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Recommend SLA Printer


Kanpai Keith

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Not SLA, but budget for FDM would be Ender3 (pro). I had no real issues with mine (except I assembled it upside-down when I first got it).

 

For D&D mini/maps I suggest looking at Fat Dragon Games. They are genius module styles, Tom is a good guy if you get to meet him in person, and they have a Cyber Monday sale right now.

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For the past year we've been using an anycubic photon S.  Its been very good and has some really nice details, epically in smaller scale.  I've done a few N scale locomotive shells with it, it should be great for DnD miniatures.  

 

https://www.amazon.com/ANYCUBIC-Photon-Upgraded-Off-line-Printing/dp/B07RY6NSL8

 

Fair disclosure, the first one we got had a slight gear noise, but it was an easy replacement for one that's run perfectly since.  

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Great topic. I'd definitely want to try some of this eventually. I have too many things going right now though. I wonder if one of you guys could write a simple post here explaining what you need and how it works. Sort of like an ELI5 (Explain Like I'm 5 years old) level, for people like myself with no clue.

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SLA means resin type printer.  A print surface goes into a bath of resin with a screen underneath, and the resin hardens where the screen lights up.  These are often smaller and more expensive than the other type, but can achieve really detailed print quality depending on the resolution of the screen underneath.  After the print is done they'll have to be cleaned from the uncured resin, and often should be baked in the sun or a UV oven to make sure the resin in the object is fully hardened.

 

FDM means extrusion type printer.  This is the type where the filament comes on a spool and is melted by a head before printed almost like a glue gun.  These are often cheaper, have a much larger print area, and are much faster than the other style.  They also need less work after after the print is removed, but often have visible layer lines and are less detailed. 

 

Both have their uses, and you can get great results from each!  I started on FDM for engineering prototypes in collage and have had some fun with a cheap one since.  The SLA printer has been great for N scale models the past year, but the cost of the resin for printing does add up fast!

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To go off of Kiha, 2kg of PLA type filament for an FDM runs about $20 depending on how fancy you want to get. Unless you're doing massive  projects these should last you a good amount of time especially if you're making tiny N scale items. Once you print it you just need to let the bed cool (if using a heated bed) and then juts pop it off the bed and you're gold.

 

The lines between layers are visible and can either be sanded or filled if (even a primer may work) depending how. The below is done at layer heights of .2mm but can get down to half of that for a smoother finish in exchange for a lot longer of a print job. (Image is a fireplace from Fat Dragon Games scaled up to be figure size for a Christmas present).

IMG_8315.jpg

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How much does it cost to run an SLA type printer?  One of these days I'd like to get both types (not just for N scale 🙂  )

 

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On 12/1/2020 at 7:36 AM, chadbag said:

How much does it cost to run an SLA type printer?  One of these days I'd like to get both types (not just for N scale 🙂  )

 

 

A Photon S is rated at 17W, the same as a LED light-bulb, so fairly economical as far as power is concerned.

 

Cheers NB

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Your cost will mostly be in the filament or resin each print uses, so cost per print will depend on what you're printing and how big it is.  In my experience filament refills are generally cheaper, but still both are much less than getting a print from a place like shapeways.  Probably a dollar or two per print.

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One difference is filament is very stable but resin has a half life, especially once thru a tank. I’ve had different reports on how well it stores longer times between small jobs.

 

jeff

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In addition, it depends on which filament you use. You can use ABS but that causes toxic fumes so you'll wan to make sure it is well vented/has it's own case. I use PLA which is general cheaper than ABS, non-toxic, plant based, and biodegradable. Now this is biodegradable in the right conditions, it's not going to turn to dirt sitting on your desk after a year or two. You can also get filaments in metallic, rainbow, solid color, marble/wood emulating, list goes one. Hell, even glow in the dark filament is easily accessible.

 

I'm not that familiar with resin but I think in the end, print for print, Filament (especially PLA) will be cheaper to make.

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