They are at that level where laser printers were back in the early 90's
I find the ability to print polyurethane is particularly useful for automotive repair / restorations.
I haven't posted many designs yet on thingiverse.com...
..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 thingiverse.com 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...
88 XR4Ti - mono white T5, someday to be bi wing
89 Scorpio - waiting on some parts before it hits the road again
88 XR4Ti - mono red C3, parts car
used to own 86 dark blue traded in on a min van, what was I thinking?
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 gearbest.com. 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. Matterhackers.com 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.