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We are having a discussion at the office if it is a good point in time to buy a 3d printer.


We are designing most projects as VW 3d models

  • Is it possible to print the models without too much trouble today? 
  • Do you have any recommendations for workflows and hardware? 


Kind regards


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Hey Hans,


It is a great time to buy a 3D printer. There are some really hassle free machines on the market that can produce great results. However, what you need to understand is that  buying a printer means, at the bare miumum:


1. learning to use a slicing software like Cura or PrusaSlicer

2. Spending a few days initially calibrating the machine

3. Spending enough money to get an out of the box great device


Most of the 3D printer world is still built around buying a cheap device and upgrading it over time to make it wonderful. If your company wants something they can use right now, its gonna cost a little more, but it need not cost a fortune. 


The selection of a device depends mostly on your budget range and size needs, but one printer that is well know for minimal fuss and high accuracy is the Prusa i3 Mk3


If I needed a detail oriented 3D printer with high reliability, this would be my first choice. This is because above all else, this printer is known for working well in a print farm setting.


In terms of work flow, I build all my models in VW and save them as a VW file type. Then I export them as STL or as 3MF for slicing (3MF is preferred). Run that file through a slicer software like PrusaSlicer or Cura and then you should have the G-code ready to be printed. Most Printers do not have any networking capabilities stock, but you can easily network a printer over Wifi using a $30 Raspbery pi3 B+ and a software called Octoprint. Once the printer is networked over Wifi, it becomes trivially easy to send files and make prints, even from multiple different desks or offices. 


Hope some of that helps.


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