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 Post subject: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:17 am 
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NOTE- This post may be edited in the future to correct mistakes or add information. I am providing this info to the best of my knowledge and investigation, but I won't be responsible for any mistakes made here in good faith.

I recently pursued a survey of some 3d vendors in order to find the best choices for these three criteria for different material types:
price
speed
quality

I was especially looking for a vendor for high-resolution parts in polyJet or SLA.

I'm not going to post a ton of commentary aside from a few observations and my conclusions.

I knew that I had paid about $36 for a Petaminx corner in polyJet when I built that puzzle. This was my benchmark throughout this investigation, even though some processes might charge differently based on part volume, bounding box size, or support material required. This was my benchmark regardless.


Here are a few prices I was quoted that were about double or more than what I was looking fort:

^^^^REDEYE-- polyJet Corner - $86
^^^^RPDG (rapidquote) -- Corner (Volume 5470) - verowhite or veroblue = $306
^^^^ZoomRP.com polyJetWhite - $68.55
^^^^SolidConcepts.com -- $69



Here are a few that I ordered as tests.
^^^^Shapeways corner SLS $9
^^^^Shapeways corner Polyjet $15.81
^^^^Shapeways corner Stainless Steel $55
^^^^http://www.prototype3d.com/ (C.ideas) Polyjet - $35
^^^^Kemeera PolyJet - $36
^^^^DLP (Steve Asaad) - $30
^^^^PrintAPart (invision HR print)- about $36
^^^^Anonymous DLP Vendor ($110 for corner, so I ordered the smaller "outer wing")

Before the photos, here are my conclusions:
For FDM
For customer service/speed, use printTo3D (Bradley!) of course. His prices are comparable to shapeWays, but service and speed are vastly superior. If you need bread and butter FDM, Bradley's the choice.

For cheap but messy Hi-res (polyjet)
Use shapeways polyJet for price, but plan on 1.5-2 weeks for delivery, and plenty of support material to clean up. See photos. With cleanup, these should work great for masters. I liked the black material because it made the support material very visible.

For cheap but ROUGH Hi-res (SLS)
Use shapeways SLS for price, but plan on 1.5-2 weeks for delivery, and plenty of breakin for your puzzle to smooth out the surfaces. See photos. Don't use these for masters!

For quality, fast, friendly Hi-res (polyjet)
Use c.ideas. They are EXTREMELY fast and friendly, and price parts on volume, without haggling. Great service. Parts come cleaned up!

For quality, fast, friendly Hi-res (DLP), and the best overall part quality!!
Use Steve Asaad's DLP printing service (PHONE - 734 624 3463, email - Steveasaaddlp (AT) gmail (DOT) com, contact details posted with Steve's permission).
These are the highest quality parts of any type I have seen yet, at prices comparable to polyJet (or 2x polyJet on Shapeways). Combine that with some of the most amazing customer service I have seen, and these guys are a great choice for the high-quality parts. Be aware, there seems to be a $20 part minimum, so they might be more expensive for very small parts. But still likely worth it for the quality, speed and service. Drewseph and I are already using them with great results. Just see the photos below. Great for masters.

Something to keep our eyes on- Invision HR
The Invision HR through printapart.com is economically comparable to my $36 benchmark, but messy like shapeWays polyJet. It does seem very high resolution though. We should keep an eye out for improvements in cleanup from vendors in the future. See the photos below for the nice surface finish on the "Outer_Wing", but the messy support material on the "corner".

ShapeWays Metal Printing
Shapeways stainless steel printing can be had for about 2x the price of my polyJet benchmark. ($55 for the corner) Check out the $11 stainless steel part in the photos below.

ShapeWays White Glaze
Not suitable for twisty puzzles at this time. Details are removed, specifications may change slightly, and surface detail is smoother but still uneven.


PHOTOS SHOWN BELOW:
SLS by shapeways
polyJet White by shapeways
polyJet Clear by shapeways
polyJet Black by shapeways
print-a-part Invision HR
DLP Prototypes
ShapeWays White Glaze
Anonymous Vendor A polyjet
print23D ABS
ShapeWays Steel
Anonymous Vendor B polyJet
RedEye
Anonymous Vendor C DLP
c.ideas polyJet veroblue















SLS by shapeways
Image
Image

polyJet White by shapeways
Image


polyJet Clear by shapeways
Image

polyJet Black by shapeways
Image

print-a-part Invision HR
Image
Image
Image

DLP Prototypes
Image
Image
Image

ShapeWays White Glaze
Image
Image

Anonymous Vendor A polyJet
Image

print23D ABS
Image
Image


ShapeWays Steel
Image


Anonymous Vendor B polyJet
Image

RedEye
Image


Anonymous Vendor C DLP
Image
Image

c.ideas polyJet veroblue
Image
Image

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Jason Smith posted here as 'io' through 2012.
Visit Jason Smith's PuzzleForge on Shapeways!
Jason Smith's Puzzles - YouTube Channel.


Last edited by JasonSmith on Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:52 am 
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Thank you so very much for this!!

I've been all over the web looking for high res masters.
I've been to best-cast, shapeways, Tru Designs, ect.

This has solved all of my problems.


Also this was one of the most informative posts i've
seen in a long long time.

Thanks,
-Clay

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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:29 am 
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Location: Houston, TX, USA
Thanks for the information!
I just submitted an RFQ to c.ideas about an hour and a half ago. He just gave me a call and suggested using Vero White instead of Vero Blue to avoid the swap fee. Is there any particular reason why you got your sample in Vero Blue? He said Vero White is their most commonly used resin for this type of thing.

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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:41 am 
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Location: Koblenz, Germany
You have spent how much (?) money just (?) for writing up this post?
Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:21 pm 
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Thanks very much for this, Jason.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:11 am
Location: Oregon, USA
io wrote:
Here are a few that I ordered as tests.
^^^^Shapeways corner SLS $9
^^^^Shapeways corner Polyjet $15.81
^^^^Shapeways corner Stainless Steel $55
^^^^http://www.prototype3d.com/ (C.ideas) Polyjet - $35
^^^^Kemeera PolyJet - $36
^^^^DLP (Steve Asaad) - $30
^^^^PrintAPart (invision SLA print)- about $36
.
.
.
Something to keep our eyes on- Invision SLA
The Invision SLA through printapart.com is economically comparable to my $36 benchmark, but messy like shapeWays polyJet. It does seem very high resolution though. We should keep an eye out for improvements in cleanup from vendors in the future. See the photos below for the nice surface finish on the "Outer_Wing", but the messy support material on the "corner".

Small correction: those are clearly Invision HR parts, not SLA. (That company's SLA offerings are branded Viper.) PrintApart offers the service at a discount
by using the leftover capacity on FineLine's Invision HR equipment.

I recommend FineLine's photographic RP technology comparator (link) to anyone who wants to see some additional comparisons. The photos aren't as close-up
as the ones above, but there are samples of 11 different technologies and 5 closeup pictures and interesting discussion of each one.

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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Marin, CA
I'm really glad this has been useful to others!

VWP-- I knew here were bound to be some mistakes in there since this was based on many hastily typed notes, orders and phone conversations... Thanks a lot for catching that.

Andrew- Yes they charge an expensive swap fee for blue since they're usually running white. Expensive I think because it wastes material for them to do the switchover. It's the same material, but I do like the look of the blue better. I think they happened to have a job running in blue when I got my parts, and they look nice!

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Jason Smith posted here as 'io' through 2012.
Visit Jason Smith's PuzzleForge on Shapeways!
Jason Smith's Puzzles - YouTube Channel.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:13 pm 
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Wow. Those DLP parts look *amazing*. And here I am spending hours and hours over a sink wet sanding FDM and Miliput...

Thanks again for this information!

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Great post! You have help a great deal in our efforts here. Thank you. :D


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:37 am 
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polyjet clear is a strange rubbery material which doesn't feel particularly strong or precise. It also doesn't have consistent transparency, due to the grain. That said, you can see through it! I think it's best viewed as a niche thing, not particularly comparable to anything else, useful when you need a translucent part which doesn't need to be strong or smooth.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:15 am 
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Jason, can you point us to more info on DLP? I have no idea how you found out about it or found a vendor for it. Currently this post is the best resource for info on it that Google can seem to find. There's one vendor page up, but their sub-pages all seem to be broken.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:01 am 
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Bram wrote:
polyjet clear is a strange rubbery material which doesn't feel particularly strong or precise. It also doesn't have consistent transparency, due to the grain. That said, you can see through it! I think it's best viewed as a niche thing, not particularly comparable to anything else, useful when you need a translucent part which doesn't need to be strong or smooth.

Bram, which clear polyjet material are you looking at??

The common FullCure 720 (offered by Shapeways) is supposed to be quite rigid, and the samples I've received are certainly more rigid than SLS polyamide. Not rubbery at all. Maybe you got a sample of TangoPlus material?

BTW: Two common DLP processes are VFlash from 3D Systems and Perfactory from envisionTEC. Neither company uses the abbreviation DLP in their literature, but envisionTEC promotes the fact that they use "Direct Light Projection" technology from Texas Instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:24 am 
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Bram- Next time we meet up, I'll show you all these samples. The transparent polyJet material I got seems as rigid as the other polyJet colors.

As for the "DLP" prints, VWP is right -- They are from an EnvisionTEC Perfactory machine, and I'm just using a nickname for the technology. I am calling them DLP prints since the company I'm using seems to be called "DLP Prototypes", and the reps I met were very big on the DLP projector curing the resin. It also seems to fit well with other common abbreviations, like FDM, SLS, SLA, etc.

I ran into reps from Germany when I was at Siggraph this year in New Orleans. A friend from work (whom I talk "Making" with, and who's building his own RepRap machine), asked me if I had checked out the "new 3d print tech" and led me to their booth.

They told me the technology is relatively new, and that there are only a few vendors in the US that offer it. I got info for one vendor from them at that time, and another vendor later through email.

Their samples at the booth were for hearing aids. Very precise and smooooth.

One other vendor was more expensive, does not clean the support material from the parts, and required a faxed credit card number to process payment.

Here's Steve's info again for anyone that would like to order from him or get a quote:
Steve Asaad at DLP Prototypes printing service PHONE - 734 624 3463, email - Steveasaaddlp (AT) gmail (DOT) com, contact details posted with Steve's permission.

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Visit Jason Smith's PuzzleForge on Shapeways!
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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Thank you for the information io.
The resolution of DLP is just astonishing but I have a question to ask: did they finish it before sending it to you? Could this be a result of quality service?

Leslie


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 Post subject: Re: 3D printing vendor survey and tests (warning- large images)
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Leslie Le wrote:
Thank you for the information io.
The resolution of DLP is just astonishing but I have a question to ask: did they finish it before sending it to you? Could this be a result of quality service?

Leslie

DLP is a high-resolution process (depending on how the machine is configured) but that's not what gives it such a smooth texture. The resin is formulated with sufficient surface-tension so the layers will naturally blend themselves together.

Most parts sometimes require finishing because DLP doesn't use support material. Overhangs that exceed a 35 degree angle have to be supported by building temporary structures onto the part, then the support structures have to be cut away and bead-blasted after the part is built. I'm guessing io's samples didn't need much cleanup because they didn't have many overhangs.


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