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View Poll Results: Would you make use of a 3D printer if it was available cheaply?

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  • No.

    1 4.55%
  • Maybe, but I'm not sure when.

    15 68.18%
  • Absolutely! I often have to make plastic parts.

    6 27.27%
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Thread: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

  1. #1

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahorton View Post
    I decided a while ago that there wasn't really any call for a community 3D printer. The demand is low enough that you might as well use shapeways for one-offs. I still want to get one myself, but the tech just keeps getting better. Everytime I consider it, another jump seems to happen.

    The machine I really want is the titanium printer in the lab down the hall from me. It prints new bones for people.
    mmm. direct metal SLS, the good stuff

    edit: wtf looks like cpf's clock was broken for a while.
    Last edited by CKOD; 03-12-2012 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #2

    Default A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I'm toying with buying a 3D printer.

    More to the point, I'm considering offering a 3D printing service to CPF.

    For those that have no idea what I'm talking about, go spend a few hours watching videos on youtube.


    It's just an idea right now, but here's what I'm thinking.

    Many of you will know me from the aspheric lenses I sell, and my approach here is fairly similar. I wanted a lens of my own design for entirely selfish reasons, so I spent a few thousand dollars and over 3 years you guys have slowly bought my excess so that I broke even. If I don't count the 100 trips to the post office, I like to tell myself that the lenses I have left didn't cost me anything!

    Now I want to own a 3D printer for myself, because I'm always wanting to make little brackets, clamps and battery boxes etc (remember I'm more into headlamps and bike lights than regular all-metal flashlights). I'm just wondering how many other people would be interested in getting little bits and pieces made? Is it worth me putting an extra $1000 or so into a better machine if it would pay itself off over a few years?


    This is how I reckon it could work (very open to suggestions):

    - I buy the printer, spend a while setting it up and start showing off what it can do.

    - We agree on a standard format (STL most likely) and you each go download one of the free CAD programs that can export it.

    - You design the part you want and send the file to me along with a paypal payment.

    - I get the email, have a quick look at it to make sure it's all ok and set it to print.

    - I post it to you.

    The cost: I'm thinking something $25 per order + $0.1 per gram of plastic. I think that would allow me to slowly pay off and maintain the machine but would still be a bargain for someone who wants a just 4 or 5 little plastic brackets for something. This price would include postage.

    What's in it for me?
    1. No real financial profit.
    2. I get to own a 3D printer. If you don't think that's cool then we can't be friends.
    3. I get a copy all the clever and inventive things you guys make.
    4. I enjoy contributing something to community that has given me heaps.


    I'm asking in this forum because I think that this is where the diy-hackers hang out.
    I imagine that this won't interest the guys with CNC mills, but most people aren't in that category.

    Let me know what you think.
    Show me pictures of what you imagine making.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* archimedes's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    EDIT: I have purchased many (dozens) of various types of commercial battery holders, but despite having contacting these manufacturers directly, have yet to find one willing to create and provide ones custom-sized for CR2 cells.

    To clarify: I have been looking for a storage solution, of any design, for this issue.

    Norm, if you know of a source for these - I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    Sorry for any misunderstanding
    Last edited by archimedes; 09-21-2011 at 12:36 PM.
    IF 2 = 1 THEN 1 = 0

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    But isn't the plastic it carves like a toy/Lego plastic? What would be the flashlight applications?

  5. #5

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Yes it'd be ABS or PLA. I imagine that it wouldn't be of much interest to those who are only into flashlights which tend to be machined from metals.

    I on the otherhand, like making headlamps and bike-lamps and these things often require battery-boxes, clamps and brackets. These things can be made from plastics and can take me hours to hack together using my current methods.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Depending on the resolution of the printer and the mechanical properties of the result I might be interested in this.
    Finning does help dissipate heat. This is why the fins are removed before cooking fish. Otherwise it will throw off the heat and not reach the proper cooking temperature. --Duglite

  7. #7

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    The machines I'm looking at can handle layers down to about 0.1mm (but I'd probably mainly work at around 0.3mm). So you end up with something that looks like it's made out of many thin sheets. If you want a perfectly smooth edge, you need to lightly sand it or apply a chemical smoothing agent.
    Last edited by ahorton; 09-21-2011 at 01:56 AM.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  8. #8

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I would like this service if/when I have some neat idea. I have wanted to do battery holders in the past.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I myself am not interested, but perhaps it would assist your thread if you added a poll, something like "This is something I would desire to use." Just a thought.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I want you to get a 3d printer because it's the coolest thing ever but I personally have nothing to print.
    [gearcarrot.com] Collector and distributor of (mis)information.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    This seems like a hugely awesome idea. People would be able to have pretty much anything they could imagine made for $25. You might want to consider using the printer to make up "kits" for sale. Something like DIY battery holders where you sell the the plastic wafer ends that hold the batteries in place and then people get their own springs/threaded rods and make up their own custom battery packs.

    There are a million uses for that thing, you just have to pitch it better in this thread

    CUSTOM CUSTOM CUSTOM PARTS!!!!

  12. #12

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Non-conductive spacers for all sorts of uses... custom shims for people that need to adjust HID bulbs to get correct focus... custom switch parts... reflector shims for maglites to keep things centered and aligned in mag heads...

    Geeze, now I want a 3D printer!

  13. #13
    Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    Sorry for any misunderstanding
    My mistake I missed the CR2 reference

    Norm

  14. #14
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I voted for the last option, but it's more of a "yes I will use it for a few components" rather than a "maybe" like the second option or "many parts" like the last.
    Finning does help dissipate heat. This is why the fins are removed before cooking fish. Otherwise it will throw off the heat and not reach the proper cooking temperature. --Duglite

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* archimedes's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    My mistake I missed the CR2 reference

    Norm
    Thanks Norm, no problem
    IF 2 = 1 THEN 1 = 0

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* psychbeat's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I dont think I would use it much if ever but I want you to get one!
    hehe

    Ill contribute by buying some of the cool stuff u make with it

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Mattaus's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I wouldn't be a heavy user, and I'd have to wait and see what this can produce but every now and then I do require the odd bit to be custom made. If this is easier than dealing with some big mob that snub their nose at the little guy then I'd definitely come here first.

    ahorton - I know you say Youtube it, but do you have any good videos you are immediately aware of that show the possible size, resolution and ultimately the intricacy of parts you could make? Also how temperature resistant would the resultant parts be? Obviously the flash light applications are immediately obvious, but I would also look at using this for parts in electric motors and they can get pretty toasty...

    I voted for the maybe option as well, but that's more from the point of view that I have nothing in mind straight away nor would ever require large mounts of goods. It's just something that I know I would use in the future - whether or not that's good enough for you to pull the trigger or not I'm unsure. Sorry for being a fence sitter lol!

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattaus View Post
    I know you say Youtube it, but do you have any good videos you are immediately aware of that show the possible size, resolution and ultimately the intricacy of parts you could make?
    A guy recently brought one on The Colbert Report (American political satire show, on Comedy Central network) and printed out a bunch of copies of the host's head that were roughly baseball sized. Then they put the template on the website so anyone else with access to a printer could print one, and they held a contest to see who could do the most clever alteration to the template. They only briefly showed the "heads", but the claimed sub-millimeter resolution of the print certainly looked correct..

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Mattaus's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Googled it...I am aware of Colbert - we get it here in Aus at odd times. I'm impressed. I think 3D printing will work for the odd jobs I may/probably will require in the future.

  20. #20

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Heh, can you make ATM card skimming devices

    http://krebsonsecurity.com/2011/09/g...-atm-skimmers/



    (For the literal mod, that was a joke, m'kay)

  21. #21
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Love the idea that something like this may be available, maybe this will be the final push that get me to learn CAD.

  22. #22

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Looks like some positive and some neutral response. Probably not quite enough to push me up to a higher quality machine but I still have a little while to think about it.

    I was curious if people would come back with a bunch of designs that they have in mind but there may not be many relevant applications beyond what I'm already planning (brackets for headlamps etc).
    Last edited by ahorton; 09-26-2011 at 08:16 AM.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    This is a cool idea and it's got me thinking about several possible projects. I hope in the end ahorton, you can bring this idea to fruition.

    It amazes me that 3D printing has reached the stage where it is almost on the consumer level. I became fascinated with the development of this technology when I first read about it back in 1996. It was reminiscent of a Star Trek replicator or Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet. At the time the Department of the Navy was trying to develop a method of sending parts to ships at sea via satellite. There had been a previous development called Stereolithography invented in the 1980s but the Navy was interested in Fused Deposit Modeling of polymers and Laser Sintering because of the potential to create more durable objects. There have been several other technologies kicking around as well. The term 3D printing didn't exist then. Maybe in a few years we will have affordable access to small home 3D Electron Beam Fabricators so we can make metal (including titanium) flashlight parts!

  24. #24

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    There's only one thing on your list that would keep me from ordering and that's your access to my designs. I understand that this forum is for hobbyists but I am accustomed to having an NDA or some form of IP restrictions in place with a prototype shop. Very cool idea getting a machine and all, but if I need to pay full price locally then so be it. I'd gladly change my mind if there is an option to modify your bullet #3 and still get the pricing you propose. I'm not lacking in trust but a majority of my prototypes are for patented or patent pending or R&D projects. Might come off as snooty but my intention is to answer the question and to suggest a way where I could support your purchase of a machine.

  25. #25

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Yeah I thought that some people would not be happy with that point (and for good reason too - no argument here). I could certainly allow people to have a secret design, but probably for an extra fee. There would be two reasons for the fee. Firstly, is that I'm selfish and I choose not to work for free. Secondly is that it's not being part of the CPF community. As you said, this place is for hobbyists.
    Maker of Aspheric Lenses and Headlamps.

  26. #26

    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I do a lot with modeling plastics, making good molds is always the issue. I've even considered buying a 3d printer just for that purpose. So yeah, I'd do a couple pieces... Most likely battery holder protos

  27. #27
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I can think of a variety of things to use something like that for - most of it non flashlight. The better the resolution, but more useful it is to me. For example - +/- 0.1 mm is really interesting. Wider than that and it really isn't so much so.
    Homebuilts - "BREEZE" RCR2 sidexside, "Tornado" 4 x 18650 side x side, Streamlight SL20x LED module (Custom BST Feeler Thread)

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Some points I've pondered-

    - USB key bodies; get a bunch of USB keys and pop off their plastic bodies, the replace them with your own. Business logos, 2D renders of flashlights, the CPF logo, etc..

    - Keychain pendants; this one would require the use of a 3D scanner, but could be very popular: 3D scan a very popular light, like a Surefire Beast, then create 1"-1.5" plastic copies of it with a keychain lanyard. Now everyone can carry around the awesome light they can't afford. (for fun, bore out the light-end of the little light for tritium globe placement..)

    - Art class; not flashlight related but perhaps the most noble use of the printer; I don't know if 3D scans of actual pieces of historic artwork are available, but it'd really be something if your local schools' art classes could have a discussion of Michaelangelo's David, and the the teacher could present the class with their copy of it..

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* jasonck08's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    I've been toying with the idea of building my own 3D printer, a reprap (google it, they are pretty neat). They can print using ABS, or PLA. Tolerances are not as good as commercial machines, but they can be built for ~$500 or so, vs $15-20k for a proper commercial machine.

  30. #30
    Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: A 3D Printer for the CPF community?

    Some great ideas StarHalo,
    Norm

    I'd also be interested, lots to learn, I'd make every effort to use the service even if it were just as a learning exercise.

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