Anyone into 3D printing?

Mouse

Trying to wheel
Supporting Member
Location
West Haven, UT
My work has a couple of 3D printers that I've been learning on - a plastic type and also a resin type. I find it very interesting and am intrigued that there must be some applications for parts on our offroad rigs.

It's been a little bit of a learning curve, but I am getting the CAD and printing software down now. I eventually want to buy my own printer. I have found many online in the sub-$500 range that look promising.

Just wanting to see if anyone is already going down this road. Looking at the thingiverse website offers lots of ideas, more gun related than 4x4.
 

Kiel

Formerly WJ ZUK
We have about 10 at work, and we do most of our proto type stuff on them for mock up. I've seen some interesting personal projects come out like bike parts for non load bearing stuff
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
I have a printer for a few years. I definitely don't print as much as I had been but its been fun to tinker with. I do print more in the winter than when its warm out.
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
I'm a big fan of additive manufacturing. For work we've got access to some pretty amazing (high dollar) machines, but they are understandably limited to work purposes only. I was able to convince my boss to purchase our group a Lulzbot Taz 6 a few years ago that we use to prototype parts; he agreed to let us use it on off hours so long as we buy our own filament. The Lulzbot is a work horse, I really like the printer; it's an expensive hobby grade printer (I think ~$2500). I've printed a handful of useful/cool things, some of which I've posted on this site like hydraulic jack knobs, coilover reservoir mounts, radiator overflow mount, fuel filter mount, vice jaws, beats pill speaker to roll bar mount.
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
This is what pays the bills....

Technically we have 15 ender 3 pro's. Two of them are essentially spare parts, and another 2 need new hot ends that I just need to find the time to do. We have been running 10 printers about 20-22 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last few months. I want to pick up a couple of the CR 6 SE's that just released. If they are everything they are advertised, I think I can get the work of 10 printers done with only 6 and the auto leveling and quite stepper motors would be an AMAZING addition to my sanity.

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nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
What, pray tell, do you print that pays the bills? Looks like cookie cutters but if you're running them that many hours a day you've got to be doing something else with them. What type of filament are you using? I know the object and what its for determines what filament but I really like PETG just in general and have gotten my last few orders from atomic filament in CA.
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
We run PLA and the silky/ultra PLA. Cookie cutters 100% of the time.


We were running 3d solutech filiment, but during covid the quality went to shit (see all the partial rolls on top? That's about 1/4 of the junk material we've had to deal with). We've recently switched to Matter Hackers and it's been substantially better with better customer service and way faster shipping.
 

Spork

Tin Foil Hat Equipped
Not from me Hopefully. I just have 15 headaches to deal with.... That must be dealt with because they are my source of household income.
I've thought one or two more might be nice but 15 looks like a full time job. Got to ask what do you do with the cookie cutters? Sell them somewhere like etsy? supply custom cutters to a bakery?
Is this something like you run 3 batches a day (morning, afternoon and evening?) kind of like milking cows? ;) or is it change it more often than that deal?
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
They go 99% through etsy. We're working on diversifying that some. Most of the printers get flipped at 8 am, 2 pm, and 10pm. So roughly 3 6-8 hour print beds per day. One or two may run on a different schedule to make missed, expedited, or broken cutters.

They average about $2 per hour per printer. Doesn't sound like much but when you have 200+ printer hours per day, it adds up.
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
Are they your designs? I appreciate the hustle but have no interest in pushing them that hard.

After getting my first one we somehow managed to justify one for the office and it's been garbage. It's still sitting on the desk and I recoil a little every time someone gets too close to it because I expect they'll ask me how to do something on it. Lately I've just offered to print the badge holders off at home so I don't have to deal with the one at work. (It's a printrbot.)
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
My wife has done all of the design work. It's a hustle, to say the least, and when the 3D solutech quality shit the bed, my life was basically get up, work on printers for a couple hours, work at the brewery for 12 hours, come home and work on the printers until 1-2 am. Rinse Repeat. I don't enjoy pushing hard like that, but I also don't particularly want to be evicted and being self employed, I need to really protect my credit score since that is what my ability to get loans is tied to. You gotta do what you gotta do. Now that we have found better filament, I probably only do about 15-20 minutes per day of printer maintenance, but she spends all day fulfilling orders.

To be 100% fair, my wife is the creative energy behind all of it. I'm just the printer maintenance technician. I do, or rather I will, help with the back end of the business and I try to guide her with where I think the business should/could go, but ultimately it's her business. She's done a fantastic job of getting it running, and once we have time to actually fine tune some of the operational expenses, I think it'll will be a pretty reliable long term revenue stream. Or, at least a valuable/viable business to sell off to someone who wants a work from home hustle.
 

1969honda

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Location
Cache
We have an Ender 3 pro at home I bought the kids last Christmas. It's been a fairly reliable machine with the only one issue being a micro switch that went bad on the x-axis. The kids are constantly printing things for fun and school projects.

As for vehicle parts, I watched a YouTube video recently where guys were printing optically clear custom tail light lenses and housings using a resin printer.

 

1969honda

Premium Member
Supporting Member
Location
Cache
Yes, they use tinker cad 8, 10,12 and 14. Their charter school has a printer in each classroom starting at 3rd or 4th grade. My 8 year old has one of her brothers or me help with designs if she can't find it on thingyverse.

My 12 year old is slowly learning solid works using an old copy of 2017 I have from a previous employer. I personally have a hard time with tinkercad and it's user interface after using solid works off and on for the past 15 years. Kids all seem to have picked it up really quick though.
 

Tonkaman

Well-Known Member
Location
West Jordan
Yes, they use tinker cad 8, 10,12 and 14. Their charter school has a printer in each classroom starting at 3rd or 4th grade. My 8 year old has one of her brothers or me help with designs if she can't find it on thingyverse.

My 12 year old is slowly learning solid works using an old copy of 2017 I have from a previous employer. I personally have a hard time with tinkercad and it's user interface after using solid works off and on for the past 15 years. Kids all seem to have picked it up really quick though.
That’s awesome! I have no experience with 3D printers, but have considered encouraging my daughter to get into it. Glad to hear kids can navigate design pretty well
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
I've used tinker ad a but to modify designs, but I have no background in 3d modeling so it's reeeaaaaalllly slow going.
 
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