OT: Are desktop 3-D printers ready for prime time?

Seems many 3-D printers in the $500-$750 (US) range can do ABS plastic now. Or not?
If they can do decent strength plastic, seems they would at least do
well for making some custom spacers and washers.
Thanks.
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email.me:

ABS is a difficult material to print because it likes to warp. An enclosure (can be as simple as a cardboard box) helps a lot but won't take care of the warping 100%.
There's a material called ASA that might be worth taking a look at. PETG may also be worth a look, it's got several properties that make it print nicer than ABS but is stronger than PLA.
As for whether 3D printers are ready for prime time, I'd say yes. Some can print very fine details but won't hold the exacting tolerances or wear resistance of metal. It's up to you and your projects whether it'll be useful or not.
Puckdropper
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2020 23:53:49 -0000 (UTC), John Doe

Most hobby printers can print ABS, but it takes skill and knowledge from the operator.
There are printers available that claim to offer turnkey operation. Markforged is one of the manufacturers that do so. Their printers can add glass or carbon fiber to the plastic during printing to make really sturdy parts. You'll need a bigger budget than what you mention, and you will have to buy consumables from one single manufacturer.
They also offer metal printers, but you have to ask for prices. And if you have to ask...

If you're buying a 3D printer to make spacers and washers, you are making a mistake. Such parts are MUCH faster and cheaper to make by other means, which means the printer will never pay for itself.
If you're buying a 3D printer because you have lot of time for a new hobby, you are on the right track.
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RoRo

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Nym-shifting troll, first post to this group using this ID...
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Robert Roland < snipped-for-privacy@ddress.no> wrote:

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You got two accurate and pertinent replies to your question. Now you should step back and shut up instead of crapping on the group.
You cross-posted your message to free.spam as well as here. For this reply, I removed free.spam from the newsgroup list.
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jiw

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"shut up" What a freaking idiot. This troll can go fuck itself...
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James Waldby < snipped-for-privacy@valid.invalid> wrote:

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On 4/22/2020 4:53 PM, John Doe wrote:

That's kind of like asking if stone wheels are ready for prime time.
It all depends on the printer and the application. Of course there are different kinds of 3D printers. From goop slopped out of a nozzle to laser sintered metals. I only have first hand experience with one kind of 3D printer. Its a resin printer. Kind of in between. It uses a UV kicked resin. You fill a basin with resin. Lower a platform into the resin until there is just a very thin film between the platform and the window in the bottom of the basin. You shoot it with a laser from underneath to partially cure a pattern of resin. Then you raise the platform to allow resin to flow in underneath and lower the platform until there is just a thin film between the last layer and the bottom of the basin so you can shoot it with a laser again to form the next layer. Some of these laser resin printers can have very good resolution.
There is a variation of this same printer that uses an LED array below the basin or tank full of resin. The LED array typically has slightly less resolution than the laser version, but of course that depends on the quality of the laser you are comparing it to. My son has an LED resin printer. He uses it to print miniatures for painting. Its easier than casting them in chemically kicked resin with amazing details. Its much slower.
Now as to whether or not its "ready for prime time" that depends. Recently I had my son print some master molds for me. I used those master molds to make silicone molds. From those silicone molds I was able to cast resin items that would be marketable. I could possibly have directly printed a workable item, but its slow. In the silicone molds I can crank out a resin item every 15 minutes, and I can use the master molds to produce as many silicone molds as I want.
IMO 3D printers are good for:
Some one off items. Prototyping. Part of a larger process. Producing a temporary emergency part or tool when other stock and machinery would be size or weight prohibitive. (think space station).
Is it the magic replicator you see on Star Trek? Not in my lifetime most likely. Probably not in yours.
Its like any other tool. You have to evaluate it for the current application.
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"Bob La Londe" wrote in message
On 4/22/2020 4:53 PM, John Doe wrote:

That's kind of like asking if stone wheels are ready for prime time.
It all depends on the printer and the application. Of course there are different kinds of 3D printers. From goop slopped out of a nozzle to laser sintered metals. I only have first hand experience with one kind of 3D printer. Its a resin printer. Kind of in between. It uses a UV kicked resin. You fill a basin with resin. Lower a platform into the resin until there is just a very thin film between the platform and the window in the bottom of the basin. You shoot it with a laser from underneath to partially cure a pattern of resin. Then you raise the platform to allow resin to flow in underneath and lower the platform until there is just a thin film between the last layer and the bottom of the basin so you can shoot it with a laser again to form the next layer. Some of these laser resin printers can have very good resolution.
There is a variation of this same printer that uses an LED array below the basin or tank full of resin. The LED array typically has slightly less resolution than the laser version, but of course that depends on the quality of the laser you are comparing it to. My son has an LED resin printer. He uses it to print miniatures for painting. Its easier than casting them in chemically kicked resin with amazing details. Its much slower.
Now as to whether or not its "ready for prime time" that depends. Recently I had my son print some master molds for me. I used those master molds to make silicone molds. From those silicone molds I was able to cast resin items that would be marketable. I could possibly have directly printed a workable item, but its slow. In the silicone molds I can crank out a resin item every 15 minutes, and I can use the master molds to produce as many silicone molds as I want.
IMO 3D printers are good for:
Some one off items. Prototyping. Part of a larger process. Producing a temporary emergency part or tool when other stock and machinery would be size or weight prohibitive. (think space station).
Is it the magic replicator you see on Star Trek? Not in my lifetime most likely. Probably not in yours.
Its like any other tool. You have to evaluate it for the current application.
==============================At Segway we could make experimental parts from 3D-printed ABS or machine them from metal. ABS was good enough for an appearance model but not really for structural components on a machine to test drive.
Except for the CNC Bridgeport and lathe their machine shop was equipped with the drill press, belt sander, bandsaw, grinder etc typical in a home shop like mine, and they were enough.
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Seems the affordable 3-D printers are all made in China, but the ASA filament (UV resistant, outdoors use) is made by at least two different companies in the USA... FilamentOne and 3DXMAX.
I wrote:

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Creality CP-01: 3D printer + laser + CNC all in one!!!
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I ended up with an "X-Maker" from "QIDI" on Amazon. Small print capacity but inclosed and has some nice features like Wi-Fi file transfer and a Wi-Fi camera for observation. Also a flexible build plate stuck to its magnetic build platform. I might try some flexible metal from a McMaster Carr, eventually. There is some brushed stainless steel that looks interesting. Using ASA filament. It's very light but strong, and (allegedly) UV resistant.
The Chinese company selling the printer is giving stuff away. Apparently because they want to promote good ratings, but I would be surprised if that's the only reason. Seems something weird is going on. Good weird.
I complained about something and they sent a free quiet motherboard (easily worth $100) to me. No idea why they aren't including the updated motherboard with the current version of the 3d printer. I guess that's the Chinese way of doing business. But now I have a spare motherboard. On eBay, also from them, I ordered a spare extruder assembly, complete for $60 (+21 shipping, DHL express like they shipped the free motherboard on Amazon). The extruder sale allowed making an offer, so I bid $50. Their counter offer was $30. ACCEPTED. Apparently they have been doing that stuff for a lot of their customers on Amazon and eBay. They said "We like to treat our old customers well." I would ask "How do you know I'm old?"
The 3D printer is a thrill, but some of the thrill is wearing off. Making precision parts is obviously a challenge.
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