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  1. #1

    Goldsmith with no 3d exp. seeks advice on appropriate 3d printer/ software

    Hi Folks,
    I'm a goldsmith with many years of carving waxes in order to cast jewelry pieces. Primarily rings.
    I'm fairly comp literate, but have no experience with 3d printing. I've done a little reading, and played briefly with rhinoceros.

    Here's my main questions:

    for creating jewelry, resin LCD, or filament extrusion?

    Software for design?

    I have run into some confusion regarding moving the design from the design software to the 3d printer. What is a slicer, it sounds like some machines need one and some don't?

    My budget is approx 1000- 2000.

    I realize this is a lot of questions, but the more I read the more confused I get between resin and filament machines. The resin machines seem to have more complications. Do the filament machines capable of producing things as
    small and detailed as rings?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated! Thanks very much!

    Bob

  2. #2
    Engineer-in-Training
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    391
    With the budget you have and the specific objective already in mind, you're on a good track to success.

    It's considered for jewelry makers that a resin printer is the best option. Filament printers will generate more visible layer lines and one typically does not want such artifacts in a piece of fine art. If you can tolerate hours and hours of YouTube videos, look for "3d resin printer reviews" for information regarding specific machines. Elegoo is one name that will pop up and is relatively recent on the market for improved machines. The "latest kick" is monochrome LCD panels as part of the construction, as it promotes faster printing and longer life, both good aspects for 3D printing.

    You'll find there are resins specifically formulated for lost wax type casting, no problems there.

    Filament printers just aren't cut out for rings and other small items. Resin printers aren't particularly complicated and some may consider that it's simpler, but you do have toxic chemicals with which to contend. Gloves, mask, air flow, surface protection for drips, sure, but it's not as bad as one might think. If you're "in the business," you'd have a dedicated work area, while a hobbyist may have to shoehorn his kit into an area that might be multi-purpose.

    Design software abounds. For your line of pursuit, you'll want something more organic than engineering/orthographic, I suspect. The learning curves there are varied too, of course, but the rewards are great. Blender is a good organic modeling program but has produced models that won't slice well, therefore won't print well. Blender has begun to include features to address this aspect, but the program has a huge learning curve. Fusion 360 (free, for hobbyists and low profit businesses) used to be mostly orthographic/engineering, but they've recently added sculpting features that have value in your situation. I feel that F360 is easier to learn, but opinions can be all over the map.

    Simpler software such as Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, others, may not be as well suited for your objective. Sculptris, ZBrush, Rhino 3D are a few organic modelers that can accomplish organic modeling too. Of those three, Rhino is probably a good bet, but I say that only because I've tinkered with it a bit. Both it and F360 provide for logical work flow, again my opinion.

    Slicers are not such a big deal for resin printers. The most common reference is Chitubox and the reviews seem to find it an acceptable program. You can find YouTube videos for tuning the specifications of that software, of course.

    Both types of printers will take a model from the file saved by the design program. The 3D object is sliced into thin layers. Resin printers will reliably go to 0.050 mm layer thickness, some will go to 0.025 mm. The advantage of thin layers is that they are nearly invisible on a resin printer, while the typical minimum 0.100 mm layer of a filament printer is easily seen in good lighting and also easily detected by one's fingers.

    In a filament printer, the nozzle deposits in a manner similar to a glue gun a layer of plastic on a build surface called the build plate or bed. When the entire layer is deposited, the nozzle moves upward the specified distance (or the bed moves downward) and the process repeats.

    In a resin printer, the bed is immersed in a vat of resin (hence the name) and is positioned one layer away from the bottom of the vat. The resin is then exposed to UV light (or laser in SLA printers) which causes it to harden and to bond to the bed (and to the vat surface). Once the entire exposure is completed, the bed moves upward, peeling the partially cured resin from the vat surface (if all goes well). The bed then returns to the resin at a height corresponding to one layer and begins again.

    You'll discover references to support structures in both printer types and this aspect is left as an exercise to the reader.

    You probably won't need to print models of hundreds of mm in any direction, so a smaller, less expensive printer is indicated. I'd jump on a monochrome LCD model as a new purchase, to gain the aforementioned advantages, with no disadvantages/negatives. Some of the non-monochrome versions are releasing upgrade kits to retrofit those already in use.

    I hope you will have good luck in your search and also hope you'll share your experiences here.

  3. #3

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by fred_dot_u View Post
    With the budget you have and the specific objective already in mind, you're on a good track to success.It's considered for jewelry makers that a resin printer is the best option. Filament printers will generate more visible layer lines and one typically does not want such artifacts in a piece of fine art. If you can tolerate hours and hours of YouTube videos, look for "3d resin printer reviews" for information regarding specific machines. Elegoo is one name that will pop up and is relatively recent on the market for improved machines. The "latest kick" is monochrome LCD panels as part of the construction, as it promotes faster printing and longer life, both good aspects for 3D printing.You'll find there are resins specifically formulated for lost wax type casting, no problems there.Filament printers just aren't cut out for rings and other small items. Resin printers aren't particularly complicated and some may consider that it's simpler, but you do have toxic chemicals with which to contend. Gloves, mask, air flow, surface protection for drips, sure, but it's not as bad as one might think. If you're "in the business," you'd have a dedicated work area, while a hobbyist may have to shoehorn his kit into an area that might be multi-purpose.Design software abounds. For your line of pursuit, you'll want something more organic than engineering/orthographic, I suspect. The learning curves there are varied too, of course, but the rewards are great. Blender is a good organic modeling program but has produced models that won't slice well, therefore won't print well. Blender has begun to include features to address this aspect, but the program has a huge learning curve. Fusion 360 (free, for hobbyists and low profit businesses) used to be mostly orthographic/engineering, but they've recently added sculpting features that have value in your situation. I feel that F360 is easier to learn, but opinions can be all over the map.Simpler software such as Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, others, may not be as well suited for your objective. Sculptris, ZBrush, Rhino 3D are a few organic modelers that can accomplish organic modeling too. Of those three, Rhino is probably a good bet, but I say that only because I've tinkered with it a bit. Both it and F360 provide for logical work flow, again my opinion.Slicers are not such a big deal for resin printers. The most common reference is Chitubox and the reviews seem to find it an acceptable program. You can find YouTube videos for tuning the specifications of that software, of course. Both types of printers will take a model from the file saved by the design program. The 3D object is sliced into thin layers. Resin printers will reliably go to 0.050 mm layer thickness, some will go to 0.025 mm. The advantage of thin layers is that they are nearly invisible on a resin printer, while the typical minimum 0.100 mm layer of a filament printer is easily seen in good lighting and also easily detected by one's fingers.In a filament printer, the nozzle deposits in a manner similar to a glue gun a layer of plastic on a build surface called the build plate or bed. When the entire layer is deposited, the nozzle moves upward the specified distance (or the bed moves downward) and the process repeats.In a resin printer, the bed is immersed in a vat of resin (hence the name) and is positioned one layer away from the bottom of the vat. The resin is then exposed to UV light (or laser in SLA printers) which causes it to harden and to bond to the bed (and to the vat surface). Once the entire exposure is completed, the bed moves upward, peeling the partially cured resin from the vat surface (if all goes well). The bed then returns to the resin at a height corresponding to one layer and begins again.You'll discover references to support structures in both printer types and this aspect is left as an exercise to the reader.You probably won't need to print models of hundreds of mm in any direction, so a smaller, less expensive printer is indicated. I'd jump on a monochrome LCD model as a new purchase, to gain the aforementioned advantages, with no disadvantages/negatives. Some of the non-monochrome versions are releasing upgrade kits to retrofit those already in use.I hope you will have good luck in your search and also hope you'll share your experiences here.
    Thanks very much for your excellent answers to my questions. This is a great forum, and i'm certainly glad I visited!Bob

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    7,655
    what fred said :-)

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