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My very sweet husband bought me a 3D printer (http://newmatter.com/#!/) as an early Mother's Day gift for my minis.  

However, before I accept (or return), I would love to hear from anyone else who has a home-use printer.  I'm afraid that it won't really be able to produce the detail/quality I would want in something tiny.  Or, that it would require A LOT of cleanup (sanding, filling, prepping, priming) after the fact, making it faster for me to create in traditional methods.  None of my houses/scenes would be considered modern enough that plastic furniture or pieces (like Playmobil!) would look right, so I know I'll need to paint, but how much else?

I'd very much appreciate any experiences or resources you may have to share. My kids have printed 3D objects in workshops, and at school, so I'm moderately familiar with the output, but not of this particular machine, or in this scale.  I want it to be something I'll love and use.  All advice welcome.

Thanks in advance! 

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I don't have a printer, but there are several members here who have ordered 3_D printed things for their houses, and are very happy with the items they got.

I do know that there are a ton of files you can download for printing on the internet, and a lot of them are for free. Sorry I can't help much, but I expect someone who has more experience than I do will chime in.

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6 minutes ago, havanaholly said:

Oooh...nifty...thanks!!  

I did find some things online last night, but most were made with fancy pants ($$$$) machines, so it was hard to determine the differences in capabilities.  For example, the one I'm looking at uses a spool of PLA (plastic), but others use ABS, and I think I read that Shapeways is some sort of a resin powder?  I guess plastic is plastic, that it can all be painted one way or another, I'm just trying to figure out what I'm in for. :)

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Everyone wants something different from the hobby and we don't all have the same skill set, nor do we all want to learn everything. 3D printers, like any gadget, have their place. We have one. It is a few years old now, but my husband has printed stuff for me and it's worked pretty well. I'd imagine the newer ones are better than ours. With the standard printers that lay the plastics down in layers, you are probably always going to have the tiny ridges (even my stuff from shapeways has them). You can get rid of them by putting into a saucepan of boiling acetone so that the item is OUT of the acetone, only subjected to the fumes produced. I don't know how it would go with tiny items, I've never tried it myself, but would be worth a shot.

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I recently commissioned some hardware from Shapeways. I needed some miniature brass castings for my campaign piece. The process has been slow and a little expensive as I don't have 3D drawing tools or the ability to  get them at present. I needed to have someone do the drawings for me then I uploaded them to Shapeways.

From my understanding to get the brass parts they print in wax and then do a traditional "lost wax" casting in that the wax master is embedded in a slurry of plaster the wax is burned out and then the molten brass poured in. So the 3D printing is actually a small part of a very traditional process. My first pieces have actually now been printed, cast, and are in the mail so I will report back once I receive them

I was going to try forming the pieces from sheet brass but real campaign furniture usually used cast hardware and I try to follow the prototype process as much as possible. I tend to agree with Mike somewhat in that a printed plastic chair has no meaning to me it is lifeless. But I don't see that it will suck the life out of the hobby so much as fill a need for the low end entry level product. 

So to me i see this as a step in part of a whole process to make some of the parts but not to replace the hand creative process. I also had a block of shotgun receivers printed in metal to use in making some 1:12 scale classic double shotguns. The stocks will be burl walnut carved from blocks and some of the parts, like the trigger guard, cut from .005 brass sheet, but the receiver itself is a cast of a wax printing. So again I see this as a part of the process. Printing the entire gun would be, to me, plastic and cheap but using the technology to make components to enhance the had work I am ok with

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I have quite a bit of polystyrene minis in my houses that I've made from Chrysnbon kits and finished to look like something other than a plastic mini.  I do enjoy working with wood, and with other materials, to make the things I put into my houses I build.  I do not have the skill level to make a lot of the things I'd like to, but trying is half the the fun.  There is a place for the 3D printed items, and if it helps to maintain our hobby and grow it with the younger generations, then go for it until it goes the way of the Beta Max.

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7 hours ago, mikeuk said:

My other personal issue with 3D is that ultimately it will suck the life out of miniatures! Right now we all enjoy the processes of creation, the research, the tools and the pride of having made that small item with your own hands! What do we say when someone asks about our new plastic Chippendale chair...........Yep I got the 'super realistic Chippendale chair program' from www.plasticspatternsforfree.com, printed it out............but the sanding's all my own work!

Sorry if I sound negative........I just love the smell of wood!

Ha!  I do see your point, but I don't necessarily see it as a replacement for something like a traditional wooden chair.  I think of something more like the Chrysnbon bathtub. It's something that would be almost cost prohibitive to make in traditional materials, in the appropriate scale (very thin walled, finely detailed.)  That bathtub is used in some of the finest of mini homes, no shame! :)  In smaller scales especially, traditional materials (even wood!) reach limitations in both durability and realism.

And, while it's not my personal taste, I do think miniatures in general could use a resurgence among younger, techie, folks.  Making insta-furniture widely available may actually do the opposite of life-sucking, it could be a gateway drug!  <insert evil laugh here>

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6 hours ago, shannonc60 said:

You can get rid of them by putting into a saucepan of boiling acetone so that the item is OUT of the acetone, only subjected to the fumes produced. I don't know how it would go with tiny items, I've never tried it myself, but would be worth a shot.

I was wondering how that was done without a flat iron!!  Off to Google, thank you!!

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1 hour ago, jaxenro said:

I recently commissioned some hardware from Shapeways. I needed some miniature brass castings for my campaign piece.

I didn't even consider mold making, that is an excellent idea.  I make molds for clay/resin a good bit. Not for mass production of any one item, but usually to create components.  I think I would be willing to take on the software/design learning curve if I had a clear goal in mind.  But, it might be more practical to use Shapeways in the meantime, for the cost of the printer itself.

Would love to see some of the pieces you've had made!

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Wendy, if you like mold making, you should check out debora59's albums. http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/?app=core&module=members&controller=profile&id=5129&tab=node_gallery_gallery

She has a whole album of what she uses for mold making, and check out the amazing windows and things she has made in her 1/6th scale house. Check her whole album while you are there, her houses are over the top beautiful!

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I want more than a 3D printer can give me...I want a painted, constructed (hinges, latches) item to emerge from the magical printer box. Not the unfinished, ridged edged unpainted thing/pieces that I have seen come out of the 3D printers that are accessible by crafters. 

I can see it being useful for tiny kitchen things and custom needs...but I still like wood and a bunch of other non-3D printer methods of getting minis (including finding great deals on ebay and rummage sales). 

I do however think that it is a natural step in the future of minis. There are some great plastic minis out there (Lundby) and I think 3D will eventually make 1:24 and 1:48 a lot more accessible and expansive. I also like the idea of miniature replicas, so I am a 3D supporter, but...I just want the magical machine that does everything like a Star Trek replicator and I haven't seen that yet.

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http://www.shapeways.com/product/R4YMNZJ73/1-24-tank-toilet-not-full-size?optionId=18529586&li=marketplace

 

I like the toilet. As you said, Wendy, the Chrysnbon tub is a mini-icon and one of the best.

How did Chrysnbon do such amazing stuff in the 70s without a 3D printer? I wish they still had all their stuff available (window frames and doors!).

 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎3‎/‎2016‎ ‎1‎:‎13‎:‎45‎, shannonc60 said:

Everyone wants something different from the hobby and we don't all have the same skill set, nor do we all want to learn everything. 3D printers, like any gadget, have their place. We have one. It is a few years old now, but my husband has printed stuff for me and it's worked pretty well. I'd imagine the newer ones are better than ours. With the standard printers that lay the plastics down in layers, you are probably always going to have the tiny ridges (even my stuff from shapeways has them). You can get rid of them by putting into a saucepan of boiling acetone so that the item is OUT of the acetone, only subjected to the fumes produced. I don't know how it would go with tiny items, I've never tried it myself, but would be worth a shot.

Well said, Everyone wants something different from this hobby and have different skill sets. My husband was pushing me to purchase a 3-D printer when I wanted highly detailed Gothic balusters for my 1/6 scale manor house staircase. But I figured there would be a huge learning curve for what I wanted to create. Plus not all 3 -D printers are created equal, it would have took one of the more expensive ones to accomplish my plan. $3,000 to $6,000. I am so glad I chose an experienced fabricator for that project. because he even ran into issues along the way with his printer. It was a highly complicated project with many interlocking pieces, with ascending and descending angles.. I just wasn't ready to invest the time and money to get it right. I took the time to research the printers and that was enough to tell me, let a professional handle this one.

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This looks like a solid 3d printer. The fact that it can't print ABS isn't the end of the world. ABS is stronger and takes longer to wear down (but really PLA lasts forever as well) 

There will be a lot of clean up work. The more detailed you print your prints the longer time they take to clean up, and the work you need to do by hand. It's certainly doable. 

Shapeways uses power coated printers which are extremely expensive and industrial standards. 

 

Overall this seems like a solid entry level 3d printer. I'd give a shot printing something and see how it goes if you can. The reviews of it seem positive. :) 

Edited by Jane49
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Thanks so much to all who responded!  

I ended up deciding to return it, and get something else I've always wanted, a small kiln.  I figure I can use it for things I already sort of know how to do, in both full-size and mini.  But still enjoy the challenge of learning something new (metal clay is calling!)

If anyone is ever looking, though, I HIGHLY recommend this company.  Their customer service was outstanding.  My husband explained what I was looking to do with it, and they were super honest, and said I probably wouldn't be happy with the fine detail, but that resin (not a product they sell) might better suit my purpose.  Needless to say, that is not in the budget at the moment. :)  I ultimately decided to take their word for it, as, understandably, there is a restocking fee if I tried it before sending it back.

Shapeways has a good thing going.

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1 hour ago, langleyminiatures said:

Thanks so much to all who responded!  

I ended up deciding to return it, and get something else I've always wanted, a small kiln.  I figure I can use it for things I already sort of know how to do, in both full-size and mini.  But still enjoy the challenge of learning something new (metal clay is calling!)

If anyone is ever looking, though, I HIGHLY recommend this company.  Their customer service was outstanding.  My husband explained what I was looking to do with it, and they were super honest, and said I probably wouldn't be happy with the fine detail, but that resin (not a product they sell) might better suit my purpose.  Needless to say, that is not in the budget at the moment. :)  I ultimately decided to take their word for it, as, understandably, there is a restocking fee if I tried it before sending it back.

Shapeways has a good thing going.

A 3-D printer could be fun, but I would rather have a kiln too. There are so many things you can do with a kiln. It's something that I have always wanted too, even if it's only a small one!

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Oh, Wendy, precious metal clay has been calling my name for years. I don't know why I've not responded. Maybe because I haven't figured out how to make any extra hours in the day. :D 

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My favorite thing i've discovered on Shapeways is all of the smaller scale furniture- delicate and accurate! Its so rare to find half and quarter scale stuff that isn't awkward and chunky. There also such modern designs and affordable as well. 

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I learned to use the TinkerCad 3D program to create renderings and then uploaded the files to Shapeways. Just about every piece in my Alki Point project was specially created and 3D printed. I loved doing it so much that I made several models of everything I was using and then created the Shapeways store. I have often thought of buying a home 3D printer, but like my iPhone updates, I decided to let a while pass so the technology got better in my price range. If you look at different printers at cnet.com or Amazon, you can have questions answered and read reviews before you buy. I'd do a lot of research because there are a lot of models in the $300.00 to $600.00 range now. One thing to consider is thet in the printing process it leaves behind "stepping". A lot of this is removed if you polish the pieces, but that is a process.

My blog posts about the 3D printing process:

http://my-miniaturemadness.blogspot.com/search/label/Alki%20Point

Good luck and give a big kiss to your generous and kind husband!

Jodi

 

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