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Why are the printers the size they are?

Posted by MagnumOpus 
Why are the printers the size they are?
November 29, 2015 08:46PM
Hello, new to the 3d printing world. I was wondering why all the printers are about the same size. Most of them are under a foot. Say if I wanted to make one like 8 feet long can it be done?
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 29, 2015 09:17PM
Printers are the size they are because first and foremost, size costs and most people refuse to spend more than $300 for a printer.

There are other considerations. Gigantic prints take longer unless you go to very large layer thickness which is often unacceptable aesthetically or functionally. They also use more raw material which drives up the cost of a print.

FDM printing is an unreliable process with odds of successful completion dropping as the print gets larger and takes longer to produce.

Yes, you can make a printer 8 feet long if you have enough time and money to throw at it.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 09:23AM
That's good to hear that it can be done. I am thinking of trying to make one. This is very overwhelming all the info here. I was going through the introduction, information overload! Looking forward to the build. I was wondering what if you make a printer then someone goes out and patents it then everyone can't make them anymore. How does that work?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/2015 09:27AM by MagnumOpus.
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 12:14PM
I'm not a lawyer, but understand enough to know that's not how patents work. In order to get a patent you have to have a novel invention- something that hasn't been done before. You can't just get a patent on a 3D printer, even if it is a unique design because of the size. Changing the size (or color, or etc.,) of something is an obvious thing and isn't going to be patentable. In general, someone else can't patent something you did, unless you assign the patent to them as is common for engineers developing inventions while working for big companies. If you publish your design, even if it is a unique invention, no one else can patent it, though they may try. Your published design becomes something called "prior art" and public knowledge. That's why no one can patent the concept of the wheel.

I applaud your enthusiasm. I designed and built a printer from scratch and when I started I knew absolutely nothing about 3D printing or machine design. Before you dive into such a large and undoubtedly expensive project, I think you'd be better off trying to build a smaller machine so you can learn some of the issues with the design and construction of 3D printers. Don't get a kit. Do the whole thing yourself after studying other designs and reviewing posts about those designs in these forums. Ask a lot of questions.

If you follow the link in my sig, below, you can learn some things about 3D printer design and construction that may help you avoid some common mistakes.

Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 01:14PM
Ok then, that makes me feel better. I have been doing a lot of investigating here for the past few days. I am currently going through your story. I don't think we have a maker place like that around here. I am already underway, I have just ordered my Prusa i3 from prusa. It will be my entry into the 3D printing world. I bought a kit because I have no patience to build one all on my own, that is the next guy. The Magnum Opus Junior. It will be an identical model to the big guy that way I know it works for the big guy. I cant wait, I have been barley able to sleep. The big guy I am going to call Magnum Opus. The exact size I am not decided on but it will be approximately 8 to 10 feet long, 4 feet wide at least and 6 feet tall. Stationary table, I might have it drop but I am concerned about the weight as the piece gets bigger it might start to get a bit crazy. I would prefer to have the head do all the moving. This thing is going to be top notch. I am also going to make a little one like the size of the Prusa same style as the big one. I am glad this forum exists because l will need a lot of help. I work as a millwright and at work we have hundreds of different types of machines which I have to fix or modify all the time. I am going to use some of that technology on these guys. I don't know if it will be possible but I would like it to have more than one head. 3 or 4 would be nice to speed things up. We have some nozzles also from a company called Nordson we use there adhesive systems. The nozzles on those machine are very nice I would like to try to use them if possible. I am going to call them to see if they have anything that might be useful, my tech support guy there is really good so he might have some ideas also. I am on my way to get some argon for my welder and pass by and order up some metal, not sure if stainless or aluminum yet, I need to check out what they have. I am pretty sure they have some ibeams which would be my main gantry above. My biggest concern right now is how to control this thing. That part I am not familiar with, everything else no problem. I guess it would be the firmware part. I am not familiar at all on how they work. Still need to run into some info on that. I haven't found anything on size control as in how big the table can be or multiple heads. Lots left to go on the reading part though, then the youtube videos. I will be busy for a while.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/2015 01:30PM by MagnumOpus.
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 01:53PM
What do you need to print that would require a printer of that size?
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 02:23PM
What ever will fit in there. Full sized prototypes, could be anything. One thing I am working on is a 2 man river jet boat. I am making one out of aluminum and will try a plastic or some type of other material. Fiberglass or carbon fiber if possible. Dog house, kids vehicle the ones they ride in. Grille inserts for vehicles in winter. Shed, tool box, wake board, multiple other 3d printers all at once. Large plastic parts on industrial machinery. I was even imagining a massive one 100 feet by 50 feet. Numerous heads moving around all over. You could make a life size anything. Print yourself off a house if you want. I should be able to build a shed with this one for sure. A christmass tree like you have never seen in your entire life. large art sculptures. The boundaries of your imagination are the limits of your reality. You can have these things crawl up buildings printing them off as they move up. Endless possibilities.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/2015 02:42PM by MagnumOpus.
Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
November 30, 2015 03:46PM
I have started a topic regarding this in the building section, here is the link.

Re: Why are the printers the size they are?
December 01, 2015 03:13AM

The boundaries of your imagination are the limits of your reality

Unfortunately there much more boundaries with FDM printers.
It's a good idea to start with a Prusa, it will show you some of the limitations soon ( like any other FDM printer I know ).
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