Fwd: [XCSSA] [SATLUG] 3D printers

Craig sargonemail at gmail.com
Wed Aug 29 08:50:43 CDT 2012

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Charles_Strang at aotx.uscourts.gov
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 08:19:08 -0500
Subject: Re: [XCSSA] [SATLUG] 3D printers
To: X-otic Computer Systems of San Antonio <xcssa at xcssa.org>

Both Fredrik and I have 3d printers and have been using them for some time
now.  Here are my answers to the questions (you may cross post this
message to SATLUG, since I am not on that list)...

> Does anyone have enough experience with 3D printers to do
> a presentation on them at one of the meetings?

I have a RepRap Prusa iteration 2 printer that I have been using for a bit
more than 6 months.   I am still learning all the intricacies to make
better prints.

> Some of the questions that need to be answered:
> What are 'low, medium, and high end' printers?

DIY printers probably all fit in the low end ($400 - $1000)
DIY printer projects that are taken to commercial status are probably in
same category, since they will probably end up printing the same quality,
but their pricing is higher ($1000 - $3000+)
Medium end printers I would probably consider being those that use laser
to fuse material.  These are in the 15K to 50K range.
Then you have the ones that print replacement titanium jaws.  Those would
probably be considered High end.

If you were looking for the "low, medium, high" end in the DIY community,
then commercialized DIY printers would be your high end, as available from
Makerbot, ultimaker and TheFutureis3d.

> What software does one need to use them?

All sorts of software.  In fact you need a tool chain of software.  At a
minimun, you need a Design application, a slicing application and a
control application.  For design you have OpenSCAD, sketchup, 3dstudio,
Maya, Solidworks and any 3d modeling software capable of outputing STL
files (Standard Tessellation Language).  The slicing and printer control
applications can be separate or combined.  I prefer separate.  The slicing
software has to be configured for your printer, but does not have to be
made specifically for your printer.  The printer control software is very
specific to the printer you are using.

> What materials can be printed?

I print in ABS and PLA plastic fillament.  I have read about people
printing PolyCarbonate, Nylon and PVA with good results.  There are also
paste extruders, which opens the doors to many other applications, such as
clay and chocolate printing.
These printers can be adapted with any attachment you can come up with,
but you have to design and test it.

> How accurate can you print [+/- .1 inch, +/- .001 inch]?
Accuracy depends on the printer.  A well built printer will have
accuracies in the 0.1mm (100 microns, 0.004 in) to 0.05 mm (50 microns,
0.002 in)  positioning accuracy.  The accuracy highly depends on the
positional components that you choose and how well you incorporate them
into the printer.

I am printing at .2 mm (200 microns, .008 in) layer heights and .39 mm
(390 microns/ .01 in) widths, but I am not sure on the positional

One question I did not see was that of build volume.  Most printers are in
the 200^3mm, but can range from 100^3mm to much, much larger.

Hope this answers some questions and I am sure that Fredrik will add his

Charles S.

From:   Craig <sargonemail at gmail.com>
To:     xcssa at xcssa.org
Date:   08/28/2012 03:36 PM
Subject:        Re: [XCSSA] [SATLUG] 3D printers
Sent by:        xcssa-bounces at xcssa.org

> In "[SATLUG] 3D printers"
> Nathan Oxhandler on Thu Aug 16 07:18:07 CDT 2012 wrote:
> Does anyone have enough experience with 3D printers to do
> a presentation on them at one of the meetings?
I do not have a 3D printer, but have researched them.
I assume that the group is interested in what is being
used as part of the "current" consumer 3D fad?
At the moment, this is akin to an automated glue gun.

Things such as the following can be overviewed:
--Hacker 3D (full/partial DIY) vs. Out-of-the-box, as is
--Different kinds/types 3D printer
--Different usages of 3D printer

> Some of the questions that need to be answered:
> What are 'low, medium, and high end' printers?
Actually, better question would be "what's the intended use
of the object(s) being printed?"
Size of end object to be printed and "material" to use
somewhat determines/sets if one "must" have a
particular low/medium/high end version(s).

> What software does one need to use them?
Very open ended question akin to what OS/OS distribution
should one use. :)
The end result to be sent to the 3D printer is almost
universally in a format called gcode.

> What materials can be printed?
See kinds/types of 3d printers.

> How accurate can you print [+/- .1 inch, +/- .001 inch]?
See kinds/types of 3d printers

Due to prior commitments, I won't be able to attend
the September meeting.
I certainly would consider giving an October/November
presentation if there's interest.

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