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Thread: 3D Printing?


  1. #1

    3D Printing?

    Has anyone tried 3D printing parts for their cars or airplanes? I hear they are costly, and the plastic isn't the best; but some people have said they use them to customize their toys. I saw one online around $2000. I'm not rich, that's alot. But if I can use it to build things, would it be worth it?

    Any ideas?

  2. #2

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    We have a club member who has access to a 3d printer and uses it for some small parts for his scale projects. He gave a demo of it at a club meeting. The parts were ok for what he wanted but he said the time it takes to make something is very long since the printer is laying down a layer of plastic that is very thin with each pass. You must also first make the part in autocad which is also complicated for the average joe. Right now the applications for us modelers is pretty small, now, for model boat and train guys it would be much better. You could make all the little detail parts on the printer.
    Larry

  3. #3
    Timthetoolman1's Avatar
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    My buddy bought one but I'm sure it was around $15k, not a hobby model. I've also had some experience with them at the University.

    AutoCAD is not a good tool for it, you should really use SolidWorks for parts or Rhino if it's a bit more organic. The problem with most programs like AutoCAD is their blending capabilities. SolidWorks sees a part as a whole, AutoCAD does not. So you will need to tack on another $3000 for the software. Make sure you have a good design computer that is capable of rendering the design without bogging down so add another $1500 for the CPU.

    The material is expensive.
    I made a Desert Aircraft fuel dot in SolidWorks and we made a duplicate on his machine...it started and we waited for an hour and then left to let the machine finish it. The part needed surface finishing afterwards.

    He makes prototype parts for companies like Lockheed and Bell. He charges them what seems to be a hefty fee to common folk but to make a tooling mold that can cost thousands of dollars for a part and find out it doesn't work is unacceptable so he can cut out a lot of guess work. I've seen a control yoke top portion that was made and it came out nice.

    If you make scale landing gear it would be a great tool to make the gear with the printer first so it would save a lot of trial and error.

    I don't know if you'd be saving any time or money making a small simple part by the time you design it, draw it up in a CAD software, then print it, you could have made the part by hand and saved a lot of money.
    Last edited by Timthetoolman1; 11-14-2013 at 09:39 AM.

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    Someday you will just be able to print out any airplane you want

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtybird View Post
    Someday you will just be able to print out any airplane you want
    Now that sounds boring as hell.

    Greg
    You really only own what you can carry at a full out run.

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    With all the cheap RF A/C we have now the whole thing is boring now.
    It used to be interesting whan you had to build it yourself.

  7. #7
    thank you for this thoughtful response timthetoolman1

  8. #8

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    I just read an article about the price of 3D printers coming down in the next several years and am frankly excited by the possibilities. I am sure that better and better materials will be available over time. The idea af being able to print a plane or experiment with different wing geometry is just too cool. I can't imagine how anyone could find that prospect boring. The idea of 3D printing opens up an entirely new direction in aeromodeling.
    RC Aircraft/ Three Laws Safe.

  9. #9
    Timthetoolman1's Avatar
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    That's what I thought when I saw the desktop models. I guess having the access to them has dulled the excitement for getting one for myself.

    The down side is still the software. You really have to know 3D modeling.

    The companion tool for this system will be the hobby based laser scanners that will reproduce a software version of a 3D part that it scans. You could possibly scan your face and create a 'mini-me' to fly in your scale warbird (keep you eyes closed while it's scanning...if that's even safe enough).

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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    I can't imagine how anyone could find that prospect boring. The idea of 3D printing opens up an entirely new direction in aeromodeling.
    The only thing this will open up is your pocket book because of the price, and your eyes when you find out how difficult it actually is to program a part in 3D. Have you actually done any 3D programming in Auto Cad Turbo Cad, Gibbs, etc?
    I don't see the 3D printer for RC use by the average modeler as being practical for at least another decade.Even when this technology is finally dumbed down for the average user, I still feel 3D printing an air frame or wing still falls into the boring category for me. If you were one of us that still build planes as part of the hobby you would realize this. If you are looking at 3D printing as being a hobby in and of it self, I could see that. I program every day, and some of this stuff is still difficult for me. This is why until the software companies get a more user friendly programming system, this will never be for the casual user.

    Greg
    Last edited by OldRookie; 11-17-2013 at 07:52 AM.
    You really only own what you can carry at a full out run.

  11. #11
    eddieC's Avatar
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    The RC applications are but an aside in the 3D arena. The advances in medicine (organ and DNA replication) are what's driving this advancement.

    They are experimenting next with transferring the digital renderings of organics, I heard on the radio they've done it with dirt (IIRC), and rendering to a remote location. This is Star Trek transporter action we're talking about. Revolutionary. Stay tuned!
    I might not be very good, but I'm fun to watch!

  12. #12
    mvigod's Avatar
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    3D printing is a large and fast growing industry. The applications they already have are amazing. Some are mentioned above. I could see it being used to print plastic and metal screws for engines, helis, etc. Gears for stripped servos (metal or plastic). Spinners and landing gear. Outside of RC the applications are large and growing as the technology improves. This will disrupt manufacturing in many areas too. I found a good site for info on 3D printing as there still don't seem to be many out there. 3DStuffZone.com looks like one of the better ones out there right now with some pretty technical guys who know this stuff posting. I learned a few new things and am deciding what printer to buy to get started in 3d printing.

    To answer the original poster from what I found you can print some very solid plastic things with the newer breed of printers. You can also outsource to shapeways or solidworks for other materials.


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