Can anyone point me to a really good resource on 3D printing?

Everything I have found so far has been noise, advertizing. 

I need two thing:

  1. Guidance on just what I can do with a 3D printer.  Can I, for example, make a body, out of good quality plastic, that has the same shape and strength as the bodies that Hubsan H107 series quads, and WL's V252 skylark ship with, or would I be stuck with making the sort of flimsy crap, sorry I mean body, that the WL V202 Scorpion ships with.  Ideally, I'd like to be able to make nice looking, durable bodies like those of the Hubsan H107C and Wl V252, as well as frames like that used in the WL V202 (but able to accept variable numbers of arms - perhaps one set above the frame that holds the battery and electronics, and one set below, so I could support a higher number of rotors), along with being able to accept any controller board w/the usual sensors,  But, I am after an ability to make the tiniest smart multirotor copters.
  2. I need to know what product I can get that will not break the bank, as it were.  I found 2 products on amazon.ca
  • Sainsmart Megatronics + MK2B + A4988 LCD12864 Controller Heatbed Endstop kit for Reprap 3D printer Arduino
    • unless I have misunderstood the description, this looks like a kit for making a 3D printer.  Have I misunderstood it?  Would there be anything else that I would need to have a functional 3D printer?  Or does this kit allow me to make a 3D printer for about C$220?
  • Super Mini Thermal 3D printer by DIY (so amazon says)
    • This says I can make good quality 'exquisite' products, using a 3D printer that costs C$133

I find the idea that I could make my own plastic parts appealing, but I am concerned about the cost and reliability.  And, I would need guidance on what plastic to use that will not harm the 3D printer used as well as providing a good quality product.  Is there anyone who can provide guidance on both what I could possibly do as well as what products or services I ought to look into before taking any action?  Also, is there anyone who has CAD designs that would serve to illustrate how to make the sorts of parts that are of interest to me.

Thanks

Ted

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The Sainsmart kit only contains electronics used by the printer. You will need to build a frame and add the stepper motors.

At the link below you can order the complete kit with everything you need. 

http://www.kitprinter3d.com/en/3d-printer-kits/8-reprap-mendel-prus...

The Super mini only has a printbed size of:  Dimensions (cm) 11.0 x 8.0 x 6.0 which is really small. 

The RepRap Prusa i3 kit is one of the best kits I have found. It's open source and can be adapted over time to suite changing printing needs. 

The kind of hot end nozzle dictates which materials you can print with so you'll need to research the different materials and select the correct hot end nozzle for the job. 

For beginners 0.5mm is best or 0.4mm if you are after a little better detail on small objects at the expense of print time (smaller nozzle means more time to print the same object). 3mm filament works well with both these nozzles and is more forgiving to work with. 0.3mm nozzles are for slow printing high detailed objects and is best combined with 1.75mm filament as this gives the extruder more precise control of the volume of filament extruded. 0.3mm nozzles can be difficult to setup, we don't recommend 0.3mm nozzles for beginners! They provide a large amount of back pressure, thus your extruder needs to be setup well and are for more experienced users. If you are interested in moving to 0.3mm one day, then I would suggest going with a 0.4mm/1.75mm setup to get you started. These nozzles are suitable for use with most ABS and PLA filaments.

For best value / future feature expansion,you will be looking for an all metal hot end. Due to the nature of the all metal hot end, high print temperatures are possible. This opens the door for exotic filaments such as Nylon etc.

3D printing is an art and a science. You will need to experiment A LOT in order for you to get the best results. 

I hope this helps a bit. Sorry this is a wide field and there is a lot of information to work through so let me know if you require more info or if you have more questions. 

Thanks Johan,

That is quite helpful.I guess something that would be useful would be a good introductory book.  Not something like 3D printing for dummies, but rather something like the books I have just bought that introduce me to robotics using Arduino products.  Something that at least gives me a good treatment of at least the science of 3D printing: something that give3s enough detailed coverage that I could build on what it provides to make non-trivial products.

Also, do you know if I would be able to make a quad body that is of better quality than that the Hubsan H107 series of quads (which would fit in the palm of my hand) or the really interesting WL V252 Skylark (I'd be happy if I could make the body for the Skylark, as an example), or a more adaptable frame than that which comes with the WL V202 Scorpion?  What is the best I could aim for with one of these things?  Can I make an interesting propeller for my H107D that is stronger and lighter and more durable than those that come with the Hubsan quads?

I appreciate the insights you have given about the hotend and filament. When you say a 0.3 mm nozzle is slower, what kind of time frame are we looking at.  For a typical microquad part (for a quad whose total size is less than 10 cm across), how long would it take to make an interesting part with a 0.3 mm nozzle instead of a 0.4 mm nozzle?

I also appreciate the recommendation you gave for a complete kit.  Do you know if that kit is available in Canada?  (I will fire off a note to that provider to see what they have to say: maybe they can sell in North America using Amazon.com or amazon.ca)  The last time I was in Europe, many decades ago, it seemed every country had different power outlets (making my computer useless as I had no adapters).  I am concerned with whether or not that manufacturer knows what power supply ought to be provided outside Europe.  I can write a computer program to do anything I want, and have done so for decades, but all this stuff on the hardware side is rather alien to me.

I appreciate that this is a wide field, but one must start somewhere.  That I am solely interested in parts that can be used to make microcopters, should narrow the scope considerably.  I am not interested in making cheap plastic toys for little kids.  And it would be good to know what the best is that I can aim for.  I know it will take time to get there, but what is the point if the best I can hope for is something like the cheap plastic chess pieces I have seen?Thanks again,

Ted

Hi Ted

I'll scratch around a bit in my book archive. I'm sure I'll have something here that might help you. If I cannot find a resource on the internet for the book, I'll drop it on my dropdox or google drive. Send me a friend invite on the forum and I'll PM you If i found something I believe will be able to help you.

On small scale the 3d printed partsare quite strong. PLA also flexes much less than ABS but has a much lower melting point so the heat of sunlight might make it soft wheres ABS has a higher melting point so sunlight and heat does not affect it that badly but it flexes a bit and you do need a heated bed to print ABS. Nylon is a very high strength and durable material but much more expensive and more time consuming to work with du to slower printing speeds. I would say you'd we able to print fairly good quality parts. I'll not go as far as to say your parts will be superior quality. It depends again widely on your setup, material and printing experience.

The printing time is very dependant on the the material used and the nozzle size.In general people use 50mm/s printing speed for slow, high precision printing, 65mm/s for medium speed and 80mm/s for fast printing.Based on those speeds you can calculate the printing time of 1 square cm on each of the nozzles.

It should be available in canada. Dont worry about the power outlets.The power supply that you will need comes without cables and a type of "connector block" with screws where you can install your own cables. You can even use a "converted" pc power supply. The conversion is easy and costs a dollar or two to do.

Have a look at the RepRap wiki. There are masses of information there. As mentioned before, I'll scratch around perhaps I have a book or two I can send you info on.

Just one last question. Do you want to use the parts for yourself of do you want to make it available commercially?

Hi Johann,

I am brand new to this forum, so you'll have to explain how I send a friend invite.

I fully expect that initially the parts I make will leave MUCH to be desired; but that is the fun of trying: to learn to improve to the point where you can be considered a craftsman.

Initially I will be making this for myself.  This is because I can not find any vendor that sells kits for multirotor copters that would fit in the palm of my hand, and I need a way to make the copters I'm interested in so I can conduct my own experiments.  I am taking up the study of robotics as a hobby, and am especially interested in flying robots (hence my interest in RC multirotor copters). 

If I get good enough, I might consider making them available commercially, but if I do that, then I will raise the funding to put together a proper production facility (unless there is another option to make my designs/kits widely available at a modest cost - something a kid could afford).  I have a vision of being able to make kits that would allow kids in middle school and high school assemble multirotors that have different numbers of rotors, in different geometries, and with differently shaped propellers, and conduct their own experiments on what such factors do to how the copter is to fly, what payload it can carry and how long it can fly: to turn the hobby into a learning opportunity and to make learning science FUN for teenagers: something that may increase the population of scientists and engineers in the next generation.  But that is just a pipe dream for now, until I learn how to do it all myself.  Certainly the kits that are presently available are much too expensive for young people to do anything like that; but what if such kids can have a copter kit that costs less than C$100, and that allows them to assemble and disassemble copters with different numbers of rotors in different geometries?

Of course, I will need also to find a way to assemble the electronics that will fit, and that are light enough, without compromising the programming it supports. But that is a completely different discussion.

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