How much should a good 3D printer cost?

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LePaul
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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by LePaul » June 18th, 2017, 12:00 pm

I'd agree. We already have to be very careful about doing Atomic Pulls on that setup

My FT-5 uses these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018G ... UTF8&psc=1 and there are numerous knock-offs all over the place. (As such, quality is questionable on some. I had to loosen the screws on one set and that allowed free movement)

I plan to upgrade to the igus Drylin sliders I bought recently. More expensive but better quality, as @jonnybischof seeks

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by Meduza » June 18th, 2017, 12:09 pm

I have been curious about building a Ultimaker style gantry with the new Igus carbon fiber rods, the 12mm one is way stiffer than a 6mm rod and weighs less than a third. The print head weight is about the same since the larger polymer bearings are comparable In weight to the LM6UU

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » June 19th, 2017, 3:06 am

GrueMaster wrote:
June 16th, 2017, 9:54 am
For those of us printing 28mm miniatures and other such things, a small footprint with high quality detail is what we're looking for. Unfortunately, the small footprint FDM printers tend to also be very low quality (M3D comes to mind). While the thought of owning a large scale printer (or better, making my own) has certain appeal (it's a guy thing), I honestly don't know what I would need it for.

I am getting decent miniatures to print on my Hictop, but some of the detail is lost, and if it requires extensive support, forget it.
My thoughts exactly!
I usually print parts around 50x50 mm in xy. While it is certainly cool to have a big machine, for some (probably, quite a lot even!) people it's simply not necessary. And the benefit of a smaller machine is that it needs much less space in your workshop / office / home.

Anders Olsson wrote:
June 17th, 2017, 10:48 am
There might be a market for a really high quality printer, but I doubt that you can produce and sell such printer for the same money as an UM3.
...
True, which is the reason for my topic question ;)

Anders Olsson wrote:
June 17th, 2017, 10:48 am
...
Just have a look at E3D for example, the Bigbox printer was successfully developed and all their Kickstarter printers shipped and then they realized they just could not continue making them for that price and closed that part of their business: http://bigbox-3d.com
I imagine that E3D has a reasonable budget so if they fail, you really have to have a very clever design and minimize the costs to have any chance.

The main thing if you want to try it to come up with a design that requires a minimum of different components and that is as easy to assemble as possible. The Ultimaker machines really are not very optimized in this sense, just look at the huge number of screws for example, and how many different lengths of screws there are.
There is no way you are going to compete if your design is as complex and time consuming to build as the Ultimakers.
Every part is basically a potential issue and everything has to be sourced and kept in stock to build a single machine.

One has to keep in mind too that if you sell the printers through a network of distributors and resellers they all want their share.
To have any chance of making a profit you might want to aim at a finished printer costing you 50% of the sales price or so when all costs are paid.
If you think Chinese stuff is cheap for example you would be amazed how little money actually ends up at the factory in China.
The major part of what you pay disappears along the way, much of it in Europe/USA.

So, if you have some edge over the competitors and a really really clever and lean design you might be able to sell it.
But start thinking about and optimizing these things already at the prototype, that is my advice :-)
Good insight, thanks Anders!
Well, as for me personally, I won't want to sell anything beyond Switzerland. This is why I will publish my sources completely with BOMs and supplier information. My goal is that in any country, someone can start selling the printers at the price they desire. This way I don't have to worry about international logistics and distribution. Of course I won't get any money from that either, but I'm happy to get a piece the Swiss market - I got another 100% time job after all :)

I am aware that this will lead to people building my design with cheaper components, but tbh that will always be the case. By making an exclusively CNC-cuttable frame, I hope to put off at least some of the cheapos because making that frame will always be expensive (but worth it).
I must admit that I am very guilty of using dozens of different types of screws in my designs. I just take the screw that fits best. But I will try to optimize my printer as much as possible, putting most of the features and complexity into the CNC'd frame.

Assembly will be somewhat tedious, because it's an Ultimaker style gantry after all. This thing just is a pain to assemble :P
But if you have a sturdy, and square frame, it will at least be simple to get the gantry squared. Plus, I have a clever xy-slider block design in mind. It uses a super expensive Misumi part, but this is the exact spot where everyone else fails to use good components...
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » June 19th, 2017, 3:26 am

Neotko wrote:
June 17th, 2017, 11:29 am
I think there's an unexplored market that most companies, even china ones have just not even check.

And that's all the reprap, ultimakers original, 2, owners that have machines stuck in time with most parts that could be refurbished into a better machine.

For example, making good quality Frames for the printers, instead of the umo+ wood or um2 woobly alu and selling a corexy solution. Leaving the user to install their board and refurbish all at a low cost without having to go into the selling printers battle.

There's literally zero business doing that. And with some clever ideas, it could be done. For example to move a umo+ to um2, to corexy is as simple as changing a line in code on marlin. And you don't need to remove the bed, board, psu, hotend.

Imagine a 500€ kit that changes your frame to something really sturdy and give's you corexy system. Print some adapters for your hotend, and go. You keep the same bed, improve print quality and even allow for modders to change to a bigger bed.

When someone sells a printer is always at a lost, and to buy what? A product that's 200% overpriced?

That's my 2 cents
Well, I personally don't see much of a market for me. You know, the Swiss people buy the most expensive thing they find anyways :D
But it would be easy enough to design an upgrade kit derived from my printer. In fact, I will be doing that anyways since I have two UMOs which need an upgrade at some point.
Personally, I will throw out the crappy UMO (non +) electronics board as the first step to make it better, but it's simple enough to add a few more mounting holes for those who want to keep it.
CoreXY is not necessary for an Ultimaker (214x214mm) imho. You just need good components, that is all :) CoreXY / linear rails is good for larger machines.
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by printingpress » June 19th, 2017, 3:35 am

Price vary depending on its specs, you can try to check some website online to make a comparison. Here is a good content that I found on PCMag, I hope that it can give you the ideas that you need.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2470038,00.asp
"The science of today is the technology of tomorrow."
A network analyst at PetStreetMall, a place to find quality and affordable pet supplies.

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » June 19th, 2017, 3:37 am

LePaul wrote:
June 18th, 2017, 12:00 pm
I'd agree. We already have to be very careful about doing Atomic Pulls on that setup

My FT-5 uses these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018G ... UTF8&psc=1 and there are numerous knock-offs all over the place. (As such, quality is questionable on some. I had to loosen the screws on one set and that allowed free movement)

I plan to upgrade to the igus Drylin sliders I bought recently. More expensive but better quality, as @jonnybischof seeks
Well, remember that professionals would refer to Misumi rails as "cheap chinese mass production stuff"? I would leave these ebay / amazon / alibaba rails alone and never think of them again! It's like when you buy a smartwatch for 5$, and then realize that what you get is what you pay for... (I have a friend who buys that chinese stuff off some android app. Jeez the crap he bought... unbelievable).

I hope you didn't buy the igus yet, because I would NOT recommend using them! I have some drylin samples here, and I've had a close look at their specs and technology some time ago. I also talked to other reps and professionals about them. The thing about drylin is, that they have MUCH more play than any steel linear bearings / rail carriages. And on top of that, they need much more torque to move (especially to overcome static friction and reversing direction) because they don't have balls to roll on, but it's just plastic sliding on aluminum.
The only true use case I (personally) see for igus drylin is to make sliding doors, or hand-driven linear systems that don't require great accuracy. And even for the latter I actually prefer the usual Misumi rails because they are much easier to customize, configure, and order. And you get instant prices for anything you configure at Misumi.

I know, as a private customer you can't order from Misumi.
A friend recommended this site to me some time ago. Haven't checked them out much because Misumi, but afaik they are cheaper than Misumi, but still good hardware, not ebay crap:
http://www.reliance.co.uk/shop/index.php

Meduza wrote:
June 18th, 2017, 12:09 pm
I have been curious about building a Ultimaker style gantry with the new Igus carbon fiber rods, the 12mm one is way stiffer than a 6mm rod and weighs less than a third. The print head weight is about the same since the larger polymer bearings are comparable In weight to the LM6UU
Being lighter is certainly cool, but as soon as your point of load is not very close to the bearing anymore, they start to really build up friction. And that will reduce your performance gain from the weight reduction...
So, the big question is, where is the point of load? :)

As a matter of fact, the Misumi part I'm evaluating for my build is very close to the igus drylin, but has tighter tolerances and uses different plastic. Will see how it performs on my prototype...
Last edited by jonnybischof on June 19th, 2017, 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by Neotko » June 19th, 2017, 3:45 am

jonnybischof wrote:
June 19th, 2017, 3:26 am
Well, I personally don't see much of a market for me. You know, the Swiss people buy the most expensive thing they find anyways :D
But it would be easy enough to design an upgrade kit derived from my printer. In fact, I will be doing that anyways since I have two UMOs which need an upgrade at some point.
Personally, I will throw out the crappy UMO (non +) electronics board as the first step to make it better, but it's simple enough to add a few more mounting holes for those who want to keep it.
CoreXY is not necessary for an Ultimaker (214x214mm) imho. You just need good components, that is all :) CoreXY / linear rails is good for larger machines.
Indeed I see coreXY for bigger print head area, not necessarily print area. Also good linears of misumi to give a sturdy, not woobly printhead that can resist the extrusion movements of a DirectDrive like ZGE (no weight, but extrusion forces are there) without affecting the Z at macro levels.

For me the print area of the um2 is more than ok, but there's no room to upgrade much. The electronics even are quite outdated, and the stepper chips do need a upgrade, specially with the Zebra stripes error.

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » June 19th, 2017, 3:50 am

I agree, the biggest part of why these reprap electronics are so crappy is due to the stepper motor drivers.
I hope someone will integrate TMC2130 drivers and make an actual kinetic system instead of what goes for a controller now :)

/edit:
By the way, Intel recently (a few months ago) bought Altera and it seems they are really pushing FPGAs now. It's funny because microcontrollers keep getting faster and cheaper, and in many many applications push FPGAs out of their markets. But it seems Intel sees a future for them. I'm really tempted to make that 3D printer controller, but it would be just so much work :cry:

(If you have no clue what I just blabbered about:
FPGAs do similar things as microcontrollers, but in a very different fashion (the internal structure is completely different). Imagine it as a microcontroller that can execute every line of code at the same time on every clock cycle. One FPGA can drive dozens of motors perfectly in parallel and synch to each other, and with complex acceleration / deceleration curves, and at the same time read and react to stepper driver diagnostics (found in the TMC2130) which enables the controller to compensate for missed steps and automatically adjust the motor current. Gotta stop now, need to get to work o.O


/edit2:
Ordered some sample parts from Misumi to check if I like that particular linear bushing / shaft combo or not.
I'm also ordering stainless steel and hard-chrome-plated shafts to see if there's any noticeable difference in friction. I suppose just stainless steel with no coating is optimal for plastic bushings, since the hard chrome plating is meant to be used with steel ball bearings. For plastic bearings you just need a nice, polished finish for minimum friction. Surface hardness is not an issue.
I'll also order a hollow shaft. Yes, they cost more than double as much - but they also reduce the gantry weight while not reducing the shaft's strength. If I am not mistaken, hollow shafts are even stronger than solid ones. But I'm not sure if that is a general rule, or if that was some special product I've seen somewhere..
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by LePaul » June 19th, 2017, 9:13 am

That's interesting, about the Drylin stuff from igus

I haven't done much with the samples I bought, they seem very smooth but I was also curious what the "gotcha" (Weakness) might me

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » June 19th, 2017, 10:40 am

Well it's always a question of what your requirements are....

You can tip a Misumi linear rail with your finger and have it slide all the way to the other side. Try that with an igus rail...
On the other hand, I don't know how weight & friction translate in a dynamic system. With much less weight, some increase in friction is no problem, and at the same time if you have almost no friction you can tolerate more weight. There is a sweet spot somewhere, but don't ask me where :D
I know that the higher your acceleration and deceleration forces are, the more you profit from having less weight. Adversely, if your gantry is heavy, you "just" need to lower your acceleration settings. That means lower total speed, but it's a parameter that can easily be fiddled with. If it turns out that you have too much friction in your system, you'll need bigger motors and/or better motor drivers.

The sweet spot might very well be the aluminum linear rail I wrote about earlier. But that sweet spot might cost a sweet fortune.. (Haven't heard from them yet, btw)
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by Titus » August 24th, 2017, 10:45 am

just my 2 late cents. Have you considered actually talking to UM? From what I see they are trying to move towards B2B, reliability and all the other things you mention(except perhaps size?). Perhaps there is a deal/collab there?

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by jonnybischof » August 25th, 2017, 3:06 am

Well, I used to like them, and in fact my first and only printer to this date is the Ultimaker Original kit I bought about 4 years ago. Print quality is pretty bad, but it does still work with minimal maintenance and almost no repairs.

I lost my interest in Ultimaker when they moved to an unusable forum. I haven't been over there ever since I had to turn off any kind of notifications (most were ghost notifications where nothing had actually happened in the thread). I mean, come on. You can get perfectly good forums like this phpBB that have worked forever and run rock solid. Why would you even consider "breaking" your community when you claim to care so much about it.

Plus, I don't think that my design goals match theirs. When you take a really hard look at their price to performance / build quality ratio, they are (imho) actually pretty bad. Ultimakers are expensive printers, and they are rather well designed. But their quality control seems very lacking and I keep hearing of problems that shouldn't exist on such expensive printers. I would never start selling anything unless I can say for sure that the thing actually works reliably in practice - on the customer's desk.
Best regards,
Jonny

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by LePaul » August 25th, 2017, 11:52 am

I understand your frustration

I get the sense Ultimaker would rather sell to business instead of the average user. Especially based on their pricing being significantly higher than everyone else. I don't see a lot of my builder friends going for UM3's but things that can do bigger volume. I've also been shopping around for different filaments than theirs. I can't see paying more for an NFC tag I won't ever use.

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by Dim3nsioneer » August 27th, 2017, 6:21 am

@jonnybischof You might want to check the UM forum in near future. SandervG, the community manager, already mentioned there might be something happening there.

@LePaul You're absolutely right about the targeted customer segments. Professional customers do indeed prefer to have the automatic regocnition by the NFC tags while more hobby users don't need it usually.

Ultimaker is a premium brand today, that's true. But with the higher prices also come things like support which is not just the forum nowadays but multiple level support by resellers and distributors. Ultimaker is still quite fair and generous to users who experience hardware problems with their machines.

There have been QC issues in the past but also there Ultimaker is continously improving on feedbacks they get. One should be careful not to take it as representative what's written on the forum because people usually only write about a machine in a forum when they have a problem.
One can always claim that a product should have been put into market later. But anybody familiar with serious product development knows that most products do not have to be absolutely perfect to be launched. Making it perfect would only mean developing on it for ever and never make it to the market. You usually launch the product when the remaining issues are cheaper to be dealt with in support than by further development. I think Ultimaker caught that moment pretty well with the Ultimaker 3.

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Re: How much should a good 3D printer cost?

Post by LePaul » August 27th, 2017, 7:47 am

I'm still a big fan of Ultimaker. Mine has been a tank. I use it often and reliably. I switch back and forth from Cura to S3D a lot, but that's a different story!

I do hope they are developing something that prints larger volumes and sizes.

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