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Thread: Thought My Gunsmithing Lathe Had Given Up The Ghost

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    You guys have started to get me interested in 3D printing. Maybe it’s not that hard or necessarily that expensive. I really know nothing about it. Can someone suggest some of the better basic/introductory videos available? Thanks
    Most folks go about their foray into 3d printing in basically the same way. I know I did basically the same thing as many others. I saved my nickels and dimes until I had enough to buy one of the many 3D printers with the best reviews at the price range I was at.

    Just about very manufacturer puts out their series of tutorials on their specific printers. With the filament printer I started out with I picked the FlashForge Creator Pro. At the time it had the best reviews for my price range. There's a ton of tutorials on YouTube for this printer. Of course, no sooner had I unboxed it that I found that the next or latest and greatest 3D printer was introduced and I wished I'd waited just a bit longer but, I got what I got and it's worked out OK for me.

    Like the cast bullet hobby, 3D printing can be just as addictive. It was about a year and a half or so later that I started yearning and saving up for a resin printer. I picked the Epax X-1 resin printer for the same reason I picked the filament printer I picked. It had the best reviews at the time. The down side to this printer was the very small build platform or work-envelope.

    I thought they'd sent me a lemon cause this Epax resin printer came with disconnected wires and an un-level build platform that I had to fix myself. Fortunately, I'm a chronic tinkerer so I was able to get it working rather than having to send it back. Although resin printers to me are orders of magnitude better in print quality, the resin selections for the kind of stuff I like to make can be kind of costly. It is possible to get high quality prints with a filament printer as well. It just takes alot of learning to do so.

    In addition to being a chronic tinkerer, I'm also chronically cheap. I use my resins sparingly once I've dialed them in and can get them to print with extremely good results. Here too there is a plethora of online tutorials that helped me figure out enough of it to get me printing decent prints.

    You hear the phrase, "If I can do it anybody can" thrown around alot in regards to trying new things. 3D printing is no different. I'm more than just a little sure you too can do it; and do it well. It just takes a bit of effort.

    HollowPoint

  2. #22
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    I’ve since watched some introductory videos and am getting pretty interested in it. Now, if I find a job that I s perfect for, I may go for it.

    Now where to start? I would definitely start with the filament type, but which brand and model. The first one I get , I would want a turn key unit, but also capable of really doing something worthwhile.

    Any advice on starter units? Can used be a good way to go or best stayed away from?

    How about a list of some practical items members have easily made on their first try?

    Do the filament types have a filament that could make small wrenches? Will they hold up to the stresses required of them?

    Thanks

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I’ve since watched some introductory videos and am getting pretty interested in it. Now, if I find a job that I s perfect for, I may go for it.

    Now where to start? I would definitely start with the filament type, but which brand and model. The first one I get , I would want a turn key unit, but also capable of really doing something worthwhile.

    Any advice on starter units? Can used be a good way to go or best stayed away from?

    How about a list of some practical items members have easily made on their first try?

    Do the filament types have a filament that could make small wrenches? Will they hold up to the stresses required of them?

    Thanks
    Type your inquiry into your web browser and it should bring up millions of different answers. Personally, if I were in the market for a filament 3D printer now days I'd do my initial internet search for, "The Best Beginner 3D filament printer for 2021" and once I found something that interested me I'd then check out the Youtube reviews and pricing. Once I got an idea of the price I could expect to pay for a brand new one I'd then check out the used market for that particular printer.

    Many who buy their first 3D filament printer will inevitably upgrade to a more expensive printer by selling off their first 3D printer so they can use whatever price they get for it to offset the price of their next 3d printer. In alot of cases the owners of those used 3D printers took the time and expense to upgrade that first printer with addons of some kind before selling them. This means that although they may be used, they have had upgrades added so you wouldn't have to.

    I'm reluctant to suggest a specific printer because I'm not an expert on the subject and, since buying my filament printer lots of things have improved with 3D printers in general. The only thing that hasn't improved is the pricing. I bought my 3D filament printer before all the import tariffs were implemented so the prices were no where near as high as they are today. This is why I'd be inclined to buy a good used printer of my liking.

    I'm afraid that I'm not going to be much help in selecting your first 3D printer. The only advise I can give is that if you wait and wait and wait for the perfect printer to go on the market for a beginner, It's not likely you'll ever buy one because as soon as you unbox whatever printer you were to buy, an even better one will come on the market and most likely at a better price.

    HollowPoint

  4. #24
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Hard part for me would be learning a 3D CAD software. I learned Anvil 2D in the early '90s, but then I got into management and had AutoCAD experts at my beck and call, so never had to learn it.
    Eleutheromaniac

  5. #25
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    One decent inexpensive one is the Creality Ender 3 v2; There are a lot of choices.

    I picked that one due to lots of recommendations from folks printing 2A related items, up to and including AR lowers, as well as its having a metal frame (Acrylic framed printers can have the frame flex etc., then less printing accuracy results.) As well as a number of other reasons.

    Start with your initial budget, if you want a good one under $300 that's very doable, there are definitely better more costly printers out there too. Then start reading till you are completely confused and your eyes fall out, then you're about ready. (For the loony bin! LOL)

    Lots to learn, and there will be more to learn once you pick one and it arrives.

    Once you get it, look at calibration, parts available for that at any STL site.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    It took me a long time to finally plop down my money for that firsts 3D printer I bought; and even then as I was laying that money down I still wondered if I'd made the right decision. Then it took me about a month of trial and error to finally start getting good useable prints out of it. At the time it seemed real frustrating but looking back now I think it was worth the trouble.

    I've made fishing lures, rifle magazines, brass catchers, scope mounted cell phone camera attachments, air rifle shrouds, peep sights and a bunch of other stuff. If I'd just bought those things outright from a retailer I'm pretty sure that at the very least it would have cost me about as much as I paid for my filament printer.

    HollowPoint

  7. #27
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    What I’m finding is the technology is advancing very quickly. A unit bought two years ago could easily be out of date in more ways than one. Sure they seem to be easy to upgrade, but as a novice I don’t know what to look for. There was a time I enjoyed upgrading my PC computers with new features, but not anymore. I want to spend my time and neurons on other things. Just give me plug and play.

    The other questions I have is what do you print? Do you have to get into some level of CAD or can you find most things already available? Are there some very easy CAD programs available today? What about 3D scanning? If the equipment is too expensive, can you have a part scanned somewhere?

    Thanks

    How strong are the parts you can make? Do you need a special machine to print extra strong parts?

  8. #28
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    How soon will job shops start installing 3D printers? Seems like a good niche for an entrepreneur.

    n.b. In the 1970s Pratt & Whitney was "printing" wax forms for turbine blades, to be used in the lost wax casting process. It was called stereo-lithography then. It's not such a new process after all. Just that it no longer takes an IBM mainframe to do the computing.
    Last edited by uscra112; 04-24-2021 at 07:19 AM.
    Eleutheromaniac

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    What I’m finding is the technology is advancing very quickly. A unit bought two years ago could easily be out of date in more ways than one. Sure they seem to be easy to upgrade, but as a novice I don’t know what to look for. There was a time I enjoyed upgrading my PC computers with new features, but not anymore. I want to spend my time and neurons on other things. Just give me plug and play.

    The other questions I have is what do you print? Do you have to get into some level of CAD or can you find most things already available? Are there some very easy CAD programs available today? What about 3D scanning? If the equipment is too expensive, can you have a part scanned somewhere?

    Thanks

    How strong are the parts you can make? Do you need a special machine to print extra strong parts?
    I mostly print stuff that I've modeled in my CAD software but I've also printed some of the free stuff you can just download from websites like Thingiverse and others. There are some websites setup to sell STL print files for a small fee. These STL files range from toys and trinkets to outdoor sports related stuff to techy computer or cell phone related items.

    There is some free CAD software available online; you just have to do an internet search to find it. In addition, any software you do find will have a plethora of tutorial videos online as well on how to use it.

    Regarding 3D Scanning; I've dreamed of owning a 3D Scanner; especially back when I was working on my Schmidt Ruben K31 re-barreling project. I thought of taking my take-off barrel to someone and just having the tenon and chamber area scanned, converted to a workable CAD file for any editing it might need; then converting it to a CAM file for milling on my CNC mill. Alas; the good 3D Scanners were way out of my price range and -at the time- I couldn't find anyone in my area who did that kind of thing.

    Since I haven't had the need or longing for a new 3D filament printer it's been a while since I've even thought about them but, if I were in the market for a printer now days I'd follow the steps I mentioned in one of my previous posts. To me it seems like most of the new 3D printers on the market are basically "Plug and Play" printers. All you have to do is buy the correct filament for the kind of things you plan to print. Initially you'll be practicing with either ABS or PLA filament.

    The answers to all you questions can be had by doing simple internet searches or even better, do YouTube searches. Those come with video proof of what they're saying. You don't have to rely just on the written word. I'm no expert. I function on the small amount of information I know to be true with respect to 3D printing.

    HollowPoint
    Last edited by HollowPoint; 04-24-2021 at 09:14 PM.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master Scrounge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HollowPoint View Post
    I mostly print stuff that I've modeled in my CAD software but I've also printed some of the free stuff you can just download from sights like Thingiverse and others. There are some websites setup to sell STL print files for a small fee. These STL files range from toys and trinkets to outdoor sports related stuff to techy computer or cell phone related items.

    There is some free CAD software available online; you just have to do an internet search to find it. In addition, any software you do find will have a plethora of tutorial videos online as well on how to use it.

    Regarding 3D Scanning; I've dreamed of owning a 3D Scanner; especially back when I was working on my Schmidt Ruben K31 re-barreling project. I thought of taking my take-off barrel to someone and just having the tenon and chamber area scanned, converted to a workable CAD file for any editing it might need; then converting it to a CAM file for milling on my CNC mill. Alas; the good 3D Scanners were way out of my price range and -at the time- I couldn't find anyone in my area who did that kind of thing.

    Since I haven't had the need or longing for a new 3D filament printer it's been a while since I've even thought about them but, if I were in the market for a printer now days I'd follow the steps I mentioned in one of my previous posts. To me it seems like most of the new 3D printers on the market are basically "Plug and Play" printers. All you have to do is buy the correct filament for the kind of things you plan to print. Initially you'll be practicing with either ABS or PLA filament.

    The answers to all you questions can be had by doing simple internet searches or even better, do YouTube searches. Those come with video proof of what they're saying. You don't have to rely just on the written word. I'm no expert. I function on the small amount of information I know to be true with respect to 3D printing.

    HollowPoint
    What he said, and checkout Make magazine, the the Make books. I've gotten a bunch of them through Humble Bundles, and some similar bundles. The Make store sometimes offers them, too. This is a pretty good bundle, for example: https://www.makershed.com/products/m...brication-pack Most of the books in that bundle sell for $10-25 each. It contains several that are 3D printing specific, one on leatherworking, and some CNC machining stuff, too. The bundle sale is good until April 30th.

    I've got a fair amount of overlap between the bundles I've bought from various sources, but always at least two or three that I didn't have before.

  11. #31
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    Late last night I decided what the heck. These printers are too Darn interesting to just keep looking at and I ordered one. It’s a Flashforge 3D Creator Pro. $500 delivered. I’m not convinced I got the best one for me, but I don’t think I’ll really know until after I get it and start learning what they are all about.

    I made my decision taking into account the following features.

    First it arrives almost completely assembled. Maybe in the future, if I really get into it, I may buy a more advanced one in kit form, but for now that I will be learning, I wanted to be sure it was working correctly and any problems weren’t from my assembly of it. Plus I don’t want to have to wait to get started with it.

    It seems to be one of the better known brands, that has been around for a while too. Hopefully, they’ve worked out most of the bugs.

    I also was swayed by it being completely inclosed. My shop can get dusty and the temperature is often on the cool side.

    So what I’ve been wondering about for my first real job, after I am done fooling around with it, can I print a replacement for a broken tail light lens? What kind of filament would I need for it and where to start looking for the specifications needed to print it?

    Thanks for all information and advice.

    Greg

  12. #32
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    A real general answer to your tail light question is, if it will fit into the work envelope of your print platform then most likely you can print it. However, being that tail light lenses are transparent, it may be kind of tuff finding a transparent filament with the correct color to match your tail light. (tuff but not impossible)

    I think if I were in your shoes and I wanted to print a replacement tail light I'd most likely print a mold of your tail light, go through the process of "Acetone-Vapor-Smoothing" the surface finish and then using the appropriate resin and coloring, I'd just mold a replacement.

    I printed with "Transparent" filament and for the most part the model I was printing came out as designed. The problem was that I was using the cheapest clear filament I could buy so the finished print, although transparent was also frosty looking rather than clear and transparent. It could be that the more expensive clear filaments actually print transparent. I never did try to "Acetone-Vapor-Smooth" the surface finish. There's a good chance had I done this it would have turned out clear as glass.

    HollowPoint

  13. #33
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    The tail light is a secondary one, so not that big. It should fit. Can you buy transparent filament?

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    The tail light is a secondary one, so not that big. It should fit. Can you buy transparent filament?
    Short answer: Yes, you can buy "Transparent" filament. I've bought it from the Ebay site. It was the cheap stuff but it worked for me for the items I was attempting to print. It may be that the more expensive brand name transparent filament will print even better. It usually does. I'm just cheap by nature so I buy and use the cheap stuff.

    Another thing is that they make Transparent 3d print filament in ABS and PLA. PLA doesn't hold up well in direct sunlight so If you decided to print your tail lights I might be inclined to go with something like the following but, some research may be in order before ordering.

    https://www.amazon.com/HATCHBOX-3D-F...467348&sr=8-21

    HollowPoint

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    PETG comes in various translucent colors, clear, red, orange and others. I don't know what solvent smooths PETG yet but a web search will find out. Some of those solvents are nasty for humans so maybe use the wet paper towel method (use a magnet to clip paper towels moistened with that solvent inside a paint can, put the lid on to seal it, time your exposure etc.) - Might want to do this outside or next to a vent fan. Some of these solvents are very flammable, too, no kabooms please.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    No solvents will smooth PETG (think the soda bottle material) it is gasoline resistant. But it prints good with my Prusia.

  17. #37
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    Actually MEK will, among others, but getting it's sorta tough. Toluene as well. "Very regulated" is an applicable term here! Drug mfg. precursors or explosives precursors are regulated for decent reasons, I guess.

    Easier is to hot air gun it at about 240 degrees C iirc? Very carefully.

  18. #38
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    I think I'd print a mold of the tail light out of ABS, smooth out the mold cavities and then use the appropriate two part epoxy with a curing time sufficient enough to be able to de-gas any bubbles from the mix. Also with enough curing time to mix in the correct ratio of colorant to the epoxy mix.

    If the tail light is one that's difficult to get replacements for the mold you make could be used to make more than just one tail light. In theory you could make a few to sell and recoup the cost of the mold print and the epoxy.

    This way the only thing you'd need to smooth are the mold cavities using an already established method. Safety precautions would still be needed but it would be much more doable in any case.

    HollowPoint

  19. #39
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    Make sure you use a good mold release o'course

    I rather like PVA but I was making canoes with that. Other good releases exist.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check