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Thread: 3D Printing in the Woodshop?

  1. #1

    3D Printing in the Woodshop?

    So I'm toying around with this thing. I'm already seeing applications for prototyping hardware, fixtures, and joinery, as well as miniature models. Anyone else applying this technology to "traditional" shop work?

  2. #2
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    I have been using a small 3d printer for several months now for prototyping and making useful parts. The most recent parts I made were some replacement drawer slide mounting brackets for a friend who said the factory replacement parts were no longer available. I don't know the brand of the slides, but the original parts were plastic and the replacement parts we made from PLA. We modeled them in Fusion 360. Here are some images showing the front and rear of the bracket.
    David

    drawer slide bracket 1.jpg drawer slide bracket 2.jpg

  3. #3
    I have made dozens of dust collection adapters for my shop from 1.5 inch to 6 inch.

    Petg is my favorite practical material.

    Also done some knife sharpening jigs, belt guards, work box covers, positioning jigs... my list goes on and on.

    I also have done a couple drawer slide mounts.

    So my work has been in fusion 360, but it helps being a mechanical engineer for the unique stuff. I'm also that guy that 3d prints all of the things at work...

    Thingiverse and the net have all sorts of useful stuff. Somebody probably built something like what you want.

  4. #4
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    I think there can be a lot of value with 3D printing for a variety of reasons in the "woodworking" shop. It can also be mentally stimulating because most of our woodworking involves "subtracting" material to get to the end result and 3D printing is exactly the opposite. So I can see many applications for it and it's also on my radar.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    Perfect timing, my kids bought me a Prusa 3D printer for my birthday, a few days ago.

    Not expected to receive it until late February, but I'm starting to build a list of project items and am educating myself on techniques.

    I've dabbled in Fusion 360, but haven't got myself to the point of feeling confident in using it to get to an end product.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    Perfect timing, my kids bought me a Prusa 3D printer for my birthday, a few days ago.
    Not expected to receive it until late February, but I'm starting to build a list of project items and am educating myself on techniques.
    I've dabbled in Fusion 360, but haven't got myself to the point of feeling confident in using it to get to an end product.
    After discussing it for a few years, my oldest son (out of state) and I both bought Prusa MK3S kits a few months ago. We communicated a lot and both kit builds took time and attention to detail but were completed without a hitch - both machines worked the first time. The instructions are great. Building the kit certainly provides an education and takes the mystery out of the inner workings of the machine.

    First test:
    first-print.jpg

    Our first major projects were centered around making custom environmental enclosures allow printing materials like ASA and ABS - and to help keep dust out!

    Set up now in my shop office:
    enclosure.jpg

    Having the printer did give me an opportunity to upgrade from an iPad to a computer for the shop, for modeling, slicing, etc. After repeated trips walking up and down the hill between the shop and the house to make a small change in a file, a shop computer suddenly made sense. This one has plenty of ram, all SSD storage, Blu-ray read/write, and a GPU driving dual monitors. (A good computer in the shop is also handy for forums, photography, video editing, music, and research/reference for shop and farm!)

    shop-computer.jpg

    My son is a free-lance photographer/videographer and so far has designed and made things for his business - brackets, light supports, and various sizes of cable holders like these made from clear flexible TPU. (He made a lot of Christmas presents too - lamps, earrings, etc.)

    cable-holders.jpg

    I've made a number of things, not yet specifically for woodworking. So far I've used PLA, PETG, and TPU filament.

    I'd been following 3D printing technology at the international computer graphics conventions since the first commercial STL machines were showcased. The technology advanced exponentially over the decades but remained exorbitantly expensive for hobby use until recently. When I retired in '06 I was full-time in 3D modeling, graphics, and video but haven't done much of that since. I'm slowly ramping up again, learning some new software. I have already sketched a few designs I want to model and print related to farm, shop, and woodturning.

    BTW, one thing that might surprise those new to this hobby is the time it takes to print something. My longest print was about 12 hours, many things took 2-8 hours, a few small things less than an hour. A simple tool tray that snaps onto the side of the printer took about 7 hours. The parts my son printed for his printer enclosure took around 140 hours. He can already see the value of having a second printer.

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    Used 3D printers for maybe 5-6 years. The last one is a Prusa 1/2 at the price of the US made ones I had and very good. Never print anything in PLA you want to last, PETG or ABS, and I use PETG all the time PLA is biodegradable under some conditions. BTW longest print with this printer was a little over 16 hours, with my MakerGEAR M2 it was 22 hours.
    Last edited by Bill George; 01-17-2021 at 8:06 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  8. #8
    Side note: I put a .8mm nozzle on my printer so it lays down plastic really fast. A 4 inch dust collector fitting of ~3" in length takes me about 2 hours to print, but it likely would print up to 50% faster if I bumped up the speed. I probably use about 1kg of filament per week

    I find round adapters really easy to design and they print very nicely, as accelerations are much more gradual in the X-Y plane. It takes a while to figure out how best to reduce the need for support, and sometimes it can't be avoided (wear cut resistant gloves removing support, much of my blood has been spilled).

  9. #9
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    I have had a PRUSA i3-MK3S fo a couple of years now. I bought the kit and put it together. They had the power supply wired wrong so it took a couple of weeks to get it going but it has been problem free since. I have printed in petg, abs and pla. I design things in Fusion 360. I use it for all kinds of things woodworking related and not. I also print star wars and ailens stuff for my wife that I find on Thingiverse. My longest print was about 26 hours. My latest thing are some 1/16" spacers to put op some mosaic tile backsplash. The store bought "+" ones don't work well.

  10. #10
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    I also have a Prusa i3MK3 along with two Ender 3's and a Photon SLA printer. While they mostly get used at work for prototyping cases, making custom fixtures for testing equipment and a bit of useless junk I have printed a handful of things for the shop. Mostly jig parts like angled spacers for setting adjustable fences, clamp pads with complementary shapes to the thing being clamped and a few attempts at layout & marking jigs. But on the whole, the layout and marking jigs were too specialized and it is faster to just figure out a way to do things with a bevel gauge, etc.

    I've seen a few designs for doweling jigs that looked intriguing but the TODO list is too long now. Might be a fun CAD exercise to work out some jig parts to make a sort of pseudo Domino using a trim router and some clamps and spacer-stops.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

  11. #11
    I'm totally ignorant about these things, but I can see how it would be useful to have one. Have some basic questions:

    How do printed plastic parts compare to injection molded parts in strength and durability?

    Are the surfaces smooth or does the layering leave a texture?

    Can you just walk away and let it print overnight, or does it require any monitoring?

    Can one print models for investment casting that will burn out cleanly?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard newman View Post
    I'm totally ignorant about these things, but I can see how it would be useful to have one. Have some basic questions:

    How do printed plastic parts compare to injection molded parts in strength and durability?
    Are the surfaces smooth or does the layering leave a texture?
    Can you just walk away and let it print overnight, or does it require any monitoring?
    Can one print models for investment casting that will burn out cleanly?
    Richard, I'm just gaining experience, but:

    Some filament materials are stronger than others, some quite strong, some weaker and brittle, some flexible, some biodegradable. There are many types and lots of info on the internet on the properties of each.
    Here is the Prusa filament material guide. https://help.prusa3d.com/en/tag/mk3/material-guide_220 There are probably others. Some are easy to print, some are not.

    The surfaces have a texture since they are built up by layers. The layer height is user selectible with a tradeoff between height, nozzle size, and print time. The prusa slicer has quality and speed options. Layers with vertical curves and angles can be selectively printed with finer resolution. Some materials can be sanded or otherwise chemically smoothed.

    It is typical to walk away for long prints. I watch the first two layers to insure initial adhesion to the bed then check occasionally. My son typically prints all night. The Prusa printers we use have crash detection and a feature that will seamlessly pick up the print in the event of a temporarily power loss. An inexpensive electronic enhancement called OctoPrint can be added to monitor the print statistics remotely and even monitor a video feed of the print. My son uses this and I have the components to add this to my printer.

    Don't know about the investment casting - an online check might tell. I have only used lost wax technique and sand mold for casting.

    JKJ

  13. #13
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    It's amazing how far we have come. I've been reading up on CNC routers and found quite a few people who upgrade them also have a 3d printer. They will make parts so they can mount things like drag chains to the gantry. Even 10 years ago compared to now. Makes you wonder where we will be in 10 years from now.

  14. #14
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    The biggest use for 3D printers is prototyping. We CNC types are gadget freaks, so that is why it is common for us to have them. They are too slow for production work, but awesome for one offs. I doubt they will improve much time wise in the future since you have the reality of melting, and cooling whatever filament you are using. Too fast with the cooling step and you get a goopy mess or an uncontrolled amount of shrinkage. I have used ours to make jigs and a hose clamp for festool tube. The festool sanding jig worked very well, but the guy that made the model for the hose clamp was a bit too skimpy in his design and it broke after a few months. Like so many other CNC things the trick is creating the model. The sanding jig below took a few tries to get the geometry correct.

    3D printing metal looks promising to me if you are making extremely complex parts. In those cases, one can reduce the machine time and waste a ton.

    ETS125_edge.jpg

  15. #15
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    3d printing ... woodshop ...

    Prompted a dumb idea ...

    How about a machine with CNC controlled rollers to create bent laminations without a mold. Maybe the veneers have an RF cured adhesive on them.

    Pretty sure the technology is already there for forming metal to odd shapes. Just needs a way to bond the wood together.

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