Re: 3D printing...some random thoughts


Hi Randy...
I'm moving slowly ahead.  Thanks for the Fusion 360 recommendation.  I've downloaded it and am now working through the tutorials. is certainly industrial-strength.  I'm looking long an investment of my time into this software seems reasonable.
I'm also working with TinkerCad and believe that I will put some effort into Blender.
Investing in a 3D printer is a big step for me because it is much more than a 3D is a whole world that includes software (and related learning curves) and filament (and related learning curves), not to mention the machine and it's learning curves.  I can see how it would be easy to want to do everything with the 3D printer.  I don't want to do everything because I enjoy working with my tools and different materials...but I can see that a 3D printer will give me capabilities that I do not presently have...and I find that exciting.  And I also find it exciting that I will be able to do things that I presently cannot envision.  As I learn the tools other opportunities will come into focus.

On Mon, 10 Feb 2020 at 15:39, Randy <rglissmann@...> wrote:
As an old (67) woodworker I had some initial reservations about both CNC and 3D printing. I have great respect for the craftsmen that can create wood objects that I don't have the talent nor patience to make. Also being an engineer, I'm intrigued by technology and  while some may consider it a shortcut, these TOOLs allow me to create things, very challenging things, that I would probably give up on. Anyway, I got tired of wood dust and totally transitioned to 3D printing. I'm willing to accept the scorn of the purests, but for most people, they just appreciate the creative effort in my designs. I airbrush my work so the material, plastic vs. wood, is immaterial. To reiterate, I'm in awe of someone who can create a 40 tooth gear by hand.

There are two main types of 3D printers: cartesian and delta. A cartesian printer moves the base in the X and Y directions create the object. The plastic extruder moves up in the Z direction as layers of plastic are layer on. A delta printer has a fixed base and the extruder dances around in the X, Y, and Z directions. I've never seen a delta and that may be because they are definitely less popular than cartesian. I'm not saying they are inferior, but I do think that both the manufacturer and community support is less than cartesian. I own an Ender 3 cartesian printer. It is a simple $200 printer that works very well. I have added a few well documented tune-ups that makes it very reliable. I can discuss these if there is interest.

Regarding filaments, I've tried different types of plastic but have always return to PLA, the most commonly used printing material. For a stationary object without environmental temperature and humidity stress, it works just fine. I use Hatchbox white PLA. I have found that the manufacturer of the filament does make a difference. For design software, I use Fusion 360. This software is SO amazing. For a hobbyist, using it is free. This is industrial-strength software, so don't expect to be productive overnight. 

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