Author Topic: 3D Printers - Incredibly Difficult to Cut Through the BS  (Read 554 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 7642
  • Respect: +841
3D Printers - Incredibly Difficult to Cut Through the BS
« on: January 15, 2014, 03:10:06 PM »
This is mostly a cautionary rant.

There's been much business press over the past couple of weeks about 3D printing, mostly in conjunction with CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. The hucksters are in Run 8 - lots of specious marketing-speak about "professional quality", "high resolution", "XX micron capability", "unprecedented smooth finish" and crap like that. But when you need to find out what the real output resolution is... heaven help you find it. And demo samples? Beware of the "organic" designs which conceal surface finish problems or limited voxel resolution.

The biggest offenders are the extrusion printer people. They'll quote things like "16 micron" or maybe "0.001 build" resolutions. You'll find in every case that the quoted resolution is the build table (Z) increment and not the X or Y, where the voxel would be defined by nozzle size, the smallest I've seen around 0.015". Well, in those rare instances where it's published. Real specs are being avoided, or glossed over.

The price point for pro-sumer printers is currently ~$5000. For the moment this is not looking good for modelers, with the technology advancements prioritizing build size over resolution.

ANYWAY, my point is if any of us are considering any of this new wave for RP machine purchases, beware of the BS apparatus. In my long career of purchasing 2D output devices, specs were something that was at least an approximate indicator of the expected result. These people are going out of their way to conceal meaningful specs. So if Brand X's printer looks good to you and you're serious, have your own artwork file in-hand to give them to "show me".

We don't make mistakes, we have happy accidents. We just don't tell anybody. -Bob Ross


  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 13146
  • Respect: +2458
Re: 3D Printers - Incredibly Difficult to Cut Through the BS
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 03:24:28 PM »
Like the last time I bought an all in one printer scanner. Nowhere on the box did it list what dpi I could scan at. I had to go home and search the MFG's website to find the info.


  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 7700
  • Oh, it's an Owl!
  • Respect: +521
    • Chicago Great Western Modeler
Re: 3D Printers - Incredibly Difficult to Cut Through the BS
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 03:28:59 PM »
One issue we're going to have as modelers is build size.  There's going to be affordable machine with good resolution sometime in the next year or so, but it might cater to the jewelry industry.

Nothing like liking all the specs and the price only to find out it can only do something the size of a 40' box car (if that).  Some machines can make that up on the Z axis, but not always.