Ans: Depends. The Rep Rap series of 3D printers are cheap, as with the upcoming Pirate3D desktop printers, but the main issue with these printers is either in the sacrifices in the quality of the prints, or the smaller size of the prototyping platform. At 3DTectonix, we strive to customize solutions based on consumer expectations, applying an assortment of other techniques to achieve the finalized product that customers look for.
Ans: FDM stands for fused deposition modeling. FDM printing operates by layering extruded plastic through a nozzle, layer by layer, and has a widespread range of applications and uses. Rapid prototypes created using this method will begin to harden immediately. At 3DTectonix, we use it to test a part’s functionality and usually for large scale injection mold manufacturing. However, it is compatible also for home based solutions, such as 3D printed guitar parts, toys etc (check out our store for more details).
Ans: There are many other forms, but the one other form of 3D printing that is becoming increasingly affordably is SLA (Stereo-lithography). As its name suggests, it is an optical fabrication technique which uses laser to harden liquid resin as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light while building molds, prototypes or patterns. Compared to FDM, it is much faster whilst still accurate. However, the products are not as strong, and the plastic resins are relatively more expensive.
Ans: The answer is that it depends on the individual’s commitments and workload. If you are a working adult with a family to take care of, you probably won’t have that luxury of an entire weekend working on the product. Also, despite the surge in number of open source codes available online for arduino or Raspberry Pi sponsored products, the hassle goes beyond just coding. The fixing of the extruders, alignment and assembly are extremely tedious, not to mention the numerous trial and errors involved in the printing process itself. An unbiased perspective from 3DTectonix members would be to enlist the help of 3D printing solutions if it is just a one off project, or start out with a readymade desktop printer first.