Can anyone recommend an online 3D printer?

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substitute

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I want to make some simple little trim pieces for covering the edges of some channel strips to be racked. I designed the part in tinkercad, all I need now is a place to print them.  All the places I've looked at so far ask you to submit your email or make an account to submit a file for a quote, I have no idea what the price range is for something like this, and I'm just trying to avoid making a bunch of accounts. So, any recommendations for small run simple little 3d printing projects?
 

Rochey

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this is quite a rabbit hole that you may jump down!

Shapeways has a good reputation. I believe they have some online quoting tools as well.

However, you would be amazed at the use for a 3d printer in your toolbox, if you can afford the investment. I'm on my 5th one now. The first 3 are gone - they were too much work versus being a simple tool to make stuff. I'm not interested in tuning and improving. I just want to design the part I'm working on, hit "print' and come back in an hour or two! (does that make me lazy?)

Anyway, I use a CR10-mini and have been thrilled at the results. It. Just. Works. I've wasted $340 on way worse things in my time!

Audio related things I've design (in free software - fusion 360)
- Soldering Jigs
- Enclosures/boxes
- Drilling Jigs
- Test jigs
- Custom knobs
- PCB holders (to go inside 19" rack boxes)
- Custom height standoffs (incisde 19" rack boxes)

It really is a case of once you have this hammer, everything looks like a nail.
 

substitute

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Yeah, I'm sure I'd get into it, but nows not a good time. I'm furloughed from work, which is fine for now but I'm worried what 6 months from now looks like. Thus, I'm trying to get organized and finally rack up some mci channel strips I bought forever ago to sell.
 

Rochey

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fair enough. I understand that these are uncertain times.
How many do you need? is it a big STL? I'm currently printing mask clips for healthcare workers, but if you need a few bits done, i'm happy to throw some stuff on the printer. you might need to finish them with sandpaper etc - standard work for 3d prints!

you can send me a message on here to get in touch.
 

substitute

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Rochey said:
fair enough. I understand that these are uncertain times.
How many do you need? is it a big STL? I'm currently printing mask clips for healthcare workers, but if you need a few bits done, i'm happy to throw some stuff on the printer. you might need to finish them with sandpaper etc - standard work for 3d prints!

you can send me a message on here to get in touch.

Hey, thank you for the offer to print my pieces.  The piece is about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch wide by 1/8 deep, and ultimately I need 14 of them but I'd prefer to just get 2 or 4 made and make sure they're right . Let me spend some more time tonight fine tuning the design before I send it to you what's your regular email, the PM says your inbox is full.
 

Whoops

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Rochey said:
they were too much work versus being a simple tool to make stuff. I'm not interested in tuning and improving. I just want to design the part I'm working on, hit "print' and come back in an hour or two!

some of my friends bought Creality3D Ender-3 printers in the last year,
they wanted to do a lot of projects.

After many months all of them are still in the testing, disappointment,  tuning and improving phase.
A lot of failure and time spent in figuring it out what to do.
I guess they thought the path would be much simpler

 

Rochey

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I had similar experiences until I bought the CR10. It's mostly pre-built - you just screw together about six bolts. It's worked out of thebox. Only thing I have to do is recalibrate every few months or when I change filament.

One of the biggest differences I made was buy software to do the slicing instead of using open source tools. The software already has presets for my printer. that made things WAY easier. (going back to  - "I want a tool, not an additinal thing to tinker with!")

The other item was a Digital dial indicator that I attach to the head of the printer to measure the depth to the plate surface. I "walk" the head in 2" increments across the bed and level it out. A good consistent surface helps things stick much better.

Anyway - I've dragged this topic off into the weeds. Apologies. My point was, I think these can be excellent tools for your hobby, but if you treat it as a hobby in itself, it will consume you. :)
 

substitute

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Anyway - I've dragged this topic off into the weeds. Apologies.

I dunno, I think this is all relevant information. Like I said I wasn't really looking at buying a 3D printer anyhow but it's good to know what goes into it, I would have thought they were much more plug and play.
 

Whoops

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substitute said:
I would have thought they were much more plug and play.

It's much more than that, there's a lot of variables to manage so that your specific piece gets printed correctly.

Filament type, temperature, bed temperature, position on the bed, how much infill, what type of infill.

Even after the printing job, you need to do ome post production on the piece, like cutting , filling , etc etc

Everyting is do-able but there's really a learning curve and it's not plug and play at all
 

Rochey

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One of the best things I ever printed to help me with the 3d printer was something that holds a dial indicator to theprint head, that measures the distance to the plate in 0.01mm accuracies. Tuning the bed to be consistent in X and Y has given me excellent results.
USHBKxus.jpeg


I do my measurement in the middle - using the piece of paper technique. Then put the dial indicator on over the head, and "walk and tweak". Meaning going in a grid of 20mm steps around the plate,turning the knobs for each corner up and down to average out the height. It takes abotu 15 minutes, every 6 months or so. (in fact, last time I left it so long, I forgot how)

New filament can be a pain. I found that spending a few dollars more per reel can save you hours of tweaking. good brands have higher quality standards.

Finally - *buying* decent slicers. My CR10 worked beautifully from the first print, once I had simplify3d. That was $150. Not cheap. But it worked out of the box.

I think many of us here could do a lot by adopting 3d printing. We're way behind the synth crowd. Even simply jigs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYcDccHG0F4&list=WL&index=59&t=0s

 

 
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