Elminster wrote: ↑
Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:29 am
That isn't really the issue. I just want to be able to order stuff online and it turns up. Like PCB boards. It a good 45 min drive to the nearest Makerspace. Only printers in our libraries print paper, not sure if other UK libraries do this but not something our county council offers.
FWIW, my own experience with printing things from Thingiverse (I'm using the 3D printers at my local makerspace) is that it is very different from ordering a PCB. If I make a PCB, order it made and when I get it there is a fault on it - then it's my fault and I can fix it and order a new board - I can live with that.
Printing someone else's model from Thingiverse is different: the current state of 3D printing (at least for consumers) makes the process much more like prototyping: print one, find out that it doesn't fit correctly, then you need to adjust it and print a new one and try again.
And this is where problems can start to creep up on you:
- some makers only put the .STL files on Thingiverse, not the 3D model itself. STL files can be edited, but adjusting model parameters in those is far from easy.
- the 3D model is provided but it was made with a program you don't know how to use, one you don't have and which costs serious money, or one where it is really hard to change the model
- the 3D model is made in such a way that it is hard (or even impossible) to change parameters (height, width, thickness and so on)
There is also the fact that no matter how good and precise the 3D model is, it might need a fudge factor to print correctly on a 3D printer (if it is two parts that need to fit together just right for example).
So be prepared that ordering something printed from Thingiverse just might need more iterations than ordering a PCB for example. The being said, I haven't tried any commercial 3D printing services (like ShapeWays) so maybe they are better than this.
IMHO, the best approach for 3D printing is having access to a 3D printer yourself and designing your own 3D models (I'm using OpenSCAD and have recently started to learn and use FreeCAD), it shortens the iteration time considerably.