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  • What is your opinion of the Low End Educational 3D printers

    Discussion in 'Prototyping & low-volume processes' started by JohnEvans, Mar 8, 2010.

    1. JohnEvans

      JohnEvans Guest

      This topic relates to 3D printers that are kitted out. U-build it. Obviously, these will not keep up with a 20K dollar unit in speed or finish, however, at an accuracy of 0.0004 in, and sub thousand dollar, these sound like a reasonable unit.

      As far as I can tell, provided that the extruders are acceptable, the design is in the frame and action. Most are using printed frame connectors and steel rod framing. I figure the unit could be refinished with aluminum rod connectors (instead of printed plastic), and move to servos to increase accuracy. The cost of the servos would and machining time and material cost would drive the unit up towards 2500 USD.

      What is your opinion. How accurate are the kit units, which kind performed well, etc.
    3. emstampa

      emstampa Member

      Feb 2010
      Likes Received:
      Hey John,

      I believe you are talking out the RepRap or MakerBot machines. Both are extruders similiar to the Stratasys UPrint line. However, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

      As far as I am aware those machines only extrude 1 reel of plastic, as opposed to the U Print which has 2 reels (1 model 1 support). With a support structure you will be very limited to the shapes you can print. IE: You could not build a table standing up. You could however print it upside down.

      You will also be limited to the small build chamber... something that probably won't matter from an educational standpoint. Something you might consider though if this is for a school, is machine time. Anytime you are using an extrusion method aka Fused Deposition Modeling, you should be prepare for verrry looong build times. So if you plan to let each student print their own part, forget it. You would be better of with something like a Zprinter (see http://www.ems-usa.com/3d-printers.shtml).

      The other issue is support. If this is a for a class or a company, manufacturer support is something that will save you some head ache should the machine go down. With a small company like Makerbot or non profit like RepRap, you'll probbaly be out of luck when it comes to requesting on site support.

      All in all, if you just want something real cheap so you or a couple teachers pets can play around with, no other machine will be able to touch its price tag. If its performance and reliability, I'd look elsewhere.

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