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3 d printing is anybody doing it and how are u making money

Discussion in '3D Modeling' started by dirtydog50000, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. dirtydog50000

    dirtydog50000 Member

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    Does anybody have a 3 d printer and what and who are they printing for? It really seems like the wave of the future.
     
  2. particleman

    particleman Member

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    Well I don't have much to add other than I want to get into it. I would choose the model carefully if you buy a hobby grade one as a lot of them need some serious tinkering to work.

    I just broke a plastic trigger on a 25 year old chainsaw last week. It would be nice to have a printer to printer a new one :)
     
  3. Conor Knoxx

    Conor Knoxx Member

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    I have ordered one through a kickstarter campaign:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1650950769/rigidbot-3d-printer

    two of my biggest considerations were good resolution, and the biggest build platform I could find. The "Rigidbot Big" is bigger than most.
    I'm hoping to do my tinker / tweak / learning over the winter on it.
    There's plenty of useful objects on the thingverse.com to practice editing and printing.
    To make money with it?
    Doing some smaller dimensional signs, I think I can add elements and customization that would be difficult / expensive to do with CNC
    Plus, I don't have a CNC router, lol !
    It will also give me options to add small 3-D elements to flat sign projects, which I think could make some money.
    I'm sure once its known (locally) that I have this, I'll get requests to make all kinds of "parts" for things - I'm not so sure that will be practical though.

    I actually posted here about this some time ago, with no response - but I'm hoping it will "catch on" at least a little bit, since signs101 is the greatest place in the world to share info / experience!

    I'm hoping once I have it, I'll find many more applications for what it can produce. It really seems like the "wave of the future" to me too!
     
  4. Ted

    Ted New Member

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    I think it's just a matter of time, very near in the future, that 3D printing will start being used in more sign shops. Yesco is already doing it, printing 3D models of signs.
    I predict that 3D printers will be used for printing channel letters in the near future, similar to the type of plastic channel ltrs Gemini sells now. Also smaller dimensional signs
    that are now done on CNC routers. There will also be types of signs we haven't even thought of yet printed in 3D.
     
  5. MGB_LE

    MGB_LE Member

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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  6. bannertime

    bannertime Very Active Member

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    No
    We've been considering ways to get into it, but I don't think the technology is quite there yet to make it into our daily production. I'm really interested in the additive manufacturing methods rather than actual printing.
     
  7. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I have one here. It's great, don't use it in production for final products, but it does create tools, items that I use.

    I also do the odd ball fun prints as well.

    I tend to run a print, make a mold and then create a final product from that mold.

    My suggestion, pick something where the hardware is open (hackable, expected that the user will do mods to it). Be careful with getting into a printer that you have to get specific parts for or even the filament for etc.

    Be very careful with the filament that you use. Each has their pros and cons.

    Of course, I'm assuming extruded filament here, are you think extrude or resin printing?

    One of my tech buddies (the same one that made me a Linux zealot oddly enough) uses a resin 3D printer for dental appliances and that has it's own pros/cons compared to the traditional extruded printers.
     
  8. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I have been working up channel letter prototypes in my garage for the past couple of months. I can definitely see the future in additive, but not so much with filament. Printing with polycarbonate filament works well, but it's expensive and time consuming. Plus everything needs a layer of paint if it's going outside, or rather, I've found nothing in the way of warranties on filaments when it comes to outdoor/UV exposure. We were in touch with Massivit for a bit, looking at one of their UV gel printers that would exponentially out perform filament, but they want 250k and their tech support is on the other side of the world...
     
  9. particleman

    particleman Member

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    Looks like I chimed in on this 6 years ago. I did a test run of creating 3d letters with a CR10 chinese machine last year. I also ended up with some nice letters but the process to get them to that point was too intensive. Required a lot of sanding and then paint as well, basically required 12-20 hours of printing to make 10-15 letters. ASA filament will handle UV exposure.
     
  10. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    There could be some settings that were playing a part in that as well. Even depends on the brand of filament used, as not all handle well. As far as the sanding the filament.

    Out of curiosity, did you go from modeling to print or did you use a slicer program in the process as well? Sometimes that helps spot trouble areas as well or help with the extrusion.
     
  11. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    A few things most of you who want to get into 3D printing, but haven't yet and don't realize -

    1 - it's slow. I'm talking some 6" prints of a statue take 16-24 hours on non draft quality. Then 12 hours in when employee x comes to see how awesome it is... He bumps the table, the extruder skips... And you start from scratch.


    Learning how to create a 3D object isn't easy. Button on your chainsaw broke? You'll probably need 5-10 days of training to learn how to reprint that button if you don't have any 3D experience. And it'll likely take 2-3 hours to print depending on size.

    I'm talking strictly filament printers. Resin ones are a bit faster... But have their own downsides.

    I do think 3D printing is going to be the future in signage. But when I say that... I'm not talking $200-2000 printers. You can get 3D printers that are big enough to walk in right now. Them are likely the ones that will help your business... Not these cheap toys.

    Don't get me wrong. 3D printing is fun. But there's a huge, huge learning curve. And unless your spending $20k on a printer.... And hundreds of hours on learning, you're not going to make money off of it. If you see it as a hobby, a fun toy..... Something you can use to make 3D models of signs to showcase to customers....They're great. But if you think you can buy one and get the same return as a printer or a cnc machine... They're just not at that stage yet.

    I've owned 4 different ones. From the Chinese ones that have come in 4000 pieces you build yourself, to the $2500 model. Sometimes you have fun, sometimes you want to punch a wall, or the guy who invented the printer.

    Again... Great toy / hobby machine. Unless you have some 3D modeling experience, or are willing to spend hundreds of hours learning it... Youre limited to pre-made files. Which isn't bad, there's a huge community out there. Good for neat / fun stuff... You just won't be doing custom pieces for your chainsaw or car button that fell off.


    [Edit] as for the sanding. Look at ABS and acetone bath. Lots of youtube videos on it. It uses the fumes of acetone, but it makes the prints come out super smooth. Most printers can't handle ABS without an enclosure and modification, unless you buy a high end printer. But you cut out hour of sanding and post trimming this way. One of the main reasons I went from a $200 DIY printer to a $2500 printer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
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  12. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    I dont think 3d printers will be a game changer. The machine wont matter, the design is where the cost will be and its not going to be much different price wise than getting something drafted by an engineer. Its place in the near term will be for manufacturing prototyping but even with that today, the cost is in the design side and not the making of the part. In that market, buying the printer is peanuts, no reason to sub out the easy part.
    I just dont see what customer base one could develop with it that would not just buy one themselves either.
     
  13. particleman

    particleman Member

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    These are all ABS, I built an enclosure which worked well. I just think the whole process was going to be too labor intensive to make it a feasible for production. The L is sanded down and painted, you can see it was still not sanded enough.

    Modelling done in Fusion 360 then sliced in Simplify3D
     

    Attached Files:

  14. kanini

    kanini Member

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    We make some small parts, small batch washers with a hole pattern in them that the customer uses for attaching switches to. We apply a decal over the surface and it looks neat. Customer buys 15-20 pcs. a time and it's printed with ABS on a desktop simple 3D printer, costed around 1500 when I and my brother bought it a couple years ago just for hobby. Don't see how you make any serious money yet, but when the stainless steel 3D printers go down a bit in price, the speed increases and you can see them starting to compete with CNC mills and lathes, then I think we'll see the great breakthrough. But that's probably 15 years from now.
    Until then, channel letters etc. will probably be the next thing for signage industry to 3D print, but even that is somewhat in the future to be cost efficient. Today I don't really see where you can make any money with a 3D printer in a sign shop, the demand isn't there and you can't create it. Have seen a couple competitors try the 3D printing route but none has so far found any business and returned/sold their printers...
     
  15. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I have a buddy who is in the engineering for manufacturing field. He had a commercial grade machine demonstrator. It was Ok for prototyping, but definitely not at the production level yet.
     
  16. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Well now, if we are showing off letters... Can anybody guess what letter my company starts with?
     

    Attached Files:

  17. 54warrior

    54warrior Member

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    we use xometry.com for all our 3D printing needs.
     
  18. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    All the ones that I've looked at, are either for one offs or for prototyping, not really for mass production.

    If I'm looking to get a small amount of production, I'll take a mold of the actual print and then use that mold to get a true finished product.

    Still quite a bit of effort, but it does have it's place and I imagine it'll only get better as the tech gets further along.
     
  19. player

    player Major Contributor

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  20. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    I started with a Creality CR10 and now have a Prusa MK3- I have built two Creality Ender3s for presents for young people. I think highly of the Creality's for the price and the Prusa is as good as you get for $1k. They are slow but useful. I knew Aspire and learned Fusion 360 to be able to design my own parts. I have learned a lot. And made some really useful things for myself. Prusa is preparing a resin printer which I will probably buy at some point. If you are not learning,,, you are dying.
     
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