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  1. #1

    Which 3d printer for small compontents?

    Hi everyone... Im completely new here, and to 3d printing, and I am confused with the varying types of printers available I need to print some small components for a a project that I am working on (between 7 to 12mm) They are for a prototype that will ultimately be made from a metalic material, but for R&D puposes the overal strength is not as important as the functionality that I am trying to establish. My understanding that a resin printer would be more appropriate, but I plan to use it indoors and the fumes from it are something I would have to consider? I feel the FDM printer is probably more to what I would want, but will it print small component size? Could anyone advise based on the above what printer I should be considering? Many thanks legepe

  2. #2
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    The fumes from a resin printer represent a serious health risk. One should have substantial airflow to cause the fumes to exit the work area, and one should also consider a respirator that handles VOC thoroughly. You can get incredible detail with a resin printer compared to an FFF printer (FDM is a trademark).

    Small is a relative term. If you require detail levels of smaller than 0.400 millimeters, it would be resin, but upwards of that level, FFF will do you well.

    Consider to seek out test prints on reddit to see what others can generate from your models. It may cost a few dollars but you'll save in the long run if you find the hard way your selection won't work for you .

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by fred_dot_u View Post
    The fumes from a resin printer represent a serious health risk. One should have substantial airflow to cause the fumes to exit the work area, and one should also consider a respirator that handles VOC thoroughly. You can get incredible detail with a resin printer compared to an FFF printer (FDM is a trademark).

    Small is a relative term. If you require detail levels of smaller than 0.400 millimeters, it would be resin, but upwards of that level, FFF will do you well.

    Consider to seek out test prints on reddit to see what others can generate from your models. It may cost a few dollars but you'll save in the long run if you find the hard way your selection won't work for you .
    After considering the details that I need to achieve with a printer, I ended up ordering Anycubic Photon Mono 2, wash and cure station, and water based resin, from Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/ANYCUBIC-Pr...zcF9hdGY&psc=1
    This was one of the cheapest, but reviews seemed to be good. I just hope that I havent compromised too much on quality for the price, and would appreciate your thoughts on this printer
    Also, not sure if Ive bought the right resin, because I am seeing it is very brittle when cured, and I need my finished components to have "some" strength even though they are for functionality testing more than strength. The end components, once prototype testing is complete, will be made of a metallic material (ie steel) and need to be strong.. hope I am making sense? advice here very welcome! and maybe you can recommend a resin that would be strong but also give a small amount of flex?
    Last edited by legepe; 03-27-2024 at 04:53 AM.

  4. #4
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    I've owned an anycubic printer, but have forgotten which model. The line of products are generally of decent quality.

    I've printed items using "Strong" resin which also happened to be flexible enough to fold back ninety degrees without breaking with about a 4-6 mm radius, surprisingly sharp bend. If you're finding reviews that suggest the stuff you bought is brittle, count on it. Small details will snap off with a cross look.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    These are the products I've purchased in the past. Great detail, quite strong, oh, the odor! Ensure good ventilation and personal breathing protection with this stuff, but I understand the water washable stuff is pretty nasty too.

    Part of your resin printing experience is going to be the slicer. Lychee Slicer is a good one but charges a subscription fee, which I despise. Check YouTube reviews for the options available if you'd rather have a free program. Lychee does "free" but puts a 60 second delay in an advert during the slicing process. If you can tolerate that annoyance, it's a good program.

  5. #5
    Thanks for this info on resins, but each one showed unavailable so I just bought https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FY7DF..._TE_item_image I will give it a try and send the water based one back. Hopefully itll do the job ok
    Regarding the software, I am a little concerned as I do not have any experience using these, and only remember the difficulties using Autocad and that wasnt in 3d. Do you think that a noob as I am is able to draw/design the things that I need to print? How easy/difficult is it?
    The other thing I am unsure of is, do the objects printed require further curing.. and what I am saying... is the wash and cure station completely necessary?
    Last edited by legepe; 03-27-2024 at 04:28 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by legepe View Post
    Regarding the software, I am a little concerned as I do not have any experience using these, and only remember the difficulties using Autocad and that wasnt in 3d. Do you think that a noob as I am is able to draw/design the things that I need to print? How easy/difficult is it?
    There are several cad programs that you can use, some of which are free to use.

    Like anything new, there is a learning curve so have a look on Google for what is available, you will find a plethora of learning videos on Youtube for just about any of them.

  7. #7
    Thanks Ill take a look at these.. one more question.. do the objects printed require further curing.. what I am saying... is the wash and cure station completely necessary?

  8. #8
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    The wash and cure is very important. The wash part removes the resin, which should not contact the skin. The curing is important, too, as the resin is only partially cured by the lamps which create the part.

    For the slicer, there's quite a few videos providing instruction for use. You've indicated small parts, which means that hollowing isn't too important. Larger items (greater than 10 mm across in at least three directions) should have drain holes. If they don't, the inside resin remains in liquid form and will eventually "age cure" and expand and crack the part, creating its own drain system!

    Will your parts be mostly considered an engineering type of design? Straight lines, uniform structures such as cylinders, spheres, rectangular prisms, holes, etc? Organic designs are those that can't be pigeon-holed into such a description. You'll see those in modeled characters from video games, animated videos, creative artist types making creatures from imagination.

    If your parts are the former, look for engineering directed software. The bare basic version of such a program is TinkerCAD, free, web based and easy enough to use, plus the usual video tutorials on YouTube. As you become more skilled, you may discover you require more sophisticated design software. Fusion 360 is a pretty powerful program, and can be challenging to learn, but the YouTube videos abound.

    If you're a coding type (programming), another free program is OpenSCAD, text based 3D modeling software that makes for very easy parametric model creation. I'm no wizard when it comes to coding, but I really enjoy OpenSCAD for precise model construction. If properly written, the code makes quick modifications for resizing and similar adjustment.

    Of course, you've already found a good resource here. Post a question if you run into a bind.

    There are quite a few sub-reddits of value as well for help and information.

  9. #9
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    The link you provided says not available, but I suspect that you are a non-USA buyer and the stuff doesn't ship here. On the flip side, I suspect that the stuff I linked was USA only. I don't see any reference to tough or to flexible, so it's one of those "try it to see" items.

  10. #10
    Thanks a lot for your help and advice.. Im sure Ill be back with more questions.. thanks again!

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