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  • 3D Printers, is anyone using one?

  • Graham Shand

    Member
    November 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Just curious, would be good to know how many sign folks are using 3D printers . Having used cnc machines and trying to do 3D on cnc machines what results are folk getting using 3D printer, the type of finishes you are getting, I purchased one a couple of weeks ago and frankly amazed at the results, although the still doing a cost comparison on material cost. But for complex shapes, letters logos, 3D printing seems to be the way to go

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    November 23, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Good question Graham, I too am interested to hear what others are doing with this technology.

    I’m using mine to produce built up hollow lettering as mentioned in another thread.It can equally be used to produce 3D versions of company logos. The process is slow but works away in the background while you can get on and do other things. It’s ideal for a "one off" but no use for volume production due to it’s slow speed.

    Many people are possibly not aware of just how big some of these printers now are. Up until recently only very small objects could be printed limiting their usefulness, but with the advent of low cost much larger printers becoming available I predict they will become common place in sign makers workshops. And don’t forget, any object at any size can be created simply by producing the model as a series of smaller components that are then assembled into one much larger single object.

  • David Stevenson

    Member
    November 24, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Just spent 2 hours building a play mobil police station for my sons birthday! Bags and bags of tiny bits.Wish they’d had a bigger 3D printer 🙁

  • Graham Shand

    Member
    November 27, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Phil,
    What software are you using for 3d models ?

  • Katie Asken

    Member
    November 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    We have recently supplied a wayfinding project that used gold 3D printed letters on black acrylic panels for an upmarket hotel in Dublin. Client needed the signage to be tactile but the text was too small for flat cut letters so this was the perfect option.

  • Graham Shand

    Member
    November 27, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Katie, that was my original idea to produce letters that were tricky to either cnc or fret cut, would be good to see some photos of your project

  • Katie Asken

    Member
    November 28, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    quote Graham Shand:

    Katie, that was my original idea to produce letters that were tricky to either cnc or fret cut, would be good to see some photos of your project

    Hi Graham, see attached.


    Attachments:

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    November 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I considered buying a 3D printer a while back but never got round to it, but was more for messing around with than actually making money from.

    Something i thought would be a good idea was when one of our vinyl cutters broke down.
    we required a small plastic part/lever. it cost about £120 for the part, but we also had to wait about 2 weeks for it to arrive as it was for an older model and i think was discontinued. This plastic part must cost no more than a few pound to manufacture, and was only about 2 inches long.
    Back then i thought, manufacturers hold all the 3D elements /machining parts on file, and if not, a 3D scan of them can easily be put in a file library. this means they could discontinue holding parts for the machine and print as and when needed at a premium.
    Or, if the customer has their own 3D printer, sell them the machine part downloads anywhere in the world in real time.

    I am sure there will be limitations i may have not considered, but certainly doable.

  • Colin Crabb

    Member
    November 28, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    What models / types are you using?

    Never really looked at them apart from producing Architect models.

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    November 28, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I bought mine from rs components:-
    https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/3d-printers/8625705/

    It’s a well built solid machine and has been very reliable. The downside for me is the small print area. I get around this by printing my models in sections then gluing them together to make one larger model, but there are now much larger printers available at relatively low cost. I’ve got my eye on a creality 3d printer which have good reviews including one with a print bed of 500mm x 500mm

  • Graham Shand

    Member
    November 29, 2017 at 11:37 am
    quote Katie Asken:

    quote Graham Shand:

    Katie, that was my original idea to produce letters that were tricky to either cnc or fret cut, would be good to see some photos of your project

    Hi Graham, see attached.

    Thanks Katie

  • David McDonald

    Member
    November 29, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Hi

    Has anyone used a 3D printed for adding braille text to a sign?

    Just wondered how well this works.

    Cheers
    Dave

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    November 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I haven’t used or seen this done with a 3D printer, but i have saw Roland doing braille via their Versa UV roll Printer. I thought it was a great idea, when i saw it. They were printing labels for bottles and the like, contour cut and braille embossed all in one go.

  • Steff Davison

    Member
    November 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Gravograph carry a range of machines which are designed to manufacture braille /tactile signage,it makes the hole then inserts the "braille" bit.Their equipment is premium price point.

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    December 4, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Just back from installing this sign. The letters are hollow printed in clear PLA. The face of each letter is flat cut PVC. and Inside each letter are LED’s to light up the sign.


    Attachments:

  • Graham Shand

    Member
    December 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Dare I ask how long did it take to print, looks the biz with back lighting

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    December 4, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    The machine was two days printing to produce all the lettering. I didn’t stand and watch it the whole time though..

  • Iain George

    Member
    December 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Phil
    How do costs compare to buying in the letters? Or is that not the main factor and you are enjoying the process?
    P.S Looks good :smiles:

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    December 4, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I estimate the materials cost to print these letters at about £5

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    December 5, 2017 at 12:44 am

    not bad cost wise, i thought it would be more expensive than that Phill.
    ok two days is a long time, but as you said, your not sat watching. the thing that i think is advantageous is the fact you have done it and sold it while the rest of us are still thinking about it. I do understand this is more a hobby for you and that there are much bigger and faster machines, but even still. its an interesting area to dip your toe into.

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    December 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I’m amazed there aren’t more sign makers experimenting with this (Or maybe there are, I’m just not aware of it or they’re not for saying). After all it’s an extension of what we already do but in 3 dimensions instead of just two. Many signs are "one offs" which is precisely what rapid prototyping was invented for.

  • David McDonald

    Member
    January 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Hi Phil

    Thanks for your posts on this subject – extremely interesting.

    Taking the plunge on a Creality 5s very shortly (500mm^3 version). I’m planning on using ASA filament for outdoor use and will be facing letters with acrylic as I don’t like the ‘hatch fill’ effect on the final solid print face. Planning on building an acrylic enclosure to keep the heated bed constant temp and will also have a play with building an acetone vapour cabinet for smoothing.

    Looks easy to get your first print off – looks hard to understand all the intricacies of settings to get the correct balance of quality (viewing distances), speed etc. I can see a lot of experimentation on wall thicknesses and internal infill / supports to create larger durable letters and also how this impacts their internal illumination.

    Can I ask what 3D and slicer software you use? I like the look of Fusion 360 and Simplify3D

    If its all rubbish then I’ll share, if its brilliant and a money maker then I’ll keep quiet!!

    Cheers
    Dave

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    January 5, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I use Doroware which is the slicer software that came with my machine. Not the easiest or fastest but it does the job.

    I spent a lot of time experimenting with print bed temps. wall thicknesses and layer heights – ended up using the thickest layer heights I could to speed up the process and given that fine resolution was of no importance for this type of application. It’s a bit of a learning curve but you soon pick it up and find out what works best for you.

    It sounds to me like you have done a lot of research into this already, I’ve never heard of acetone encloures? But presume this helps to smooth the walls and eliminate ridges between layers?

    Glad to hear your getting into this too – and looking forward to seeing how you get on. :thumbsup:

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