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  1. #1

    Help selecting the right printer for us

    My wife sculpts miniatures for table top gaming. She has always worked in traditional mediums (green stuff, fimo, etc), and now is transitioning to digital.

    These figures are 28-70mm tall, and 1-3 inches wide.

    We are looking for a printer that we can use to print masters with, for casting copies which will be sold at retail in resin or metal, depending on the customer.

    We need to not be able to see printer lines on these prints, with naked eye, or with a magnifying glass. historically, companies have sent files off to companies that print off the masters on their expensive machines.

    Recently, one of the companies my wife works for (reaper miniatures) informed us that there are now reasonably priced printers that can be purchased.

    Speed isn't a huge factor, as the printer won't be printing more than 5-6 miniatures per week.

    Do we need a 10 micron printer? or will 20 do just fine?

    Depending on the answer to the above, which printer would you recommend for our uses?


    Thank you very much for your time.
    Last edited by Emmagine; 12-24-2018 at 02:23 PM. Reason: additional information

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    what you need is a resin based dlp or sla machine.

    Few now down below the $500 mark now.

    But watch this video first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYWJ8d-I4Lo
    The printer in the video is around $1300. But probably worth it.

    Cheaper machines:
    https://www.amazon.com/ANYCUBIC-Asse...ds=sla+printer

    https://www.amazon.com/Wanhao-WD7V15...ds=sla+printer

    https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Pri...ds=sla+printer

    https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Photoc...ds=sla+printer

    were you to print at 0.02mm on an fdm macine - it's doubtful you'd get more than one figure a week anyway. And it wouldn't be up to commercial grade.

    Nope you need to go resin.

  3. #3
    Thanks Curious aardvark! After delving into all the videos I can find, I'm realizing that comparisons between resin machines are difficult to find. How does the MOAI stack up to the Form 2? Is there another printer in this range?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Short answer is - I have no idea :-)

    Fdm machines massively out number resin machines for a few reasons.
    1) resin is still very expensive, on average 5-10 times more expensive than basic filament.
    2) apparently the resin smells quite bad
    3) resin is messy, sticky and a right bastard to clean up if/when you spill it
    4) build volumes are generally much smaller than for fdm machines
    5) until recently they have been much more expensive than fdm machines.

    My only knowlege of the moai comes from anguses video. On the whole he does know what he's talking about.
    The form 2 is more expensive, but is considered a very good machine. I've seen one in action, and to me it seemed to mechanically overcomplicate things - but never having owned a resin machine: what do I know :-)

    Have a look at the flashforge hunter: http://www.flashforge.com/hunter/
    Flashforge do have a very good reputation for producing excellent and reliable fdm machines, so I'd expect no less of their resin products.

    Were I you I'd be inclined to invest in one of the cheaper resin machines and see how I went on before splurging for one of the more expensive units.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 01-03-2019 at 07:35 AM.

  5. #5
    Engineer-in-Training
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    For miniatures you need a Resin printer. FDM is out of the question.

    There are two types of Resin printers

    1) ones that use a laser (often referred to as SLA), $1300-4000+

    2) ones that use a screen or projector, $300-1000+

    With LCD or DLP resin printers you can see sometimes see the pixels, especially in flat areas with shallow angles. It's subtle but visible.

    I have the anycubic photon, which is a lcd printer with a 2k screen... it's excellent, especially for $400, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. One coat of filler primer is all it takes to remove any visible artifacts from the LCD projection.

    If you want to avoid any visible pixels, spend the extra and get a printer that uses a laser.

    The least expensive laser resin printer that I'd recommend is the Peopoly Moai, which cost $1300. It's prints are arguably as good as any other resin printer, even those that cost 3 times as much.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the given links

  7. #7
    You haven't provided a usage estimate. However, I will say that if you want the 3D printer to be the last element in the design process to have to think about, a Form 2 is a great machine. Having gone from a Form 1 to a Form 2 was night and day! Maintenance and supply costs are not cheap... and that is the reason for the question; what usage do you anticipate? Basically, what percentage of time can you devote to the printer instead of the design elements?I opted for a closed and canned FDM printer when I 1st started this 3D printing thing. I am a designer and this would give me a leg up. I went for the Cube3 which went obsolete the day I bought it. However, having near zero options for printing actually made printing simple. It either printed successfully or it failed. Nothing to tweak, nothing to forget. Just send it to the printer like it was a 2D printer (sorta).

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