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Thread: 3D Printing, does it have to be more than download and click print?

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    Default 3D Printing, does it have to be more than download and click print?

    The other day the following came up on another train board ....'What set up is required to print a file from somewhere like Thingverse for example? I know there has to be a lot more than just download and click print?'

    I answered there and thought that it might be a good topic here also. A resin printer operator posted his answer and it revolved more about printing loco shells and cars, both of those can require considerable supports for the printing process and also a resin printer so he commented that it was a pretty steep learning curve. I have a filament printer so wanted to also give a reply from that perspective....

    It doesn't have to be much more than 'download and click print' depending on what you're printing and the printer you bought. If your needs are printing car bodies and loco shells then you are going to need to go 'resin printer'. I decided to buy those things already done and have bought 3 loco shells at this point for Union Pacific shells that I couldn't find any other way. This is about all I'm going to need for my UP needs and I'm not interested in cars that much.

    I like designing and making other objects for the layout that don't need that level of detail so went with a filament printer (Ender 3 Pro--about $250). I've been really happy with it for my needs. Figure a couple hours to assemble it and then you initially have to level the bed and later will do this occasionally if it gets out of level as the bed springs change tension/compression. Leveling is a few minute job using a print file you can download. I have the links in the first post of a different thread here ( https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...g-a-3D-printer ).

    From that point printing is pretty much download the file and print it using the free software called Cura. I'll layout the steps here and they take less than a minute and you are printing. It is a matter of downloading the file into Cura and clicking some menu items. Once Cura prepares the file (only seconds in most cases) you take it to the printer on a Micro SD file. Since my printer is by the computer I connected them with a USB cable and this is even easier as I don't have to go through the SD card step. I just press 'Print via USB' in Cura and the print starts.
















    Since this is a filament print there is no curing or cleaning after the print. I guess you could wash it if you wanted but I just remove it from the print table and cleanup any stray filament and start painting it. I like the simplicity of it. There is also no smell so I have it in the house next to the computer just off the living room and kitchen area and Dottie loves that I've gotten it.

    Now over time you will have to re-level the table and so far out of hundreds of prints I've had to pull the tube that the filament travels through to the hot end (where the filament comes out) and cut an inch or so off the end and reinsert it into the hot end. The filament builds up in the tubing over time in the area where it is heated and melts and it sticks to the inside of the tube. Eventually the filament can't be pushed through the tube by the extruder and out the hot end. When this happens you will hear a clicking as the extruder slips on the filament trying to push it. I ordered some tubing that is suppose to be better and will install it the next time this happens. Other than that and replacing the cheap nozzles a couple times I've had no printer maintenance but have bought some spare parts as like anything mechanical there are upgrades you can do and some parts will eventually have to be replaced as they wear. The Ender is so popular you can find tons of YouTube's on all of this. One reason I bought it.

    I love the design side of it but there are hundreds of train related items where you can download the STL files and print if that is what you need. I think it is like a lot of tools. Once you get one you might wonder why you waited so long. Also it can easily pay for itself. I have lots of turnouts built and by printing the servo brackets and the electric control boxes to control them ( https://www.nscale.net/forums/showth...nexpensive-Way ) vs. buying commercial equivalents I've easily paid for the printer making all the other projects basically free. I'm still on my first $20 spool of filament and have printed hundreds of items (small ones) at this point.

    If you have any other questions post them here and we will help or PM us,

    Sumner

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    Since your using Cura make sure your printer is selected/defined. There is a lot of customizing you can do and tutorials on Cura.
    Fergy
    CT&OT RR (N using DCC / HO, O, G using DC for now)

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    In general yes your short tutorial is what has to happen. But (and I don't want to scare people away from 3D printing) don't expect this to happen all the time. Things go wrong ...

    The part doesn't stick to the bed.
    The part as designed doesn't sit on the Cura "plate" in the right way to print properly - you might have to flip it vertically so it doesn't need supports.
    The nozzle gets clogged.
    The bed isn't level enough and you need to re-level or move the part around.
    The cheap filament you bought is bad (don't buy cheap PLA).
    The bed needs to be cleaned.
    Halfway through a 4 hour print you see that you needed supports or something else goes wrong and you have to cancel the print.

    And this is the worst part - a mysterious issue is happening that takes you a lot of time to research and/or you simply can't get the model to print correctly at all. This has happened to me but it is fortunately rare.

    And other things ...

    I'm just being the bad cop here. Most of the time it will work but it is by no means like buying a toaster oven and expecting your toast to come out right every morning.

    There's too much to write about and it's all online elsewhere anyway - you will learn with patience and time.

    By the way my Ender has been highly modded with linear rails, touch screen, and external Raspberry Pi so it can be controlled via PC or tablet - see pic. You don't have to do this but it just illustrates how this printer can be modded.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Wow, I've never seen one that modified.

    I haven't done anything to mine yet but have aftermarket springs laying there and will change the feed tube the next time the stock one clogs up. Also have an extra extruder for when the stock one screws up but so far it has worked great.

    Is there anything factory left on yours ,

    Sumner

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    I actually find resin printing a whole lot easier than filament printing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grrf View Post
    I actually find resin printing a whole lot easier than filament printing.
    Do you have both types of printers? Which ones?

    I think the one fellow said the learning curve is steeper, at least that was his feeling and he only has a resin printer, was because he is trying to print railroad cars and is having a hard time with where and how to place the supports.

    I don't have a resin printer so was just going by his experience. I design a lot and print a lot, 4 different things in the past hour, so for me the ability to design, print a minute later, pull the print out with no curing or cleaning and then going on with the process possibly all over again fits 'my needs' better than what I feel a resin printer would. Still might end up with one eventually

    Sumner

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    The main reason I did not go resin is my Printer resides in the basement and I do not have a good way to exhaust the fumes (It is my understanding that with resin there are fumes?) So I have an ender 3 pro that I just finished assembly on. Waiting for new bowden tube and then I should be ready for the first print.
    Jim
    My build thread: Link (Sold to new home)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
    I think the one fellow said the learning curve is steeper, at least that was his feeling and he only has a resin printer
    I've had my Elegoo Mars Pro (resin) for close to a month now and frankly I've found the learning curve to be relatively easy. This is my first 3D printer. I chose resin over filament for the increased detail capability.

    I'm not sure that in the filament vs. resin battle, that the learning curve is any steeper for one or the other, just different.

    If you are considering buying one, do your homework first. There are tons of YouTube videos for both filament and resin printing.

    What's best for you?

    It ultimately boils down to what you want to print and how big you want to print it. Resin printers are great for small, more detailed models.
    Filament printers are great for bigger, not quite as detailed models.
    - Gary R.

    President & CEO
    Pinnacle & Western Railroad

    Never under-do the over-kill.

    I don't always stop for trains, but when ... oh wait!, Yes I do.

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