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Killer Klaivex







I'm seeing this more and more. One company ordering a dozen Phrozen printers to churn out their components; rather than investing into silicone rubber and casting resin. Another declaring that the costs weren't too dissimilar. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of casting resin for small scale kits/components, because printers are that much more consistent, clean, or easy to operate? If not, how long will it be until they are? What do you think/know about it? Discussion people!


 
   
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Servoarm Flailing Magos




United Kingdom

I think we're approaching the tipping point. I know a few places use 3D printing for their masters then resin casting for the production (Taro Modelmaker, FW for the AT stuff).
   
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Experienced Maneater






I believe so, yes.

Operating a resin printer requires different knowledge, but imo is far easier to achieve for one-man/small scale businesses.

High res master, mold making, overhangs, resin pressure, bubbles, flash, etc are all things you need to understand in order to get good casts.

Learning how to support models for resin printing, test printing and fixing the errors you made also require some work, but it's more focused.
It also doesn't require the additional storage space to store the molds safely.

The fact that you can also acquire commercial licences for models made by others and just sell them also skips the steps of hiring a sculptor or learning to sculpt yourself. A lot of them also offer pre-supported models, so then it's literally just plug&play, tending machines and post-production (curing, snipping off supports, packing them for shipping).


I'm not sure if there is a break point where it would be more viable to invest in proper resin casting than to just buy an additional printer.


 
   
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Killer Klaivex







 Hanskrampf wrote:


The fact that you can also acquire commercial licences for models made by others and just sell them also skips the steps of hiring a sculptor or learning to sculpt yourself.


That's been a really interesting development actually. Certainly not one we saw before, but which has really kicked off over the last year and a half. All the 3d sculptors are working for themselves now, because their back catalogue is something they can either directly sell prints of from a third party service, or lease to someone else to a set period of time to do it!


 
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I wonder how much difference there is in operator input when it comes to scaling things up. Small scale I suspect the costs might be approaching a point where its not dissimilar; I think the real test is how easily the system scales up. Ergo once you are no longer making a dozen a week but perhaps dozens every day to keep up with demand.

Granted with 3D you could argue that if the market expands you could offset that by selling files, however from what I can see selling files seems to work for one-man designer bands, but might not work for a group wanting to do more. Ergo making and producing a game as opposed to just casting creative projects. There's also the issue there of significantly reduced repeat sales per customer for a game system (you only get to sell a trooper once per customer).

   
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Experienced Maneater






 Overread wrote:
I wonder how much difference there is in operator input when it comes to scaling things up. Small scale I suspect the costs might be approaching a point where its not dissimilar; I think the real test is how easily the system scales up. Ergo once you are no longer making a dozen a week but perhaps dozens every day to keep up with demand.


You could always just buy another printer and double your output. Timing them so when one is finished you can instantly post-process and when you're finished, the other printer is finished, keeping you rotating duties. Of course, this has a limit, but it depends on the print time and number of printers.

 Overread wrote:

There's also the issue there of significantly reduced repeat sales per customer for a game system (you only get to sell a trooper once per customer).

I don't think that's a problem. Most businesses start as as gamers taking time to dedicate into the side-project of selling minis. One-man businesses are not quitting their day-job, small scale seem to be doing fine and even large scale like Reaper seem to have no problem without a game system and monopose models only.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/18 11:30:02



 
   
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Killer Klaivex







 Hanskrampf wrote:

Learning how to support models for resin printing, test printing and fixing the errors you made also require some work, but it's more focused.


It just occurred to me that on top of the above, you also don't have the costs tied up in inventory. You make what you need as its ordered. Not only does this reduce storage space, it also cuts down staff costs; as you're only ever producing what's already been paid for. You never have to shuffle stock on at cut prices to claw some money back, or sit there and watch thousands of dollars of resin be tied up in product that might take two years to move. The risk of business is consequently much, much lower. Once the initial machinery investment has been made, the only real variable is the staff cost, and staff can always be hired/fired to meet demand.

A pressure pot/vaccuum chamber can turn over product more quickly than a printer (which usually work at 3-4 hour even on current models per print). But the savings involved in running costs would seem to be significant. No over-production, lower staffing, and no storage mean you can run a reasonably sized operation out of just two rooms (an office/packing room, and a print room).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/18 12:26:30



 
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

I wonder if size will be a factor - ergo smaller infantry models by the printer and larger models by the casting? Assuming that larger models will take considerably longer to print.

As for order volume I'd assume any firm going into production would eventually need to shift from production to order to one that holds stock so that they can maximise delivery times. Using slower ordering times to produce an excess so that you can keep up with demand.

   
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Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

I myself about to invest heavily into a small resin print farm for my terrain business. The key tech enabling the shift over to resin printers at the moment is the mono 4k screen - the screen provides superior print quality and significantly faster print speeds over older printers, and the increased screen lifetime means that you drastically reduce ownership and maintenance/operating costs as well.

Ketara's print-to-order model is the dream, but you need a significant print farm to enable that if you have a steady order/sales volume. My larger pieces run about a 4-5 hour print on the faster mono 4k printers out there, not including post-processing. If I'm just getting one-off orders for one or two pieces a couple times a day average, 2-3 printers is enough to keep up with demand easily. If I'm getting orders for multiple pieces or sets of stuff, then those printers might be tied up for a few days just to print out that one order (especially once you factor in that I can't continuously man those printers because I need to sleep and go to my day job, so theres a built in dowtime when the printers are idle and I can't reset a print - if I set a print when I go to bed, figure I lose 2-3 hours between completion and me waking up unless I stay up a bit later, and then if I set one before I leave for work figure another 5 hours lost before I'm home to restart again.Realistically I would figure the ability to print for about 15 hours per day max unless I bring in help to keep things running around the clock).

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Killer Klaivex







 Overread wrote:
I wonder if size will be a factor - ergo smaller infantry models by the printer and larger models by the casting? Assuming that larger models will take considerably longer to print.

I think that depends on the model/skill of the designer. You see a lot of .stl files from the odd new sculptor which, frankly, are poorly designed for printing. Thin pieces, huge awkward sections, and so forth.

If you compare that with say, Maker Cults Isopodius:-



It's cut up in a similar fashion to what you'd do with a sculpt optimised for resin printing. But in doing so, you can assemble all the different bits on the build plate as easily as you can for a smaller model. Unless you're making something outside the size range of even the largest build plates, there's no real difference if the sculptor does their job well at the start.


As for order volume I'd assume any firm going into production would eventually need to shift from production to order to one that holds stock so that they can maximise delivery times. Using slower ordering times to produce an excess so that you can keep up with demand.


I'm not sure that's entirely true or false and is quite situation dependent. I accept that it certainly applies to resin cast, but if you have sufficient printers, you can cope with meeting just about any level of demand within a predictable set time frame. Resin casting requires more in the way of skilled staff to produce tending at best two or three stations at a time. Printing, assuming its been pre-optimised, tested, and worked out in advance, is largely a case of clicking a button and then scraping the result into a clean/cure station. One bloke should consequently be able to tend three or four times the output in those situations (note the emphasis on 'pre-optimised and tested' - I know that new models require much more work and test prints).

If your production rate is that much more flexible, any advantage accrued from producing without orders is paralleled by excess staffing costs and cash tied up in static product. You'd consequently probably be better off just buying extra printers with the money which would otherwise be tied up, and having a handful of part-time staff on zero-hour contracts.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm not sure which side has the advantage, but it's certainly not clear cut.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
chaos0xomega wrote:
I myself about to invest heavily into a small resin print farm for my terrain business. The key tech enabling the shift over to resin printers at the moment is the mono 4k screen - the screen provides superior print quality and significantly faster print speeds over older printers, and the increased screen lifetime means that you drastically reduce ownership and maintenance/operating costs as well.


That's really cool! What printer models have you settled on and why? Also, what's the business name? Give me a plug!

Ketara's print-to-order model is the dream, but you need a significant print farm to enable that if you have a steady order/sales volume. My larger pieces run about a 4-5 hour print on the faster mono 4k printers out there, not including post-processing. If I'm just getting one-off orders for one or two pieces a couple times a day average, 2-3 printers is enough to keep up with demand easily. If I'm getting orders for multiple pieces or sets of stuff, then those printers might be tied up for a few days just to print out that one order (especially once you factor in that I can't continuously man those printers because I need to sleep and go to my day job, so theres a built in dowtime when the printers are idle and I can't reset a print - if I set a print when I go to bed, figure I lose 2-3 hours between completion and me waking up unless I stay up a bit later, and then if I set one before I leave for work figure another 5 hours lost before I'm home to restart again.Realistically I would figure the ability to print for about 15 hours per day max unless I bring in help to keep things running around the clock).


See, you're running it as a part-time job in your own hours running solo. I'm envisioning it on more of an industrial scale (say, two dozen printers and a couple of full-time staff). Sounds to me like you're working in that direction though! It's all so new that I think the optimised model still needs to be worked out to a degree. But I reckon once it's done, it may well edge out resin casting. What do you think?

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/11/18 13:18:04



 
   
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Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

That's really cool! What printer models have you settled on and why? Also, what's the business name? Give me a plug!


Right now it looks like I'm between the Photon Mono X and the Elegoo Saturn. I like the look/sound of the Phrozen Sonic XL 4k but I am struggling to find any real "in the field" reviews or info about them (I don't watch youtube videos, so if there are video reviews I'm completely unaware of them), and its a bit hard to justify the price on them unless their performance really is what Phrozen promises it to be without caveat (the advertised 200mm/hr print speed seems to be because the printer allows for a very large layer height of .3mm, which is a bit misleading because the other printers in the category top out at around .15mm, obviously you can print faster if your layers are thicker). Similar can be said about the Epax e10. Between the Mono X and the Saturn I think I'm currently leaning towards the Mono X, but originally I was leaning towards the Saturn. The Mono X has a slightly larger print area (mainly in the Z axis) and seems to be more readily available at the moment and also more reliable as elegoo seems to be struggling with delays and quality issues (theres been a trend of the screens not functioning, as well as a slightly less common trend of damaged z-axis issues).

As for a plug - this account is kind of an donkey-cave and has probably earned itself a bad enough reputation in some circles that I don't want to connect it to my business publicly lol. I'll shoot you a PM.

 Ketara wrote:


See, you're running it as a part-time job in your own hours running solo. I'm envisioning it on more of an industrial scale (say, two dozen printers and a couple of full-time staff). Sounds to me like you're working in that direction though! It's all so new that I think the optimised model still needs to be worked out to a degree. But I reckon once it's done, it may well edge out resin casting. What do you think?


If I was to do this at an industrial scale, I think I would be using a small number of larger industrial printers as opposed to a larger number of small hobby printers. Not only do they print faster but you can fit more in the build volume. I can fit one of my larger pieces on the bed of a printer like a Photon Mono X, Elegoo Saturn, or Phrozen Sonic XL 4K and print that in say 5 hours, but with some of these industrial printers I could fit maybe 6 or more of the same model within the build volume and print all 6 of those in about 3 hours. Sure it costs a lot more to purchase up front, but its 10x the throughput per printer. There are technologies in development currently that promise even larger build volumes and faster print times. HARP technology promises printers with volumes measured in cubic feet and vertical printing speeds of 12-18 inches per hour. I.E. You could have a 2'x2'x4' print volume that can be printed in about 3 hours. At that point I'd be printing 200-400 copies of my largest sculpt (depending on orientation, etc.) in one go, which works out to 333-666x more throughput than what is achievable at the hobby printer level - again, expensive (I've had some discussions with manufacturers working on these, they seem to be targeting "hardware as a service" business models where you lease the printer for $40-50k per year including a post-processing station, etc., which includes maintenance and servicing by the vendor, with the cost being offset against the volume of their proprietary resin you run through (to the point that if you're printing at certain volumes the printer is free and you're just paying for the resin).

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Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

When I finished the KS for my game I needed to produce about 32 games. While this does not seem like a lot, my tipping point to order a second printer was going to be 40, so I was just under the mark and decided to go forth with my one resin printer (Mars) and some items being silicone molded and cast in polyurethane.

Each game required about 11 print runs in the 3-4 hour range. What was very difficult was the time available in a day, as others have mentioned. But, the printed pieces were a real breeze compared to the cast pieces - that was my real nightmare and there was no way to 'set and forget' for any real length of time, as there was no output. Then factor in the mold degradation and subsequent clean-up required of the poly pieces, the last few I just printed them on the printer and will probably never cast in bulk again.

The 4k monochrome screens will/have revolutionized this industry and right in front of that is the resin costs and formulas becoming cheaper and more suitable for mini printing.

I did a thread in the 3D print forum about my dilemma between the Saturn and Photon big printers, as one of these will be decided upon just after the first of the year.

I have 2 new games being developed now and printing the prototypes, but will be looking to set the next KS at the level to mass produce the game and I have to do very little; however, having the capability to produce everything is a real boon for me and all gamers - just not for the industry giants.

With the quotes and knowledge of mold costs to produce overseas, the cost effective point to mass produce seemed to be around the 500 piece mark. This is certainly doable with a small print farm and hopefully new resin formulas will be developed to decrease the cost and not be so brittle.

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I think so, yes, and have thought this might be the way things were going for a few years. Some of the costs and tools weren't quite there, though, until very recently, and the trend is pointing towards on-demand printing being more cost effective than resin casting, I think. As others have mentioned, storage space is actually a pretty big thing (and less "dead stock" when you print on demand or for orders + a little bit), and the ability to start a print then leave it unattended, say overnight, also can help in comparison to resin casting.

Per-piece costs are getting very, very close in comparison to materials between 3d printed and resin casting (resin casting is still slightly better, even with mold amortization), but labor and storage for 3d printers is slightly better. I think as printers get even better and 3d printing resins come down in price (which they are trending; compared to 2 years ago they're *much* cheaper), it's going to be an even choice on costs for smaller businesses and low-run production.

The best cost per piece are of course injection molded, but for that you need to know you'll have a *huge* volume in order to make up the much more expensive mold costs. Which is something most boutique/small producers just aren't ever going to do.
   
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Killer Klaivex







chaos0xomega wrote:

If I was to do this at an industrial scale, I think I would be using a small number of larger industrial printers as opposed to a larger number of small hobby printers. Not only do they print faster but you can fit more in the build volume.

Can't say I've ever heard of giant resin industrial printers, but they sound really interesting! What are the companies/model names?


 MDSW wrote:
When I finished the KS for my game I needed to produce about 32 games. While this does not seem like a lot, my tipping point to order a second printer was going to be 40, so I was just under the mark and decided to go forth with my one resin printer (Mars) and some items being silicone molded and cast in polyurethane.

Each game required about 11 print runs in the 3-4 hour range. What was very difficult was the time available in a day, as others have mentioned. But, the printed pieces were a real breeze compared to the cast pieces - that was my real nightmare and there was no way to 'set and forget' for any real length of time, as there was no output. Then factor in the mold degradation and subsequent clean-up required of the poly pieces, the last few I just printed them on the printer and will probably never cast in bulk again.


So you've already made the jump and produced your kickstarter using printers? What was the kickstarter and what printer models did you use? I find it really interesting that you found it to be so much easier from production angle. Did you sculpt the models too, and if so, did you deliberately do it in such a way as to make them suitable for 3d printing? Or hadn't you decided how you werehandling production beforehand?

The 4k monochrome screens will/have revolutionized this industry and right in front of that is the resin costs and formulas becoming cheaper and more suitable for mini printing.


See, this seems to have been the big thing, the jump to the 3-4 hour print times. The number of people running their own Patreon or the like is suddenly flourishing.

I have 2 new games being developed now and printing the prototypes, but will be looking to set the next KS at the level to mass produce the game and I have to do very little; however, having the capability to produce everything is a real boon for me and all gamers - just not for the industry giants.

By the sounds of things, it's actually practical for your average gamer, with a few years of prep, to run a lean one-person production machine! I wonder what impact this is going to have on the wargaming market as a whole - it certainly starts making the GW kits look like their days are numbered!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/18 19:07:21



 
   
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Seattle, WA USA

 MDSW wrote:

Each game required about 11 print runs in the 3-4 hour range. What was very difficult was the time available in a day, as others have mentioned. But, the printed pieces were a real breeze compared to the cast pieces - that was my real nightmare and there was no way to 'set and forget' for any real length of time, as there was no output. Then factor in the mold degradation and subsequent clean-up required of the poly pieces, the last few I just printed them on the printer and will probably never cast in bulk again.
I'm not surprised at this, honestly. While I haven't yet started my own production (still working on game design and commissioning artwork and STLs), all 3d print was my plan for pretty much all the reasons you mentioned.

Since you did both, though, I'm curious if you could give any direct comparisons on the costs of the 3d printed vs. resin-cast, and even more interestingly the comparison of the durability and so on of the finished models. Seems like a lot of the 3d printer resins that I have played with thus far are pretty comparable to cast resins I've gotten from various companies, but I haven't done any break tests, and so on.

Edit: also, yeah, the larger build area printers coming out with still good resolution will likewise help the print runs required. If you can throw the entire contents of one "set" into a single build plate, for example, the productivity will definitely go up a lot compared to having to split that into several runs. Since we just saw 4k larger printers come out, which have resolutions in line with the old 2k smaller areas (though, the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k is currently the king of resolutions even though it has a smaller build area), we probably will see another jump in resolutions (6k? 8k?) on the large format ones soon too. (6-9 months maybe?)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/11/18 19:16:42


 
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 Ketara wrote:
chaos0xomega wrote:

If I was to do this at an industrial scale, I think I would be using a small number of larger industrial printers as opposed to a larger number of small hobby printers. Not only do they print faster but you can fit more in the build volume.

Can't say I've ever heard of giant resin industrial printers, but they sound really interesting! What are the companies/model names?



"Giant" may be an understatement here, LC Magna by Photocentric for example has 20x11x13.8 build volume - its giant by comparison to a Photon or Mars or Saturn I guess. Quite a few others in this size range, basically starting around ~$20k. Some industrial SLA resin printers can hit print speeds around 6-10 m/s (by comparison, most FDM printers only do ~200 mm/s) - the SystemX 600 from x3D for example can print 10 m/s in a ~23.5x23.5x15.75 inch print area, and there are larger versions of the printer from the same company as well.

 Valander wrote:

Edit: also, yeah, the larger build area printers coming out with still good resolution will likewise help the print runs required. If you can throw the entire contents of one "set" into a single build plate, for example, the productivity will definitely go up a lot compared to having to split that into several runs. Since we just saw 4k larger printers come out, which have resolutions in line with the old 2k smaller areas (though, the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k is currently the king of resolutions even though it has a smaller build area), we probably will see another jump in resolutions (6k? 8k?) on the large format ones soon too. (6-9 months maybe?)


Yeah, 8k seems to be the next frontier. It seems that the cost advantages for the lcd tech used in 3d printers are largely being achieved as a result of economies of scale being driven by the television and computer monitor industries, etc. so it might be a while yet before we find 8k screens making their way into the hobbyist arena. Thus far it seems the majority of the commercially available 8k screens are in the 80-100" range, with a handful of smaller screens that are way too expensive to really be commercially viable on a widespread scale. I think we're probably 1-2 years out from really seeing the 8k standard adopted in home printers.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/11/18 19:49:20


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chaos0xomega wrote:

"Giant" may be an understatement here, LC Magna by Photocentric for example has 20x11x13.8 build volume - its giant by comparison to a Photon or Mars or Saturn I guess. Quite a few others in this size range, basically starting around ~$20k. Some industrial SLA resin printers can hit print speeds around 6-10 m/s (by comparison, most FDM printers only do ~200 mm/s) - the SystemX 600 from x3D for example can print 10 m/s in a ~23.5x23.5x15.75 inch print area, and there are larger versions of the printer from the same company as well.

Some nice models in there, but when they start at £15,000, I can't help but wonder whether it might not be better to just buy 30 Mono X's or something for the same price! I suppose it's more of a space/power issue - that many printers will cost a lot in juice; as compared to powering one printer that does the same work through a more rapid turnover. You'd need to do some serious calculations to figure out what worked best.


 
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

Yep, the energy costs of 30 Mono X's vs one bigger printer are pretty sizeable in their differences. Likewise the maintenance costs - 30 mono x screens might run $1500, whereas one replacement screen for the LC Magna or similar might only be $150.

Of course, 10 Mono X's would be a more functional equivalent (still more energy usage, still probably looking at $500 in replacement screens) to the one printer, and with the pace at which 3d tech is advancing you may find yourself wanting to replace/upgrade printers every few years as the screens wear out, etc.

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Yeah, the cost of operations of one of the bigger machines is probably lower on average than, say, 30 smaller. Plus, easier to manage probably.

They're a much bigger investment up front, though (even with the HAAS type contracts for leasing). I think that's one of those things that any individual business can make steps towards, though: start out with a couple smaller printers for an investment of a couple thousand dollars. If business needs are going awesome and there's the demand, get one of the bigger.

I think it's that kind of flexibility right now that may give a jolt to a lot of the smaller, hopeful miniatures producers (like me!). You can get started and hone some skills with the smaller machines, maybe even get some sales and community built, and then grow with that as needed, in whichever way you deem best.
   
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Out of curiosity, a back of the cigarette packet calculation:-

A Mono X has a build plate of 192 x 120 x 245 mm , a max print speed of 60mm p/h, and a price tag of $750.

An LC Magna has a build plate of 510 x 280 x 350mm, a print speed of 13.3 mm p/h, and a price of $20,000

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the super expensive one is literally only about 2 1/2 times the size of the Mono and actually has a slower print speed listed. Why is it so expensive? And why on earth would you pick it? It might be a 'giant' compared to the Mono, but it seems I only need three Monos to exceed it in terms of space. What am I missing?


 
   
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Someone who does a 3d print monthly loot crate posted their workflow on Youtube. They run 8 Marses, 3 print runs a day, as a solo business.

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IIRC Neckbeardia and a few other sites already sell 3d printed models rather than resin moulded models.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Ketara wrote:
Out of curiosity, a back of the cigarette packet calculation:-

A Mono X has a build plate of 192 x 120 x 245 mm , a max print speed of 60mm p/h, and a price tag of $750.

An LC Magna has a build plate of 510 x 280 x 350mm, a print speed of 13.3 mm p/h, and a price of $20,000

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the super expensive one is literally only about 2 1/2 times the size of the Mono and actually has a slower print speed listed. Why is it so expensive? And why on earth would you pick it? It might be a 'giant' compared to the Mono, but it seems I only need three Monos to exceed it in terms of space. What am I missing?
Because if you need to print a big prototype in a single piece, you need the big printer, which requires tighter tolerances otherwise the print will drift and screw up the print. Also, don't forget that the sole reason 3d printing has exploded in recent years is because patents expired. There has been little actual RnD done on these machines.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/11/19 00:40:16


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 BaconCatBug wrote:
Because if you need to print a big prototype in a single piece, you need the big printer, which requires tighter tolerances otherwise the print will drift and screw up the print. Also, don't forget that the sole reason 3d printing has exploded in recent years is because patents expired. There has been little actual RnD done on these machines.


Oh, for sure, when we're talking about larger more industrial pieces of printing. But when it comes to printing wargaming miniatures, the implication earlier was that these large printers printed at a considerable rate of knots above your average Mono. When I'm looking at the specs though, that's not what I'm seeing. So I'm wondering if I'm looking at the wrong models of industrial printer or if I'm missing something.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/11/19 01:10:16



 
   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

Its mostly the wrong models/4k tech hasn't entirely proliferated to the industrial scale yet, in part because LCD tech is kind of a "poor mans" printing method from the point of view of those who would employ 3D printing in an industrial setting. The resolution is poorer and the build areas by default have to be smaller in order to be useful. Another part of it is that I'm not as well versed on the Industrial side of the house as I am a long way from being able to employ industrial type printers in any way shape or form.

Once 8K and 16K LCDs start becoming available you may see that change.

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 Ketara wrote:

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the super expensive one is literally only about 2 1/2 times the size of the Mono and actually has a slower print speed listed. Why is it so expensive? And why on earth would you pick it? It might be a 'giant' compared to the Mono, but it seems I only need three Monos to exceed it in terms of space. What am I missing?

I suspect that the size is a large (ahem) part of the difference, as the larger you make the print bed the harder it's going to be to keep it stable for accurate printing.

That larger screen on the Magna is also ultra HD, which is going to give better print resolution.

You would also need to factor in longevity, which potentially has a big impact on cost over time. If the Magna is designed for commercial use and the Mono isn't, running them both all day, every day is going to result in the Mono potentially wearing out considerably faster.

 
   
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Seattle, WA USA

 Ketara wrote:
 BaconCatBug wrote:
Because if you need to print a big prototype in a single piece, you need the big printer, which requires tighter tolerances otherwise the print will drift and screw up the print. Also, don't forget that the sole reason 3d printing has exploded in recent years is because patents expired. There has been little actual RnD done on these machines.


Oh, for sure, when we're talking about larger more industrial pieces of printing. But when it comes to printing wargaming miniatures, the implication earlier was that these large printers printed at a considerable rate of knots above your average Mono. When I'm looking at the specs though, that's not what I'm seeing. So I'm wondering if I'm looking at the wrong models of industrial printer or if I'm missing something.
Part of it is with DLP/MSLA tech, the print time only depends on the height of the model. So a larger build area means you can print more models at the same time, thus reducing the average time per model.

Some digging though shows that some of those bigger printers are still either SLA, which has great resolution but print time will depend on the total volume of the print (thus knocking out the advantage of larger build areas other than for bigger items), or the couple I looked at don't have the x-y resolution that I'd consider worth it for miniatures production (E.g., the LC Magna only has an x-y of 137um, which is really bad in comparison to even the last gen desktop ones such as the Anycubic Photon, which has 47um x-y, or hilariously worse than the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k which is at 37um).

That's part of why new 4k large format printers such as the Mono X and Saturn are pretty attractive, since the Saturn has a x-y of 50um, and with a build plate as large as it has you can print multiple models at the same time. Plus, the monochrome screens are much more efficient on top of that.
   
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Killer Klaivex







Sounds to me that, contrary to what was assumed earlier, it may actually be the case that existing large industrial 3d printers aren't actually better at volume printing for wargaming purposes just yet. The smaller printers seem to have leapt ahead, in price, print speed, and possibly quality too!


 
   
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Quite possibly. I would imagine that the larger printers would generally be getting used in industries where super-fine detail isn't as much of an issue, while model makers have just gone for the smaller printers.

 
   
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Sesto San Giovanni, Italy

I think that from a wider perspective, it's quite the opposite.

3d printing on the long run will substitute both the mass production of model (currently covered mainly by plastic) and the small runs of big pieces, special model or anything else.
Only the two extreme, meaning extreme high volume of extremely difficult to print and more "boutique" models will survive.

This is by the way exactly what happened in traditional printing market. You print at home or in the office, unless you need huge volume, special format or high quality.
   
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moving to 3d printing

 
   
 
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