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3D Printers

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Posted by maxman on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 8:03 PM

3D Central is Matt Hermann.  I saw many of their items at the recent Valley Forge RPM meet.

But I think they may currently only make 2-3 cars themselves.  Looking at the referenced link, I think they act as a focal point for several other manufacturers.

I don't know which printers the other folks use.

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Posted by Mark R. on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 4:21 PM

3D Central uses Elegoo resin printers and get incredible results. Check out what they are making ....


¡ uʍop ǝpısdn sı ǝɹnʇɐuƃıs ʎɯ 'dlǝɥ

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Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, April 14, 2024 3:48 PM

..........and this thread illustrates why I like this forum so much. Yes Cool

Excellent info, especially from Da Stumer!

I've been wanting to get into 3D printing for the past year but did not know which path to take.  The web (youtube) has good info yes but it seems so oversaturated with information.

You guys broke it down in simplified layman's terms. Much appreciated Big Smile


"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"


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Posted by Cisco_Kid on Sunday, April 14, 2024 10:46 AM

A lot of good advice has already been posted but I'll add my 2 cents as I have owned dozens of 3D printers from basic on up to multi-thousand $$ (I run a 3D print business).

For just starting out I would honestly recommend you grab a Creality Ender 3 V2 (FDM), second-hand if you can find it, but they are also cheap enough new. If you do go second-hand make sure the person selling is willing to plug it in and at least start off a test print for you. No need for it to finish, you are just looking to make sure all the axis's work and that it actually extrudes filament decently.

This gives you a low cost way to see if it is for you and lets you experience what it can and cannot do. While the creality series is about as low cost as they come, and they do require a lot of twiddling to get decent prints, this will also serve as an invaluable learning platform to the ins and out of 3D printing.

The bed leveling leaves a lot to be desired as mentioned, but there are prints you can make to add-on to your printer to help out. Figure on spending a few weeks getting to know your new printer and printing out all kinds of accessories for it, figure on a spool of filament too for this purpose. There are plenty of commercial add-ons you can buy too.

The problem I see with people who spend a lot more and buy a better machine right off, is that yes it works quite well out-of-the-box but you do not really learn the ins and out and what to do when things do go wrong. You may actually get so frustrated you give up as you never learned all the quirks and tricks of the trade.

The Creality series almost will force you to go through a learning curve and once you get past it, better printers will seem like a walk in the park. Just keep in mind that no matter which way you go, it is a hobby all on its own and will require some investment of time and effort if you want to produce the best results.

One final thing, I would skip the resin printer at first and even if you eventually do get one make sure you plan for adequate venting as others have poiinted out.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, March 15, 2024 10:32 AM

Without a doubt, SLA Resin is the way to go.

Be sure to create or buy a vent tent!  Plenty of tutorials online.  Consider it as dangerous, or more dangerous to your lungs as spray paint or Airbrushing!  Resin works best when it's warm (but not too warm)  80F works best.   So if you do it in the basement, or out in the garage, use a grow tent heater about the Resin tub.

And always wear gloves!

Anycubic makes some very highly rated Resin Printers. 

Anycubic photon M2 (Good for beginners)
Anycubic photon M5s (Highest resolution on market)

You can get a really good printer & vent tent for below 500 bucks

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by Geared Steam on Monday, March 11, 2024 9:40 AM

Many peoples hobby is to purchase and begin modifying the printer to increase speed and quality. Learning the methods of getting good prints, as well as calibration the printer are all a learning process. If you want an appliance that removes a lot of this I would recommend a Bambu A1. The are on a recall for a bed issue, but will be released in May. This is my next printer btw. Spend almost a year learning on a Sovol 6plus. Using a quality filament and Orca slicer, in my opinion, are the best tools for a new user. (been there done that)  

Bambu Lab A1 3D Printer

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."-Albert Einstein

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Posted by panzerpete75 on Friday, March 8, 2024 12:09 AM

I heavily recommend getting a printer with auto bed levelling, or adding it on after purchase, as it makes your prints so much easier to set up. For the Creality Ender 3 V2 that I bought used, a relatively simple to install auto leveling kit was about $65 CAD from Creality, and took about 2 hours to install in a less-than-ideal workspace, it would be much faster with a table to work on. I programmed it to run a levelling cycle before every print after everything heats up. I know that's excessive, but then I know it won't drive the print nozzle through the heated glass printing bed...

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Posted by Da Stumer on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 1:12 PM

What printer is right for you largely depends on what you want to do with it. I personally have a Creality Ender 3 FDM printer from 2018, and I have used it to print models. However, I've also commissioned others to print models in resin for me. Here's how I would break down printer categories.

First is FDM vs resin. I know you said you're looking at FDM, just realize the limitations it can have and same for resin. FDM prints are best for structural items that don't have high detail. Things such as modeling tools, locomotive chassis (with added reinforcement and weight), rolling stock frames, and similar are great. For models themselves, I've seen some really nice building models, especially when the parts are printed flat separately and assembled. I myself have printed some freight car models, but the layer lines are still somewhat visible. Here's some FDM models I've printed:


Mantua diesel replacement parts

MDC gondola frame replacement, orignal destroyed by zinc pest

Locomotive frame (trucks are printed in resin, those are not my design)

Freight cars

Resin printers are much better for high detail parts. Layer lines are mostly invisible, and more details can be rendered. The downside is that resin can be pretty toxic, you don't really want this running in a non ventilated space, and disposing of waste can be a little more complicated. Dialing in prints to eliminate warping is also difficult. I prefer to use printing services for these reasons when I need a resin print. Here's a couple resin prints:


The second distinction in printers is grade. Printers today tend to come in what could be classified as hobby grade, semi-professional tool grade, and professional/industrial. Hobby grade printers would be like what DarthSantaFe and I have. Creality Ender (FDM) models are the most ubiquitous in this category. I consider these hobby grade because using them can be a hobby in and of itself. On the lower end of printers in this space, $200 or less, the printers may require some modification and tinkering to get consistent quality results. A bit above that price range are printers that have more creature comforts such as wifi connectivity and auto bed leveling, but still might need some tinkering. Semi-professional printers like offerings from Bambu Lab (FDM) are expensive, but print perfectly out of the box.

-Peter. Mantua collector, 3D printing enthusiast, Korail modeler.

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Posted by speedybee on Saturday, March 2, 2024 1:41 PM

Consider checking to see if your local library has one to try out before you buy one of your own. Around here, 3d printers of various types are readily available at some library branches.

I've done that for a few jobs... The staff help show you how to do it (there's a bit of a learning curve to designing and performing good prints) and access to the machines is free. You just pay the cost of the material that you used in your print job. It's a good way to ease into it

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, March 2, 2024 8:30 AM

Filiment printers will not give you the detail you want on the lower cost end, you want an SLA printer (we used to call these emuluan printers).

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Posted by Darth Santa Fe on Friday, March 1, 2024 10:22 PM

I'd honestly just look for good customer feedback and make sure the prints you want to make will fit within the maximum printing dimensions.  I use a Creality Ender 5 with the glass bed option, and after figuring out the tuning and making adjustments here and there to the print programming, I've been getting some really great prints out of it.


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3D Printers
Posted by jmnienab on Friday, March 1, 2024 6:07 PM

I've been considering the purchase of a 3D printer for my HO scale layout. I've seen some incredible 3D printed work posted here, but I haven't seen any discussions about preferred 3D printers/features for HO scale. Like many topics involving preferred technologies, I understand that some features may be personal preferences, but I'm assuming there may be some "must haves" to consider when printing for HO scale. I'm looking at FDM (filament) printers. So what advance/recommendations/thoughts does the community have about the ideal printer?

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