This a old pic of just the frame: http://www.flickr.com/photos/willrea...in/photostream
I got the y axis linear rail and bed assembly this week and I'll upload a pic of all that soon. Also decided on upgrading the x axis to a linear rail and will need to use a aluminum angle to mount the extruder on. I'm waiting on word about the extruder body and the controller board should be shipping next week or so.
I prefer the one with basement cat.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
I saw a 3D printer at my son's elementary school computer lab just now--a $2000 machine, but what it turns out seems fairly rough. The shapes can be complex, but the surface isn't exactly fine enough for camera parts without some additional machining or hand finishing. I could see myself cranking out the slip-on lenscaps, though.
It has kind of a Heathkit or maybe COSMAC ELF look about it. I'm sure there will be something in 10 years that will make this thing look like a TRS-80 looks to us today-- http://store.makerbot.com/replicator.html
The Makerbots aren't worth the money. Soon you can spend the same or a little less money and get a magnitude better precision which should greatly improve the quality.
One can use acetone fumes or similar techniques to smooth out the surfaces. I've also thought about lens caps using either IMPLA or HIPLA since they have a little flex in t hem so you can get a snug fit.
3D printing with the "hot melt glue gun" approach currently has some limitations. It is not always light tight or water tight for one. Easily fixed with a little silicone or body putty. The other more serious one for me is that it tends to be somewhat weak across the "grain"....at least with ABS. Also, expect a little sanding when there are tight fits. There are other 3D technologies out there that are better (and I use almost daily!), but not quite ready for home use but will be in the next few years. That said, if you are careful with build direction and are willing to fill it a bit if needed, you can make a lot of stuff with it including cameras. I personally have a hankerin' to build a CNC router and start making large format cameras among other things! Maybe when I retire.
I am GM Fanuc operator and cost at cnc machines depends on time wasted on cutting the part. If you design your part with solidworks , generate the cutting code and buy a big chunck of cnc machines plastic block , cutting is still cheaper than printing , especially parts are mid or bigger size
I agree that CNC cutting of plastic (and wood) is better than 3D printing.
For an example of a camera made with a CNC machine, see my link below for my 6x12 camera. This was made with an Excellon CNC router. This is a bit limited compared with a full function 3 axis router or mill as the Z axis height is not as easy to control in G code as the X and Y (it is possible but it's usually easier to run separate programmes at various depths).
I do not use a 3D CAD package like Solidworks. I draw the part in Autocad, offset the profile by the radius of the cutter and write the G code by hand based on the coordinates of the offset path. This sounds more of a hassle than it really is. For more complex parts, I ask our CAD expert to convert my file for me although I do now have a good DXF to G code convertor.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.