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Thread: 3D printing... yea or nay?

  1. #1
    ken
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    3D printing... yea or nay?

    Hello all,

    I'm thinking about buying a 3D printer for making pickup bobbins. How many of you have had any experience with these, and what did you think?
    Do you think any advances in technology since they came out would make it worth spending the money on one?

    Thank you,
    Ken
    Last edited by ken; 05-17-2016 at 04:55 AM.

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    Ken,
    There are some reasonable questions to ask regarding cost of consumables, other operating costs, time to completion in a production situation, stability and reliability of the finished item, dimensional tolerance, how much cleanup you'll need to invest before you can use a part, etc.

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    ken
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    The company I work for uses them to make fixturing for electronic products, so I see a lot of these parts. IMO at the moment there is not enough resolution in the tech to bother with, not to mention David's speed of parts creation issue. I just asked because I get a lot of emails from printer makers touting 3D printer/scanners, and I was hoping there was a better one out there I haven't seen yet.

    Ken

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    My sense is that at the high end you'll have additive manufacturing combined with CNC machining in the same machine. Squirt on some goop and then mill it to perfection. Until the $600 DIY machines can get to .002" resolution I don't see what use they are to us. A $50,000 3D printer probably isn't going to be your best answer. In 2-3 years everything could change.

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    It isn't necessary to purchase a 3D printer since there are already 3D printing services out there. Learning some 3D CAD skills is mandatory but any good service can take what you say and draft it.
    UPS has in-store printing for plastic bits. https://www.theupsstore.com/print/3d-printing
    A search on "online 3D printing service" usually brings up 3Dhub.com, a perusal of which is instructive about costs, materials, and finish quality.
    https://www.3dhubs.com/
    As it turns out, this specification is deceptively close to being useful.

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    I have looked at that and seen parts made with them- at this point it looks like they would be ok for making an occasional prototype but for production you are better off with a lazer cutter.
    Cut your top and bottom out, cut your core material, make a jig to align the parts and glue together. Very accurate and clean if you do it right. We make all of our P-90 bobbins that way which are in many ways superior to an injection moulded part- it takes a couple of minutes to glue, drill and tap each one.
    Also you dont have to buy a 3D cad program and learn to use it- its all done with a cheap 2D cad software. I have been using Deltacad since the mid 90s and have generated thousands of drawings including 3 views for many of the metal parts being made available to everyone- Wide range, gibson sized filtertron, thunderbird, open tele neck cover, gold foils etc. All done with 2D delta cad.
    Materials cost and maintenence cost is low and you can make all your fender type bobbins with it in addition to built up parts.
    ken, Richard, kayakerca and 2 others like this.

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    ken
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    I like Jason's idea for a laser cutter. Just think... make 7 or 8 string pickup bobbins just by changing the program. Cool!
    I wonder what a laser capable of cutting through .075 stainless or .100 Forbon would cost me?

    Looks like there's some research time in my future

    Ken

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    Cost is all about power and speed. Cutting .100 Forbon is easy but cutting any metals is a giant leap in power required, probably an order of magnitude higher and accompanying cost. For thin metals you either try waterjet or EDM. I see old EDMs going used for as little as $1200.

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    ken
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    I saw a YouTube video once of a kid who was popping balloons with a 75 watt laser gun he made himself.
    How much power would you say is necessary for cutting out say a steel Tele baseplate?

    Ken

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    Looking at the info on this link: Laser cutting vs. water jet cutting - standard metal cutting processes
    It looks like a metal cutting laser is between 1500 and 2600W. A laser for cutting Forbon might be in the 30-75W range. Their lasers start at around $300,000 vs $8000-20,000 for a Forbon cutting laser.

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    I've been running several 3D printers for another business venture for almost a year now and it's fun, but not anything that would be viable for mass production of pickup parts. They're ultimately too slow for that and the cost/quality along with QC issues isn't going to compare to injection molding by a long shot. It's awesome for small runs, specialty items and prototypes and can be a fantastic time saver in prepping for proper molds..and it's great for quadcopters!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lollar Jason View Post
    I have looked at that and seen parts made with them- at this point it looks like they would be ok for making an occasional prototype but for production you are better off with a lazer cutter.
    Cut your top and bottom out, cut your core material, make a jig to align the parts and glue together. Very accurate and clean if you do it right. We make all of our P-90 bobbins that way which are in many ways superior to an injection moulded part- it takes a couple of minutes to glue, drill and tap each one.
    Also you dont have to buy a 3D cad program and learn to use it- its all done with a cheap 2D cad software. I have been using Deltacad since the mid 90s and have generated thousands of drawings including 3 views for many of the metal parts being made available to everyone- Wide range, gibson sized filtertron, thunderbird, open tele neck cover, gold foils etc. All done with 2D delta cad.
    Materials cost and maintenence cost is low and you can make all your fender type bobbins with it in addition to built up parts.
    I'll second Jason on using a laser cutter. We invested in one around Christmas last year, and find it the 'Swiss army knife' for pickup makers. We use a 50w CO2 gas laser and it zips through Forbon, cuts and engraves, slices up foam for packaging ... generally gets used all the time. Cheap 2D CAD software is simple to use, and the results show a consistency that makes our previous 'bought in' flatwork look poor by comparison.
    kayakerca likes this.

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    Old thread but been planning to try it for a while. Designed up a humbucker set in 49.2 sizing and printed with what was loaded. PLA is too brittle but next set will be tweaked some and be done in PETG or ABS to avoid breakage.


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    ken
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    Cool it worked for you.

    Do you hear any tone differences between these bobbins and storebought bobbins?

    Ken

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    I haven't mounted it yet but I don't anticipate much difference in this one; it was designed to the same dimensions with the bobbins I currently use. When I split the bobbin and play with heights and core thickness I'm suspecting some tonal changes.

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