Finding The Right 3D Printer For At-Home Jewelry Making
It may feel like a big task, to choose the right 3D printer for your particular needs. How can you be confident that such a complex technology that is still so new will work for you? Well, it helps to break it down into parts to get a good idea of what you have to work with. It helps to rule things out, particularly when one is buying a 3D printer for the very first time. While there are a number of these types of printers that work for home, industry level application of this technology has really yet to be seen. There may not be many that can keep up with the demand that a business requires for instance.
Here are two examples of 3D printers that jewelry molds require. This walk through will give you an idea of what to look for when picking one out for yourself to make sure you get the most use out of it and staying on budget.
Formlabs Form 2 3D Printer
One of the main things people look for when shopping around for a quality SLA printer, the kind that´s ideal for precise cartable resin use, is automation. Is it easy to use without having to take it apart and put it back together. The Form 2 from Formlabs delivers to this end, for example, when it comes to filling the resin as all it consists of with this unit is dropping in a sealed cartridge right into the back of the unit, somewhat like a home coffeemaker. After that the printer reads a microchip on the cartridge that tells you how much resin you have to work with at any given time. This can really come in handy if you would like to keep track of how much you´re using.
Although the Form 2 is quite small, it can only print up to a build volume of 5.7 by 5.7 by 6.9 inches, it is an advanced unit that ensures consistently great results thanks to a number of special touches. These include such innovations as a wiper system that after each new additive layer is able to clean off any leftover. This goes a long way in producing a uniform unblemished finish as you don´t have to worry about debris messing up any liquid processing. Another feather in its cap in this respect is that it features a heated resin chamber to maintain consistency.
Especially when it comes to those that aren´t used to using design software, it is important to make sure that you´ve got a good one for your unit. For this reason Formlabs provides its own preform software that allows you to have a real say in the resolution that you desire, right down to .025mm and up to .1mm. Thanks to such a high resolution capacity you can really go for detail.
One of the best things the Form 2 has going for it is it´s ease of use. It´s ready right out of the box and is clearly made by people who have an idea for how it may be used. One clear example of this is how it works to find the best orientation for a part and even adds support structures on its own. These last are important as they help the part keep its shape and prevents collapsing.
It also has the ability to allow for adjusting throughout the assembly process, this is in turn allows for acute control of manufacturing from beginning to end. Partly for this reason the printer comes complete with a screen display that keeps you on top of each step of the process, right down to the estimated time it will take. It will let you know if the resin tray is in position and if the wiper blade is down and ready. It can even save jobs and allow you to alternate swimmingly.
XYZ Nobel1.0A 3D printer
The first thing to mention about the Nobel1.0A is that it won´t break the bank as it is roughly a third the price of the Form 2. A big reason for this is that it´s a relatively untested printer manufactured in Taiwan, so if you´re weary of unreliable products you may want to wait until the verdict is in in the form of accumulative consumer reviews. Its predecessor was riddled with problems to the point that numerous users complained that they couldn’t get it to work, sometimes at all. However, it was hardly surprising as at the time it was the cheapest 3D printer you could get your hands on. This succeeding model offers dimensions, or build volume, similar to the Form 2 at 5 by 5 by 7.8 inches. It´s also easy to use and can be relied upon to produce regularly, like the Form 2 it is small, but can hold its own.
When you´re talking about a SLA printer you better be sure that he laser as this component is what ensures precision accuracy. The laser has recently been improved from 300 to 150 microns. What does this mean? Well, some of the best printers offer resolution down to 10 millionths of a meter, or micron. The Nobel now boasts 100 microns in layer resolution?. This is pretty good, but to compare the Form 2 can go down to 25 which is the main reason why it makes superior parts.
If you´re obsessive when it comes to the finish, the Nobel may not work for you as it does leave behind some build lines, and small details, like holes, may end up getting filled in, meaning that you may have to work them over by hand in order to feature them. This may be fine if you´re a serious jewelry designer, but perhaps not if you´re in it for a hobby.
Another thing to consider is trouble shooting. The Nobel is a smaller company, particularly as far as an online presence, meaning that it is considerably harder to find assistance if a problem should arise. The Form 2 on the other hand offers comprehensive costumer support as well as a much broader consumer base.
With both these printers you can get set up in no time as they calibrate on their own and are quite user friendly thanks to reliable monitoring systems that keeps you updated as to how much resin is being used and how much is needed at any given point. While one is considerably cheaper, it does´t offer the impeccable results as the other. You just have to ask yourself what can fit your needs and goals.
For more information regarding Formlabs 3D Printers, click here. For more information regarding XYZ Printing, click here. To learn more about our 3D printing services, and how we can help expedite your current or upcoming projects, click here. For any and all of your 3D printer, scanning, and modeling solutions, Arrival 3D has you covered.