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  1. #1

    Exclamation Input Request -- 3D Printer for long term use

    Hello everyone,

    I am a member of an organization that is seeking to do some high resolution prints over the upcoming year. We are currently in the selection process of a suitable printer and we would like to get some input from the community.

    So here's what we're looking for.

    These are the ideals we're looking for:

    ~ 25 x 25 x 25 cm
    Heated platform
    Layer resolution <= 100 microns
    Nozzle <0.4 mm diameter
    ABS Plastic (preferred, PLA if it's a good printer
    Must be able to to do 100% infill. NO HOLLOW CAVITIES.
    Must be sturdy!!
    NO OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE.
    NO CLOUD BASED SOFTWARE.
    Plastic parts are considered a negative.
    Good customer support and service (warranties) are considered a HUGE plus to us.

    Price <= $4000

    We expect to use the printer 3-5 times a week and the largest print we would perform would take about 55 hours continuously (a helmet design) and the average print would take 3-5 hours.

    Our current pick is the MakerBot Replicator 2X but we have no information about it's lifespan. My colleagues are concerned that we could buy it and have it die 6 months down the road. If anyone has any experience in using this printer every day over a long period of time, I would very much like to speak with you about your experience. (https://store.makerbot.com/replicator2x) Obviously with this printer we would make our helmet design in two pieces (which we are okay with)

    If there are any other printers that the community is fond of I would greatly appreciate your input as well, as we are open to other suggestions.

    I thank you all for your input.
    Last edited by higgs; 01-14-2015 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Added budget.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    if you're looking at a makerbot 2x - which is well under your budget and a much smaller print volume.
    Then you'd be better off looking at a flashforge creator pro (basically an upgraded rep2) or an ultimaker 2, or one of the new ultimakers they launched at ces.

    All printers can do 100% infill. And you DO want opensource software. Because that gives you a wider choice in the software you can use to generate your prints.

    At the top end of your budget the basic hyrel model creeps in. Industrial quality and the option to add different heads for different material in the future.
    Plus hyrel do a training virtual hands on session before you pay them to make sure the machine is right for you. As far as I know that's unique for a machine in the sub $5000 market.
    Plus I can't see any plastic parts in the videos.
    http://www.hyrel3d.com/

    The other way you could go is buy 2-3 flashforge creator pros. thats way you multiply your production ability and have back up should one go wrong.

    Or spilt the difference and go the ultimaker route.
    https://ultimaker.com/en/products
    They keep winning best printer awards and have larger build capacity than the makerbots. And opensource software - it's a good thing ! lol
    I believe they've just set up a usa distribution centre as well.

  3. #3
    Staff Engineer Davo's Avatar
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    To clarify, the only plastic part on the Hyrel Printers is the cover plate on top of the spine. This is ABS at 200 microns, and on the Engines it holds the pneumatic fittings for the guide (not bowden) tubes. Everything else is made from sheet metal, stainless steel, or aluminum stock.

    As I sent via PM, other than the build volume (a little over 20x20x20cm), the Hyrel printers meet your specs. While our default nozzle size is .5mm, we also offer a .35mm - but lower quality filaments can clog the .35; the .5 is much more forgiving of lower quality filaments.

    We have users who make 50+ hour prints regularly.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    bear in mind the makerbot and clones are only 22.5x15x15 cm

    The original ultimakers are 20x20x20, I think one of the new models has larger volume.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    if you're looking at a makerbot 2x - which is well under your budget and a much smaller print volume.
    Then you'd be better off looking at a flashforge creator pro (basically an upgraded rep2) or an ultimaker 2, or one of the new ultimakers they launched at ces.

    All printers can do 100% infill. And you DO want opensource software. Because that gives you a wider choice in the software you can use to generate your prints.

    At the top end of your budget the basic hyrel model creeps in. Industrial quality and the option to add different heads for different material in the future.
    Plus hyrel do a training virtual hands on session before you pay them to make sure the machine is right for you. As far as I know that's unique for a machine in the sub $5000 market.
    Plus I can't see any plastic parts in the videos.
    http://www.hyrel3d.com/

    The other way you could go is buy 2-3 flashforge creator pros. thats way you multiply your production ability and have back up should one go wrong.

    Or spilt the difference and go the ultimaker route.
    https://ultimaker.com/en/products
    They keep winning best printer awards and have larger build capacity than the makerbots. And opensource software - it's a good thing ! lol
    I believe they've just set up a usa distribution centre as well.

    Hello! Thank you for your replies. I am compiling a list today for my colleagues to look over and your input will be added.

    I absolutely do not want open source software. The reason is that this printer will be used with extremely sensitive information and open source software (and anything cloud related) has already been nixed by the company as too volatile.

    On a personal level I do agree with you that open source is something I would want, but it is impossible for us to use.

  6. #6
    Sounds to me that you just spec'd out the Fusion3 F306. Here's a link to their spec sheet.

    http://www.fusion3design.com/wp-cont...6-Cutsheet.pdf

  7. #7
    Engineer-in-Training iDig3Dprinting's Avatar
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    Not wanting plastic parts maybe a big issue and the dimensions you quote can be difficult. In the desktop market, for which most of these suggestions are about, we have the CubePro (https://www.idig3dprinting.co.uk/sho...ro-3d-printer/) and soon the UPBOX (https://www.idig3dprinting.co.uk/sho...rinters/upbox/) but my guess is that you need a production grade 3D printer and so you will need to be looking at Statsys range of 3D printer or that of 3D systems. Whether they will come in under $5000 may then be your big problem. Both of the desktop models I mentioned are under $5000, there dimensions are approx >25 in x & Y but the heights are limited to just 20-23cm. They will have some plastic parts but they do not use Open source software. In fact 3D systems produce a range of software packages.

    I would not necessarily dismiss open source software, If the machine you get can utilise open source software then you will ulimately have greater control over your printing. bundled 3D printing software solutions can sometime be somewhat limiting as they are designed for the more, press-and-go style of printing. Open source software is not cloud based eg.. Slic3r and should pose no more of security risk than other proprietary software solutions, it will be dependent upon your own data use protocols.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    What's opensource got to do with cloud ?
    Answer: bugger all.

    The way to make a system secure is simply not to connect it to the internet. Viola 100% cyber security.

    The hyrel has it's own built in computer and software - that you don't have to connect to the internet.

    The only way to make a computer secure is to not connect it to the net. And that's so simple and easy I don't see what the problem is.
    Most slicing and design software is standalone.

    Looks like you're making a lot out of a pretty much non-existent problem.

  9. #9
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    Explain why would you even need to go to 100microns or lower resolution?


    Also, no system is secure as soon as your computer is plugged on the online. If you want to protect sensitive information, pull the internet cable from the network and you will be safe.

    Edit: Holy hell, I just realized I was saying the same thing that curious wrote.

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