Friday, April 27, 2012

Reprap Prusa Mendel Quality questions

I've been trying to figure out what it takes to build a Reprap printer as well as it's limitations and just what the level of difficulty is to actually achieve good quality 3D prints.  Of course good is a relative term and what I think looks pretty good below, could end up looking like a dot matrix print next to a modern laser printer's output in another ten years.

Best detail I can hope to expect from a current Reprap printer.
(This was many pieces printed and put together like a model)
On the left a DIY 3D printer, on the right an "inexpensive" pro 3D printer
The quality is good enough for what I want to do, which is building very customized cases for my electronics projects and so many, many other awesome things I haven't even thought of yet.  If a year ago you would have told me when I was first learning how to program Arduino's and build basic electronics that in another year I'd be building my own 3D printer I'd never of believed it.  So why not just build a 3D printer and see what that leads me to next.  Deep down, I'm really hoping these printers will get to be high enough quality and simple enough to use in the next 10 to 15 years that for under $500 you could have a high quality 3D printer that can print in colors on the fly and have incredible detail and not require massive amounts of technical understanding to use.  I have also been a fan of open source groups that make it possible to contribute back to the community to potentially help refine the process and quality of 3D prints through software and hardware hacking.  This whole DIY 3D printing movement is going to pioneer a whole new generation of engineers, coders and tinkerers as well as having the potential to radically change how we think of  .

A calibration test print
The item on the right was printed before calibration was totally dialed in.

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