3D printing companies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mctrivia, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    We all know shapeways and there print quality but what about there competitors? What has your experiences been with other companies. There pros, cons, price, and print quality?

    I am curious because I hate FUD but I want to print a few models with that kind of detail. Would also be nice to find a company that would do drop shipping for some special clients.

    No one company will be perfect at everything so I would love to here your stories.
  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    It's SUPER simple.. every other company I've asked for a quote has told me 10x the price. No exception.
  3. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    ponoko gave me half the price. But there minimum wall thickness is 1mm instead of .7mm for WSF
  4. duann
    duann New Member
    Hey mctrivia,

    I am surprised they offered at half price?
    Does that include shipping? Did you have to pay a monthly subscription?

    Also have you tested the print quality? As they use a different 3D manufacturer to 3D print their equivalent to WSF the prints are not as finely detailed and the surface finish not as smooth, nor is it a crisp white.
  5. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    I did not go into 2 much detail in my search since there minimum wall thickness of 1mm automatically excludes them from my use.
  6. kontor_apart
    kontor_apart New Member
    pro:[list type=square]
    [*] significantly lower prices on certain models & materials (30-50% and more)
    [*] better color match & finish on color (no ugly yellow wax)
    [*] pretty flexible on minimum wall (have printed steel and color items with 1.5 mm wall thicknesses)
    [*] working feedback loop when a design is difficult to produce (no "your order has been cancelled"... !!)
    [*] ship to any customer address

    con:[list type=square]
    [*] significantly higher prices on other models & materials
    [*] complex pricing, not easy to comprehend/predict (no simple $/cm3 scheme, need to check each model)
    [*] free shipping only starts at 99$/€
    [*] somewhat slower on order processing & deliveries
    [*] no on-site gallery/shopping (can also be seen as a pro!)

    Take a look at their new "Prime Gray" STL material, it may be something for you. I would believe they are not too strict on the 1mm wall. It appears to be cheap, too.

  7. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    what is the equivalent to WSF on i.materialize? polymide?

    as a comparison I uploaded D6 Grid Die 14-2

    Polymide was E26.6
    Stainless was E25 (shapeways won't print this in steel and my guess is they won't either)
    Prime Grey was E2.36

    I am not sure on the conversion but I sell my models for less then these prices. Shapeways does seem to be the winner in price range other then ponoko and they don't seem to have the quality.

    In fact in my research the only place it looks like that competition could be is I could buy a wax printer with 19um accuracy for a reasonable price and make wax casts for those here interested in doing there own casting.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  8. jzichek
    jzichek New Member
    Not to promote a rival company, but has anyone tried printing something in Prime Gray through i.competitive service? How does it compare with Shapeways materials - is it roughly equivalent to Transparent Detail or Frosted Detail in surface quality/detail? I ask because I uploaded a part and it came in about 30% cheaper than FD. However, this may be more than offset by shipping charges, I don't know.
  9. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    Just so you know Primary Grey has no suport material. Which means you nee to be careful about overhangs.
  10. stannum
    stannum Well-Known Member
    Sure? Prime Grey, being SLA, should use the same material as support, which means cleaning and probably rough surface in the zones where the support structure contacted the main object. Scratch the "should", their PDF says exactly that, and shows a dog built with the transparent material as demo.

    Shapeways offers no SLA tech currently. The similar materials are Polyamide (WSF, etc), Alumide, Multicolor (Sandstone), High detail resin (machines like White Detail, etc here but probably not the same exact resin), ABS (Grey robust), Silver and Stainless steel.
  11. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    - please delete -
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  12. fx
    fx Well-Known Member
    I was wondering about the cheap price of this "Prime Gray" (Think, it's SLA!). I asked their support about layer thickness, the answer was the layer thickness is 0.5mm...
  13. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    0.5mm... you will see a lot of stairstepping with that thickness

    Greetings from the person that is traveling already for 1.5hours to the office
  14. phildlight
    phildlight New Member
  15. duann
    duann New Member
    Hey guys,

    Let us know if this is the sort of material you are interested in?

    Slight variations on what is already available?

    Or would you prefer something totally different?

  16. phildlight
    phildlight New Member
    I'm not interested in this material, but I would like to see you guys offer Objet Connex service.

    I don't know how you would go about allowing users to assign the different materials to the different objects in the build but being able to offer multiple materials in a single build would be attractive to a lot of people I would think.

    for example:

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  17. duann
    duann New Member
    The Black, White and transparent detail we offer are all Objet materials.

    We do not currently offer multi-material, as you mentioned the specification would be quite complex with the current file types.

    Perhaps once AMF is adopted as a file option this would be easier to implement?

    It is VERY cool technology.

  18. phildlight
    phildlight New Member
    Yep, AMF will be the answer once more apps support it. I imagine it will play nice with a web based service too since it's essentially xml based.

    The imaterialise gray is the Somos Protogen material no?
  19. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    multi material print could be easily described using multiple stl files zipped together and named by colour you want.

    black 01.stl
    red 01.stl

    most cad software has the ability to make a model out of multiple files. And for models that already exist you can do boolions on a final product to take chunks out of the model to create the seperate parts.
  20. aeron203
    aeron203 New Member
    Having separate STL's for the materials is the current multi-material solution, but I don't like it at all because it prevents me from taking full advantage of the technology. It is also deceptive that they say 14 materials in a build. It's actually two, with different blending levels. Unfortunately you would need a different STL for each of the 14 materials if you wanted to make a gradient. If there were three material cartridges you might need around 200 STL files! Also, imagine the case where you want to make a skin of soft material over a hard shell. You have to make an STL with a wall thickness of a fraction of a mm on top of another one, perfectly smooth with no gaps. On a complicated shape you would quickly have millions of polygons.

    Even when AMF is adopted we will still need the Objet machines to carry more than two materials, or else a separate machine would be needed for every combination to avoid the time, labor and waste involved in a material cartridge change. Why are they using those little cartridges, anyway?

    There's a lot of work to be done, but man that action figure looks cool.