Quick question. Littlin has grand plans for her next beetleweight. (save me now!) She really enjoyed having a go on the schools 3d printer to make some little key rings… and would now like to have a go at making part of the chassis using 3d print.
Can anyone recommend a 3d printer which would do the job, which isn’t too fancy or too expensive?
I currently run an Ender 3 V2 with microswiss hot end. I think you can get them for about £200
This is a cheap and mostly* reliable option (even without the £100 MS upgrade) and I imagine it will tick most of the boxes for you. That and a few reels of PLA -ST and you’re happily pumping out usable robot parts.
*As reliable as a cheap FDM can be - 80% of the time it works every time if you catch my drift.
Unfortunately 3d printers (unless you’re spending a small large fortune) are not set and forget and will require constant fiddling, tuning and near endless arseing about to put it mildly. My advice is to pick something that has a relatively large following so that troubleshooting is easier and less research intensive.
While I fully encourage getting a 3d printer there are a few community based services like Ranglebox who will print in combat ready materials like 910 and TPU if it should ever help out.
Thanks Harry, most helpful.
We did think about ‘buying’ the odd few bits from other makers (like Ranglebox) and this would defo be a great idea for if/when Amy want’s to take it a bit more seriously.
For now she’s quite keen to get a bit more involved in the build of her ideas and where the soldering can be a bit tricky for smaller fingers she though 3d printing might work.
For a couple of hundred quid I think we’re good to get her one to have a little go with as sooner or later we have to be ‘more technical’ with our builds
Thanks for the help with the circuit last weekend as well - muchly appreciated
Harry’s covered the main stuff here - 3D printers at home can be a fair bit of work to maintain, and prints at beetle scale can take a while to print. Chopping up HDPE panels will always be the quickest way to a chassis!
But just to add a few things - TPU is the most popular material for beetles at the moment due to being super flexible so it tends to work great for wedges and external armour panels, but less so for things that you want to keep rigid.
Pretty much any printer will print it - but having a direct drive extruder will certainly help though, what’s more important is storing the reel of TPU in a dehydrator (a normal food one will do!) so it doesn’t get too moist and print badly!
Thanks Joe, lots of food for thought there.
3D printing is amazing for smaller parts. Things like internal mounting, gears, wheel hubs and the like. Wedges and armour in TPU are super viable too. Whole chassis tho, I still think HDPE is king.
For materials I’d recommend TPU for anything that is ok having a bit of flex: armour, wheel hubs etc… And eSun PLA-ST for anything that needs to be a bit more rigid (although nylon variants are the best option for this, it’s difficult to print and also prints at a higher temp than a lot of cheap printers can safely handle).
An ender3 can be had for a little over 150quid which is a bargain but there are some other great options around these days too I’ve heard.
Thanks all - we’ll stay old skool for now and stick with the HDPE