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  1. #1

    Seeking high speed printers, good quality/resolution, for repetitive prints

    Goal:

    To buy a printer that acts as a workhorse to pump out lots of widgets for use as parts in another machine which I will be retailing. Sure plastic injection molding is cheaper at scale, but I am just starting, and I read that PIJ is expensive. It takes about 100 hours to produce all dozen or so pieces which make a single product, on the Ender, which means it would take at least 4 Enders to complete one final product a day, assuming 24 hour clock, and therefore 30 Enders to produce 10 final products per a day, which is bare minimum.

    Price vs Speed:

    Seems machines like Ender 3 operate at around 70mm/sec. It can go faster I read (200mm/sec) but quality may suffer.

    Then I read about various "fast" machines like Delta WASP 20×40 which have " maximum print speed of 500 mm per second." but I dont care about max, I care about max speed at a good quality. Even then at max speed that is only 2.5x faster for about 15x the cost ($3000 vs $200 for Ender).

    Then I read I about dual extruders like FlashForge Creator Pro and wonder if they are faster. I have little knowledge about all the various units out there but reading around seem that few are more than double or triple the Ender speed.

    Production line use:

    Since my purpose is to produce 1000s of these parts, getting a machine that can just keep going, do several at a time or in parallel, etc... seems to make sense. Anything that can cut down on human labor is valuable. E.g. read that Ultimaker is useful to " produce the same part with similar dimensions multiple times." but no clue if/how that works and which other printers do the same. Obviously if I can run a print job and have a few dozen machines, i'd rather automate replication as much as possible.


    Quality:

    I just printed my first object on a 3d printer (Ender 3) and the quality seems far too low for my purpose--lined texture even at 0.1mm. I assume higher end machines can make smoother objects that feel more like PIJ but not sure of cost and realistic speeds of these units. E.g. I read that Ultimaker runs at 20 microns.

    If it werent for the low quality, considering the cost of Ender is only $200, seems like buying a whole bunch of them is definitely the way to go.

    I'm also willing to buy used if there are many of them for sale.


    You Recommendations?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    well there is only one type of fdm machine that is suited to continuous production printing.

    You want/need a belt printer :-)

    Production volume is NOT about how fast you can produce an individual part.
    Because you still have to factor in printer setup, part removal and resetting for the next part, and you have to be there in person for start and finish.

    Doing it the convential way is slow and not always reliable.

    With a belt printer, parts are continuously produced, 24 hours a day, if you want. With no reason for any people to be in attendance - except for reloading filament.
    You just keep it loaded with filament and it'll do the rest.
    Also because they print at a 45 degree angle, they can make parts other fdm machines can't and have strength in directions normal printing doesn't.

    Different materials look different.
    If you use the right tpe of pla - layer lines pretty much disapear anyway

    So, yes absolutely there is no reason you can't use 3d printing. Just use the right printer and material and don't pretend you're not using 3d printing.

    Now I know most forum members will be astonished at this, but currently the best value for money belt machine available is from Creality.
    There are a couple of minor things I'd change - but on the whole - and mainly due to the involvement of naomi wu - it's actually a really nice, well engineered bit of kit.
    And for what it is, bloody cheap.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...er-3dprintmill

    I just printed my first object on a 3d printer (Ender 3) and the quality seems far too low for my purpose--lined texture even at 0.1mm. I assume higher end machines can make smoother objects that feel more like PIJ but not sure of cost and realistic speeds of these units. E.g. I read that Ultimaker runs at 20 microns.
    No. Stop thinking like that. PLus ender 3's are junk. The design sucks and they have so many problems they are really only suitable for people who want to tinker and upgrade.
    It's like driving a citreon 2cv round a race track and then saying: 'nope this racing thing will never take off'.
    Take a real raceing car round the track - and you'd have a totally different opinion.

    Different fdm printer types do produce very different speed and quality prints.
    It's all about stability, engineering and how precisely the 'lastic bead can be laid down.
    My saphire pro2 corexy machine will lay down a bead accurate to a few hundredths of a mm at 150mm's.
    Because it's just a better design. At the moment - corexy is the current BEST (for speed and quality) method of fdm printing there is.

    A good i3 (which the ender line is not) will also produce quality prints at speed. But the engineering apects that allow that - were thrown out by creality. Nobody really know why. It saves them about $30 a machine at a cost of something that just does not live up to it's potential.

    So just because you once ate a hershey bar, don't believe that ALL chocolate tastes like day old vomit.
    (butyric acid is an ingredient in hershey 'chocolate' - look it up)

    Part the second

    If you are going to use 3dprinted parts in something you sell - make an issue of it. Don't try and pretend it's injection moulded.

    Make sure that people know that you are using enviromentally friendly, cutting edge technology to produce the parts.
    Pla is made - mainly - from cornstarch, and has no petrochemicals - THAT'S worth more in marketing dollars than any amount of smoothness.

    Also a good machine can produce better looking parts at thicker layer heights. Which makes the parts faster to print and stronger (generally: the fewer the layers the stronger the part). It's not all about how fast the printhead moves.

    So if you intend to use 3d printed parts - make a thing of it.

    Look at it this way - Prusa make all their plastic parts in house with their own 3d printers.
    And they sell more printers than they can currently produce. There is ALWAYS a queue for people wanting to buy prusa 3d printers.
    People know all the plastic parts are 3d printed, they also know how good the machines are that print the parts and are using them.

    So as long as something is fit for purpose - the production method is not as important as you might think.
    I find that people like 3d printed items. They are very tactile and look and feel quite different to injection moulded objects.
    And that IS a selling point, NOT a negative.

    And get a belt printer.
    More importantly get a corexy belt printer - which the creality printmill is.
    I'd have also made it a direct drive extruder - but that's an easy fix , if it proved necessary.
    I'd have also preferred it if they used proper seamless bonded belts rather than off the shelf factory conveyor belts.
    And only creality would have used a screen with control knob over a touchscreen (saves what, $5 ?)
    But surprisingly, even the money grabbing cheapskates at creality, didn't manage to cripple this machine.
    I wonder why they've never sent me a printer to review, it's a puzzler ;-)

    But you do get what you pays for, and for the money, the printmill is still a LOT of machine, with no real faults.
    It's the very first 3d printer creality have ever made, that you can say that about.

    Naomi wu: aka sexy cyborg, may come across as a novelty tech person who's mainly there for people to drool at. But she REALLY does know her stuff.

    It's a real shame that crealuty decided to go with the bogstandard white male with an imac for their kickstater video (ie: a tosser). They really should have let naomi do it.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 02-24-2021 at 08:21 AM.

  3. #3

    Awesome advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    well there is only one type of fdm machine that is suited to continuous production printing.

    You want/need a belt printer :-)

    Production volume is NOT about how fast you can produce an individual part.
    Because you still have to factor in printer setup, part removal and resetting for the next part, and you have to be there in person for start and finish.

    ...
    You really know your stuff. I appreciate the guidance.

  4. #4
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    The cost of injection molding is low for plastic injection but the manufacture of the molds is the cost for a relatively simple mold a figure of £5000 per mold would be a starting point but a single mold could be designed to make several different pieces. But low cost per piece once the mold is made.
    Last edited by Gambo; 03-03-2021 at 05:03 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    There are several new-ish approaches to injectionmoulding thse days.

    You can use a 3d printer capable of printing with PEEK. And actually print injection moulds.

    Then there is a new system whereby you print the mould with a high temp resin using a resin machine and after injecting the plastic the resin mould is dissolved.

    That's really - curently - only suitbale for small items and fairly short production runs.

    A good PEEK capable printer will run you around £5-10,000.
    So you've essentially got your money back after two moulds.
    PEEK is considered as a replacement for metals like aluminium. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyether_ether_ketone

    But standard fdm should be fine :-)

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