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Unread 05-16-2018, 11:15 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by Nemo View Post
It would be hard to talk me into spending $3500 on a MakerForged Onyx (with its $180 filament spools) when I can get two Pulse XE's or 3-4 Prusas for the same equipment cost.
I'll throw my hat in the ring for the MarkForged Onyx.

Citrus Circuits have an Onyx One and a Mark Two. I have an Onyx Pro at my work. The start-up across the street bought an Onyx One after using our Onyx Pro. My work is close to getting a second MF printer (probably an Onyx One).

The MarkForged printers are the best printers we've ever used. Set it and forget it. No temperature futzing. No heated bed. Forget to put glue stick on the bed for a month straight? No problem. Strong parts that we use all over the robot for structural, power transfer, and mounting applications (100+ Onyx parts on each robot this year).

Our typical workflow: Students CAD until late at home. They then upload .stl files to MF cloud service. Students build up the print on a virtual print bed. Students click print from home via the cloud service and the MF printer at the shop gets printing that night. We do 12, 24, or sometimes close to 36 hour prints with no issues. We typically build prints so they're ready for our meeting the following evening.

The Onyx One has been a game-changer to our workflow. It's the "easy button" that helps us iterate quickly and stay ahead of the competition.

Just our experience. Happy to answer any questions.

-Mike
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Unread 05-16-2018, 11:26 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

I got our school's first 3D printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2, for the low, low price of free. Brand-new out of the box, and it very rarely fails unless you're trying to get it to print something particularly complicated. I use it all the time and get good results with Makerbot PLA. It's been a tank for years, with only the occasional "SD Card Error" causing print glitches for very tall prints. For the time period and tech available I'd give it an 8/10, but compared to today's printers it might as well be a flip-phone.

The tech teacher got a Replicator 2X, and it's been nothing but grief for years, from the moment it came out of the box. It now sits on a shelf, unused and unloved, and we wouldn't give it away unless we hated the recipient. It's one of the worst products I've ever had the frustration of dealing with. 1/10, at best.

I got a refurbished display model Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation for home use for really cheap, and for the most part it's solid. I love the auto-assist leveling, the auto-filament slip and jam clearance, and the auto-detect if you run out of filament--they've saved me lots of time and lots of ruined prints (and thus filament cost). Once I figured out that ignoring the "opening the Smart Extruder voids the warranty" warning and started clearing the occasional jams (almost always caused when my house power fluctuated) myself I became much happier with the product, and the hot-swappable extruders are pretty great. I don't know how many hours I've put on it, but at least sixty 1-kg rolls of filament over the past three years (mostly on wargaming stuff), and I'd say that the level of glitches and wonkiness is tolerable but not Cadillac--it sometimes goofs up in really weird ways for no discernible reason, the wireless functionality likes to spontaneously not work for days and days and then suddenly work fine, and one of the auto-level knob's correct setting is always, ALWAYS, "so loose it literally falls off." Overall I'd give it a 7/10 as a product, but largely because I got it for a song.

The tech teacher got an Ultimaker 3 and he absolutely loves it. No problems of any kind after using it near-continuously for the past year. I don't really have any experience with it, but he gives it an enthusiastic 9/10. I wish it had a bigger build volume.

As a side note, Makerbot's technical support is horrendous in that they are the Apple of 3D printers when it comes to repair -- the solution is always "send it in and we'll fix it or send you a replacement, for a cost", and is never, EVER, "this is really easy, just fix it yourself and here's how."

While my experience with Makerbot products appears to be more positive than many, when my Replicator 2 and/or 5th Generation finally give up the ghost I will not be getting a Makerbot to replace them.
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Unread 05-16-2018, 07:51 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

I get asked about 3D printers pretty often these days. Before I recommend any, I usually ask if teams have bought higher priority FRC tools and machines first. For example, I usually recommend teams save and invest in a drill press, saw, arbor press, mill, lathe, brake/sheer, CNC router, etc before purchasing a 3D printer. I know this is off-topic, but the frequency with which I have these conversations makes it worth mentioning... it seems like a lot of teams bent on purchasing a 3D printer actually have a greater need elsewhere.

But I digress, based on budget these are my recommendations for desktop 3D printers based on value for what your get, output quality, and reliability:

<$500: Creality3D CR-10
<$1000: Prusa i3 MK3
<$5000: Markforged Onyx One
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Unread 05-16-2018, 08:11 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Corsetto View Post
Our typical workflow: Students CAD until late at home. They then upload .stl files to MF cloud service. Students build up the print on a virtual print bed. Students click print from home via the cloud service and the MF printer at the shop gets printing that night. We do 12, 24, or sometimes close to 36 hour prints with no issues. We typically build prints so they're ready for our meeting the following evening.

The Onyx One has been a game-changer to our workflow. It's the "easy button" that helps us iterate quickly and stay ahead of the competition.
To be fair, a $30 Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint can add this exact same functionality to basically any 3D Printer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
I've heard good things about the Robo3D, do you have any experience with printing Nylon or polycarbonate. How accurate does it print with ABS?
Nylon no, Polycarbonate yes. The hot-end is rated to just under 300C so it can get up to temps required for SOME polycarbonate filaments (I use filament from Polymaker.com that only requires temps around 270C, which seems to work well). The biggest trick to both polycarbonate and ABS is the bed temperature, ambient temperature, and the size of the part.

Initially I had issues with PC layer adhesion since one layer would cool too much before the next layer was laid down. This can be resolved by printing smaller parts (shorter times between layers), or buying/building an enclosure for the printer (which is what I did).
The enclosure also helps with first layer bed peeling when using ABS since it traps most of the heat in the printer, allowing for layers to cool more slowly (It's worth noting that the newer "R2" printer is built with an enclosure, thus avoiding the need to add one). That said, for the VAST majority of my projects I just use regular Hatchbox PLA, which has proved more than adequate for any abuse I've put it through.

I haven't had any issues with accuracy in any material I've used, save for the expected shrinkage associated with the given material type, which you learn to account for in your designs. The printer itself can run at 0.1mm, 0.2mm, and 0.3mm layer heights (I prefer 0.2mm for most projects) and speeds up to 100mm/s (though high-accuracy prints have to run at about half that). It ships with a 0.4mm nozzle, though you can swap this out if you prefer something else.


If you do get an R1+, I definitely recommend getting the enclosure and a Raspberry Pi to run Octoprint (as I mentioned above). They're not absolutely required (I printed without them for a quite a while), but they make printing a lot easier. Also, the printer ships with a stick of Elmers washable school glue, I would definitely recommend buying more from Amazon, the stuff is by far the easiest and most effective bed adhesion method I've used.
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Unread 05-16-2018, 08:38 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

Honourable mention*:

<$500: FLSun Kossel Mini Delta

*The best use for a 3D printer for FRC I've found is something to show-off to potential sponsors, parents, school admin, etc. Students can learn a lot from building one from a kit as well. I haven't actually found great FRC use-cases for the actual 3D printed parts than couldn't be done better/faster/cheaper through conventional subtractive means. The FLSun Kossel Mini Delta is a relatively inexpensive, slick looking 3D printer that you can use to print team-branded keychains to sponsors and supporters when they come to visit your lab. It's not as good of a printer as the CR-10, but a team will probably get more benefit out of it as a team marketing tool.
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Unread 05-16-2018, 09:46 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Corsetto View Post
I'll throw my hat in the ring for the MarkForged Onyx.

Citrus Circuits have an Onyx One and a Mark Two. I have an Onyx Pro at my work. The start-up across the street bought an Onyx One after using our Onyx Pro. My work is close to getting a second MF printer (probably an Onyx One).

The MarkForged printers are the best printers we've ever used. Set it and forget it. No temperature futzing. No heated bed. Forget to put glue stick on the bed for a month straight? No problem. Strong parts that we use all over the robot for structural, power transfer, and mounting applications (100+ Onyx parts on each robot this year).

Our typical workflow: Students CAD until late at home. They then upload .stl files to MF cloud service. Students build up the print on a virtual print bed. Students click print from home via the cloud service and the MF printer at the shop gets printing that night. We do 12, 24, or sometimes close to 36 hour prints with no issues. We typically build prints so they're ready for our meeting the following evening.

The Onyx One has been a game-changer to our workflow. It's the "easy button" that helps us iterate quickly and stay ahead of the competition.

Just our experience. Happy to answer any questions.

-Mike
Do you have any experience using alternative filaments with the Markforge Onyx One (like this: NylonX)? The Onyx One and Onyx filament looks great, but I'm not sure we need such an expensive filament when printing low load parts.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 12:18 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

I designed and printed a case for a Pixy camera. it was easier and possibly quicker than making such a complex shape (many built-in standoffs for mounting) with practically anything else, given that I'd already CADed it up to put in with the rest of our robot CAD.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 10:01 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by justin.chau View Post
Do you have any experience using alternative filaments with the Markforge Onyx One (like this: NylonX)? The Onyx One and Onyx filament looks great, but I'm not sure we need such an expensive filament when printing low load parts.
Stick with the stock filament, it's superior to NylonX. If you buy a Markforge I'd also recommend just buying a Prusa I3 Mk3 for PLA printing prototypes before doing the final versions on a Markforge.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 10:44 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by cbale2000 View Post
To be fair, a $30 Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint can add this exact same functionality to basically any 3D Printer.
There are additional steps with OctoPrint (using a slicing software to generate g code to upload to OctoPrint) that are not necessary with the Markforge software. So "exact same functionality" is not accurate. In my experience using both, MF is clearly easier and more intuitive than an OctoPrint setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mman1506 View Post
Stick with the stock filament, it's superior to NylonX. If you buy a Markforge I'd also recommend just buying a Prusa I3 Mk3 for PLA printing prototypes before doing the final versions on a Markforge.
I agree with this 100%. We have a Prusa at work specifically for this purpose. We only use the stock filament with our Markforge.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 11:09 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Corsetto View Post
There are additional steps with OctoPrint (using a slicing software to generate g code to upload to OctoPrint) that are not necessary with the Markforge software. So "exact same functionality" is not accurate. In my experience using both, MF is clearly easier and more intuitive than an OctoPrint setup.
OctoPrint does have a built-in slicer, so you can just drop in an .stl file and have it run, though I will grant you changing the settings on the slicer is less intuitive than most other slicers out there (though there are free plugins that help with this).

Perhaps I should have said "similar functionality", since the user experience certainly differs between the two but they do more or less the same thing. Personally though, for what I use it for OctoPrint has worked fine for me. My comment was more just to point out that you don't need a $3500+ printer to get remote printing capabilities.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 11:11 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by mman1506 View Post
Stick with the stock filament, it's superior to NylonX. If you buy a Markforge I'd also recommend just buying a Prusa I3 Mk3 for PLA printing prototypes before doing the final versions on a Markforge.
This is great advice and something we've naturally found ourselves doing over the years as we've incorporated more and more 3D printed parts deeper and deeper into mechanisms. We've used Prusa, Makerbots and sponsor printers (Fortus 450) to prototype printed parts/mechanisms and iterate quickly. Here is a good example from this year:



We decided to 3D print our entire '3rd stage/carriage' of our elevator. Printing it allowed us to add quite a lot of functionality to the assembly (snap in roller bearings, ratcheting wrench for tensioning the drive belt, hanging hook to grab the bar) but we weren't 100% it would perform flawlessly so we went through several iterations. The iterations guided us toward making the piece smaller (as we gained confidence with its strength), incorporated new geometry for mechanisms that were iterating around it, optimized it for print time by making it modular and various other improvements. The final version was of course printed on our Markforged and worked extremely well throughout the season.

All the above being said - a nice feature inside of Eiger (the MF print software) is that it tells you how much your part costs. Other printing/slicing software does this as well, so its not ground-breaking - but it does help you put in perspective how big an investment you're making in a part. When you weigh that against the alternative way to make that part/assembly or the time it would take to create in another fashion, it really helps underscore the efficiency gains and helps you stay conscious about your costs.


Clearly a Markforged requires a different budget than some of the alternative printers, but the 'set it and forget it' nature combined with the usability/functionality of the end use parts makes it something we cannot live without now.

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Unread 05-17-2018, 02:37 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

MarkForged products sound awesome. I want one. Alas, it doesn't fit our budget in the short term. That's fine, because less expensive printers can make good nylon/carbon fiber parts, and soon enough we will figure out how to make that work.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 03:24 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by Nemo View Post
MarkForged products sound awesome. I want one. Alas, it doesn't fit our budget in the short term. That's fine, because less expensive printers can make good nylon/carbon fiber parts, and soon enough we will figure out how to make that work.
It's already been figured out

Prusa I3 Mk3
+
Hardened Nozzle
+
A drybox
+
Some tuning and a couple failed prints
=
Nearly identical print quality and accuracy compared to the Markforge.

Is it as easy and straightforward as the Markforge? Definitely not.
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Unread 05-17-2018, 03:44 PM
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Re: 3D Printers

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Originally Posted by Dave Hurt View Post
I've always been curious, what is it about onyx that you can only print it on a markforged printer? It was my understanding that it's just 1.75mm nylon with a continuous strand of cf in it. .
This comment made me a little curious. I had a small bit of Onyx material left over on a spool that I had not thrown away. So I took the settings from MatterHackers for NylonX sliced in Idea maker and printed a 3D Phil on my raised 3D using left over Onyx material. i am not sure why i would ever need to do this unless I was just curious but if you want to spend the money Onyx Material can can be printed on a standard FDM machine. You just can not add the extra reinforcement that the Onyx Pro (fiberglass) and the Onyx 2 (kevlar) offer.
I use a variety of printers from makerbot to 3D Systems 3500 and I don't hate my 5th gen but my Replicator 2 has been a boat anchor from day one. From an instruction point of view I let my students start out on the makerbot and than they move up to more complex slicing and material options.
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Unread 05-18-2018, 09:14 AM
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Re: 3D Printers

Not sure it anyone has mentioned it but the formlabs ones are really nice for pretty looking prints
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