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What next?...FDM vs SLA vs SLS

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  • #16
    Originally posted by MrFlippant View Post

    You might want to look back into it. If you're talking about a 1/32 body at highest quality (0.05mm layers) on a typical FFF machine (0.4mm nozzle, etc), then it would take less than 16 hours, depending on a variety of other factors, and could be much faster if your printer has an appropriately stable frame and good mechanics. Start it the night before, and you've got a finished body by the time you're moving around the next day. ;-)

    A resin print of the same model, at 0.025mm layers (which would be pretty much invisible since SLA layers are smoother than FFF) would be less than 6 hours.
    Ok, I admit I exaggerated just a tad... but you prove my point that it takes waaaay too long to print something worthwhile on a FFF machine. Maybe I should say it this way... I certainly would not buy a machine to wait that long for a print, today. Next year when times are shorter, perhaps.

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    • #17
      Right now the only reason I would want a faster printer would be if I were making parts for sale. And even then I'd be more likely to buy a second or third Ender 3 Pro. It would probably be the cheapest way to double or triple my printing speed. Plus it would give me more printing flexibility -- have different parts printing simultaneously. And also have backup -- if one machine dies I wouldn't be out of production.

      Another plus would be that I could dedicate one machine to a specific large-volume part, and another machine for printing less popular parts on demand. Or I could dedicate a machine to a particular material. That would make great sense if, for example, I upgraded one machine to print Nylon, and use my other, unmodified machine(s) for lower-temperature materials.

      This is very much like the decisions I made when designing automated packaging lines for food plants -- something I did professionally. A machine that ran twice as fast would often cost much more than two conventional machines, and be harder to maintain. The two-machine solution was often a better solution because it gave you more flexibility and the ability to deal with machine downtime. The big issue was how much floor space was available. Sometimes there was just not enough room for two machines.

      I used the analogy of pizza delivery. In theory you could deliver more pizzas with a Ferrari than a Chevette because the Ferrari had a top speed more than twice the Chevette's. So why aren't there pizza shops that use Ferrari's for delivery?

      One other strategy would be to buy a higher-end printer and keep the Ender 3 Pro. In that case special parts that require some premium function of the high-end printer would be run on just that machine, and less demanding parts would run on the Ender. But that brings us back to what the high-end machine has to offer. If it is simply higher speed, there might not be enough justification for the more expensive machine.

      Having a production floor full of the same model printer has advantages. Common spare parts and maintenance are real and valuable advantages.

      These are all things that CEO's and plant managers looked at very carefully when I showed them a proposal for a new or revised packaging line. They were planning to invest the millions of dollars it would cost and live with the limitations and compromises involved for at least 15 years, and possibly much longer.

      Should a hobbyist worry about such things? Yeah, probably they should.

      Ed Bianchi

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      • #18
        Originally posted by dinglebery View Post

        Ok, I admit I exaggerated just a tad... but you prove my point that it takes waaaay too long to print something worthwhile on a FFF machine. Maybe I should say it this way... I certainly would not buy a machine to wait that long for a print, today. Next year when times are shorter, perhaps.
        It's a lot faster than waiting for months for someone to make a thing you want right now. ;-)
        I mean, seriously... you're wanting Star Trek replicator speed... you'll be waiting a while, and missing out on all the fun.
        But yeah, I guess a long time for some is not too long for others. Thank you for admitting that you exaggerated. It's better for people to make decisions with facts.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
          Right now the only reason I would want a faster printer would be if I were making parts for sale. And even then I'd be more likely to buy a second or third Ender 3 Pro. It would probably be the cheapest way to double or triple my printing speed. Plus it would give me more printing flexibility -- have different parts printing simultaneously. And also have backup -- if one machine dies I wouldn't be out of production.
          As I am prone to telling people, if you want to print twice as fast, get two printers. ;-) but as you said, it's really only necessary if you are wanting produce parts in large volume, or like you said, have each printer tuned for specific materials or uses.
          Besides, sometimes you can't even print the same thing on both printers, if you only have one spool of the material you need to print it in.

          The nice thing about these things is that YOU can do OTHER things while it's working. Once you get things set up reliably, you can hit the start button and walk away. You're not spending that time waiting, you're doing whatever else you would normally do, and at the end of the day, you have a thing that didn't exist hours before.

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          • #20
            I don't see print time as a problem, compare it to how long it would take to make by hand.

            There's been some great feedback here, Ed is making me re-consider, there's TONS of E3 upgrade parts for not a great deal of money.

            dinglebery raises a good point re: finishing prior to painting - resin printers finish is much better but probably limited to the quality of the .stl file

            Another point raised by Ed future improvements down the line, I think the next big step will be non planar slicing, i.e. real 3D profile printing rather than layers.
            Last edited by Kevan; 06-28-2020, 10:12 AM.

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            • #21
              If you want to print fast...print plenty...

              prusa-3d-printer-factory-tour-00.jpg?fit=1920%2C1080&ssl=1.jpg

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              • #22
                While I am blathering on, ad infinitum...

                When you use a toxic material as an input, you inevitably end up with some toxic waste. (I'm talking about those liquid resins.)

                Now if somehow toxic waste ends up flushed down your toilet, or mixed in with your trash picked up curbside, it is unlikely the Environmental Police are going to rappel out of their black helicopters down onto your doorstep. (At least not here in the United States of America. Maybe in Europe...)

                But you are going to feel a bit guilty, yes? Especially if you have to explain your bad behavior to your children. I mean, they are going to grow up exposed to enough mutagens as it is. You don't want to screw with the 'X' gene...

                Those of us who made their living working in industry -- especially those that involve chemicals -- usually have acquired a sensitivity to such matters. Commonly evidenced by a nervous tick...

                Ed Bianchi

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                • #23
                  As Mr. Flippant comments, once you've got your print job started you are free to ignore it and go be productive somewhere else.

                  But there IS a hypnotic attraction to watching your printer run. Sort of like watching the clothes go around in the dryer.

                  I find myself sneaking down the basement, often, just to check up on my print job. I know it is probably running just fine. But I want to look...

                  No, you don't HAVE to watch the printer run. You have better things to do. Really. It will run just fine if you aren't watching it. Truly.

                  It is... just... fascinating...

                  Ed Bianchi

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                  • #24
                    I've been printing for 2.5 years and I STILL like to watch the printer, and STILL check on them like a fawning mother over a newborn. If I'm not home (and sometimes when I am) I'll use a remote camera app and some old cell phones to check in on them.

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                    • #25
                      For waste products, the nice thing about FFF waste is that it can be reclaimed because it's a thermoplastic. Hopefully more community based resources become available, but I got to the point that I decided to reclaim it myself and bought a Filastruder and Filawinder, and have been chopping up old prints and even empty spools to extrude into printable filament. My initial run with ABS pellets worked great. I'm working on enhancements to the system while I break down more material for future extrusion. Another facet to an enjoyable hobby.

                      For SLA waste, what I usually see is guys running "used" cleaning alcohol through a few coffee filters and then allowing the trapped resin to cure before disposing of it. As far as I know, there's no way to reclaim cured resin. At least, not and be re-used for printing.

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                      • #26
                        There is an opportunity here for someone to offer recycling PLA as a service.

                        Would people voluntarily ship used PLA to a recycling service? Or would said recycling service need to pay a small amount to buy PLA to recycle? Perhaps offer free shipping?

                        My thought -- make it a club. You send used/scrap PLA to the service and you get a discount buying spools of recycled PLA for your printer.

                        Comes to that, send your empty spools too. Those can be recycled dirt cheap, and really should be.

                        Maybe someday there will be other printing materials that could be recycled. But for now PLA is the "low hanging fruit".

                        Ed Bianchi

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                        • #27
                          Mr. Flippant,

                          Re-reading your last post, you mention recycling ABS. Obviously you are using a lot of it.

                          I have yet to experiment with ABS. I have been printing in PLA, PETG, TPU and OBC. I'd be interested in any wisdom you can pass on about ABS. Not only how to print it successfully, but how the properties of the finished parts stack up against other filament materials.

                          Pretty please?

                          Ed Bianchi

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
                            There is an opportunity here for someone to offer recycling PLA as a service. Would people voluntarily ship used PLA to a recycling service? Or would said recycling service need to pay a small amount to buy PLA to recycle? Perhaps offer free shipping?
                            Comes to that, send your empty spools too. Those can be recycled dirt cheap, and really should be.
                            Maybe someday there will be other printing materials that could be recycled. But for now PLA is the "low hanging fruit".
                            There are companies that will take your shipped plastic and sell you a spool, but the cost is pretty much the same as a regular spool, not counting shipping the scrap. This is why most people just throw it in the garbage. I would also not pay (much) for scrap. There's a lot of work that goes into reclaiming it back into filament, and that work is much more than the cost of the filament I would get out of it. That's why I'm taking donations. There are enough people like me who don't want the scrap to end up in a landfill, but can't recycle it, either, that they save it and are willing to just let me have it without anything in return. I do this as much to assuage my guilt about adding plastic to the world as I do about making my own filament. By taking their scrap, I'm doing that for them, as well.

                            Spools can be recycled... sometimes. Unfortunately for some reason, most spools have NO indication of material type for recyclers to go by, and they're NOT all made out of the same stuff like milk bottles and soda bottles. As such, if you put them in your recycling, they'll probably end up in the dump.

                            Pretty much any thermoplastic can be reclaimed... IF you know what kind it is. If you melt it at the wrong temperature, you'll destroy it and let out WAY more toxic fumes than just getting it to the melting point does. As such, I'm sticking with spools that I can clearly identify as ABS by using a quick melt test and an acetone wipe. Then I granulate it for future extrusion. Unfortunately, most of the spools I have received have not been identifiable, so I'm having to figure out what to do with them until I can identify them.

                            As for ABS versus other stuff, it's strong, but I mainly use it where high temp will be likely, such as phone holder for my car, or other things that will be in, or in contact with things that get hot, and I need it to not deform. I did some chassis with ABS, but they were more flexible than I wanted them to be. PLA ended up being the best choice for its rigidity. I would say it's worth experimenting with. You can get ABS as cheap, sometimes cheaper, than PLA. The thing with ABS is that it shrinks when it cools, so accounting for that is a good thing. Because of that shrinkage, it will peel up off the build plate VERY easily, so you need to keep the printer area warm and draft-free. That's why enclosures are recommended for ABS, nevermind the odor.

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                            • #29
                              Much reading, watching, listening and talking after my initial post I've changed my mind against a resin printer and going to get a Prusa i3 MK3S

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                              • #30
                                Kevan,

                                So spill. What will a Prusa i3 MK3S do for you that your Ender 3 Pro won't?

                                Ed Bianchi

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