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Build Advice 3D printing service?

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Yaka, 10 Nov 2018.

  1. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    anyone know of a reliable 3d printing service?
    im looking to get a couple of rpi 3 cases and some pizero camera cases off thingieverse printed
     
  2. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Commercial 3D printing services are not cheap, sadly. When you're printing at home, your costs are only the material (call it 5p per gramme as a base price) and the electricity (50-100W for your average home-user-targeted printer). So, if you're printing a Raspberry Pi case which weighs (throws STL file at estimator) 90g and takes (throws finger in air, makes a guess) five hours to print you're looking at a cost of ((90*5)/100) £4.50 in material and (average (((75*5)/1000)*12.5)/100) 5p-ish in electricity. £4.55, not too shabby. I mean, there's depreciation and maintenance on the printer to throw in there, but let's not overcomplicated things.

    For a commercial service, though, you've got a bottleneck: they only have so many printers available. For all the time a printer is printing your file, it's not printing someone else's (yes, I'm aware you could merge a bunch of files together into a single big file up to the total footprint of the print bed, but if there are four five-hour jobs in there it's still going to take close to 20 hours whether you do that or print 'em one at a time). That's the biggest contributor to cost: they have to set the cost to a level where they're controlling demand, so they're not overwhelmed by too many orders for the number of printers they can run.

    That, sadly, bumps things up considerably. Pulling a random Pi case from Thingiverse and throwing it at DirtyPCBs' SLA printing service, you're looking at... $89.59 a chuck. Ouch. If you're happy waiting 21 days for it, 3DPrintDirect will make you one for £36.10 plus delivery - less ouch, but still ouch.

    Your best bet, if you want these things to come in at less than the cost of a commercial case, would be to ask in the Marketplace for someone with a printer to run 'em off for you or to get in touch with your nearest hackspace or makerspace. The second best would be to buy a £100-200 printer, print what you need, then sell the printer on.
     
  3. Spraduke

    Spraduke Lurker

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    Search for fablab in your area. They have all sorts of high end machinery you can rent by the hour.
     
  4. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    There are a few of us on here with 3D Printers, which cases were you looking at getting printed?

    I'd be happy to print them for you for just the cost of PLA and shipping, I've not got much choice of colours atm though.
     
  5. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys, been thinking on getting a printer for a while, but mrs has put her foot down i gota clear out a loada stuff first!

    13eightyfour thanks for your offer
     

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