3D Printers. Who's got one?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by dorkpunch, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    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!
    #1
  2. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    :rofl

    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 :*sip* for anyone who has gone down the DIY printing and associated headaches road to come out of the woodwork and dispense their wisdom.
    #3
  4. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    :lurk
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  5. slackmeyer

    slackmeyer Don't mean sheeit. .

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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.
    #5
  6. PoundSand

    PoundSand Long timer

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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.
    #6
  7. The Other Allan

    The Other Allan Been here awhile

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    Two weeks ago, I bought SolidWorks Premium. My next step is either a CNC router or a rapid prototyping machine.
    #7
  8. emerson.biguns

    emerson.biguns All idiot, no savant

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    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.




    .
    #8
  9. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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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?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

    [​IMG]

    Other required parts:

    NEMA 17 Motors- $48.32 plus $27.95 S&H. So $76.27 total.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5pcs...pper-motor-stepping-motor-1-8A/554160664.html

    [​IMG]

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

    https://www.hotends.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=68&product_id=88

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]


    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:

    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
    #9
  10. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    All of this in hopes we can turn something like this:


    [​IMG]

    Into an actual printed car.
    #10
  11. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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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:

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    VIOLA!!!! GCODE!!!

    [​IMG]

    Now if only I had a printer to test it out on... :lol3
    #11
  12. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    Whups, one last step. :huh

    Finally figured out what "Pronterface" is- downloadable here: https://github.com/kliment/Printrun#readme

    It also appears to have the Slic3r included with the zip file. Anyways, after the gcode is made, you open Pronterface, load the gcode, and, assuming you have a printer plugged in, hit print. I'm betting the options are all shaded out because I don't have a printer plugged in. :deal

    [​IMG]

    Looks like it gives you all kinds of useful info- temps of nozzle and bed, estimated amount of filament used, etc..
    #12
  13. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    I gone an dun it. Spent roughly $1,000 and got all the bits ordered. Sure hope I get reimbursed for this, or my family will be eating Ramen for the next 8 months. :norton
    #13
  14. RomaDakota

    RomaDakota Illuminatus!

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    Lurking. I wanna make a chess set!
    #14
  15. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    Well then here's a little food for thought... Here's the cost of stuff so far. I did get a bit of a break on some things because its for a school and its a "Beta" version, but these prices are the actual current list prices.


    <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="760"><colgroup><col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:7680;width:158pt" width="210"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:512;width:11pt" width="14"> <col style="width:48pt" width="64"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:402;width:8pt" width="11"> <col style="mso-width-source:userset;mso-width-alt:16859;width:346pt" width="461"> </colgroup><tbody><tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt;width:158pt" height="20" width="210">Mendelmax 2.0 </td> <td style="width:11pt" width="14">
    </td> <td class="xl65" style="width:48pt" width="64">
    </td> <td style="width:8pt" width="11">
    </td> <td style="width:346pt" width="461">
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt" height="20">
    </td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65">
    </td> <td>
    </td> <td>
    </td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt" height="20">Kit</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$715.00</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl67">http://www.makerstoolworks.com/</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt" height="20">Stepper Mtrs & limit sw. (4)</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$84.35</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl67">http://ultimachine.com/content/kysan-1124090-nema-17-stepper-motor</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td colspan="2" style="height:15.0pt;mso-ignore:colspan" height="20">Print Controller & Stepper drivers</td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$99.00</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl67">http://www.indiegogo.com/rumba</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt" height="20">Power Supply</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$27.33</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl67">http://www.amazon.com/Switching-Pow...1356922701&sr=8-9&keywords=24vdc+power+supply</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td style="height:15.0pt" height="20">Plastruder (3mm)</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$170.00</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl67">http://www.makergear.com/pages/stepper-plastruder-instructions</td> </tr> <tr style="height:15.0pt" height="20"> <td class="xl66" style="height:15.0pt" height="20">TOTAL:</td> <td>
    </td> <td class="xl65" align="right">$1,095.68</td> <td>
    </td> <td>
    </td> </tr> </tbody></table>

    Little more info on my blog (dorkpunch.com) but not much. I plan on posting everything here and there as this project comes together.
    #15
  16. PoundSand

    PoundSand Long timer

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    Any idea how labor intensive this kit is to set up, calibrate and keep calibrated?
    #16
  17. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    No idea. :lol3

    It really depends on what you get. The kits, especially the 2.0, look fairly easy to assemble. The electronics, at least for me, look a little daunting. I ordered most of the stuff pre-assembled, meaning I hopefully won't have to do any soldering- just running wires from motors to controls, etc. As far as calibration and keeping it "tuned", again, no idea. Stay tuned, I'm about to find out. :deal
    #17
  18. PoundSand

    PoundSand Long timer

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    Can't wait to hear. ;)

    It is one of the things that had scared me away from a makerbot but I've heard very little direct experience....
    #18
  19. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    Parts!

    Got the stepper motors, the power supply, and the plastruder.


    [​IMG]

    I bought a few limit switches with the stepper motors, not sure if I will end up needing them or not. The power supply looks pretty straight forward, although it looks like it got dinged in shipping- one corner is a little bent. The plastruder... "Some assembly required". Looks like fun! The black and white coils are some sample plastic. I was surprised at how thin it is.

    Here is what a plastic printed part looks like.


    [​IMG]
    Hoping to start assembly on the plastruder tonight, but we'll see how it goes.
    #19
  20. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

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    We looked at getting one, but they are so slow, so it would be hard to develop student projects around a 3D printer. However, if you need a special part, that would be really hard to make, it's the way to go. I might have another look at one soon. We have a laser cutter, that is getting a lot of use, but it was really expensive.

    I am keen to find out how you'll get on with yours.

    That's the one I'd be going for.
    #20