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Thought I'd share some of my first efforts at 3d printing props and set pieces for my current project. I've been procrastinating for too long, so getting things done is a good feeling.

The link is to an instagram video of one of the many print jobs I did to dial in the correct size. In the end I printed out 4 vases, a mantel clock, and 6 candles. The last image shows the slicing software and the first signs that the clock was not going to work. Live and learn.

Used a Printrbot Simple Metal with Simplify3D as the slicer software. Models were originally created in Modo 701.

https://instagram.com/p/1MtsZ8QkxX/

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I'm falling for the marketing of the Printrbot Play. Was it all worth it in the end (the model prepping/slicing/print/filament cost)? I think there are so many places in my life I could actually put it to good use and the price point is ridiculously affordable. You think I should go for it? As luck would have it I'm a pretty good modeller with Cinema 4d too.....

I'm thinking for props it'd be brilliant. Would you say so?

Lately I've been feeling a bit ambivalent towards 3D printing. When it works it's incredibly satisfying. Unfortunately, you need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of finicky dos and don'ts in order to avoid all the pitfalls of 3d printing. I have a Printrbot Simple Metal and and a Lulzbot Taz 5. Both are awesome and both are absolute nightmares. Clogged extruders, brittle filament that snaps during printing, which nozzle size works best, moisture in the filament causing quality issues, bed leveling and first layer issues, extrusion rates, sloppy prints, print speed issues, overhang problems, support structures, ABS warping, etc. I've been doing this stuff for months now and I still haven't a clue what I'm doing. Ha!

That said, I've gotten some really cool parts out of my 3d printers. The set above has vases, planters, a cool little clock, and neat little fireplace hardware. I used a combination of Lightwave 3d and Modo 701 for modeling. 123D Design is a free solid modeling/CAD type program for tinkerers. It's incredibly frustrating and limited, but creates nice solid models. Lately, I've been using Fusion360, which is like a pro version of 123D Design. It's full featured and free for hobbyists. It's like Solidworks for people that don't have $8,000 to spend. Big learning curve, but totally worth learning.

3D printing takes time to master. It's not a fire and forget solution. If you're a tinkerer and like fussy noodling of settings and endless trial and error, then go for it. If not...keep some Advil nearby for the constant headaches.

Printrbot is a good brand and makes great machines at the right price for people who want to see what 3D printing is all about. I'd say the Play is a good starting point to see if you want to subject yourself to the bleeding edge of desktop fabrication. It's prebuilt and tuned up before it leaves the shop.

Hopefully that wasn't a completely pessimistic view on 3D printing. I'm still fully vested in making it work for me. I just don't want to give people the impression it's a magic bullet that will solve all their problems.

Or you could pay someone to 3d print the objects out and save you that headache? That's the route I'm going.

Well, there is that option...

Brandon Ayers said:

Or you could pay someone to 3d print the objects out and save you that headache? That's the route I'm going.

Funny - I watched a video on PrintrBot's site and the first thing the guy says is "3d printing is hard". Sounds like he wasn't lying....

....but I still wanna........

I mean, having my own 3d printer would be awesome. But unless I'm printing a large amount of objects I can't justify the cost. Especially since I'm considering printing in color. I don't think that those printers are affordable yet. 

Those Printrbot's are a nice price, I may have to get one! :)

I printed Some props through a website called 3Dhubs.com
Basically it's a website collecting independent local printers. So you have all brands of printers and types of material to choose from. Based on your location you can find somebody close.

I had very good results for a ridiculously low price! The benefit is also that you can choose different printers for different jobs. For exempel I printed some transparent resin glasses which is very different from solid objects of large scale etc.

I would allways go for this over purchasing a printer of the end goal is juist getting those props.

www.shapeways.com is the option that I was looking at. 3Dhubs.com has nothing near me. I'll keep it as an option though if shapeways is too expensive or doesn't have the material that I want/need.

It doesnt neem to be close per se. It's just about shipping costs thats all.
But shapeways might be good too.

I was surprised to find a several 3d printers near me on 3dHubs.  

If I wanted those vases I would probably turn them on my mini lathe, or turn one and make a mould if I needed lots of them.   But there are other things where 3d printing would be the way to go.     

I also have a Printrbot Simple Metal and all things considered, have had few issues with it. As with most things in this world, there is a learning curve. Though I've used it to make props, parts for my camera rig, and other random stuff, I've found it's really been awesome for armature parts. Hands and skulls especially (pics attached). The skulls have also been helpful to sculpt realistic heads over. You can even print molds, though I haven't tried it yet.

If you can afford it, it's definitely a handy tool to add to your arsenal. If you have the patience for it... Well, I guess you wouldn't be here if you didn't have patience.

Attachments:

Nice work. That hand is pretty damn cool. I'm currently building a 50s style spaceman with my 3D printer. Varying levels of success. In the end, I'm sure sculpting would've been a better use of my time. Ha!

Andrew Carlson said:

I also have a Printrbot Simple Metal and all things considered, have had few issues with it. As with most things in this world, there is a learning curve. Though I've used it to make props, parts for my camera rig, and other random stuff, I've found it's really been awesome for armature parts. Hands and skulls especially (pics attached). The skulls have also been helpful to sculpt realistic heads over. You can even print molds, though I haven't tried it yet.

If you can afford it, it's definitely a handy tool to add to your arsenal. If you have the patience for it... Well, I guess you wouldn't be here if you didn't have patience.

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