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3D Printer

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Paul T10/01/2020 19:37:41
7159 forum posts
1213 photos
2 articles

I treated myself to a 3D printer and it is the most amazing tool that I have ever used.

Ten years ago I struggled to find decent quality deck accessories for a fire boat and now I can produce as many as I like by simply pressing a button, I don't even have to draw the parts as there are hundreds of 3D printer files freely available on the Internet.

It is truly a really versatile piece of equipment and would be a boon to any model builder.

ashley needham10/01/2020 19:54:47
6653 forum posts
157 photos

Ooh! What sort of resolution do you get? Sufficient for smooth bollards and anchors for instance?


Paul T10/01/2020 20:35:10
7159 forum posts
1213 photos
2 articles

Hi Ashley

Very high resolution with a printing tolerance of +/- 0.5mm, printing is slow at this resolution something like a four blade 50mm dia prop for a tug could take 4 hours to produce. A quick rub with wet/dry to smooth the leading edges and its ready for paint.

The nearest like for like material would be nylon.

It a Silhouette Alta that cost just over £300, small printing bed but perfect for my needs



Edited By Paul T on 10/01/2020 20:37:08

Roger Clark10/01/2020 22:54:33
252 forum posts
88 photos

Hi Paul,

Looks a nice printer, pics of parts made please laugh. I've just bought a resin printer but won't be using it yet until I've made some room and a heated box with extraction to take the fumes outside, having ideas of printing small stuff and then casting in metal such as brass, bronze, ally etc.


Bob Abell11/01/2020 07:27:40
8921 forum posts
2810 photos

Well done, Paul, for taking one giant step into the modelling world!

Happy New Year too

I can see the attraction, and I'm very impressed, but is there a danger of creating the Plastic Kit effect?

I'm just asking the question as a subject for debate

We would appreciate a few pictures, please

All the best, my mate......Bob

Ray Wood 211/01/2020 08:34:27
2038 forum posts
718 photos

Hi Paul,

Yes as Bob Says well done for mastering the process , but we are surely now talking about home manufacturing?

I'm looking forward to seeing the end products, I'm starting my list as we .........

Regards Ray

ashley needham11/01/2020 09:17:05
6653 forum posts
157 photos

its Not quite the Star Trek replicator, but almost, for small boat parts, and what a ridiculous price...all that tech for a miserable £300.

Not that I keep up with this sort of thing but I was looking ages ago at a printer in Maplin for just under 1000 and thinking that was good.

I collect plastic soldiers and this sort of thing would be a fab tool for broken and missing parts, or even replicating rare figures.


Colin Bishop11/01/2020 10:08:18
4547 forum posts
6070 photos
399 articles

The technology has come on by leaps and bounds and prices have dropped too. I can see the attraction for making common items, especially if you can print at different sizes, I'm thinking cowl vents, bollards, fairleads etc. but for one off complex items where there isn't a a file available , a ship's steam windlass for example, then you have to produce th file yourself or get somebody else to.

I have heard that if you need multiple non standard items such as a particular type of davit for example then it is possible to fabricate a master and have it 3D scanned although I don't know what that costs or what limitations there are (in producing hollow areas for example).


Edited By Colin Bishop on 11/01/2020 10:09:19

Gary Hill 111/01/2020 12:28:35
20 forum posts
6 photos

Hi Paul,

I too bought a 3D printer recently, a s/h one from a fellow aero club member in my case. They are a truly remarkable tools. Although mine does not have a heated bed so I’m limited to PLA, which is fine for most things, TPU for items needing to be flexible and PETG which is similar to using ABS without the awful smell.
I've printed quite a few pilots for friends at the club (most recently for the RCME JP) and myself, fpv camera mounts, receiver mounts for aircraft. For my in progress TID I’ve done some sample hatches, nav lights, my in progress Neptune has some seat cushions, and other ideas not yet designed. Nothing much for the model railway, I think for N gauge a resin printer would be better. The surprising thing is the household items, Velux window/blind hook, replacement link for a floor mop, end cap on extendable pole as well as some useful clip on parts to fit my telescope tripod. The guy I bought the printer from had used it to print an adapter to allow his disabled wife to be able to use the shower taps without assistance, there seems no limit to what is possible.


Paul T11/01/2020 18:17:55
7159 forum posts
1213 photos
2 articles

I use it to print blades for test flying my drones, just in case I have a senior moment as they are a lot cheaper to replace than the carbon fibre units.

Colin you wanted a steam winch link

Or maybe a model of HMS Victory link

Just for Ashley link

There are hundreds of sites devoted to 3D printer files and once downloaded these files can be easily manipulated to change its finished size.

As Gary said there are many different types and sizes of machine but I did my research and found the Alta the best for my needs.

Bob has raised a very pertinent point about plastic kits that I can't answer, does it remove the skill from model building or is it just a useful means to an end.

Ray, Yes it is home manufacturing that is specifically tuned to your needs.


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