Ben Mininberg at Prometheus Rising Studios has been cranking out his Bounce Tortoise mech figurines like there’s no tomorrow, all in the name of the 3D printing accuracy science!
He’s got an awesome series of photographs comparing the quality of output of a consumer-grade FDM 3D printer (Up! Mini) with the same size model printed by Shapeways using laser syntered polyamide (nylon). Well, you should see the very nicely done pictures for yourself but I would say for small prints the FDM quality is just not there (yet?).
Still, having a printer right here and spending $3 and 3 hours on a print which may or may not be a successful model instead of $30+ and 2 weeks to get a great quality one from Shapeways makes a lot of sense, especially if you know that some intermediate prints may be required.
So, the ideal work flow for the 3D artists appears to looks something like this:
- Create the initial model (Blender)
- Print cheap/quick on a personal FDM 3D printer
- Verify the look adjust model as needed
- Print again on the personal FDM one
- If satisfied, get the model printed professionally (Shapeways etc.)
- Receive professionally printed model, smooth details, polish surfaces where required.
- Make an RTV mold from the finished professional print
- Cast yourself urethane resin pieces.
- Finish resin into product.
Hope I haven’t missed an important step!
On Monday I received a package. I attended MakerFaire NYC back in September, and was blown away by all of the consumer-grade 3D printers being shown there. I had been looking at Makerbot Industries’ offerings, which are something of a standard for the home level 3D printer market, but they are still out of my price range. Makerbot’s machines also are a bit large for the space I ave available. Then I saw the AC Gears booth, where they were showing the recently debuted UP! Mini from UP! 3D. AC Gears is a tech retailer in New York City, and they had a coupon for UP! 3D’s two printers. I was so enamored by the look, size, and quality of the UP! Mini that I went and ordered one as soon as they went live.
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