yeah, deposition printers are basically for quick prototypes. If you want higher quality you're going to obviously spend more. Thee are some resin printers out there in a similar price range (formONE), but if you're wanting a finished product with fine detail, you're going to have to spend some money and use a 3d printing service.
I have mixed feelings about consumer level 3D printers. I do think that they are getting better, but they do not quite offer the desired result I am looking for. I do think that they will get there, but not with extrusion based printers. I do, though, see them useful for getting through some initial design concepts to check for overall fit and functionality, then moving to a more refined concept from these mockups. Perhaps my hesitation is based upon the fact that I like a lot of details in my designs that are smaller than are currently offered by consumer level devices.
@wilbur: I think the current 3D printers may not be useful for the long lasting products but can be used for early prototyping.
Early prototyping and creating things that just "look interesting" (like a fake Steakpunk Watch so we can create a photographic version of my Holographic Watch blog when we all meet up at Design West 2014) is what I'm planning on using it for
I think the current 3D printers may not be useful for the long lasting products but can be used for early prototyping. The limited amount of material support and techniques to stengthen the used powered form of material need to be improved.
@Max, logically milling can be described as subtractive printing but maynot be that catchy word. I have seen the vidoes of milling done in the printers and its not that fascinating to me. Though i agree that it does add extra usage to the 3D printers.
I guess that's what I get for being a guinea pig on the bleeding edge of consumer printing. I would have thought that 3D systems would have supported a product better, they've released a version 2 which presunmably has some of the issues addressed but given the fixes are SW (it already has a heated bed) one would have thought they would be interested in customer satisfaction enough to upgrade older machines to ensure repeat business. Some interesting design choices they made, micro switches as home/EOT sensors. Anyway, I've heard good things about Solidoodle so hopefully you are rewarded :-)
This week I tried making a 3D printed part using GE's Ultem (needed higher operating temp for the component). I must say I am not at all satisfied with the quality of the part produced. When compared to the injection-molded version, the 3D printed part looks horrendously porous! I tried assembling it with other components of the assembly but the 3D printed parts broke!
Bottom line is this -to make useful parts, one will need couple of trials with material selection and geometry sizing. For this, 3D printing is indeed the most cost-effective and expeditious way to go!
@Etmax: I bought a Cube 3D printer (first generation) and am very disappointed.
I'm sorry to hear that. I bought one of the $499 ones from Solidoodle www.solidoodle.com (I also got the $99 upgrade to the heated bed). Once I've had a chance to play with it I'll be blogging about it -- keep your fingers crossed for me.
I bought a Cube 3D printer (first generation) and am very disappointed. It does a lousy job of overhangs and there is as much as 3-5% shrinkage. I hope yours work out for you. I think the biggest problem with mine is the SW that creates the extrude file from the STL file