Thursday, 18 May 2017

Cyberbond for 3D printing

I am a loyal Cyberbond customer. I have used their cyanoacrylate to finish 3D printed parts for more than 10 years now. The only reason I would change is if I found a product that would produce a better finish.

The fact is Cyberbond make a high quality product. Here is what I mean.

The test parts shown below were made in 2009 and 2010 respectively. They have been kept out of sunlight since that time and discolouration is minimal.

Sample parts in 2009 and 2010 
shown along side a part made in 2017

This ability to keep colour is not the same with some other products. If you leave Cyberbond to go off in the bottle it remains completely clear. No discolouration as it ages. I have had samples of inferior product go yellow in weeks.

When I visit customers I want to see design models crowding their offices that look good. Models need to stay good for the life of a project which could easily be 5 or 10 years.

This is not a promise that our parts will never discolour. Direct sunlight, moisture and dust will all discolour 3D printed parts made on ZCorp or Projet x60 machines. 

In addition to not discolouring, when choosing cyanoacrylate for this purpose you need to look at other physical characteristics of the glue. If the glue is too thin it will leave a white powdery look to the model. Too thick it will produce an uneven finish with matt and shiny streaks. 

All in all, sales people are not going to fare well armed with their "very competitive price" and claiming to "supply all the major users in the UK and Europe". Well, I am sorry but you are not supplying this one. 









Monday, 8 May 2017

Why I voted for 3DPRINTUK

3D Printing Industry "The Authority on 3D Printing" are organising their industry awards and entreating readers to vote...

In the 3D Printing Bureau section there are two manufacturers, a portal and Shapeways offered as service bureaus that you might choose from.

I am not impressed.

I could list a whole bunch of bureaus that I consider our direct competition and all of them are better bureaus than anything this list offers.

My hastily compiled list would consist mostly of small bureaus providing professional services. The most important word there is service and this is the one attribute I would not ascribe to 3D Printing Industry's nominated bureaus.

Stratasys and 3D Systems both offer lumbering bureaus that can only compete with bureaus offering a decent service because they don't have to pay exorbitant costs of machines and consumables. If you are not a sizeable corporate they really are not going to be interested.

3D Hubs is not a bureau. 

While Shapeways has done much to offer a diverse range of 3D printing technologies at low cost,it is entirely consumer focused and offers little in the way of professional services. 

Good service bureaus create relationships with customers. They help them to prepare data, they advise on the best technologies and materials, they usually advise on how to produce parts at lower costs and they print and finish high quality parts and they do all this quickly and efficiently. 

I voted for 3DPRINTUK because they are a better 3D printing bureau than any of the other options on offer.




If you want to find out more about 3D Print UK go to - https://www.3dprint-uk.co.uk/




Yet another 3D printing App!

Oh gosh another app to connect engineers and designers with 3D printing bureaus. Still peddling the 3D printing hype, now with a rambling message conflating additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping and all projected into a dreamy future.
Allegedly engineers do not know if their parts are printable. They need an app to check their parts, to fix them and then to tell them what material to use and who should print it.
In these days, before AI finally saves us from our own innate idiocy, it is usually best not to expect help from an app. If engineers really need help then it is best to speak to real people with real experience. Automated file fixing procedures are very unreliable and can lead to all manner of unfortunates being printed.
Not only can people advise on printability and appropriateness of materials they can also advise on how to optimise files for cost. An app will not turn around and suggest you hollow the part, make it in parts, nest parts or simply reorient the part to reduce costs. It would be very easy to pay over the odds through an app.
Phone around some bureaus, ask the usual questions. Will this work? Is there a better way to do it? Is there a way to do this for less? Bureaus are in business to build trusting relationships with their customers and to build their reputation generally. Apps have nothing at stake on each job they process except the percentage they take.
Apps are seductive. They give the impression that everything is going to be easy, everything has been thought through. Its pure snake oil.