it's going to take several months (more than 2 years I think, less than 3, if I remember right), but it included a pool, cabana, the works.


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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Just to give you an idea on what is involved to 3D print something:

    I bought for my son a train with tracks, after a few days he broke the tracks (cheap stuff), anyways... so I thought I would 3D print my own custom made train tracks.

    First I designed a straight track in Sketchup, took me 10 to 15 minutes to make the design. From Sketchup, I then had to export an STL file, and from there, it goes to the slicer program that generate "G" code for the printer. I printed 4 pieces of those, each one is about 15 cm, each one takes about 50 minutes to print at the lowest resolution (the worst resolution, but fast), which actually prints really good... the reason why I made the track only 15 cm (the printer is supposed to print 20 cm square) is because the glass that prints on top is not perfectly straight, so when the printer prints close to the edges, the plastic does not stick to the glass, and it messes up the print

    I tried the train on the track, and it runs perfectly... now I need it to actually make a turn, and keep running in circles...

    So, I went back to Sketchup to design a round track. It took me a few hours to design it! I had to go through a few tutorials to learn how to do basic things (like rotating, making arrays, etc.). I startd by making a 360 degree track with radius of 30 cm, then I first divided the track into 8 pieces, measured the length, and one piece was about 24 cm, too big... divided again into 16 pieces now, and one piece is 12 cm, good... converted to G code, and finally started to print...

    For some reason the printer got "de-calibrated", I spent another hour or so to get it to print properly, I also had to take appart the extruder to unclog it.
    One piece takes 50 minutes to print. I printed 9 pieces so far... last piece I set it to print before I went to sleep.

    So, over all, it's very time consuming, it's not as easy as it looks, but the results are very gratifying

  16. #16
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Yeash, it's that initial CAD-like processing at the beginning that scares me the most. But most likely because I virtually have no experience with such things. I've used some modeling progams before working on model train layouts, but I'm usually plopping pieces down, adjusting slopes and marking table dimensions. Even then it's a task for me to get what I want out of it. If I had to design and draw something form complete scratch... I doubt I could do it.

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    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Is the glass upside down?

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    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    When you print the track are you printing the rails in plastic, too? Most model trains need metal rails to pick up electricity to run unless they're battery powered.

    Here's the interurban car I've been working on - everything shown was 3-D printed:

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    The pilot is brass - the way I understand it, Shapeways actually prints brass items in wax, then dips them in a ceramic compound that hardens into a mold which is heated so the wax melts and drains out. The wax is then replaced with molten brass producing the 3-D part.

    I added a drive unit, but I'm not happy with the floor/frame. I'm going to have to add some lead weights to the frame to get the model to track well over very sharp streetcar curves. These weights will eventually warp the plastic so I will need to find an alternative like low-temperature alloy or pewter that I can make a new frame from. But for now I'll just use some lead sinkers or wheel weights.
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    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    If I had to design and draw something form complete scratch... I doubt I could do it.
    There are lots of tutorials out there. I've used them to do a crude streetcar model and I'm getting better at it. The curved ends of a celestory roof are something I'm still having trouble with.
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  20. #20
    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    I worked for over a decade at Precision Cast Parts Corp in portland. The casting technique described is the "Lost Chinese wax casting" method. We used it for all our castings. You can get very precise clean product with it. For iron based alloys you need a first coating of a ceramic slurry that is usually an industry secret. This coating allows the finished surface to be smooth and free of defects.

    Regarding SketchUp:

    I have a long work history of using wireframe and Solidmodeling products.
    I froze my SketchUp at version 8.0 where it was still owned by Google.
    The current owner (Trimble) does not offer the fully free product anymore (As far as I know.)

    SketchUp is by far the easiest Solidmodeler for beginners. It is also the most fun.
    It has a very intuitive interface. Eight year old kids can start using it with very little instruction.

    That said it has very little in the way of feedback prompts.
    For instance you have to know that once you start to use a tool you can key in your dimensions.

    For example: Click the rectangle surface icon. Click a point on the screen, drag, click an end point Then type in 12,12 <Enter> to define the X and Y size.
    Start a line, select a direction and type in a distance. Hit <Enter> to define the line length.
    Any closed loop of lines and arcs automatically form a surface. Grab the Push/Pull tool, click on a surface and drag then type in a distance <Enter> and the surface is extruded to the size you want. Welcome to 3D.

    It does lack parametrics.
    SketchUp is what the industry calls a dumb surface based solidmodeler.
    You cannot change the size of the solid by entering new dimensions for existing features after they are created, however you can carve away or add geometry as needed.

    One thing I will mention that is a pain for me (Coming from high end CAD) is that Arcs and Circles in SketchUp are not true curves.
    They are groups of faceted lines.
    You can control the granularity of the facets to some extent.

    This can cause arc tangent issues if you are not careful.
    This is normally not a problem if you are creating a visual image, but possibly an issue when generating 3D for Printing.

    There was a ton of 3D party free tools before Trimble bought the product.
    I do not know if they are still available.
    Most notable among them for me was a free 3D fillet/Edge radius tool.

    Sorry for being so long winded.
    If anyone want some help with getting started I will create a new thread for that purpose.
    Last edited by Gruff; Feb 11th, 2015 at 11:52 AM.
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    Is the glass upside down?
    The glass is higher in the center, it's not visible if you look at it, probably because it's about 0.1 mm, but that is enough for the plastic to not stick enough on the edges. If I turn the glass the other way, then it won't stick in the center...

    I will get a dial gauge (like this one), and when I do, I will be able to tell exactly if the glass is not straight (and how much).
    Right now I am doing the calibration by sliding a piece of paper between the glass and the extruder nozzle, and "feeling" the space in between by moving the paper back and forth, and I can tell how close the nozzle is to the glass by the friction of the paper in between the glass and the nozzle.

    Quote Originally Posted by homer13j View Post
    When you print the track are you printing the rails in plastic, too? Most model trains need metal rails to pick up electricity to run unless they're battery powered.
    The train is battery powered, so the tracks (and rails) are plastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruff View Post
    One thing I will mention that is a pain for me (Coming from high end CAD) is that Arcs and Circles in SketchUp are not true curves.
    They are groups of faceted lines.
    Yea, the default of a circle in SketchUp is 24 lines that make up the circle, and when I first made the circle with a radius of 30 cm, I got huge straight lines, then I found I can change the number of lines, by typing in right before you click to draw the circle. I ended up making a circle with 256 lines, and I expanded the circle to individual lines and I used those to make the sleeper bars.

    I plan to design a few more tracks, for example intersecting tracks, so I can make a figure 8 track, or, a track rotating outwards. Then I will post the design on Thingiverse.

  22. #22
    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Another thing about SketchUp arcs and circles is the start point of the line facets.
    This is controlled by where you click the end point that defines the radius after clicking the center point.

    In the attached drawing you can see the red line which defines the X axis in world space versus the start point of the facets

    Attachment 123669
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gruff View Post
    One thing I will mention that is a pain for me (Coming from high end CAD)
    I'm a low end cad, myself, but still enough of a cad to make a pun out of it.

    I stay well away from anything like that design. I know I'm too bad at art to do that kind of thing. I'd be using designs made by other people. That's become less and less restrictive all the time, though. The proliferation of cheap 3D printers is resulting in a similar proliferation of designs. Eventually, as long as you can live within the restrictions of the materials available, you could print up everything in your house and the house itself.
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    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    True CAD has absolutely nothing to do with art and everything to do with engineering.
    Your simply constructing geometry with real world dimensions.

    IMHO Artists make the worst engineers.
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Finally finished printed all the pieces. Takes about 50 minutes to print one piece, and I had to print 20 pieces to form the track.


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    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Nice, but if you really want to impress me print out a working track switch.
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  27. #27
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    That was exactly what I was thinking. I wouldn't have any interest in a train set that had no switches. It would be like a programming language without If statements or other branches: You wouldn't be able to do anything interesting.
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    sure... physical switches? push a lever kind of thing? or automated with a servo motor (or something like that?)

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    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Start with just a lever then work your way up... Personally I use Tortoise stall-type switch motors. But I also use mass-produced Peco or Shinohara switches as well.
    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." -Jack Handey

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    I designed and 3D Printed foldable landing gear for my Hexacopter. Took me a few hours to design it, and it takes 2 hours to print one leg (so 12 hours of 3D printing in total)

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  31. #31
    PowerPoster SJWhiteley's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Just in case someone hasn't said it, but that's fracking awesome, CVMichael.
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  32. #32
    Lively Member homer13j's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by CVMichael View Post
    so 12 hours of 3D printing in total
    Since you're printing several identical parts at once it might be easier to print one as a master then use silicone to make a mold of it then cast as many as you need using plastic resin. The cast parts would be every bit as strong as the printed ones (if not stronger depending on the resin used) and you would save the wear and tear on your 3D printer.

    Just a suggestion.
    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." -Jack Handey

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by SJWhiteley View Post
    Just in case someone hasn't said it, but that's fracking awesome, CVMichael.
    Thank You

    Quote Originally Posted by homer13j View Post
    Since you're printing several identical parts at once it might be easier to print one as a master then use silicone to make a mold of it then cast as many as you need using plastic resin.
    Yes, I thought of that, but the problem in my case is space (and money)... I am doing this in my living room, I don't have a house with basement, or garage, or backyard, etc... I don't have enough space for the things I want to do, and to add to that cans of resins and casts; it's too much (plus the smells of the chemichals). Here (in Canada, Toronto) housing is very expensive, one person cannot afford it. Even though I have above average sallary (as a Programmer Analyst), it's still not enough for me to get a house. If I was alone maybe I could, but I also support wife and son. Maybe in a few years things will get better for me financially, hopefully...
    Last edited by CVMichael; Feb 20th, 2015 at 12:23 PM.

  34. #34
    WiggleWiggle dclamp's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    I like the Tupperware housing. Keeps the contents safe and secure and also provides a place to keep your leftovers and fly them to a friend.

  35. #35
    Frenzied Member Gruff's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    So I guess you could call then flyovers?
    Burn the land and boil the sea
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  36. #36

    Thread Starter
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Here is my newest creation

    I took the design from here: http://multirotorpilotmag.com/fpvquad/
    I spent many.... many hours modifying it, made it better, and stronger.

    I also posted the design on Thigiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:748749

    Name:  2015-03-30 20.47.45 small.jpg
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  37. #37
    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Here (in Canada, Toronto) housing is very expensive, one person cannot afford it.
    Judging by your current efforts it wont be long before you 3D print your own House
    Please Mark your Thread "Resolved", if the query is solved & Rate those who have helped you



  38. #38
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Can you 3d print a 3d printer? If you did, would it take over the world?
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  39. #39
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Yes.... I've seen articles about this being done. And no, it won't. That's in a future upgrade.

    -tg
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  40. #40

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    Re: Anyone into 3D printing?

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedSomeAnswers View Post
    Judging by your current efforts it wont be long before you 3D print your own House
    That's a good idea, I will start working on it right away


    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter
    Can you 3d print a 3d printer? If you did, would it take over the world?
    I attached 2 pictures with my printer. Every part that is white color IS 3D Printed! so the printer can print some of it's own parts, but of course the majority of parts are impossible to print, like the metal bars (linear rails), threaded rods, bearings, motors, extruder head, cables & wires, belt, screws, the electronics, and power suppy. I can't imagine a time in the future when a 3D printer can print ALL the parts...
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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