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3D Printer vs Laser Cutter vs CNC Machine for Hobby Use

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by briankb, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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    Earlier this week I backed a 3D Printer on Kickstarter called Ultra-Bot. The design was taken from the MakerBot and improved upon in several ways including a much larger build platform as well as resolution and speed. You can get one in kit form or like I did fully assembled and tested for around $1,299.

    I've been wanting a 3D printer for a long time but the MakerBot examples I've seen were not that great looking and the cost of the machine was still close to $2k and the build footprint was only 4x4 inches.

    Once I backed this project of course my mind started to wonder about other equipment I will need or want to have like a 3D scanner. There are a few open source plans for these but nothing pre-assembled that is cheap.

    Then I found another Kickstarter that was successfully funded last week by http://fslaser.com for their new larger model that runs around $3,500. I think that is a good price for a new laser cutter with a 20x12 inch removable floor. But how much are comparable used commercial laser cutters?

    Finally I thought about having a 5 axis CNC machine which could produce better looking prototypes than the 3D printer and also engraving like the laser cutter.

    So now I've confused myself on which way to go. Anyone have experience with all of these to offer a suggestions? The primary use of any of these will not be sign work but as a hobby to make custom parts for robotics or to fix something that broke.
     
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  2. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    I've been following the Lasersaur project. Which in another Kickstarter deal. Other than that I worked with lasers in my prototyping class and they are amazing.
     
  3. briankb

    briankb Active Member

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    I saw that one as well. The more I think about it the more I think a small CNC machine would be a better choice than a laser cutter. It can handle metal, wood, and plastic.
     
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