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Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 9:15 am
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
Form Labs has an offer to ship you a free part made on their printers as a promotional deal. So you could send them a Merkur part and they will make you one on their printers for free. Now I'd guess there's a catch (like most free stuff) such as you need to be a big company or sign up with credit card then cancel if not happy etc. Maybe send them a bat wing or something?

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:34 pm
by brokencase
It's high time to get yourself a 3d printer. The cost of these has drastically dropped.
They are at that level where laser printers were back in the early 90's

Like these..

I find the ability to print polyurethane is particularly useful for automotive repair / restorations.

I haven't posted many designs yet on

..but I have downloaded and printed so many other things. There is hardly a day that goes by without my 3d printer humming away.
I would say that on there are about 20 new models posted in just the automotive category every day.
Folks like me each day contributing a little model of something to the greater good.

Any little plastic gadget you used to have to hunt down and pay out the wazu for is now available on thingiverse.
Stuff like pcb stand-offs, vaccuum t fittings, zip tie mounts, plastic end caps, project enclosures, spacers, pipe adapters, etc...
Many of the models are parametric so you can size/adjust them easily to your needs.

A while back I printed out a rear main seal tool for my brother to use on his Porsche Boxter motor.
Were were like "Well lets check thingiverse to see if anyone has made one..." Sure enough...

This is one case where I can safely state that if your not on this 3d bandwagon then the world is passing you by...

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:10 pm
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
You can make more than just action figures with those things?

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:51 pm
by brokencase
Exactly. But if you want to dress up as Iron Man for your wife, well heck that is possible too...

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:26 pm
by DAReese
brokencase wrote: Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:51 pm Exactly. But if you want to dress up as Iron Man for your wife, well heck that is possible too...

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:32 pm
by andyofcolumbusmerkur
Never knew you could print out urethane suspension stuff though, that's pretty cool. I figured it was just the one type of hard plastic. Sway bars, engine mounts, hmmm. It could pay for itself.

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:35 pm
by brokencase
Yes, I would say polyurethane was the clincher for me as well.

Generally it is 80-90 durometer. You can print it "solid" or you can print it with lighter infill to mimic softer durometers.
I've not noticed any noxious odors while printing polyurethane. ABS is a little nasty.

I don't think it is cost competitive to do large suspension bushings that you can purchase elsewhere ready made.
But it is good for doing smaller stuff that you can't get anywhere else

I did a set of negative camber offset upper trunnion bushings for my Sprite. These were printed solid and they came out nice.
But these were small. Somebody else sells them but they want too much for them!

I've also done small spacers to go under the "bump stops" on the rear hatch of the Scorpio. These were printed with light infill
so they behave more like a dampener.

There are two different ways the filament is fed in these machines. Bowden tube or direct drive.
I have a Bowden setup. In this case there is a feed motor pushing the filament through a long teflon tube over to the print head.
You can't push softer durometer filament with the Bowden tube setup. You are limited to about 80 durometer.

The direct drive type machines have the feed motor right on the print head. They can work with softer durometers.

However the print head is heavier with the direct drive so they can't accelerate the print head as fast as the Bowden style
machines. They have a heavy stepper motor on the print head. I don't see any need to print low durometer material so I am
happy with the Bowden setup.

The first rule of 3d printing is that it is a slow process. Anything you can do to make it print faster pays off in the long run.
So not long after I got my machine I started printing "upgrades" to the printer itself. I lightened up the print head and cross gantry considerably. I then installed modified firmware with increased "acceleration" and "jerk" parameters.
It is just like performance enhancing a sports car.

The machine I purchased is called a Tronxy X5S and it is sold by It comes as a kit and took me a few days days to put it together. Most of that time was spent soldering and organizing wires. Months thereafter are spent on the learning curve of how to best use the machine. Don't be scared, You'll be fine right out of the gate printing stuff with PLA, But you will find yourself doing web forum research as you move to new and different plastics. has a lot of good tutorials, also I highly recommend
Thomas Sanladerer's videos on youtube.

My machine is a fairly large machine, a cube about 2.3 foot on each edge. So you have to devote a spot to park it. Initially I felt I bought too large a machine, but as time has gone by I am printing larger items.

Re: Form Labs 3D Printer

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:43 pm
by brokencase
BTW, Here's the iron man suit if your wife is still interested...