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High end printers - What makes them different?

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  • High end printers - What makes them different?

    Hi, I have a heavily modified Leapfrog Creatr machine. It's pretty good but the parts are inferior to the same parts that I had to purchase from a service provider using an expensive Stratasys FDM machine. Not surprising of course but I'm wondering what the main differences are? What makes the real difference?: Is it the following and in what preferential order? Have I missed anything?

    Software (I'm using Simply 3D)
    Heated bed
    Heated enclosure
    Accurate axis drives (no backlash or flexing in the drives or structure)
    Decent hot end

    I'm asking because I'm thinking of further modifications to my printer e.g. making the chamber heated. At the same time introducing water cooling to the enclosed drive motors and cool end of the extruder. It'll never compare to a mega expensive machine but I'm sure I can improve beyond what I have. One of the biggest issues I have with the sort of engineering parts I make is distortion of the part.

    Any and all feedback very much welcomed.

  • #2
    I would say a decent hotend is a must, i changed mine for an e3d v6 and remote extruder and that made a big difference,
    A decent heated level bed, and a good power supply really help, along with a good build surface, ive just started using buildtak sheets and find it help loads with adhesion and stopping warping with ABS prints, and depending on the ambian temp a heated build chamber is a maybe,
    I wouldnt think water cooling the motors would help, mine dont get hot, but i cant say for every printer
    I am thinking of changing my z axis drive screws to lead screws, only because ive read they make a huge difference
    Last edited by jjpython; 04-26-2017, 11:13 AM.

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    • #3
      Hi, I already fitted a v6 hot end and i agree, it made a big, big, difference. I also converted the feed to a remote bowden type and again that's good. I have the original Leapfrog heated bed and I think one thing I need to do with that is improve the insulation on the underside as too much heat is radiated downwards. I already retrofitted ball screws to the printer and they are a significant improvement over the supplied threaded studding and simple nuts it had.

      I'm not having much of an issue with bonding as I'm using the spray on MAXX adhesive from Leapfrog. I wasn't sure when I first got it but it works well. Because of part distortion I am considering closely enclosing the work space so it is heated by the bed. Water cooling the motors and cold part of the v6 is because obviously they will be in the heated workspace. The steppers in that area do get hot already on long prints and they would be over hot if I don't cool them properly.

      Ok, so is there anything else they do in a very expensive printer that isn't already mentioned?

      Comment


      • #4
        Sometimes its just the overall quality of the machine that makes the difference.

        It is similar to the iPhone. I cannot describe what makes it better than all other phones (on paper it probably isn't) but when Im holding and using one it just seems to *feel* that much better and therefore worth it.

        An Ultimaker printer seems to exude quality which is very nice. However, I think the 3D printing industry is experiencing an increase in quality and a reduction in price therefore making the high end printers seem less worth it. For example, the Folgertech FT-5 is an exceptional printer that can be upgraded and expanded but starts at around 500. Therefore I think cheap is good and going to get better!

        In direct response to your question I would echo what jjpython says and suggest a good hot end. Having a good quality hot end can make a world of difference.

        Regards,
        3DEX
        Trusted UK-based 3D printing supplier of high quality 3D printer filament. 1.75mm PLA filament, ABS filament, Copper filament, Wood filament, Aluminium filament, Beer filament, Coffee Filament, Hemp Filament. Based in Suffolk, East Anglia, 3DEX is a friendly company with years of experience in an exciting and expanding industry.
        Will @ 3DEX Ltd / www.3dexfilament.co.uk

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        • #5
          It sounds like you've put a lot of work into your machine, good luck and I hope you resolve your issue.
          I believe the most substantial difference between 'high end' 3D printers and lower end models is the IP they come with. As the patents expire expect to see actively heated enclosures in the prosumer range, just as we saw FFF printers become cost effective, so will the remaining (and new) IP be opened up to the market.
          If you are experiencing uneven thermal stress issues in parts then I would suggest an actively heated chamber upgrade would go a long way to resolve these.

          Comment


          • #6
            Take a look at better quality stepping motors, a better hot end and slicer software (helps sometimes). But a heated chamber is a must for an overall consistent print. When printing ABS the workspace around the part(s) should be 60 Celsius.

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            • #7
              The other thing im about to upgrade, i need to edit the firmware AGAIN lol, is the stepper drivers, so i can double the steps the motors can turn per revolution

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LesB View Post
                Hi, I have a heavily modified Leapfrog Creatr machine. It's pretty good but the parts are inferior to the same parts that I had to purchase from a service provider using an expensive Stratasys FDM machine. Not surprising of course but I'm wondering what the main differences are? What makes the real difference?: Is it the following and in what preferential order? Have I missed anything?

                Software (I'm using Simply 3D)
                Heated bed
                Heated enclosure
                Accurate axis drives (no backlash or flexing in the drives or structure)
                Decent hot end

                I'm asking because I'm thinking of further modifications to my printer e.g. making the chamber heated. At the same time introducing water cooling to the enclosed drive motors and cool end of the extruder. It'll never compare to a mega expensive machine but I'm sure I can improve beyond what I have. One of the biggest issues I have with the sort of engineering parts I make is distortion of the part.

                Any and all feedback very much welcomed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is all about control and research. The Stratasys only accept Stratasys filament. Also their print volume is temperature controlled. Their equipment is very well build. built like a tank. I work with one. Failures are almost unheard of with these. So you pay more. They automatically account for the size of the part when it is printed so when it cools to room temp the size is correct.

                  Everything is controlled. The slicing software is proprietary, filament... pretty much everything. So you don't have to worry about setting nozzle temp, envelope heating (not heated bed). It is pretty much load run thru their slicing software make some quality setting hit print walk away. come back throw part in support removal tank. Take out wash. done.

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