On the other hand . . . at least I received a follow up e-mail from
Shapeways on my latest venture asking me to complete a survey. When I
scored them a very kind hearted 4/10, they asked why and asked for photos.
Maybe some light at the end of . . . well, I’m not sure this very dark
place is a tunnel yet.
What I am finding is they can be used for right sizing and developing fit
on parts I will later print elsewhere. So far the dimensions as
printed are very very close to as drawn. So I adapt what I use Shapeways
for. On a small street car model for BCER (clerestory roof) I did a very
simplified roof design which will facilitate hand finishing. I hope
that will work well enough (should be here soon).
"If I read the specs correctly, this gives exactly the same level of detail
as Shapeways FUD. Both list the finest detail at 100 microns or
0.1mm. That said, it is still pretty cool that you can get this for that
price and of course, unlike Shapeways, you control the direction of build, which
is a critical parameter."
This is a fused deposition machine. According to the specs the plastic
filament used as build material is 1.75mm (nominally 0.070") diameter. The
heated nozzle through which the filament is extruded is 0.4mm (nominally 0.016",
or roughly 1.4" in HO). That is your "pixel" size for this particular printer,
and you can't build a feature by stacking single "pixels" on top of each
other. Also from the specs, the 100 micron figure is the minimum (in this
case, that means best) "layer resolution", which I assume means minimum layer
thickness, not the minimum resolvable feature size. Shapeways doesn't quote
layer thickness, but I believe their FUD process uses 29 micron layers. FWIW,
the printers they use for FUD are capable of 16 micron layers.
My latest Shapeways adventure ended yesterday, badly. They can now do 11.3"
long parts with FUD, vs. 7" previously. I sent them files for two HO Pullman
sides (sans doors), which were 10.3" x 1" x 0.090". Surely they wouldn't build
those standing on edge??? Surely, they did.......