Rapid Prototyping (RP) feed back

Anyone have an RP machine in house, or are most of you still out sourcing youe models? If you do have one in house, what kind is it? Do you find that it has increasead, decreased, or is about the same when it comes to design cycle?

tack on couple questions.

  • how’s cost of materials? generally?
  • are “desktop” units really desktop?
  • besides base price, what other costs are there? guessing there’s Maintenance, Upgrades, Repairs, whatever.
  • how long til service paid for itself?

Use a 3D system printer which uses a photopolymer. The printer runs over a network and can be finnicky at times.

Dont really recommend it. The acrylic photopolymer builds on a wax filler material that needs to be melted off in a crock pot… So we have a $40.000 piece of machinery that cannnot produce a presentable part without a $70 large crockpot. This also means that it is very hard to finish the model to look like a final appearance. I am not sure how much the build material and the filler material cost, but 3D systems runs the business much like Epson and Canon do desktop publishing. 3Dsystems makes its money selling the “ink” cartridges to print the models… we burned through a supposed 1 year supply in 2 months.

If I had the option I would get an SLA machine or a CNC router. If I had the money I would buythe router. Why? Because you can finesse a CNCed part by hand-somethin that you cannot do with SLA. Also with SLA. SLS and the above printer, it is imperative to shell out your models (wall thickness). This can be a royal pain in the butt especially if you are eearly in the design process.