RapMan 3.2 or MakerBot Replicator?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by emilkarlsson, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. emilkarlsson
    emilkarlsson New Member
  2. Chaffmar
    Chaffmar New Member
    Hi emilkarlsson,

    I'm 17 years old and received a RapMan 3.2 for Christmas this last year. If I were to buy a printer today, not owning the RapMan, I would probably have chosen the replicator for a number of reasons:

    The Replicator is pre assembled, while the similarly priced RapMan requires assembly. This is no small project. It took me four long days of work to get it assembled and I'm still struggling to get it printing.

    The Replicator uses 1.75 mm filament while the Rapman uses 3 mm. Recently the trend has been for the use of 1.75 mm filament over 3mm, so it should be easier to find filament for your printer.

    I don't know about the slicer software for the replicator though. The RapMan has a great program called Axon that is based on the same software as Makerbot's program Replicator G

    Finally, they both will require lots of tuning, tweaking and assembly as you work with the machines so be prepared to do lots of problem solving! These machines are the bleeding edge of modern technology so be ready for problems.

    For a great blog with tips on DIY 3d printing check out:

    Another blog I look at frequently is http://fabbaloo.com/ which has daily updates with 3d printing news.

    Let me know if you have any other questions, I have been researching personal 3d printers for a while now.
  3. emilkarlsson
    emilkarlsson New Member
    Awesome answer. Thank you so much!
  4. 7777773
    7777773 New Member
    If you're willing to assemble it, Ultimaker is another great option. Its 200x200x200mm print volume is huge, it is currently capable of 20 micron resolution (equal to or better than all but the Ultra Detail offerings from Shapeways) and it's the fastest home printer I've ever seen (in fact, faster than most pro units as well).

    To get the highest speeds and resolutions from the Ultimaker, you'll also want to use the Netfabb program which is an extra expense, but you can also use free programs. The free programs generally take longer to slice a model for printing, but do the job just as well.

    One very nice thing to home printing is most, if not all, errors that you read about on shapeways will not happen on your own machine... things like "unable to clean" and "too many shells" are unique to Shapeways and essentially impossible to get anywhere else. Other things like inverted normals or minimum wall thickness simply don't apply, as current free software will fix inverted normals for you, and "minimum wall thickness" can be specified in software as the number of external shells. You can set the % of infill you want to have to make hollow or partially hollow models. This doesn't really affect the price of your personal prints (it's cheap no matter what, averaging less than $5 of plastic for very large models) but a model with only 20% infill will print substantially faster than one with a completely solid 100% infill.

    I definitely recommend looking into picking up a printer for yourself. Look up the appropriate google groups for the printer you're interested in; there's a almost certainly an operator near you, and many will be happy to give you a hands-on demonstration and/or print you a sample model.
  5. jdoll
    jdoll New Member
    Are you suggesting software for Ultimaker can hollow out solid models to a minimum wall thickness? If so, would this work for models to be submitted to Shapeways? How to get it?
  6. 7777773
    7777773 New Member
    Open source slicers don't *have* a minimum wall thickness... you supply a solid model, they tell the printer to print it with the requested amount of infill, anywhere from 0% (completely hollow) to 100% (completely solid). I don't believe Shapeways accepts gcode files so this wouldn't work for uploading models here. So, no, they wouldn't help you make hollow models for Shapeways. The shapeways method requires you to completely remake a model to change wall thicknesses; ReplicatorG, Skeinforge, Slic3r, and so on just accept your original model and adjust what is sent to the actual printer based on settings.

    Strange as it is, currently homebrew free software is just that far ahead of the professional packages.