Another 3-D plastic printer


If you want to make your own plastic parts (HP28 battery door, other battery doors or trays, or even your own calculator), take a look at

Solidoodle printer

The price is $500. The claimed resolution is a fraction of a millimeter.

Is this like Polaroid (film) or inkjet printers (the ink): are they planning to make their money on the plastic? They charge $43 for 2 pounds of ABS filament - I have no idea whether that's a good price or not (or how much "stuff" that will make).

(PS I have no association with this company.)


Wow, that is the least informative web site I've ever seen!

How does the printer connect to your computer? Does it come with any software? If so, what can it do; if not, what software do you need?


You need to click on the How to Install Software link and then there's quite a bit more info about the software required.

How to Install Software

Still a mystery to me.



This is almost the same as the early/mid 70s trend to built your own computer from scratch. A commercial 3D rapid prototyping printer still sells for a 5-digit-price, these hobby printer are almost as good.

A search for "reprap" or "makerbot" will supply plenty of infos.

These will be attached to a computer and accept standard 3D files.

Still thinking about buying/building one <g>


But how do you create the 3D models of the parts you want to print? I guess you need a 3D scanner as well. Creating a 3D model from scratch is probably only feasible for simple parts. Anybody out there who has some experience with rebuilding parts using such a 3D printer?


A co-worker of mine wanted to go in half with me on a 3-d printer so we did all the research. There are affordable 3-d scanners out there or if you can program in G- code or one of the other maching languages simple parts shouldn't be too difficult. The problem i had is that AFAIK all the hobby machines don't have good resolution or good enough platform stability to crank out high quality finishes. At least at the time the hobby machines required an excessive amount of fine tuning and calibration. I have experience working with objects from high quality 3-d printers and it was coming out of a six figure machine. Basically it comes down to you get what you pay for and if you write really good code you get nice parts. Then there is the R.O.I factor. Do you want to invest several thousand dollars to make a small run of battery covers or some other small part.


It really depends on your skill with a 3D CAD application (Pro/E, Solidworks, Inventor, etc.) as to the best way to create the 3D model. I wasn't too impressed with the 3D scanners that interfaced with Solidworks when I looked at them several years ago.

As for the accuracy and surface finish, I agree that you get what you pay for. However, I would love to have one of these to make a positive plastic mold. I could then touch up the mold with hand tools as necessary, make a split negative mold with some two-part flexible casting compound I have, and make positives in wax for investment castings. I already have a project in mind...


I didn't think that was out yet but it says in stock - looks like I need to find some reviews!

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