3D printing is really a great thing that has come up. It has benefited makers who think and imagine of new things to bring their thoughts to life very quickly.Here i want to share about my experience with one cheap printer and one printer from the pioneers in this technology.I understand the fact that there is no comparision for these two machines but i just want to convay what you should be ready to deal with if you are going with a cheap machine and what you shouldnot expect out of the low end machines.
I will start with the procurement process When the distributor comes to you and you ask him to make some demo prints he will select something(which will be of small size) from the pre created files in the printing software and will print something in front of you and you see the print and everything from the detailing to the finishing will be good. But when after you buy it ,you will go with your prints you will start knowing the real capabilities. As the size of the base of your model starts increasing you start seeing a warping,warping a phenomenon of bending that happens because of the difference in the temperature of the layers which are near the heated bed and the ones that are away.This at many occasions lead to detaching of your job from the bed, and after that you will have to begin again. There are some design amendments that the software features like attaching a raft(which can be cut out later on) to your job for better sticking to the base,but these don,t really help much
The second major issue that you face with these printers is repeated tweaking and adjustment of the alignment of bed and servo. Unlike the high end machines generally in the low end machines the heated bed is connected to the machine using the screws,so while removing the job and scratching the bed using the spatula that comes along with it to remove the job and extra abs you generaly tend to disturb the alignment of the bed,this happens more with the jobs with large base and so for every new job you have to do it again. But in the high end machines the tray bed can be taken out easily and then can be placed back because in those they are not screwed to the machine.
The third issue that i see is the low end machines usually use the same material as the support and printing,it is just that the support material is printed loosely but this a times become a drawback as the loosely stacked layer sometimes hinders the movement of extruder and on may instances the extruder get entangled with it the job gets displaced while at other occasions the next non support layer doesn't get properly placed so the overall quality of print goes down. I don't say low end machine won't do a job it will but you need to bear more pain while working with them. Se this printer in action
I also saw the stratesys Fortus 250mc system functioning and it works like charm it is a high end machine and it uses different materials for support and printing the printing area is enclose in a chamber and i think this also helps in maintaining temperature around the job and have lesser warping problem. Also after the print is complete you can easily take out the base plate from the printer and dissolve your job in a solution to get rid of the support and finally you get a fantastic thing.
While designing something that yo know will be printed on a low end printer a part of your brain is always thinking is what you are designing on CAD will be successfully printed by the printer and so at many many occasions this doesn't let you unleash the horses of your imagination and rather your design is influence by the capabilities of your printer and you try to have a trade-off between what can be the best and what can your printer print.
Whats your opininon?