3D Printing Guides

Dukenukem117

New Member
This is just a thread of 3D Printing guides that I've come across that I think are applicable to signmaking. I'm not a signmaker so this is just my best guess, but if you're interested in the technology for your business, some of this might be helpful.

Designing Jigs and Fixtures - This is one of the better whitepapers I've seen that actually give a lot of useful advice and ideas and isn't just a way to try to sell their line of printers. Its probably the most directly applicable for signmakers. Formlabs sells prosumer desktop SLA printers for the low-thousands and is probably the most well known in the category. SLA produces very high resolution and intricate parts but the build volume is small and the resin has a short shelf life (I think 2 months once opened). Its easier to design for SLA because you don't need to think as much about the orientation and features the way you do with FDM (the much more common filament based tech). But SLA resin is expensive, and to my knowledge you cannot do sparse infill the way you can with FDM. Its possible to make a big FDM part that is practically hollow, which greatly saves on time/material. FDM printers also have much larger build volumes with some companies specializing in super-sized printers in the $<10k price range.

SLA prints also become discolored and brittle in the sun from the prolonged UV exposure. 3D prints in general are bad but SLA is probably the worst since it uses light/UV/laser to cure the resin, so the resin is inherently UV sensitive. FDM has carbon-filled filaments that hide discoloration and acts as a UV stabilizer. I don't know of any tests regarding very long term exposure, but I'd go with FDM if I was doing something for outdoors unless I want to go through the trouble of painting/coating it.

https://docdro.id/UTU7XFQ
 

FactorDesign

New Member
3d printing. ahhh now there's something I can relate to. I run a small side business 3d printing various prototypes and end use items. All of my printers are FDM, but I've done a ton of research on the SLA printers. The Formlabs printers are VERY good, but also expensive for the tiny build volume. They are great for small things like rings, gaming figures or dental molds, and you can't beat the surface quality you get from a laser based SLA machine. There are also very cheap SLA machines that use LCD masking and UV lamps to flash cure each layer, instead of a laser. These don't have quite the resolution of the laser, but it's 10x smoother than any FDM machine still. They do have the benefit of being faster for full bed prints, as the entire layer cures at once so if you can print 5 copies of the same object, it takes the same time as one.

For printing for outside use, I agree FDM is the way to go. Use ABS or Nylon filaments, which will most likely require an enclosure to maintain high ambient temperatures while printing.
 

Gene@mpls

Member
Prusa is just on the cusp of releasing a resin printer and, having a Prusa MK3s, I expect it to be very good. Also about 1/2 the price of the Form 2.
 

Dukenukem117

New Member
I would never use anything but carbon nylon (or carbon-something) for long term outdoor parts. Normal ABS is not UV resistant, though its probably better than resins. Only plastic I think that is is Acrylic. There was also a post on the 3D printing subreddit of some dude who got his arm blistered up from accidentally spilling resin on himself. Nasty stuff. If you don't need the unique strengths of resin printers, I'd definitely avoid it.
 

FactorDesign

New Member
Prusa is just on the cusp of releasing a resin printer and, having a Prusa MK3s, I expect it to be very good. Also about 1/2 the price of the Form 2.
I assume the software and support will be good, but it is more akin to a nicer version of the Anycubic Photon than to the Form2. It uses an LCD mask + UV LED combo (MSLA) rather than a laser to cure the resin. This has advantages in speed for full build plates since it can cure an entire layer at once instead of drawing it, but I think it has slightly less detail and the LCDs are a wear item that need replacement from time to time.
 

JBurton

Signtologist
https://all3dp.com/2/asa-filament-explained-and-compared/

Turns out there is a filament that is made for outdoor applications. I can't find any spec's on exactly how long one can expect it to withstand the environment though.

Quite affordable too. I ordered a few spools to try.
https://www.3dxtech.com/asa-filament/
My plan is to paint everything inside and out. Adhesion hasn't been an issue with matthews and abs and pc. Testing for long term outdoor exposure.
 

Clair

New Member
I was wondering if there any recommendations on choosing right 3d printer? Saw so many of them, and so many guides like this one, but not quite sure if it`s not sponsored..
 
Depends what you're trying to make with it... we have both the FlashForge Creator Pro and a Wanhao D7. They're both good machines using two differing styles of printing.
 
Depends what you're trying to make with it... we have both the FlashForge Creator Pro and a Wanhao D7. They're both good machines using two differing styles of printing.

The above is so true about what you are planning on printing with it.

I would also add though, get one that allows for more user servicing and allows for a broader range of filament OEMs, that way "you" aren't bound to any one OEM for either parts or filament. Not all are like that.

If "your" tech inclined and don't mind putting it together "yourself", usually "your" kit printers are more opt to go this way, but some of "your" already assembled ones are this way as well.

I know I hardened down the nozzles for mine compared to the ones that came with the printer. There are trade offs to that, so it really depends on what "you" are inclined to do.

Software used could also be something else to consider as well. Some are more open to choice (particularly with slicer programs) then others, so keep that in mind as well.
 
Both printers listed virtually worked out of the box, but there are so many tweaks/improvements/mods you can do to both. I've changed a few parts on each to get them to work how we need and couldn't be happier.
Neither are locked into using filament/resin or even parts from the manufacturer, so we use plenty of alternatives. Thumbs up on either machine.
 

Dukenukem117

New Member
Depends on what you need prints for. If all you need are PLA scale models, just about any $4-700 desktop printer will do the trick. If you want to make exterior parts that will be in the sun for years however, you need something that can print ASA. This means a heated chamber and all of a sudden your minimum printer price goes from $300 to $3000.
 
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