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#152161 18-Sep-2014 00:11
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I've wanted a 3D printer for ages, and splashed out on a budget model last week.  I picked the XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 which from some sources is being sold in NZ under the Oki brand, though curiously mine arrived from one of those sources with the original XYZprinting branding on the box and the unit.  The da Vinci is cheaper because they expect you to buy their custom-sized ABS plastic refills which are more expensive than some others options, but a little Googling suggests there are ways to refill them yourself.  One of the key reasons I chose this model over other budget models is that it has a relatively large 20x20x20cm build area.  http://www.xyzprinting.co.nz/ has more details.

Loving it so far.  Have printed a dozen items from www.thingiverse.com for the kids while tinkering.  The da Vinci comes with printing software that lets you load an object and move/scale it prior to printing.  It does not come with design software.

3D printers still seem to be at the "bleeding-edge / early adopters" stage.  It works pretty well and is simple to operate, but is far from idiot-proof in terms of how your design will actually come out.  A bit of trial and error will quickly establish what works an what you need to prepare to make your prints successful.  My 3D graveyard consists of several sad-looking Eiffel Towers, and even my 4th attempt (approximately my 10th print) had issues.

I had a practical use for it this week when wanting a custom-made bracket for a slim PC and an external DVD drive to sit nicely together by my TV.  5 minutes research suggested TinkerCAD and Sketchup were commonly used.  I've not tried TinkerCAD yet.  Sketchup was easy to install and I got going with it pretty easily, figuring I would learn as I went.  2 hours later after quite a bit of trial and error I had the bracket designed and ready to print.  I started the print and went to bed.  The finished result in the morning (after a 2-3 hour print) was disappointing due to some conversion issues (you need to export from Sketchup to the common .STL format) and my choice of print quality settings.  Some bits snapped off far too easily.

Tonight I watched Sketchup's introduction videos, and came out with many valuable tips.  I redesigned the bracket from scratch in 30 minutes, largely because I now knew how to create components, group them together, and copy components instead of having to draw each bit individually.  I also paid a lot more attention to the print quality (etc) settings.  Version 2.1 will take 4-5 hours to print.  I'll post an update tomorrow, but I'm pretty confident this time. :)




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  #1131915 19-Sep-2014 06:51
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At my son's intermediate school they just got a 3D printer in their class.  I'll be interested in how it goes for you as I have to help my son find a suitable application to use at home.  The school recommended TinkerCAD, however we will not install it for him as he does not meet the T&C (I know I'm a bit anal about the fact he is 12 and not 13, but it is about teaching him to follow the law).  We installed SketchUp, but the learning curve might be a bit steep for him as he just wants to draw stuff like you do in SPORE https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spore_Creature_Creator.




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  #1131974 19-Sep-2014 09:56
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Version 2 came out much stronger.  :)  The quality was far from smooth (I'll need to lightly sand some areas).  Where the nozzle keeps going around, the result is pretty good quality.  Where the nozzle finishes one area and stops squirting before moving to another area and restarting, there are numerous 'tails' of plastic.  Part of the design had some bridge-like structural features which requires the printer to put a support structure underneath.  When breaking away the support material, the edges need to be sanded to give a smooth result.

Unfortunately it will be quite some time (if at all) before we can get a smooth finish from 3D printers.  I guess squirting dots of plastic is a little more challenging than squirting dots of liquid ink onto a page, and there may be physical limitations on how small the plastic dots can be.

Re software, it will probably be a while before I get to playing with something else.  The 30 minutes of Sketchup introduction videos was invaluable.  I'm not sure any CAD software would be ideal for creating creatures as they are more about lines and angles and blocks than torsos and legs.  It would be do-able, but much more time consuming I would think.

I've just looked at the Creature Creator software - very cool and at only $10 I'll trial it before probably grabbing a copy for my kids to have a go with.  

Your point about following the law is absolutely valid and is an excellent lesson, and could be the subject of significant debate in future I'm sure in regards to where there is acceptable risk in putting a toe over the line.  In my case for the younger ones, I'll accept the license agreement and take on the responsibility for their use.  I'm confident the specified age is for butt-covering legalese reasons rather than real risks (including risks of nightmares for the littlies from the created creatures) to any of the parties.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

 
 
 
 


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  #1132866 20-Sep-2014 19:34
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For work we are planning on getting a Makerbot 2X.  It does 2 materials at the same time, and the second material is water soluble used for support structures so you just wash it away instead of having to break it off and sanding it down.  My wife is a mechanical engineer (we work at the same company) and will be great when we get to play with making stuff.

The kids loved SPORE when they were smaller, and there is a company you send the files to and they print the model for you.  But a bit expensive and we want to print it ourselves.  And at my son's school the teacher wants to print stuff, anything, because they got a new toy.  Thus looking for software he can easily use to print it himself.




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  #1133429 22-Sep-2014 09:48
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Niel: It does 2 materials at the same time, and the second material is water soluble used for support structures so you just wash it away instead of having to break it off and sanding it down.

Now that is an excellent idea - never heard it before.  There is a version 2.0 da Vinci model coming out that will have dual extruders.  It would be nice to think they will have the soluble support material available as an option.  There is also a 2.1 option coming, where the .1 denotes it has a built in 3D scanner (15x15x15cm scan area).  I can't justify $2000+, but might be able to swing $1000-$1200 particularly if a scanner is included.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

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  #1134798 23-Sep-2014 18:58
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For work my wife (mechanical engineer) is getting the scanner option, dealing direct with the importer and including supplies a package deal is ~$4k.  Not sure if it is including or excluding GST, would think it is excluding, but does include lots of supplies.




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