3D Printer Hypothetical (kinda)

@JoeCarr @jfahner

Looking for suggestions for “pro” level 3d printers that we should consider on the LMN wishlist. I know there is a lot of considerations with this question in terms of do we really want a crazy expensive 3D printer and its requisite DRM’ed material costs, maintenance costs, etc.

Can either of you suggest what you’d want us to have if we could buy what we wanted?

I’d recommend the Formlabs Fuse, a desktop SLS machine. No one has anything
like it on our area and material is relatively inexpensive. Beyond that
perhaps an Ultimaker 3 Extended. I’d like us to be open source where we can.

Jerry, what are your thoughts?

I forgot about the Fuse. That would indeed be a very cool machine to have at the space, and pretty sensible too.

Totally agree.

+1 to the Fuse. Seems to be a solid machine.

I have no experience with “pro” level machines, but the Fuse looks interesting as does the Ultimaker 3 Extended. I agree with Joe about trying to keep it open source if possible. One thing to remember is that 3D printers are evolving rather rapidly and to keep up we need a long-range plan.

Very good point. I’m curious what you guys think: a few high quality printers ($5k+) Or a higher quantity of more commodity printers (~$500 range) ?

I also support the Fuse 1. There actually have been times when I really want to build a prop that bends and is flexible, but then can go back to its original form and NOT be distorted.

I prefer the idea less quantity of high quality printers… It’s not to discount wanting to print lots of parts printed at once if you have a higher quantity of $500 range printers, but then you also have a higher quantity of finicky printers you must maintain.

The both of Joe’s suggestions look good and offer features we currently do not have access to. Supports, complex shapes, and bed size seem to be the main limiters with printers I have access to.

There are a lot of advantages of having multiples of the same printer, not the least of which is the ability to offer classes. I would love to get that going.
Joe Z is correct in worrying about finicky printers because they have all had issues, but after owning a Prusa MK2 for almost a year, my experience is that they are becoming much easier to use. The new Prusa MK3 has several sensors that make it even easier. It can recover from power outages, running out of filament, and even manually moving the x-carriage during printing. These come assembled for about $1000. There have been a ton of improvements in the last year and that is why I am concerned about obsolescence down the road.

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