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Recommendation for 3D printer under $500
« on: March 04, 2019, 11:31:29 AM »
I have been thinking of a 3D printer. I need to make some simple parts. I have been looking at the eBay adds , for a dual filament unit such as the 'CubMaker' Fantasy Pro II for under $500. but I don't know much else about 3D printers, any recommendations, or horror stories ?

Re: Recommendation for 3D printer under $500
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 11:37:48 AM »
I forgot to mention, I have a Pokeys 57CNC, a brand new Mach4 license,  and some Step Drivers, I was thinking of using them to drive  the printer so I could create some custom process. does that sound practical ? Am I better off with the built in 3D printer software and driver hardware
Re: Recommendation for 3D printer under $500
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 10:17:33 PM »
Mach4, like Mach3 which preceded it is CNC software. CNC is by and large a 'subtractive' process, that is you are
using a (typically) rotating tool to cut (grind, erode and otherwise chip away at and subtract from) a block of stock
material. It requires a machine that can position and move a tool in a precise path to create a finished path.

3D printing is an 'additive' process with material being extruded and consolidated to replicate a desired shape. 3D
printing thus requires a machine that can position and move an extrude head in a precise path to create a part.

In that regard (position and move in a precise path) both processes are the same and its logical to ask 'can one
machine do both?'. And the answer is yes. There are sufficient differences however that make such a 'one machine
fits all' approach impractical.

The principle difference is that any machine that has to hold a spindle and hold precisely in position has to resist
cutting forces and they can be very substantial. The machine must therefore be very solidly constructed and often heavy
to maintain the rigidity to control cutting forces. All that comes at a cost.

A 3D printer does not have to contain cutting forces and may therefore be very much more lightly constructed and still
retain the required precision.

If you wish to buy a 3D printer, lets say a $500 unit, but find that to have the ability to add a routing spindle ups the cost
to $2000, which are you going to buy?

Thus despite the similarities between 3D printing and CNC they tend to be regarded as separate machines. Likewise the software
which has evolved to enact each process is slightly different.

You could easily use Mach4 (and its supported Gcode) to 3D print. You would need to be a little creative to get Mach to control
the extrude head, but eminently possible.

There are however 3D printing control software solutions, many open source and free.......is there any need to use CNC software
like Mach4 to do something which can be done adequately with 3D printing software?

One area which I suspect CNC software surpasses 3D printing software is motor control. CNC software has long had to adapt
to many different motor control strategies and motion feedback. If you need and/or want that sort of control then Mach4
is highly versatile.


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Re: Recommendation for 3D printer under $500
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 12:38:33 PM »
Thank you Joe, very well written by the way. will post on which TOY I buy.