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Topic: 3D printer help. (Read 4 times) previous topic - next topic

DuaneB

I really need to replicate myself first to get a grasp of half the things I would like to do.

This could be very interesting but take a year or two of my life :-(

Does anyone have any experience of the learning curve ?

Duane B




Far-seeker


I really need to replicate myself first to get a grasp of half the things I would like to do.

This could be very interesting but take a year or two of my life :-(

Does anyone have any experience of the learning curve ?


Well, here's my experience for what it's worth.  In the spring of this year Makerbot stopped producing their smaller 3D printer, the Thing-o-Matic, to focus on the Replicator.  So they were selling their unassembled remaining kits for a discount of hundreds of US dollars (basically for a little less than half of the current price of the Replicator).  I decided to get a Thing-o-Matic kit.  Even though it came to me in a complete kit with well written documentation available online, it took me a couple of two-day weekends and a few evenings after work to get it assembled and running.  Mind you, that's without any major problems and only a couple of instances of backtracking that didn't cost much more than an hour each. Once it was running the control software was fairly easy to use.
 
The Repraps brought up earlier in the thread are smaller, have less electronics to wire-up, and don't have cases to put together.  So they'll probably be somewhat quicker to assemble, but be prepared to invest a significant amount of free time before you can use them.

Of course if you want to make your own designs you'll probably need CAD software of some kind (as opposed to just downloading STL files made by other people).  If you're not already familiar with either paper drafting or CAD there can be a significant learning curve.  Although the interfaces and other aspects can differ quite a bit, once you get the fundamentals it usually isn't a big hassle to go from one particular CAD program to another.  There some decent free programs as well as a few commercial packages ~100 USD that would be more than adequate.  For personal use, I have ViaCAD Pro v8 (I splurged a bit, it actually cost ~250 USD but they have a 100 USD version too) as well as DesignCAD 3D Max 20 (picked the latter one up during a clearance sale for ~39 USD) either series would be a good investment if you are serious about using them.  I don't have that much experience with free CAD software, but there seem to be some decent options currently available.

DuaneB

Hi,

Thanks for the response, this is the bit I am afraid of -

Quote
If you're not already familiar with either paper drafting or CAD there can be a significant learning curve.


I am sure the device itself is an interesting build, but I am getting a bit long in the tooth to be learning new software.

Duane B

Far-seeker

Well, I don't want to disuade you Duane.  To be clear, by "significant learning curve" I meant you'll probably have to devote over a dozen hours total if you want to use many of the capabilities in modern consumer/non-professional grade 3D CAD systems, as opposed to just completing a half-hour tutorial that will only teach you how to draw striaght lines and simple curves.  I didn't mean to imply it would require weeks or months of study to get any use out of a CAD program!

i-Bot

If you are in the south of England, you may want to look at the Thames Valley RepRap group. http://tvrrug.org.uk/
They built 15 RepRaps togther in the last build, and the new build just starting has 20 participants spread over the south of England.
I think the whole kit was around £400, and the team build makes success pretty certain.  There may be some interesting options there.
I know of tvrrug from their association with Reading Hackspace. Hackspaces are another great way to get access to 3D printing.

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