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  1. #1

    3d Printer options for scale models (DLP vs FDM)

    Hi all,

    First post here, new member and looking forward to contribute and learn.

    I have been reading a lot recently about my options for a (my first) 3d printer. I would really appreciate your input/feedback concerning my choices. I got a shortlist of models and specs/needs that i have.

    Main task for the printer to be able to provide pro-level prototypes for scale models in a pro-workshop environment. I understand that this might skyrocket the price if combined with build-volume. For this reason, i must say that i do not mind post-processing the parts printed at all as long as the material is sandable etc like polystyrene (HIPS) or resin (i am used at working with HIPS and resin scale models).

    So what are my needs in short:

    1. reliability-dependability, (i need it as a work tool)
    2. quality of prints (50 microns at least). As i said, i could post-process something (to eliminate layers by sanding/priming/using putty)but if i can avoid/limit then thats better...
    3. decent volume (although i could get a small DLP and simply assemble a bigger prototype based on smaller parts)
    4. locally available (i am in Europe), including parts.
    5, Would be ideal to be able to use HIPS (since i am used to styrene) instead of PLA if i opt for an FDM machine.
    6. Linux only here, so the slicer should be open-source (cura?) and linux compatible.

    Having (hopefully) understood the basics (post processing of resin prints with cleaning/curing, abs/hips needing specific temps/enclosures etc...), and reading a lot of reviews/forums/videos, i made a small shortlist of machines that theoretically should fit the bill.


    FDM 1. Prusa i3 Mk3 (ok volume, 50 microns, nice features, kit building will teach me a lot, pre-built one has 2-years warranty...)
    FDM 2. Creality CR-10S (or S4) (hearing a lot about this, superb volume, 50 microns quality of print?)
    FDM 3. Wanhao Duplicator 6 (promising 20 micron quality to rival the dlp? - 20x20x17.5cm volume, decent but significantly less than the mk3 and cr-10s)

    DLP 1. Wanhao Duplicator 7 Plus (looks ideal with respect to print quality. I wont need to post process the parts, but i would need to split my designs in parts having the building volume as my constraint.)

    Some comments-closing remarks:

    1. I do not mind upgrading a printer (i don't like to spend time troubleshooting though...).
    2. I also do not mind kits since i will learn a lot with respect to the mechanics of the machine (as long as it is not problematic that gets me to endless loops of troubleshooting)
    3. I understand the benefits of high-quality/cost options such as ultimaker 3, form-2 etc... but i want to start with something less costly (less than 1000euros).
    4. I could also consider a combination of 2 printers...like a DLP D7 and a cheaper FDM as long as the total cost does not overshoot 1000eu significantly.

    Thank you VERY much for your time and replies and apologies for the lengthy (and possibly tiring) post.

    PS. If you think that another machine of similar cost would fit in better please feel free to recommend.

  2. #2
    coule of points. fdm at 0.02mm layer height - forget it. that's fifty layers per mm - you might manage one print a week. Plus I honestly do not believe any lower range fdm machine can accurately do that anyway.

    You'll probably find that 0.1mm is more than sufficient.
    Hips filament is commonly available - never used it myself but don't recall anyone saying it's a problem material. Commonly used as supports as it's soluble in limonene.

    Also bear in mind resolution on an fdm nachine is defined by 2 parameters. Layer height and nozzle diameter. If you were going to regularly print at 0.05mm then you'd also need a 0.2-0.25mm diameter nozzle. Otherwise, what's the point. So that dramatically increases the printing time yet agin. Oddly, the smaller the nozzle the slower you end up printing.
    It's all to do with material viscosity and flow and back pressure.

    It sounds like you might be better off with dlp or sla
    The wanhao dup 7 is a smart looking bit of kit. Price wise it's about a 1/4 of comparable sla/dlp machines.
    And while the width of a print is pretty narrow - the height is not and you can always print vertically. Plus it has speed and resolution. 35mm and hour -that's about 50x faster than fdm at equivalent resolution.

    You could probably get by with an fdm machine, but you would be talking exceptionally long print times and a lot of post processing.
    with a resin machine you lose most of the issues.

    If the wanhao is anywhere near as good as they say - then at that price point it genuinely isa game changer.
    Resins are currently really bloody expensive, but that can only change for the better as more people start producing cheaper resin machines, the resin prices have to drop.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-15-2018 at 05:50 AM.

  3. #3
    Many thanks curious aardvark for the detailed reply! You raise some very important points that help me a lot with my decision.

    I presume that even if i use variable layer size the FDM is going to be extremely slower than the DLP (ie 200 microns for interior layers and 50 microns for visible exterior ones). Right?

    Based on what i understand and your valuable input i am better off starting with a D7 dlp and use the remaining budget for an FDM using it for 100-200 micron framework for larger models.

  4. #4
    yep was going to suggest getting a cheap fdm as well.
    It's not that they are bad - fdm is an amazing technology and the sheer variety of filaments makes it an extremely useful thing to have.
    But for small detailed models, resin is the way to go :-)

    formlabs have actually printed clear lenses with their form2. That's impressve. It's also about 6x more expensive than the wanhao :-)

    You would have problems using two different layer heights on the same layers.
    What you can do is have different layer heights for different vertical heights of the print. You can also have different layer heights for different models printed at the same time. But tryig to mix different layer heights on the same levels is just asking for trouble.
    Even a delta with a long thin nozzle would struggle.

    They're still pretty new but the d7 looks pretty good and wanhao do have a good track record with their printers.
    Definitely interested to see how you get on with it :-)

  5. #5
    Point taken on the two different layer heights and thank you very much for the informative details.

    All my attention is now on the D7. I think i should opt for the "plus" model instead of the v1.5 so that i do not need the extra nano-dlp module. I suppose it will load/read any stl regardless of it's origin (linux) right?

  6. #6
    yep.
    I usually suggest you get simplify 3d, which has linux versions.
    But check the wanhao software first - their fdm slicer is pretty good and there are differences in what you can print with a resin system than an fdm. Pretty much all positive I think. You can get away with steeper angles and larger overhangs than you can with fdm. You should be able to print straight out at right angles. Obviously unconnected ted parts will still need supports, but generally you have a lot more leeway in design with a resin based machine.

    useful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHXFTpLdR48
    Watch that. The marvin at the end is immaculate ! No visible build lines - you could definitely make working lenses.
    Looks like it might be worth making a curing box with a uv light in it.

    many of the videos on youtube are from last year - when the machine was basically still in development. So look out for videos from 2018 :-)

    Looks like they just use cura, which i can't stand. Also wanhao recommend simplify 3d. So that's good.
    As far as I can see it's all available for linux :-)

  7. #7
    Very nice video and very informative, thank you very much once more!

    The software showed on the video though looks like windows only. From what i understood the D7 reads cws files which you create using this creation workshop d7 software. Did i understand this correctly?

  8. #8
    http://www.buildyourownsla.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=97
    there you go :-)
    creation workshop will run under mono on linux.
    I have no clue what that means - but it's in the link above :-)

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_...seq=1&format=2

    Monoprice rebadge a bunck of wanhao and flashforge printers - above is the one they sell - doesn't look like the plus. Also a review worth reading. Pretty much confirms what the guy in the video said, but adds a couple things worth knowing :-)
    The plus has a usb port for files and does NOT need to be attached to a computer. You really don't want that for a long print.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-16-2018 at 09:13 AM.

  9. #9
    Many thanks for the further info. I did some reading in the meanwhile,

    It seems that the CW software is windows only. The older versions could run under mono on linux (the first link you provided) but i haven't read anything similar for the current ones (provided by wanhao).

    I am also looking into the anycubic photon which is similar to the D7, and trying to figure out if it has a linux version. It seems that it is using a similar program to CW possibly running via wine.

    I suppose not all slicers are able to export to cws formats that the D7 reads via the usb right?

    I hope i ll be able to sort it out since the no-linux friendly software is a dealbreaker to me.

  10. #10
    older slicer/creation workshop shouust as well.
    Presumably the cws file consists of a series layer masks, rather than the instruction set of gcode based machine.

    the photon doesn't look as good as the wanhao. Is cheaper though. But no hint of a linux version.

    the thing to do is to try and get the software to work first.

    Have a look at this: https://www.nanodlp.com/

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