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Old 01-08-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
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3D Printers. Who's got one?

Just curious if any of you have experience with the kit built printers. I'm getting ready to buy one for my classroom but am hoping to hear reviews from y'all! Pics, parts made, etc would be awesome too.

I'm pretty settled on the Mendelmax 1.5 I was hoping to get in on the beta testing of the 2.0, but my school budget just won't cut it. As it is, I'm going to have to buy the frame kit now and then wait until the next school year for my new budget to buy all of the electronics.

One of my main questions is how hard, if at all possible, is it to export a model from Sketchup to the printer? What specific software is required?



All right. Lets see your printers!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:42 AM   #3
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I ran one of these back in the 80's one of the last ones around, wholly crap I'm old
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:29 PM   #4
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Finger bits.



Not assembled correctly but you get the idea...





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Old 03-22-2015, 01:28 PM   #5
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Rest of the parts done. The tensioner block is on backwards but you get the idea.







Starting to run the strings.



Running the elastic.



Tensioner block.



Looks pretty messy...



But cleaned up nice!









Still working out the kinks but it seems to function pretty darn well.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:25 AM   #6
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I'm pretty happy with all of the free software I'm using now.

To make new parts: OpenScad http://www.openscad.org/
To merge multiple STL: meshlab http://meshlab.sourceforge.net/
To slice and print: Cura https://software.ultimaker.com/

Cura replaces my use of Slic3r and Printrun as a one-stop slice, panel, and print. And with meshlab I can load up multiple STL, mash them up, then export a new STL. Meshlab replaces my use of Netfabb.

I should try this out too Meshmixer http://www.meshmixer.com/
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:10 PM   #7
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I donno about your Sketch-up question. My experience with exporting drawings across to CAM software and tools has been... frustration. Hopefully what ever controller software you get will have at least a import/conversion wizard, maybe even a rudimentary CAD editor.

I'm for anyone who has gone down the DIY printing and associated headaches road to come out of the woodwork and dispense their wisdom.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:33 PM   #8
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:08 PM   #9
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I don't know much about the subject except that I use sketchup a fair bit; I'd be surprised if you find any straightforward way to export skp files to something you can print. I think you'd have to start with something like solidworks or vcarve or autocad.
Good luck, I want to see what sort of projects (preassembled air engine?) your class prints out. And I'd be interested if sketchup does play well with 3d printers.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:55 PM   #10
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SketchUp supports plugins for import / export. You'll need too find what format the 3d printer you're interested in expects, but there are sketchup plugin as for common formats such as stl.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:19 AM   #11
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Two weeks ago, I bought SolidWorks Premium. My next step is either a CNC router or a rapid prototyping machine.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkpunch View Post
One of my main questions is how hard, if at all possible, is it to export a model from Sketchup to the printer? What specific software is required?
I am coordinating the 3D printing of a large project that is ultimately for a world entertainment company. It's hard to believe they are doing their architectural 3D modeling sketchup. All of their files have to be sent out to be redrawn in Solidworks so they'll print accurately. (at a large expense....)

My impression is that it's possible to convert SKP files to a format that is accepted by 3D printers, but you're asking for problems. You'd be better off with getting your students to learn an industry standard piece of software such as Solidworks, especially since you can get it for so cheap as an educator.




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Old 01-12-2013, 02:37 PM   #13
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Been doing a ton of research... Here's what I figured out so far.

Working with a guy on ebay who has a kit with everything but the electronics. Decent price, open to offers, and willing to give educators a discount!

Mendelmax 1.5 kit- $550 / offers, free shipping: http://www.ebay.com/itm/221169267158...84.m1423.l2649



Other required parts:

NEMA 17 Motors- $48.32 plus $27.95 S&H. So $76.27 total.
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5pcs-...554160664.html



Hot-End
- $54.99 plus $3.75 S&H. So $58.74 total.

https://www.hotends.com/index.php?ro...&product_id=88



RAMPS Electronics
-
$185 plus $5.78 S&H. So $190.78 total.
http://ultimachine.com/ramps-pre-assembled-kit-complete



30A 12V Power Supply- $29.96 with free S&H.

http://bit.ly/TvVyBY




As far as software goes, it appears there are several different ways to go about exporting from Sketchup, but it is definitely a multi-step process and who knows how the print quality would come out. I'm definitely willing to give it a try! The ebay seller with the Mendelmax kit recommends this:

Quote:
As far as the sketchup, I use it all the time. Sketchup is great for people getting started in 3D printing. I know many people that design in it. You just download a free STL exporter. So the tool chain goes like this. You design your object with sketchup. Export it as an STL. Open the STL in "Netfabb studio" and hit repair. Netfabb makes the file printable. Then export the fixed STL file. Open your slicing program (I use Slic3r) and slice the STL. Now the file is a GCODE file. Now just open the GCODE in "Pronterface" and hit Print.
I've got Netfabb and Slic3r installed, working on finding an STL exporter for Sketchup and still a little confused about the "Pronterface"- lots of information there...

Also have a request in to get a trial version of Solidworks. I would LOVE to have an "industry standard" CAD program, but even at $150 a seat (can't find an actual price anywhere?) that would cost waayyy to much. Maybe if I bought a couple of seats a year I could make it work, but in the meantime I'm sorta stuck with Sketchup.

I'm also a little concerned about print price, but I think it will be okay. Did some rough calculations and to print a Hot Wheels size model car should theoretically cost between $1 and $3.00 depending on a few different things.

Also, here seems to be an excellent resource for finding sources for filament, troubleshooting code, or just information in general! http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
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dorkpunch screwed with this post 01-12-2013 at 02:47 PM
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:49 PM   #14
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All of this in hopes we can turn something like this:




Into an actual printed car.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:25 PM   #15
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So in theory, it works... I downloaded and installed a ruby script for exporting Sketchup models as .stl's from Github here: https://github.com/SketchUp/sketchup-stl

Took about 2 seconds to download and install. Made up a quick widget:



Exported it as an STL, then opened in Netfabb and clicked "repair"



Saved it, then opened it in Slic3r, and hit export gcode.



VIOLA!!!! GCODE!!!



Now if only I had a printer to test it out on...
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