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  1. #1

    Newbie question about development.

    Is it possible for someone to perform and complete the development work for a simple 3D project without having the physical printer. I'm asking because my father in law is wanting to get into the hobby anyway that he can, but in no way afford a printer. Besides the development is that part he enjoys the most and the physical product his development would produce is secondary to his interest.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    you can buy a 3d printer for less than $200
    He really can't afford that ?

    The other way is to send your design to a print service: 3d hubs, shapeways and many others.
    Just search for: 3d print services

    But in the medium to long term it's probably cheaper to buy your own printer.
    It's also a lot more fun :-)

  3. #3
    Sorry for the delay in reply. He could afford that easily. Heck, if not I will just buy if as a gift for him. Is the development software included, and if so is it something that would give him the experience of the complexities or similarities to much more expensive printers.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    most of us use free CAD (development) software.
    You can pay for it, but unless you're doing industrial development, it's generally not necessary.

    Two good places to start are: www.openscad.org
    Which is the one I use.
    Or
    http://www.123dapp.com/
    For a whole suite of free programs :-)

    All fdm 3d printers use the same method of printing. So theoretically you can get pretty much the same results from them all.
    The real cheap ones come in kits and can be problemeatic.
    Personally I'd look at two of the cheaper ready made machines:
    the monoprice v2 (a rebadged wanhao duplicator i3 2.1) https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-138...+3d+printer+v2

    And the qidi tech 1: https://www.amazon.com/TECHNOLOGY-3D...&keywords=qidi

    The qidi is a far bit more money, but is a seriously good machine that can give results comparable with machine costing many times more.
    And while an old design, is still one of the best desktop machines around.

    No 3d printer is idiot proof. And getting good results from any 3d printer requires the user to learn about the process and generally do some fiddling and tweaking.
    It's as much an art as a science and things as diverse as the humidity of a room and the colour of the filament can make noticeable differences.

    That said, I would NOT be without a 3d printer these days. Being able to conceive of a thing, design it and then make it from a strong and durable material within a few hours - is really remarkable.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 02-16-2017 at 05:54 AM.

  5. #5
    Thanks so much. I will check those machines out and the free CAD

  6. #6
    Engineer Marm's Avatar
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    Don't forget SketchUp as another free modeling package. It may not be as powerful as some of the commercial packages, or their free equivalents, but it's all I've ever needed.
    I won't knock any of the other packages either, as I've only dabbled with a couple of them. OpenSCAD, though, is amazing if you can think like it needs you too.

    But yes, you can design a full prototype from scratch without a printer. It's just much easier with a printer as you can find things that need fixed when it's printed, that you'd never see in CAD.

  7. #7
    Like they said they had a lot of simple software like Sketchup or 123D for the designer. And also we'll have the online cloud 3D printing platform coming. It will allow you to upload your .stl file to our printing room and begin the printing on our machine. With a real-time stream camera you can see how the printing goes. Sounds cool right?

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Roxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rolloman View Post
    Is it possible for someone to perform and complete the development work for a simple 3D project without having the physical printer. I'm asking because my father in law is wanting to get into the hobby anyway that he can, but in no way afford a printer. Besides the development is that part he enjoys the most and the physical product his development would produce is secondary to his interest.
    If you are a RepRap'er... Everything is "Open Source". Mostly I like developing firmware, so the Marlin firmware is good for me. And I'm taking off on a ski trip tomorrow. I'll be developing pieces of firmware as time permits without a printer. Albeit, other people with printers will be helping with the testing. And all of the plastic parts of the printer are printed by the printer. So that is a lot of development opportunity. Most people developing printer parts are doing it for their own printer. They typically test the parts by using the destination printer to make the parts. But the CAD tools are getting good enough... You can get pretty far without actually printing anything.

  9. #9
    Engineer Marm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panowin View Post
    Like they said they had a lot of simple software like Sketchup or 123D for the designer. And also we'll have the online cloud 3D printing platform coming. It will allow you to upload your .stl file to our printing room and begin the printing on our machine. With a real-time stream camera you can see how the printing goes. Sounds cool right?
    Sounds like shapeways.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Marm View Post
    Sounds like shapeways.
    Yes about the same. But I think Shapeways just provide the printing service. I'm not sure if they can customized your own cloud printing system.

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