3D printing our Alpha units

3D printing is a very interesting technology that offers rapid prototyping capabilities to start-up projects, and enables DIYers to build their own tools and toys! But be aware, 3D printing is not an easy nor a cheap hobby! Usually 3d printer represents an investment of €1000 - €2000, but if you seriously get into it, you will be able to build your own mind-blowing customized objects at home!For our 3D printer we went for the BCN3D Sigma from the company bcn3dtechnologies, and we re very happy with it. We learned a lot these last 6 months and wanted to share our experience with our readers.[caption id="attachment_156" align="alignleft" width="324"]


Our BCN3Dsigma[/caption]It took us a while to get the hang of this device. When you try to 3D print for the first time, be prepared for catastrophic failure! Your 3D printer will make strange sounds and send you error messages, and best case scenario, your final result will be mediocre. But do not panic! It is normal when you try to 3D print for the first few times. There are a lot of parameters to take into consideration, such as room temperature and air-flow around your 3D printer, calibration, printing material, filament diameter, etc.We made ABS our material of choice, thanks to its cost, mechanical properties and recyclability.There are many options when it comes to achieving the desired finishing . Printed pieces can be polished to get rid of the 3D printing patterns, and small parts cans easily be glued together into a bigger structure. Adding a nice coat of paint is also a good post-3D printing option yielding nice results.[caption id="attachment_127" align="alignright" width="230"]


3D printed pieces[/caption]After more than 6 months of experience with 3D printing, the most useful advice we could possibly provide through this entry is to make sure you insulate your 3D printer from surrounding air-flow, especially when printing with ABS. Temperature variations can stretch or tighten the material and every error will be carried-on and amplified on the subsequent layers of your structure.

All in all, 3D printing opened up a whole new world of possibilities for our project, and we sure will keep building more crazy stuff with our new toy!

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