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Old 01-03-2017, 09:06 PM
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Default Let's Talk About 3D Printing !



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What are your opinions on 3D printing and 3D Printers? What about the industry as a whole? Is this an industry that will die off? Is there any way to profit off of it? I have been looking into it for some time now and I still don't know what to think of it.

specifically talking about 3D printers that are directed towards consumers.

like makerbot : https://www.makerbot.com/
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:39 PM
mauser6863 mauser6863 is offline
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Currently the utility of 3D printers is limited to rapid prototyping and less expensive production of "one-off" products. However this is evolving rapidly.

One day in the not so distance future, "Additive Manufacturing" (3D Printing) will occupy an important place in the majority of manufacturing operations. It will not replace everything, but it will be used where it makes sense, just as forging, investment casting, molding and machining (and many other processes) are all used today.

A company called Solid Concepts made the news recently with a metal 99% 3D Printed 1911. All major components, including the barrel were created by Additive Manufacturing. They fired 5,000 rounds through the pistol and retired it from use. The process uses powdered metal and a laser to sinter the material into a solid piece.

Right now the big issue is cost. The machine (The size of your refrigerator) to create this firearm costs around $250k, plus the cost of the powered metals and Argon gas (not cheap) needed in the process. At today's prices, this 1911 pistol is produced at a price tag of around $6,000 USD - Dead Nuts Cost!!!

https://3dprint.com/21109/3d-print-metal-gun-reason/

So buy a Rock Island 1911 for under $500 from Bud's Gun Shop

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...es.php?cat=876

Alternatively buy a Korth, roller locked PRS for around $5,000 USD

http://www.guns.com/2013/12/27/meet-...erpiece-video/

Either way, 3D metal printing is not even close to being economical today, compared to traditional manufacturing. As stated previously, this is going to change.

The other "Good News" is that it is going to be much easier for anyone to make anything they want, within the limitations of the technology. The limitation of making a real metal pistol have now been overcome. This is good for those that cherish human freedom and bad for those that don't.

Just as most computer and cellular phone users can't read or write computer code, the 3D printer requires minimal set-up and no "artisan" or "tradesmen skills" to operate. If you have the printer, the materials and the file, you can make all the guns and gun parts you can afford to make.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mauser6863 View Post
Currently the utility of 3D printers is limited to rapid prototyping and less expensive production of "one-off" products. However this is evolving rapidly.

One day in the not so distance future, "Additive Manufacturing" (3D Printing) will occupy an important place in the majority of manufacturing operations. It will not replace everything, but it will be used where it makes sense, just as forging, investment casting, molding and machining (and many other processes) are all used today.

A company called Solid Concepts made the news recently with a metal 99% 3D Printed 1911. All major components, including the barrel were created by Additive Manufacturing. They fired 5,000 rounds through the pistol and retired it from use. The process uses powdered metal and a laser to sinter the material into a solid piece.

Right now the big issue is cost. The machine (The size of your refrigerator) to create this firearm costs around $250k, plus the cost of the powered metals and Argon gas (not cheap) needed in the process. At today's prices, this 1911 pistol is produced at a price tag of around $6,000 USD - Dead Nuts Cost!!!

https://3dprint.com/21109/3d-print-metal-gun-reason/

So buy a Rock Island 1911 for under $500 from Bud's Gun Shop

https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...es.php?cat=876

Alternatively buy a Korth, roller locked PRS for around $5,000 USD

http://www.guns.com/2013/12/27/meet-...erpiece-video/

Either way, 3D metal printing is not even close to being economical today, compared to traditional manufacturing. As stated previously, this is going to change.

The other "Good News" is that it is going to be much easier for anyone to make anything they want, within the limitations of the technology. The limitation of making a real metal pistol have now been overcome. This is good for those that cherish human freedom and bad for those that don't.

Just as most computer and cellular phone users can't read or write computer code, the 3D printer requires minimal set-up and no "artisan" or "tradesmen skills" to operate. If you have the printer, the materials and the file, you can make all the guns and gun parts you can afford to make.
excellent post
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Old 01-03-2017, 10:42 PM
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Anything that can be manufactured with conventional means will be cheaper.

Like global warming, rapid prototyping has expanded to rapid manufacturing as the prototyping methods evolved to make parts good enough for production. Additive Manufacturing is the new accepted term. This also promoted the name of subtractive manufacturing for all the conventional CNC machining and cutting of materials.

HP entered the additive manufacturing arena with the Jet Fusion 3D Printers. This machine will make complex parts comparable to injection molded parts. The break-even point between a Jet Fusion parts and the cost of constructing the injection mold is about 50,000 parts.

The two strengths of additive manufacturing are complexity for free and low production quantities. If you looking at Ford Door Handle trim that will go on 10,000,000 trucks, old methods will be used.

"We don't have the part in stock, but we have it on file." It may take 6 hours to print the part and cost $15 instead of 15 cents, but with lengthy overnight deliver and the $35 shipping charge . . .

Repair parts that avoid storage, shipping time, and shipping costs may have an advantage over factory original parts. The space station may find many valuable uses for on demand manufacturing.

If we want to get into metal, we are looking at machines in the six and seven figure mark.

A few comments on the Solid Concepts firearm. As it was made of metal, it was able to fire "5,000 rounds without a problem" when it was retired. They made no indication that it had reached its service life. While "machining" was not used to shape the parts, the support structure needed during the laser sintering was made of the same stainless steel as the weapon. A bit elbow grease would be needed to remove and cleanup the parts. Some craftsmanship was required in addition to just pressing print. The print bed would also be sent across the hall to the CNC shop to get resurfaces. A company is not going to have a laser sintering machine without first having some milling machines.

If you need to adapt something around the house, if you can picture the shape that you need to connect other parts, you may have a task for a maker bot.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:22 PM
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Trying to turn a profit with consumer grade printers isn't going to happen any time soon. They're too slow and, as others have said, the breakeven point is far down the road. If you design yourself, at reasonable consumer volumes you probably won't make enough profit (not sales, net profit) to recoup the cost of that time.

Don't forget that the printers have a limited volume to work with so you can only produce that much product at a time and for the (potentially many) hours it takes to complete, you're not able to make anything else. There's a whole lot of "hurry up and wait" involved. Making hard to get things for your own use still takes time but when you're not "on the clock" that doesn't matter as much. I'm not sure that there will be a middle ground between hobbyist and industrial for some time.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:31 PM
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mauser6863 nailed it with his post.

Ill add that 3D printing is making waves in tons of different industries. Architects are using it to test design concepts for example.

A guy here in MN build a 3d printer that printed concrete... made himself a castle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ5Elbvvr1M

It was amazing to have access to a 3d printer while i was heavily into making and flying drones... in that case the material strength was sufficient for brackets and adapters.

The limitations currently are cost and material strength, both of which are only going to get better and better.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:32 PM
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Forgot to add that you're more likely to be able to turn a profit with a CNC than a 3D printer. Much cheaper process and best practices are established and well known.
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:44 AM
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I recently looked up books on 3D printing. The concept is fascinating. Though my limitations in making a design for such a machine to work from is a stumbling block. One thing I encountered is mention of 3D scanners. I have not researched what those are yet but if they have some kind of device that you can scan any object to create a image for a 3D printer to work with, it really opens up possibilities. Besides 3D printing there is machining and 3D wood carvers that could work from this.

It would be neat to have a machine that scanned a item, created a design for reproduction and fashioned it without me requiring drawing ability.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbelievable View Post
What are your opinions on 3D printing and 3D Printers? What about the industry as a whole? Is this an industry that will die off? Is there any way to profit off of it? I have been looking into it for some time now and I still don't know what to think of it.

specifically talking about 3D printers that are directed towards consumers.

like makerbot : https://www.makerbot.com/
I look at them as the consumer grade laser printers. Yes they are handy tools to have, but you are not going to 'turn a profit' from a consumer grade product like this. Though I can see uses around the house (or a small business) for a custom made part, especially for oddball applications or discontinued products.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by MattB4 View Post
I recently looked up books on 3D printing. The concept is fascinating. Though my limitations in making a design for such a machine to work from is a stumbling block. One thing I encountered is mention of 3D scanners. I have not researched what those are yet but if they have some kind of device that you can scan any object to create a image for a 3D printer to work with, it really opens up possibilities. Besides 3D printing there is machining and 3D wood carvers that could work from this.

It would be neat to have a machine that scanned a item, created a design for reproduction and fashioned it without me requiring drawing ability.
From what I have found, most are based on CAD drawings, of which there are literally millions of templates already out there. That is like any other form of drawing, it requires practice at a minimum.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:32 PM
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It would be neat to have a machine that scanned a item, created a design for reproduction and fashioned it without me requiring drawing ability.
Makerbot actually has something that does this... but its definitely not going to be as accurate as you would probably want it to be... and it would miss any internal structure.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:14 PM
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Industrial 3d printing will absolutely make many common labor jobs obsolete in the near future, and make specialized jobs much more in demand to operate the additive manufacturing equipment. Many large companies are going all in on additive manufacturing, it will save boat loads of labor money and increase quality assurance by several fold.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:11 PM
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did you guys hear about Mille?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAxzcOjL8mw
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:44 PM
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The technology is advancing rapidly. It's driven by not only the conventional industry but also the "Maker" groups. Some very creative people.
There are a bunch of different machines from diy types to full blown industrial machines. You can get into a basic one for under $500 if you would like to dip your toe.
I don't have any hands on but we do have a couple at work. I do some CADCAM and have had a couple of things printed. One was a squirrel cage fan that came out better than expected. The other was a "G" job for one of our engineers. It was a modified motorcycle intake manifold. He used the printed part as a mold pattern. Then had it cast in aluminum.
That turned out okay for him.
Mostly they use them for learning tools.

Tried to talk my boss into one but he wouldn't bite. I was looking at the Mark Forged printer that can do Fiberglas, carbon fiber, and Kevlar reinforced materials.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:55 PM
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Successful "Maker" groups will use additive manufacturing devices (3D Printer) as one of many tools in their tool room.
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Old 01-10-2017, 08:46 AM
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My good engineer friend has a fairly expensive and large 3D printer. He makes plastic automotive badges, copies of the chrome ones from cars of yesterday. He then has them flash-chrome plated. There was a minor market for replacement badges for restoration. He also prints out structural part prototypes to check form, fit and configuration before production of the final design.

He can print in PLA, ABS and Nylon. None of which are particularly strong.

Otherwise his 5 figure machine sits idle. It's too bad really, but I think we as a society have run out of ideas for plastic things.

Gulfstream Aerospace has the metal additive type printers. They can make aerospace grade components with them. However, they choose not to make parts in an unconventional manner. As the structural failure mode is unknown.

Conventional methods of metal manufacturing have very well understood properties and are, in fact, often far easier than printing them.
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:04 AM
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They have metal/plastic hybrid material now for FDM printers. You need to make sure your FDM printer can use them but if it has the capability you can get that now:

https://www.matterhackers.com/store/...whYaAoMF8P8HAQ

https://www.matterhackers.com/store/...hgoaAl8T8P8HAQ
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:10 AM
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It's too bad really, but I think we as a society have run out of ideas for plastic things.
Nah, there's plenty of uses still and as those 3D printers come down in price, expect them to be used more creatively.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by p95ccw View Post
They have metal/plastic hybrid material now for FDM printers. You need to make sure your FDM printer can use them but if it has the capability you can get that now:

https://www.matterhackers.com/store/...whYaAoMF8P8HAQ

https://www.matterhackers.com/store/...hgoaAl8T8P8HAQ
That fill is for appearance. The parts will still be week along the Z axis.
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauser6863 View Post
The process uses powdered metal and a laser to sinter the material into a solid piece.

Right now the big issue is cost. The machine (The size of your refrigerator) to create this firearm costs around $250k, plus the cost of the powered metals and Argon gas (not cheap) needed in the process. At today's prices, this 1911 pistol is produced at a price tag of around $6,000 USD - Dead Nuts Cost!!!
Think about this way: when we (finally) shoot some settlers into Mars (or even Moon) they can take a 3D printer and some raw materials instead of tons of specific spare parts for their machinery. Especially if it becomes possible to "easily" recycle stuff into printable materials again.

Even some arctic base could benefit. How much it costs to send some rare spare sprocket to antarctica, if it cannot wait for prescheduled delivery? Amazon Drones don't fly that far yet

I have seen people printing small car parts that are either hard to come by or expensive.
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