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  1. #1
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    Freelance scanning service?

    I've just got a 3d printer (all ok so far). Inevitably a friend has asked me to copy a small plastic light fitting that has melted slightly. I've no idea where to start. Are there companies/freelancers that I could send the item to who could reconstruct and provide me a STL file? I'm based in UK. I obviously don't expect to pay too much either thinking £20. Any advice appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    well, I do sympathise. I think when we all started we thought the answer to copying an existing thing would be scanning.
    it isn't :-)

    Many print bureaus offer scanning services - usually around £100 per item. And from what i've heard results are far from perfect.

    The easiest way to duplicate existing items is to buy aset of digital calipers and just reverse engineer it.
    'Just' - I've been doing it for a while now. so I've got pretty good and quick at it.

    My advice is to get openscad and learn how to use it.

    There are currently no cheap AND reliable 3d scanners around.
    It's a part of the industry that has lagged a LONG way behind the progress in the printers themselves.
    THis looks like the only 'cheap' and probably useful scanner around, and it hasn't shipped yet.
    But worth a look:
    https://3dprintboard.com/showthread....ne-backed-this


    I'm happy to make the stl if you send me the part - but, not for £20.
    Even if you know what you're doing, there is several hours of skilled work involved.

    Yes replacing broken things, is a great use for 3d printers.
    But it's only cheap if you can produce your own stl files.
    There are a number of free cad programs around - my best advice is to find one that you understand and learn to use it.

    I looked at everything and only openscad really clicked with me. And it's all I've used ever since (approx 8 years).

    I am in the uk.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 02-25-2021 at 01:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hi,
    Thanks so much for your response and it's considerable detail.
    I thought £20 was probably a long shot but if you could buy the part it's a couple of quid and I guess replacement of the whole fitting is probably £50 which I'll advise him to do. I may try to have a go at creating it though as you say will have the learning curve of software.
    Once again many thanks.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    I will add that i did buy a £100 3d scanner.

    If you should ever feel tempted to do the same. Go buy 40 euro lottery tickets instead :-)
    That way you might not be throwing your money straight in the bin.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/BQ-Ciclop-S..._id=6283035031
    Don't EVER feel tempted :-)

    Got a picture of the part ?
    At least that way we can tell you if it's something that would be easy to copy and print, or a real pita :-)

    Also if you were to measure it, there are people on this forum, who are not as skint as I am. And would produce an stl (and usually the openscad script as well) just for fun.

    It's exasperating when you're trying to earn a living - but hey, if I could afford to - I'd do it too :-)


    Now if you want to make a custom sized funnel I did give me funnel script away :-)
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 02-25-2021 at 01:50 PM.

  5. #5
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    Apologies I thought I replied last night but I mus'nt have hit save.
    The item is best decribed as like a small camera lens hood its 65mm on the widest side and steps down via seven 3mm steps to 45mm on the other side - it has three small protruding lugs that presumably hold it in place (two broken off) and its 20mm deep. Ill put picture in next reply.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    oh yeah that would be an absolute doddle to make with openscad.

    The stepping might not be necessary, in which case you're looking at 'funnel' with a few bits tacked on.
    Take a picture of the thing it fits to.

    One of the best bits about 3d printing is that you can simplify and improve on designs to make them faster and or easier to print.
    What makes sense for an injection moulded part - often doesn't make sense for a 3d printed part that does the exact same job.
    The stepping is not screw thread i think it's just there to save plastic on a moulding.
    Or not, have to see the fitting to know for sure :-)

    So things you'd need to measure - mand with digital calipers NOT a fixed rule: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adoric-Vern...4541864&sr=8-5

    worth checking your local lidl - they had them a short while ago for about the same price.

    So you need to measure: thicjness of the walls, height, precise size and shape and thickness of the lugs. Angle they are attached to the part.
    And yes it does need to be down to 100ths of a mm.
    3d printers can be incredibly precise and injection moulded parts are almost never made with whole number measurements.

  8. #8
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    Thanks.
    Yes a cone would be fine, the stepping is irrelevant. I've ordered the calipers (thanks).
    I'm also thinking through as these are halogen lights that sit above the part the PLA may melt, I guess they could use LEDs but they still run a little warm. Any thoughts on this? Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    change to leds - usually pretty cool.

    You'd need to measure the actual temp of the light after - say 10 minutes running.
    Cheap IR thermo or a bbq/cooking temperature probe would do the job.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Infrared-Th...s%2C378&sr=8-6
    Those are fun and also useful for checking temperature in your 3d printer.

    It's possible you could use a hi-temp pla.
    I'm currently doing some experiments with heat treated pla. It's supposed to increase it's temperature tolearance a lot.

    Failing that pet-g is pretty good and - while I don't like it, abs has decent temperatue tolearance.

    But check the bulb temp first and switch to led anyway - use a LOT less power, are brighter and last a LOT longer.

    And if you have a HOme Bargains shop nearby - also really cheap :-)
    I'm all led in the house now.

  10. #10
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    Hi, apologies for your advice, I'm trying to use Tinkercad to design what I need - appreciate you help. THanks.

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