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3D Printers!! The Dark Art of!


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Let me open a can of worm's!!


For my sin's, I'm looking at getting into the 3D printing lark, Not to make anything for others, just to do things for myself to enhance my own models.

Things like some of the printed main gear legs that you can get for 1/48th scale kits, wheels, Cockpits, etc, you know, standard run of the mill stuff, but maybe more complex things down the road once I learnt the dark are of it all.


I know there is a vast array of printers to choose from out there with prices all over the place!


So, after spending many hours on YouTube and reading things on the Web, I'm leaning towards an AnyCubic Photon series machine, (Unless anyone else can point me elsewhere?).


So let me ask the standard questions from the more knowledgable on here than I.


Who on here uses one and How good are they?

Any tips and/or advice to using them?

Which printer to go for?

Best resin to use for 'our' model bits?

Good places to get files from that are useful to our modelling?

Etc, Etc.


Sorry for the stupid questions and opening up this tack.

I just need all the help and advice before I spend what I've saved up for quite a long time, I really cant afford to waste money (Who can?) on the wrong thing!


Thanks in advance guy's.

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First off - if you are new to 3D printing - be prepared for lots of frustration, mess and print failures!


For printing smaller, detailed, parts where print resolution is key - then, yes, a resin LCD type printer is the way to go - I'll mention printing larger parts later.


I've not heard anything bad about the Photons - I run a similar Sonic Mini 4k here - which has been superseded by 8k LCD versions.


For resin I'm using the one that was best value for me on Amazon - which turned out to be Elegoo Standard Grey, which I buy in 1kg bottles and has given great results with my printer.


I'm using Lychee as my slicer program of choice for resin printing, but others are available.


I'm getting some absolutely amazing results - but bear in mind these are all 'budget', as opposed to 'professional' solutions - so, for example, there is usually no heating on the resin vat. I mention that because ambient temperature/resin temperature is hugely important. You may well live in a warmer place than I do - but, in my experience, you ideally need some warmth. I avoid printing in winter as my failure rate is a lot higher.


It's part hard science/technology - and part 'dark art' as you calibrate things for your particular printer/resin/ambient conditions.


Resin printers ARE messy. Keep everything spotlessly clean and wear gloves when handling anything in and around the resins! I have an Anycubic wash/cure station which is great and cuts down on time and mess - but you'll go through a lot of isopropyl alcohol. Water washable resins are available - I've not tried them, but I am aware of possible issues with parts being more likely to crack.


For larger parts - fuselage sections/wings/nacelles etc. in the larger scales - don't dismiss the idea of an FDM printer - I run an Ender 5 Pro - printing HIPS (the same material as plastic kits) and the output is light, strong and can be bonded with normal model glues. I've printed an entire Boeing P-8A Poseidon using this method/material - with excellent results. But I wouldn't use this technology for anything that needs fine detail.


For FDM printing I use Cura for slicing.


If I get a chance later I'll try and get some images of some of the prints I've done.


Oh - and then, if not already, you'll need to learn to create 3D models!


It's all hugely rewarding - but with the caveat it's a steep learning curve - albeit a very fascinating/interesting one!  :)


Bon chance!



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@Iain has summed it up pretty well.


I would add that you might want to start with an FDM printer to cut your teeth on then move to a resin printer.....you will know when its time.


The units I use are the Creality CR10 S-Pro (FDM) and the Creality Halot Sky (Resin), both are well made trouble free machines.


In my opinion the printing is the easy part, the difficult part is the CAD if you wan to produce your own designs.


I can recommend Fusion 360 for design work, they do have a hobbyist license for free and its very high powered.


There are many things to consider when designing your own parts but its fun figuring those problems out.



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