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View Full Version : New toy, Afinia 3D printer



Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 12:19 AM
Well, it's my birthday next week so I thought I'd get something fun :beer:

Arrived yesterday. So far I have printed a couple of impossible gear wheels off thingiverse.com, a mounting bracket that was proving tricky to cut and a plastic case I AutoCADded some years back.

I haven't dared take it to it's top precision yet because it is slow enough as it is. Think I'll resist pressing the "Fine" and "0.15mm layer" buttons until bed time. I'm using Alibre 2012 to draw in 3D, the new version looks a lot friendlier than the one I had.

Overall impression? Freaking amazing so long as the part edges rise steeper than 45 degrees from the horizontal. Shallower than that and I reach for the sandpaper because it gets a bit steppy.

Next a case for my milling machine pendant, the missing parts from my plasma torch height control, suddenly the tube feeders for my pick and place become simple and I can make as many as I want as complicated as I want. Holding those chip tubes was tricky, milling from all sorts of angles, needed lots, PITA. Now I can print a chip tube shaped hole. Bliss.

Have to buy some more ABS so I don't run out over Xmas. Think I will try the 'Octave' filament, it has a slightly lower melting point.

wilfy
09-12-2012, 12:23 AM
did you really make that cog wheel on that printer? thats friggin amazing... can i ask how much that cost?

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 12:40 AM
did you really make that cog wheel on that printer? thats friggin amazing... can i ask how much that cost?

The cog or the printer? :hysterical:

The cog has a herringbone tooth pattern, a hexagonal bore and meshes fine and dandy with the little idler. Someone has written a cog to .stl script for some program or other and the print geeks are going wild with it. If you want a cog to look at, ask me quick before it becomes boring :thumsup:

The printer was £1512 including tax and delivery and came with 2kg of white filament. Doubtless someone will now find it cheaper but I don't care.

There are cheaper DIY options but the Afinia comes ready to run and has neat software which sorts out all the support on your overhangs.

martin54
09-12-2012, 01:32 AM
The cog or the printer? :hysterical:

The cog has a herringbone tooth pattern, a hexagonal bore and meshes fine and dandy with the little idler. Someone has written a cog to .stl script for some program or other and the print geeks are going wild with it. If you want a cog to look at, ask me quick before it becomes boring :thumsup:

The printer was £1512 including tax and delivery and came with 2kg of white filament. Doubtless someone will now find it cheaper but I don't care.

There are cheaper DIY options but the Afinia comes ready to run and has neat software which sorts out all the support on your overhangs.


Robin what made you chose that particular printer if you don't mind me asking, I know there are a few on the market now from the little I do know about them, fancy one myself but a bit out of my price range unfortunately.
I think they are absolutely amazing & you have to wonder what will come next.

Jonathan
09-12-2012, 01:33 AM
At that resolution the results do look good. It would be nice to see some close-up pictures of the parts. You could make some cable covers for stepper motors.

I'm getting increasingly tempted to make the extrusion head thingy and attach it to my router to turn it into a rapid prototyper...

Your workspace looks about as tidy as mine!

Lee Roberts
09-12-2012, 02:00 AM
Nice one Robin, would love to get my hands on one of your cogs:toot:

Will settle for better pics if you get to many requests...


Your workspace looks about as tidy as mine!

AND MINE, ALL OF THEM!

.Me

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 02:05 AM
Robin what made you chose that particular printer if you don't mind me asking

I was dithering, someone had a pukka laser driven resin caster on a kick-starter scheme. Super accurate and around $2k to those willing to buy in advance so he could raise the capital to make them. The Afinia (UP! Plus) seemed to be the one making the clever stuff, ie: the geek choice.

Then 2 things happened, the resin caster got slammed with a patent violation law suit and Afinia released a 0.15mm layer version of their software.

It lays down ABS in layers and thin is tricky. Some stop at .25mm, .2mm is normal, 0.15mm sounds exciting. There is "The Cube" at a better price but I think it only does 0.25mm and they have put the filament in cassettes so they can screw up the price of consumables. Apparently they give you a hard sell when you register the machine to get the software.

The clincher for me was a YouTube movie showing the Afinia in pieces, it uses profile rails rather than round rail and bushings. I liked that. It has a steel frame which is good. Levelling the table is a PITA until you figure out how to do it. Quite honestly all the home use machines are a bit Mickey Mouse but some are more MM than others.

Every advert you see will print in white. White doesn't show streaks.

There is the PLA filament alternative to ABS. Very eco-friendly because it's bio degradable. Not too keen on my parts rotting so I'm sticking with the ABS.

D.C.
09-12-2012, 02:20 AM
Why not print yourself a 4th axis?
Then you can make useful stuff using a cnc machine instead. ;)

3d Printed Planetary Gears Version 2.5 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MSdwa_U0XM)

Chas
09-12-2012, 08:03 AM
I was waiting for the Form1 to be released before making a decision on that or a Replicator2. I'd not come across the Afinia so it looks now to be a toss up between the Replicator2 & the Afinia for me !

I could really use one of these, I'm hopeless at design so end up making several prototypes that I can actually hold in my hands before I finally end up with something that's both functional & as aesthetically pleasing as possible. At the moment I'm CNC milling my protoypes in aluminium & wasting a lot of time making fixtures & re-working the Gcode.

I reckon £2kish on one of these will be money well spent if they turn out to be reliable bits of kit.

Clive S
09-12-2012, 11:01 AM
753775387539
Another two nemma 24 endplates coming off the production line. Seriously though an end plate will take about 2.5 hours to print with a layer height of about .2mm and a nozzle of .35 mm. You also need a heated bed to about 110C for ABS and about 60C for PLA plastic but PLA is not suitable for temps higher than about 60c as it softens.

I don't think converting a cnc machine is viable the feed rates are a lot higher with 3D printing. For those that are interested look at RepRap Forums (http://forums.reprap.org/index.php) there are plenty of self builds. Re the pics the one made with screwed rod is a Prusa and the other is a mendel90. All the plastic bits were made on the Prusa for the M90

njhussey
09-12-2012, 12:00 PM
Damn you Robin.......now I want one :)

Would be useful to be able to make my own gears for my RC helis...guess I'll have to add that to the long list of "nice to haves" that I currently have!

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 12:10 PM
Yes, I forgot about the heated bed. Also what goes on the heated bed! Mine came with perf board, bulldog clips and a scraper thing so you can get it back to flat for the next job. Other options seem to be paint and tape. Apparently it has to get a good grip on the bed or things go to hell in a handbasket PDQ. I haven't had any problems, yet.

Close up pics. It seemed a bit unkind to point digi-microscope at it before I had it all figured out, but I'm not selling 3D printers so what do I care.

3d1.jpg shows the printed item still attached to the perf board with the "support raft" still in place.
3d1a.jpg is a close up of a gear tooth top.
3d1b.jpg shows a gear tooth from the side
3d1c.jpg shows an M4 spacer pushed in to a hex hole. It couldn't quite smear the plastic surface on the thin edge so you can see the internal structure.
3d1d.jpg is about as bad as it can get. This is the botttom of a 27.5mm tube resting on the bed so it is all requiring support from below.


Edit: To be fair I should remind you that I haven't pressed the "Fine" button yet. This slows everything down so it can get more heat into the plastic. These were printed using the default settings which is reasonably quick. The big gear took about an hour 45.

Washout
09-12-2012, 03:28 PM
I've been itching to get or built a 3D printer for a while and almost ordered a Makerbot Replicator until I saw these: Formlabs - High Resolution Desktop 3D Printer (http://formlabs.com/)

Chris

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 06:40 PM
At last, something useful !

I saw this on thingiverse and made it twice before I realised his design was crap.

Redrew it from scratch and it works a treat.

http://www.robinhewitt.net/Printing.wmv

Has to be good for 99p on ebay :hysterical:

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 06:48 PM
I've been itching to get or built a 3D printer for a while and almost ordered a Makerbot Replicator until I saw these: Formlabs - High Resolution Desktop 3D Printer (http://formlabs.com/)

Yes it is delicious, but this is the kickstart resin printer I mentioned. I understand they got whacked with a patent violation :very_drunk:

Chas
09-12-2012, 07:19 PM
Yes it is delicious, but this is the kickstart resin printer I mentioned. I understand they got whacked with a patent violation :very_drunk:

& they'll be bogged down in that lawsuit till the money runs out. The kickstarters 'might' get their machines but I doubt they'll risk any kind of mass production & I doubt they'll win the lawsuit. Which is a damned shame.

GEOFFREY
09-12-2012, 08:11 PM
Hi Robin, that looks brilliant, I want one. However I have no chance of getting one as I have a large new laser in the garage which has never even yet got around to fitting the tube!!!
The piece you have made I assume was drawn in 2d. Are you able to draw in 3d as I dont even know where to start, and would to try to find a course(for the simple minded.

Regards,G

martin54
09-12-2012, 09:31 PM
Hi Robin, that looks brilliant, I want one. However I have no chance of getting one as I have a large new laser in the garage which has never even yet got around to fitting the tube!!!
The piece you have made I assume was drawn in 2d. Are you able to draw in 3d as I dont even know where to start, and would to try to find a course(for the simple minded.

Regards,G

Have you tried sketchup? Used on this forum by quite a few & lots of tutorials available for it

Trimble SketchUp (http://www.sketchup.com/)

GEOFFREY
09-12-2012, 10:44 PM
Thanks Martin I will give that a try.

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 10:46 PM
The piece you have made I assume was drawn in 2d. Are you able to draw in 3d

It is not easy to get out of the 2D mindset and let the jolly old creative juices flow. We tend to work in bar, plate and rod because that is what is available and it can be pricy stuff so you don't want to machine too much of it away.

To go 3D you really need to work in clay or hammer forged iron, but that doesn't help much if you are trying to produce a 3D drawing you can cut from.

Most 3D drawing is done by extruding 2D drawings either as lumps or holes, running shapes around outlines and lofting.

Lofting can be either three stacked 2D drawings connected with flowing curves that morph to fit each shape in turn. It can be two 2D drawings and a trajectory line. You can get really arty-farty with a bit of lofting.

njhussey
09-12-2012, 10:48 PM
Geoff...Sketchup is easy once you get the hang of it, belows a drawing of my cheap and dirty balsa router I'm making...

7565

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 10:59 PM
Have you tried sketchup?

I am not hugely au fait with Sketchup but I believe it only moves in one direction. You build up a complex shape but 20 minutes down the road when you find the duff dimension you inserted in shape #1 you can't go back, edit that dimension and have everything that connects to it, qoes around or through it, sort itself out automatically. Many machines are drawn with Sketchup and look wonderful, but when it comes to cutting perhaps all you have is a convenient outline and hole plan that can be copied item by item into a CAD program.

martin54
09-12-2012, 11:18 PM
I am not hugely au fait with Sketchup but I believe it only moves in one direction. You build up a complex shape but 20 minutes down the road when you find the duff dimension you inserted in shape #1 you can't go back, edit that dimension and have everything that connects to it, qoes around or through it, sort itself out automatically. Many machines are drawn with Sketchup and look wonderful, but when it comes to cutting perhaps all you have is a convenient outline and hole plan that can be copied item by item into a CAD program.

Robin to be honest I have no idea as I don't use it myself, just read about it on here as some people use it plus it has also been mentioned on some of the 3D printer sites I have looked at. Should really download it & have a look for myself but it's finding the time & I hate having to learn to use new software as well.

Robin Hewitt
09-12-2012, 11:46 PM
I hate having to learn to use new software as well.


Me too. Perhaps your next step could be to wait and see if the Sketchup users come back to tell me I am wrong :thumbdown:

GEOFFREY
10-12-2012, 12:02 AM
You are so right about it not being easy to let go of the 2d thought train. I feel that I am too set in my ways to think outside of the box, and would learn 3d far quicker with some personal training, preferably face to face so that any problems can be directly explainned. That is why I would like to find some form of nightschool (at age 69) etc. If I did learn 3d I would ceratinly want to be able to put cutter paths on. I know that with my router I would only be able to contour a flat sided (base) model, but that would still be awesome.

njhussey
10-12-2012, 12:03 AM
Well I use it for visualising what I'm proposing to make, I haven't got into it enough to be able to tell you, I'm still learning it and far from proficient!! You can get plugins i believe to export as a DXF and also a STP file.

wilfy
10-12-2012, 12:18 AM
if you look in the discussion for google sketchup.. someone posted a links to videos for me... i literaly watched these 3 videos and went from not a clue to building my cnc machine in sketchup... there are a few clunky things where you resize one thing and it'll drag the rest of the pieces connected to it in ways you wouldnt imagine.. but simple uses of the group tool, and locking can prevent things like that from happening.

it's got to the point now where i will draw something, and then group it straight away, even if its a piece of box section, you will find out ways to make it work for you.

however.. i aint got a clue how to export it to a cad/cam program and produce a real item from it.. heck i dont even know how to produce a flat piece in to a real item yet

Robin Hewitt
10-12-2012, 01:31 AM
That is why I would like to find some form of nightschool (at age 69) etc.

The first step in creating a fancy 3D object is a drawing. A perspective drawing which has the shape you are trying to achieve and the critical dimensions.

I use a large white board and lots of different colour pens. A large white board means you can draw it another way then decide which one to erase.

Do not even look at a 3D CAD program until you have that picture and a strong desire to turn it in to reality.

When drawing freehand you are not constrained to one plane, everything is possible.

If you sit down at a computer and try to design something, all art is lost because you have invested time getting to the point where you realise the mistake, the better way to do it. You are loath to rip it all up and try it another way.

Before you start drawing on the computer, decide how you are going to draw it within the softwares capability. Do not start with an arbitrary line, you will be drawing interconnecting shapes. You must have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

The computer should only serve to inject reality. After all, everything has to fit and you must be able to assemble it.

Musht
10-12-2012, 02:07 AM
& they'll be bogged down in that lawsuit till the money runs out. The kickstarters 'might' get their machines but I doubt they'll risk any kind of mass production & I doubt they'll win the lawsuit. Which is a damned shame.

Patent appears to be a software rather than hardware one:

BBC News - Kickstarter sued over 3D Systems' printer patent (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20434031)

ok possibly a significant feature , but U.S patent suit only popular one when LED patent wars were still hot was to relocate the H.Q. , at least on paper, to Canada, outside reach of U.S. patent system.

Form Labs don`t seem overly bothered, but with 2.8m USD of investors money, stay calm and carry on ;-)

FORM 1: An affordable, professional 3D printer by Formlabs » Our Number One Priority — Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/formlabs/form-1-an-affordable-professional-3d-printer/posts/359983#comments)

Patent expires in 2 years anyway, the DLP SLA cat is out of the bag, some places there into mixing their own photosensitive resins.

Afinia looks like a very useable FDM design for actually making parts, ABS being straight off useablle for things like gear cogs if can do resolution.

Musht
10-12-2012, 02:45 AM
I am not hugely au fait with Sketchup but I believe it only moves in one direction. You build up a complex shape but 20 minutes down the road when you find the duff dimension you inserted in shape #1 you can't go back, edit that dimension and have everything that connects to it, qoes around or through it, sort itself out automatically. Many machines are drawn with Sketchup and look wonderful, but when it comes to cutting perhaps all you have is a convenient outline and hole plan that can be copied item by item into a CAD program.

Sketchup will scale in any direction, and its possible to group objects and scale them independently, it`s quite capable, but its a drawing program with its roots more in architectural than mechanical design, so it treats things as wireframes rather than solid objects like Solidworks or Inventor do. Though its very extendable with things like Sketchy Physics.

It`s fast to pick up the basics because the push/pull tool is intuitve. For modelling the 3D warehouse is unbeatable.

Catch for machining is its STL and DXF export can be poor, in the end sprung for Viacad 2D/3D, as reccomended here, it has the push/pull tool and decent DXF export.

dsc
10-12-2012, 09:48 AM
S[cut]

Catch for machining is its STL and DXF export can be poor, in the end sprung for Viacad 2D/3D, as reccomended here, it has the push/pull tool and decent DXF export.

Agreed, I found DXF export appalling, especially when doing round-to-side-view exports for dimensioning. There's other annoying things like clipping of faces, disappearing faces and printing issues, but you have to remember it's free (well the free version is free). Sure Solidworks is better, but you pay monies for it to be that good. Still I'd recommend moving away from Sketchup if you're planning to use it a lot and for complicated models.

Regards,
dsc.

Robin Hewitt
10-12-2012, 03:25 PM
in the end sprung for Viacad 2D/3D, as reccomended here, it has the push/pull tool and decent DXF export.

I looked at Viacad this morning and critical dimensions look like an afterthought bolted on to an arty concept.

I use Alibre because they had a special offer, $999 software for $99. It can drive me bonkers when I get it wrong but the concept is good. I don't think it is worth $999 so I cannot recommend it.

You rough draw 2D outlines that define the shape. You can create as many planes to draw 2D pictures on as you like.

You add constraints to your 2D drawings and then add dimension arrows. As you dimension you pull the rough drawing in to an exact shape.

Then you extrude, loft, cut etc 2D drawings in to a 3D shape.

Every 2D drawing, plane, extrusion etc. adds another entry to the list on screen left. At anytime you can right button any entry on that list and select edit. Change any item and you change everything below it on the list that references back to it. If your constraints make the change impossible it stops at the awkward item so you can figure out how you are blocking it.

If a program doesn't have that list of drawings and commands that go into building your final shape, you have to wonder if it remembers the shape of where you are now rather than how to build it. Once you lose the information on how to build it, you lose the references that tie it together. I count that as the difference between CAD and making pretties.

PeterGrant
18-03-2014, 10:31 AM
Have you tested their filaments? Printing with ABS filament is fairly straight forward; although compared with PLA, a heated print platform is required. Remember that the first layer is bonding with the print platform. If the print is not firmly attached to the platform, the print will fail. Anyways, I got 12 spools of ABS filament (http://www.3d2print.net/shop/filament/abs-filament/)in a Saver Pack deals at 3d2print.net for only €299,95. So far, I never had any issues with melting point.

PeterGrant
01-07-2014, 03:10 PM
So how’s it building your first 3D printer ? My brother also owns an Afinia-3D-printer; he assembled the machine so easily. Anyways, have you also tried your first print? I remember when we first tried it out, we used filament like this http://www.3d2print.net/shop/3d-printer-filament/nylon-filament/ and the Eiffel tower as the model.

Robin Hewitt
05-07-2014, 12:18 PM
Anyways, have you also tried your first print?

According to the books I have printed and sold 1137 items at £3.95 each incl. The printer required one new nozzle assembly and now has an annoying habit of stepping all 4 motors when it is supposed to be idle. I can work around that but without new toy enthusiasm I doubt I will chase the fault.

Plastic choice in ABS seems to be between pukka CIBA and cheap Chinese, quite honestly the cheap Chinese seems to stick to itself better, choice probably depends on how long the plastic has to cool down before it is revisited by the nozzle.

Lifting at the corners when you print a large flat base is a right royal pain in the bum, I never got anywhere trying to fix that one, nothing I tried worked. Once it starts to lift you can never develop a criss cross pattern, it just lifts in to the nozzle smears to a solid fill and gets worse.