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So, You Want to Build Your First Balsa Plane? Start HERE!

Turbojoe

Active member
#41
Joker, where did you get your printer and how much? I see it on Amazon for $285.00. That's doable! I'll be watching for your posts and critiques of the unit. See what ya started! ;)
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#42
I got the Anet A8 through Gearbest. Delivered and with the upgrade part to do auto-leveling of the bed I think I paid $205. Shipping was horribly slow because I ordered right before the Chinese New Year, so it took about 3 weeks before I finally got it. If you can get the same printer from another source for near that price I'd take it, as I'm not a fan of Gearbest... Assembly took two afternoons after work, so maybe 5-6 hours total. My first test-print was damn near perfect (it was one of the test-files that come pre-loaded on the memory card). When I started using Cura to prep parts for printing I ran into a few small problems where parts weren't sticking very well to the bed. A little chat with people that have the same printer gave me the following info:

Printing PLA I increased the bed temp from 50* to 60*. Extruder temp is fine at 200*. I'm covering the bed with standard blue painter tape (but I also purchased masking tape to compare since it's 1/3 the price of blue). Some cheap Elmer's glue stick (purple, dries clear) is also used. The prints I've done now stick perfectly - they resist coming off but don't fight me too bad when the print is done. These results are with using black filament from 3D Solutech. I'm happy enough with these results (so far) that I will keep using them without further tweaking, until I do have issues.

I also got rolls of filament from Filament Direct, Inland, and AIO Robotics. I'm not sure how much of a difference I'll see between them, but want to keep my options open.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#43
The 3D printers are getting more affordable and like you said maybe there is TOO much info spread all over the internet that discourages people. I'd love to see the two of you start a discussion thread in this building forum (even though it's not about balsa). It's one more building tool for the hobby that could be extremely useful. I'm probably not the only one that would like to read about and see solutions to questions. I'd love to have one but honestly don't know where to start and don't want to waste a bunch of money on the wrong printer.

Joe
I haven't looked on the FT Forum yet, but there are a few of us who have the same printer now, the Anet A8. Dan Sponholz has designed a Ford Model A engine for the nose of the FT Pietenpol which is shining a light on the printers a bit. It may be an interesting "build thread" to create since there is so much to use the printer for!
 

Turbojoe

Active member
#44
The last time I even gave these printers a second glance they were still $500.00+ for a poor quality one. Now there's almost no reason not to have one. Lots of great info in your reply. Thanks!

I've bought twice from BangGood and they banged me good enough that I'll not order from China again. Even though it's a Chinese product I'll buy from a US retailer so "hopefully" won't have a lot of trouble if I get a defective one. I'll wait for my tax return rather than do my normal knee jerk purchase. That will give me at least 2-3 weeks to soak in some knowledge. I don't know CAD at all but I have looked at Thingverse before and there is so much available there that I may never need CAD. Plus I know R/Cers are posting a lot of hobby specific files. For me I think the most fun would be building the unit though!

Joe
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#45
Thingiverse has a lot of stuff, but yesterday I ran across another similar site that lists items that people are also selling. They have a 1/4 scale Continental engine design for a Piper Cub, which is perfect for my big Sig Cub. It cost about $20 to buy the design, about the same as buying the vacuum formed engine from Sig. This has far more detail and I can re-print it as needed, so well worth the money. I won't have time to print it for a while since there are other items in line before it. That same engine can also be used for my big Pietenpol to dress it up a bit. Yup, a new toy that I can't live without! :)
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#46
Thingiverse has a lot of stuff, but yesterday I ran across another similar site that lists items that people are also selling. They have a 1/4 scale Continental engine design for a Piper Cub, which is perfect for my big Sig Cub. It cost about $20 to buy the design, about the same as buying the vacuum formed engine from Sig. This has far more detail and I can re-print it as needed, so well worth the money. I won't have time to print it for a while since there are other items in line before it. That same engine can also be used for my big Pietenpol to dress it up a bit. Yup, a new toy that I can't live without! :)
What site is that?

Thanks!
 

Turbojoe

Active member
#50
That Cub engine is freaking amazing! $20.00 sounds dirt cheap for the file. Kind of a slow day at work so I've been scanning through hundreds of 3D files at Thingverse. I'm afraid to start looking at Cults now that you've posted that link. I may get caught up in it and forget to go home. 3D printer is definitely in my near future.

Joe
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#51
I know what you mean, I'm supposed to be "working" right now! :) I found figures that may be good candidates to pilot some of the bigger planes, and if the printer isn't being used for anything meaningful this weekend I may try printing one.
 

Turbojoe

Active member
#55
I'm getting pretty hot and bothered about this 3D printing thing. I've been doing a little more research and it looks like the A6 is the update to the A8. I would have expected the update to be an A10 but they didn't consult me. The A6 is only $30.00 or so more. The problem I have is no USA retailers. The reviews I've read on the various Chinese sites are great if they got a good unit but they are horrible if they got one with problems or missing/broken parts. Waiting weeks/months to receive it and having to pay return shipping if the unit is bad doesn't sit well with me and knowing MY luck I'd get a bad one. I looked at Monoprice and they have Maker 3d printers. They're about $100.00 more but are factory assembled, calibrated and are stocked in USA. (I'd love to build it but.....) Nobody can beat Monoprice service either. I don't want to spend a ton of money but I don't want to waste it either on something that has zero mfg./seller support. Looks like I have a lot more research to do unless someone knows an Anet retailer in the U.S. that I missed.

Joe
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#57
Between the Anet A6 and the A8 I decided on the A8 because it seems to have a much bigger community of users. The A6 has that nice dial instead of buttons, but that's only a minor convenience since I just sit and watch it print, and print, and print anyway. :) Heck, these first few days have been almost all just printing upgrades for the basic printer. It seems kind of odd to have to do all kinds of upgrades, but it's been a great learning process so far! My only regret on the A8 so far was ordering it a day or two before the Chinese New Year, which delayed the hell out of the shipment. Right now I'd say that I'd buy it again if it were stolen.

As it prints I've been sitting next to it on the computer learning more and more about what I'm doing right or wrong. So far my only real "mistake" was printing all of my first prints at .1 mm layer height instead of mixing it up a bit. The .15 or .2 would speed things up by printing at a lower resolution, which doesn't matter on something like a filament spool holder. What took me almost 6 hours to print could have taken closer to 3 if I had known the difference! Live and learn.

Oh, and after reading some reviews about the Hobby King filament I ordered a couple rolls. It's substantially cheaper than other brands and some people are saying that there isn't that big of a difference in filament anymore. It's worth a gamble.

I also just noticed there is a section on the forum now for 3D printers, maybe we should move the conversation over there where it would be easily found and maybe useful to people in the future!
 

Turbojoe

Active member
#59
I also just noticed there is a section on the forum now for 3D printers, maybe we should move the conversation over there where it would be easily found and maybe useful to people in the future!
Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't know it was there either. I guess we were starting to pollute this thread a bit.....

Joe