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  1. #1
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Default Should I get a 3D printer...?

    Hello,

    As some may know here, me and my girlfriend are boardgame fanatics. Many boardgames come with quite simple tokens, and I know that she would love to upgrade some games with higher quality tokens. Some companies sell them (e.g. GF9 sells resin models for the ships and shiny tokens for their game Firefly), or some can be bought third party (e.g. tokens for Agricola). But some are quite expensive (e.g. the resin ship tokens) and still need paining. I know my girlfriend would love to do that, so I thought it could make a nice present, but at the same time I know she would be afraid to paint it poorly (particularly given the high cost of the resin models). For some other games, there are no better third party tokens available.

    I am a bit fascinated by 3D printers but at the same time I don't know how much I would use one, but this boardgame aspect has got me wondering... 3D printers have come down in price and we could print our own ships and tokens (and if painting goes bad, just print again). In addition, there are many 3D models for making card holders and storage things that help both during game play (important for games such as Firefly, where there are a large number of card decks) and storage (e.g. to allow faster packing/unpacking). And that is something that is not possible to buy - unless you buy from custom 3D print places, and that is also not so cheap here...

    There is the issue of finding the 3d models. I've been googling a bit, and think it may not be too bad with that, as the games we use are quite popular or use tokens that are quite universal.
    My fears are that I would not use it enough to justify the cost, although for the things I mentioned (game objects, tokens, game helpers, game storage things) I think it may break even (just getting the resin models for one game would be over 130 euro, so that seems a bit steep). But too cheap a printer may be more hassle than it is worth. But a good one may get some more uses... or may just end up unused in a corner......

    I like the finish of SLA printers, but they are more expensive to use, so I guess filament printers is the way to go. My interest rekindled when I saw that m3d is coming out with a new full colour model, which seems to tick all the right boxes and is not too expensive in pre-order (meaning it may break even with just the uses I mentioned). It may make painting unnecessary but then would require a bit of 3d software modeling skills: most models at the moment have no colour in them. We both are computer scientists and a friend is a designer who works with Blender, so he could give some pointers.

    So... any thoughts?
    People who have one that sits in the corner? People who have one and use it? People who got rid of theirs?
    How does complexity increase from single extruder (single colour, would require painting the models to be an upgrade to the supplied tokens in most cases), dual extruder for dual color/material, dual mixing extruder or more? Given the price differences, I feel it makes sense to go to at least a dual mixing extruder and then the m3d one (with a quad-mixing extruder) seems perfect (also because it is not a kit, which scares me a bit)...
    Last edited by VJ; 20th July 2018 at 08:00.
    pixar
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  2. #2
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    There can get a steep learning curve with the non-toy rigs. I have a friend who has used Davinci for years, making all manner of widgets and replacement parts, but needed a larger format. She graduated up to the huge JGAurora A5 (305 x 305 x 320mm) and still faced a learning curve.

    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 20th July 2018 at 10:44.
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  3. #3
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Yes... That is why the 3D printer kits scare me a bit... Plenty of things to consider (calibration, leveling, fine tuning, clogging, ...). So it seems a bit that you have to either accept that or go good enough. And that is a bit what scares me: when is it good enough for me to have an acceptable learning curve?
    Either I would have to consider a toy level, with all the upsides (ease of use, ...) and downsides (limitations) that come with it... or go to a higher range one... I'm looking at the upcoming m3D Crane, which seems so be positioned above toy level but still looks more user friendly than many kits... But I don't know anybody with a 3D printer, so cannot ask for first hand experiences...

    My first idea was that an SLA printer would be more suitable for my purpose, as the game board tokens are rather small objects and the SLA prints look nicer (and may be easier to paint). However, they are more expensive (both in purchase and in use) and much more limited... So then I looked at the filament ones...
    Last edited by VJ; 20th July 2018 at 12:13.
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    In 2001 I created a board game as a marketing material for some marketing company. Came up with and sold them on idea. The hot girls would deliver board games to their clients (arround 50). It came with packaging, board, instructions, 2 player figurines and die. I found some retired dude who was making plastic stuff for figurines and die who turned on at the time already ancient 386 to print receipt. I still have two samples of that board game.

    IMO go for it but get decent midrange one or find someone with a printer first. The one doc mentioned is 500€ on amazon so sound about right.

    I work in a factory now and while we do have 2 fancy 6-figure CNC lathes we don't have a 3D printer yet. Hope to convince boss to get one once HQ addition is built.

    You can also try wood. Also look into laser cuters, my friend and his gf have one. One of my university mates who creates jewelry is doing it on CNC and also got a 3D printer.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 20th July 2018 at 14:14.

  5. #5
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    The one I'm looking at now is the m3d Crane. From what I read it is not a bad company, and first batches are close to being shipped. The price for the quad in the 3rd shipping batch is $500, I'm expecting some things have to be added to that (taxes, shipping), but it seems a very good price (too good?). No idea what the full sale price will be, but the early batch goes for $649. Specs can be found here:
    https://all3dp.com/1/m3d-crane-quad-...or-3d-printer/

    So it seems like a great price, but on the other hand, it is a rather blind buy. Which I would have to have shipped to Poland while not being able to test it till January (first shipping batch is set for August, so 3rd batch realistically would be October-November. But given the features, I would estimate the price of the printer closer to $800-$1000. So I don't have that much time to decide on it...

    Some 3D printers have laser engraving or even CNC possibilities, but I'm not too sure about that for my purpose. Laser engraving could be nice, but CNC is just too messy; wood working in general. I would love to position the printer in my apartment, although if necessary I could put it at my girlfriend's parents' house. Still, not sure I'll venture into wood working.
    pixar
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    I've been a woodworker for 60 years, starting with my dad's shop in an outbuilding. Today there's a woodshop in the rear of our garage, which has spilled over into a nearby shed (finishing setup.)

    Built all my tool stands, cabinets, main worktable etc. Some portable tool stands are universal; a small drill press, jigsaw, band saw, router table, anvil etc. can be pulled off a shelf and installed in seconds. Swap as required for the job.

    The big stuff is definitely not portable.
    Last edited by Dr Mordrid; 20th July 2018 at 17:03.
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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtwigMU View Post
    In 2001 I created a board game as a marketing material for some marketing company. Came up with and sold them on idea. The hot girls would deliver board games to their clients (arround 50). It came with packaging, board, instructions, 2 player figurines and die. I found some retired dude who was making plastic stuff for figurines and die who turned on at the time already ancient 386 to print receipt. I still have two samples of that board game.
    Forgot to comment on this, but that is cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by UtwigMU View Post
    IMO go for it but get decent midrange one or find someone with a printer first. The one doc mentioned is 500€ on amazon so sound about right.

    I work in a factory now and while we do have 2 fancy 6-figure CNC lathes we don't have a 3D printer yet. Hope to convince boss to get one once HQ addition is built.
    The research facility where my girlfriend works has a 3D printer... but one that can print metals (even titanium)... so hardly a comparison with consumer stuff...


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mordrid View Post
    The big stuff is definitely not portable.
    Wood working is very nice, but completely out of the question as I live in an apartment. Even at my girlfriend's parents' place it would be difficult to set up shop. There are places in the city where you can go and do woodwork (and use their equipment); a friend of mine attended woodworking classes and learned about them, but I somehow would prefer something to do at home.

    One things that I should think about also is noise... I've read that silent 3D printers are still in the range of 49 dB. Does not sound too problematic during the day, but may be an issue for prints that continue through the night...
    pixar
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Yeah, no apartment would would allow my power tool collection Those things are beasts, some are 3-phase, and the neighbors would have a stroke.
    Dr. Mordrid
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  9. #9
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mordrid View Post
    Yeah, no apartment would would allow my power tool collection Those things are beasts, some are 3-phase, and the neighbors would have a stroke.

    3-phase is a actually the only thing that would not be a problem: we have a 3-phase connection with an allowed peak usage of 12 kW (our induction cooking plate and airco are 3-phase, it is a small one-time cost here to increase your peak limit but a big cost if you go over it and you pay EVERY time you go over it, so we set it to maximum - our cooking plate alone is 8 kW ).

    Back to the 3D printers... I've been reading tutorials and stuff and most issues seem to be related to clogging, warping of prints, webbing (or whatever it is called). Most of these seem to be connected to the temperature setting and the bed (heated or not)... More and more thinking of going for it... Found on the discord channel of m3d that the sales price will be around $999 for the quad, so half price is not bad (there will be some import tax, most likely in the ballpark of 22 %, but that would always be the case)... More and more thinking of going for it...
    pixar
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  10. #10
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Registered on discord and had a nice chat with a guy. He had the first m3D printer and a more advanced model and shared his experiences. The learning curve is there, but in his opinion not that different between single/dual/mixing extruders. Main risk is in a failed print; but he claims that when following procedure you are unlikely to damage something. He did say that fine detail is not really possible with this type of 3D printers and that SLA/DLP are better at that (using the example of nice figurines). This of course puts me back at square one: boardgame tokens/objects are rather small and the whole point is to make the nicer (i.e. with more detail), although on the other hand they should not be too delicate to handle. With a 0.25 nozzle he thinks it ought to work, particularly when using a soluble filament as support. I first was considering SLA/DLP, but the post-printing processing (with the chemicals), the unclarity of printing costs (some parts need replacing after a number of prints), the possible tie in with the manufacturer (most models require resin by the manufacturer, Wanhao seems to be the only one that claims to support other resins) and more limits in what can be printed put me a off.... even though the prints may look nicer...

    Interesting is this aspect regarding full colour 3D printing ( https://fitforlaunch.com/projects/crane-3d-printer ):
    We feel it's necessary to be as forthcoming as possible: multi-color printing is experimental. We have made progress in printing gradient and spot-color prints in recent weeks which is encouraging. We ask that all Crane Quad supporters recognize that this is the beginning of a larger color movement; one in which we plan to be an active coach and mentor. As always, we'll have daily conversations in Discord with those wishing to contribute to the color 3D printing movement and will be posting updates, files and all information to GitHub.
    But I was not really into this model for the full colour, but rather for the possibilities with 4 filaments.

    However, I came to realize I should add shipping cost and taxes, which basically makes it 25% more expensive. Still, at around $750 not a bad deal for a printer like this, but it may be quite a lot to spend on something so experimental for me (first timer)... So the doubt is back... Guess I'll have to confer with my girlfriend: the whole idea originated from getting her new boardgame objects/tokens to help her upgrade the boardgames with nicer tokens/objects....
    Last edited by VJ; 21st July 2018 at 07:31.
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

  11. #11
    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I've discovered a perk of having a geeky girlfriend... she likes the 3D printer idea!
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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