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  1. #1

    This girl (me) is so confused.......

    Good afternoon everyone. I read approximately 40 threads before posting to try and find the answer before bothering everyone, but alas...... My search was in vain.

    I am going to purchase a 3DP which will be used for the primary function of producing small scale aircraft for dioramas we build and sell. We currently purchase our from a vendor but it's becoming cost prohibitive, plus I think it would be cool to make our own. We deal primarily in 1/144 all the way down to 1/700 scale so the largest we would ever produce would be approximately 6" x 4" x 2" down to wee-little 1.5" x 1" x .75". I have read articles, watched videos and emailed etsy people who create similar items and maybe it's the blond in me but I am bumfuddled.

    I'm not concerned about cost, to a point of course ($1,000 or so), but am more concerned about availability of "meshes", quality and speed of print. I'm fairly techish and am not afraid of the challenge presented by learning the machine, I am just at a loss on which way to go. I would like to get a machine I can use for several years, and like some said in another thread, I'm not a big fan of "starter rigs" as you usually out grow them fairly quickly.

    Help me Obi-wans, you're my only hope.


  2. #2
    I think 3DP might be a company name and is not commonly used to abbreviate 3D printer.

    If you're paying someone to create your models, your investment in a printer of your own may pay for itself in less than a year.

    To print your larger items, you would need an appropriately large print surface. One might expect that for the smaller figures, a resin printer is indicated. It's easy to find inexpensive "starter" printers for the small stuff, but just as easy to find larger capacity printers. You can't go wrong with the higher resolution resin printers, those advertising 4K or higher resolution. Look also for a reference to mono screens, which generate sharper detail than color versions.

    For the model material, you have any number of resources, starting with the descending-in-favor Thingiverse, Prusa (forgot the resource name), Thangs, many others. Some resources are merely links to other sites, but if you find what you seek, that works too. When you find the printer to meet your needs, the vendor will find a reduction in income. At this point, you can suggest to purchase model files from the vendor, returning some of the income.

    Also, for modeling requirements, Reddit has a couple of sub-reddits that put requests and creators together.

    I've noted that there's a trend in the industry forcing the users to slice the models using only one specific program, due to the hardware being locked to the software. I would have thought this violated anti-trust laws in the USA, but then again, these devices are not manufactured in the USA. Proprietary anything grates on me.

    I've been using a paid subscription to Lychee Slicer, which is quite a well-written program, but it has a subscription requirement, which will increase next year after my introductory year expires. I've found another similar slicer, Formware 3D that has a single-time purchase as well as a 30 day free trial.

    Be sure to pop an update here now and then, and any other questions that may arise. If you have a web page showing your work, share it with the world here.

  3. #3
    Thank you so much for the information. My apologies for using the "3DP" incorrectly. I spent today on the software side and digging into the "slicing". I wonder if they lifted that verbiage from the Star Wars movie .I think I'm set on a couple of Elegoo Mars 3s. Scary plunge but I'm excited as well. Thank you again Fred for taking the time to respond. Have a great day. Krys

  4. #4
    You have decided on an entry level printer after all? In US terms, the build plate is a 3x5 card, 6" high. I see that does match pretty closely to your specifications. That means you aren't paying for more than you'll use.

    What slicers have you explored?

  5. #5
    Well..... Kind of Fred.I decided on the Elegoo for the business printing of the aircraft as we have enough orders to keep two busy for a while so they will be my utilitarian minions. I'm still looking for a larger "play" printer for me to learn and grow on and am leaning toward the Prusa Mk3S for that. On the slicing front I am still reading and watching to get a full grasp. I am loosely comparing it to years ago when I purchased and began using Truespace for 3D modeling and had to use a third party program to change some meshes into a file type utilized by Truespace. Unfortunately at the moment I am just as confused now on it as I was then .Krys

  6. #6
    Frequent readers know that I'm a big fan of the Prusa line of printers, especially the MK3 product. I've assisted the local makerspace assembling a MK2s many moons ago. It wasn't particularly difficult, as the documentation in paper form and online is excellent. The MK3 will be even easier to build. A fellow makerspace member purchased the MK3 and described the assembly. In a group build, it takes longer than in a solo build, primarily because it's a learning/question/answer experience as well as a too-many-cooks experience.

    Prusa recently released an updated version of the slicer and it's even more amazing than it was. So many features, but very well done from a user interface standpoint (opinion).

    I think you're picking the right stuff so far.

  7. #7
    Staff Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    Hello Krystyn13

    You may be referring Hictop 3D Printers, I have a 3DP11 and 3DP12 both have been upgraded to what could be described as a 3DP18.

    These 3D Printers have been obsoleted are still shown Here CR10 then replaced them listed as CR-10(3DP20) and CR-10S(3DP22).

    Hope this helps an you were correct they do exist....

  8. #8
    Technician xayoz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    As you intend to use for business, as you suggested, I would avoid the learner machines. As it's for business, as has been mentioned above, Prusa products are amazing. If 6" is for sure your largest build, Mini+ would suffice with a build surface of 7"x7"x7". If you may go large, look at the MK3S+, or if you want really large, and multiple extruders, there's the new Prusa XL.

    For your tiny models, or possibly even your 6" model, resin printers give better detail than FDM. However, in my limited experience with resin, I have found that resin prints are much more brittle, where FDM prints can take a little more abuse before breaking.

    Either way, do some more reading, get to know the different materials and what advantages/downfalls/dangers each present. For example, for resin you need to wear the proper PPE as it is toxic in it's uncured form, or for FDM, some plastics like ABS, may need filtration, as fumes can also be toxic. I very occasionally print resin, but usually print PETG or PLA, so I don't bother with enclosures and filtration, but do wear gloves to handle resin.

  9. #9
    I've been using what is described as "strong" for resin type. Other manufacturers will use the term flexible or ABS like. The stuff I've used can have smaller portions folded completely back in itself without breaking, while the "regular" blend will snap before reaching 45 ° deflection.
    Certainly, post-processing is more involved with resin prints, but for the OP's posted requirements, the detail level is a requirement satisfied by resin printing, especially as she's had experience and exposure to the models from a vendor.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Currently just started the resin journey.
    One thing I've decided to start with is water washable resin.

    This totally eliminates the need to keep a vat of isopropyl alcohol around. A Highly volatile and flammable liquid.
    With water washable resin, I can just let the model drip 'dry' and then wash it under a tap with a soft brush.

    As you're making dioramas, you don't need particularly special resin types.

    The tough and flexible ones look like fun, but not necessary for a static model and cost more than a basic water washable resin.

    Currently about to make my curing box.

    As far as the machine goes - make sure you get one with a mono screen and 2 or 4k pixel density.
    This both speeds up the printing process and gives higher detail.

    the elegoo mars 2 pro - is almost identical spec to the voxelab proxima 6, I've got arriving wednesday. But the elegoo mars is nearly twice the price.
    Also the voxelab machines have linear rails and I can't see that listed anywhere on the elegoo mars 2 pro spec sheet.
    You WANT linear rails :-)

    Also worth noting - the voxelab machines are made by flashforge - one of the oldest and best 3d printer manufacturers.
    And the flashdlprint software is pretty good.
    Been playing with it today.

    Also, consider the prusa mini for an entry fdm printer - better electronics than the mk3s, and what prusa are using in their own printfarms.
    And a lot cheaper than the mk3s :-)

    Your $1000 would not only buy a voxelab 6 or 8.9 (4k screen, larger print volume and dual linear rails) but it would also buy a prusa mini, with money left over for resin, curing kit and some filament.

    Both prusa and voxelab/flashforge have their own free slicers - and both are among the best around.

    Anyway - that's what I would do/have done :-)

    I mean i wouldn't personally buy a prusa - but I've been fdming for 9 years, so I/m not looking for the prusa plug and play experience any more.
    But for a first fdm printer - you could do a whole lot worse.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 01-10-2022 at 03:22 PM.

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