Hello. I am ready to purchase one now. I need the material to be tough, as it will be used in an engineering environment. Reccomendations please. Regards Richard.
Here’s my 2 cents. I’m relatively new to 3D printing and did a lot of research early on as my requirement was to get a printer that is a workhorse and reliable as I am now doing freelance engineering designs for the toy industry. I ended up buying the Lulzbot TAZ6 for it’s bed size and reliability. I have used it almost every day with models created in Shapr3D. I recently decided to get a 2nd printer as a backup and bought the Prusa i3 MK3 which is considered a top choice for it’s price. I bought the kit version and it is almost fully assembled. Again, it is meant as a backup however I can run both at the same time as the workload increases.
I initially started looking at the lower price printers but I didn’t want to deal with a lot of tweaking and adjustments like bed leveling and upgrades and such as I just want to make parts for engineering models. I’m glad I didn’t settle for a lower priced printer. Others can add their recommendations as there are a number of printers that are reliable such as the Ultimaker but one has to consider the price-value component.
As far as materials go, PLA is the most common filament and it prints easily however it has a low melt point which means you cannot do any medium to high speed drilling nor machine sanding. Leave a PLA printed part on your dashboard on a hot day and it will warp like a vinyl LP (for those that remember LP’s). There are newer varieties of PLA with fillers and additives for more strength and heat resistance coming very close to ABS. I have had good luck with a higher grade PLA and have used a co-polyester filament from ColorFab but it can be a little difficult to print. PETG is another good material.
ABS is the material that most other filament makers compare to as far as properties go. The problem with printing ABS is the higher temp needed for printing (both nozzle and bed) and warpage can be a big issue not to mention that you need good ventilation when printing ABS.
I’m past the newbie stage of 3D printing but by no means am I an expert. I consider my 3D printing knowhow as intermediate. I hope what I have to share helps. Others can add their advice.
That’s brilliant info. Thanks Mike.
The Lulzbot printers are indeed superb. I’ve been using a Mini with Shapr3D for nearly two years now and the workflow from design to print is seamless. My results with ABS have been very good indeed.
Thank you Ron.