New 3D printing area wish list/hopes and dreams

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Hello All,

I thought it may be good to start a conversation about the future of the 3D printing area of the space. We will have a greatly expanded area with lots space for new machines if there is enough of a drive for them.

Does anyone have any hopes and dreams for what they would like in the area? I see this as two main areas for fdm printers: Fire and forget style machines which are reliable but have a locked down proprietary maintenance system and software. Or open source upgradeable machines that can be experimental in nature in terms of print material, print size, hyper speed but require more maintenance and a steeper learning curve to use. This would by no means be a one or the other decision but would be good to know which way people would lean to prioritise focus.

@calin is also working hard to get the resin printer online but this needs further extraction which is in the planning.

Please let us know what the general membership think. A reconsideration of how the inductions are run will be something we have to consider through getting more machines but this could be through two levels ‘Give a someone a fish’ for the fire and forget machines and ‘teach someone to fish’ for the open source more complex machines. Possibly a third ‘teach someone to fly fish’ for the resin printer as it’s a bit of a different beast.


I’d personally prefer fire and forget so I can just show up and print without diving down the rabbit hole of 3d printing. Maybe start a poll for this so folks can quickly add opinions?

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Good Idea I will add a poll. I think the fire and forget approach should be restricted down to a single filament but we could get the one filament running really consistently.

I’d also prefer fire and forget.

Thanks for Saturday induction. Just saw this and wondered if the ‘maintenance cultures’ fellowship was interesting for you:


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Thanks for the recommendation though unfortunately it looks to like Bly be open to USA residents.

Is the general wish to bring the print times down for the filament printers? It would be great to see the printers in more frequent use as I feel they are not used due to wait times fro prints.

We could look at getting in a few cheaper machines which would actually end up with faster print times as the technology has moved along a fair bit from the ultimaker 2+ and the flash forge dreamer. I would be happy to bring in my machine for a few people to try.” For a few weeks. This prints faster than the ultimaker and at a better quality to boot. (Model dependant that is). They would run about £300-£400 per printer including a raspberry pi4 and I have put mine together in a way that it is pretty fire and forget with only the need for bed cleaning.

Having a sample of they two different print times and qualities off of the two machines would help to inform if it is worth it for the space.

@3dtechs - What machines have you used/ do you have? Has anyone else setup printers with octoprint and klipper using resonance calibration and pressure advance? I Have a spare accelerometer I can offer up for this if I haven’t ruined the solder pads already.

@systems - would we be able to run a wifi network for just 3D printers if we were to make them wireless? No more shuffling with sd cards between machines. Will just need to be able to access them via ssh to set them up and run in occasional updates.

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Very good idea, I think actually the most useful we could do is setup octoprint (or equivalent) with a webcam for remote viewing. If we could remotely monitor and stop the printers maybe that’s enough to forgo the requirement to always be physically near the printer. Can even start prints remotely and hope that you’re lucky when you go to pick them up.

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I’ve been using my bambulab printer lately and I’m very happy with how it’s printing (about 2x faster than a prusa MK3). They also released a cheaper version at £700 including a webcam and wireless monitoring. You can pretty much print the moment you pull the printer out of the box. If we can afford it, these are great. But… we can easily put together an octoprint setup with the same features for the £300-£400 price range, like you suggest.

I think the idea or remotely starting prints has been raised in the past but the issue would be controlling fair access to the machine and also is this in the spirit of the space? Sending in the print, popping in to grab the print and then leaving feels more like a service than a community. At least starting the print at the space and being about for the duration is a bit more friendly. Bringing the print times down also helps the situation a fair bit though as well. If i can print something that is sliced on the ultimaker for 1h 40m in only 1h (recent print example I have done on my machine.) Then at least it’s a more reasonable time to wait. Combine this with say a bank of 3/4 machines and we can have lots more access to it whist still avoiding it being a print farm. We could say that by default only one user per machine at any one time. (tool control maybe)

I do see the idea of a monitoring webcam useful through as maybe we could get to the point where we don’t have to be in eyesight of the printer but rather in the space more generally so we can use other tools whilst monitoring the print when connected to the SLMS wifi.

Eh, I don’t think we’ll be at the printing as a service stage, just modernising the printing workflow. You still have to physically remove your parts from the print bed and make it ready for the next person. My suggestion was that remote monitoring could enable overnight printing for example, but I know it’s a big ask.

If the webcam view is available for everyone that also makes it fairly easy to schedule prints. I wouldn’t worry about that until it turns out to be a problem.

What drives the requirement for a separate network? Is it driven by our prohibition on incoming connections to the makerspace or other things? With this security precaution we don’t have to harden all the existing systems and prohibit folks from putting their projects on the network. There are of course technical solutions to these technical problems.

With my systems hat off, I think there’s a whole range of prints that folks could start to do if things like overnight prints were allowed! With active fire suppression and multiple printers to address the “machine hogging” problem, sounds to me like a great time to reopen that discussion!

I dont have any experience running this through an external connection I only have this on my own wifi network at home.

if this was to go ahead with overnight prints, I would still think it is best to run with, ‘you need to be on site to start the print’. First layer adhesion, ensuring there is sufficient and correct filament for the print, prepping the bed, are all preflight checks that should be done in person. This is especially important on larger prints.

Also, how would we manage the scheduling for the machines as bookings are currently run on the calendar? We would need to consider an honesty box or I can plumb in pricing calculations for big stuff as we will go through filament at a rate of knots.


Just wanted to throw a few ideas in here.

1 - Would something like this work as a fire suppression system? Maybe build a full enclosure around the printers to contain any flame?

2- I think it would be awesome to set 12pm-8pm as “public” printing times, where you have to be physically present to use the printer. This would ideally be when the space is most utilized so as to allow those that are present to have access for short prints. 8pm- noon would be time for overnight prints that can be booked as per the calendar? You have to show up to start it but your allowed to run the printer from 8pm to noon, or longer if pre booked and allowed.

3 - Material management - I love how the laser cutter works. If I want to test an idea its super easy to grab a 1/4 sheet of 3mm scrap to try it on, and then purchase a full sheet when my final project is ready to be cut at my cost.
Another option, every memeber is allowed a certain allowance based on space budgets. Maybe 100g of filament per month roughly, and then any larger projects you can purchase/bring your own/pay into the filament pool for.
Alternatively, Public hours use public filament, afterhours use your own filament or purchase from the space.

As a new member that would like to learn 3d printing, I think its awesome I can do an hour long print by just showing up. If I wanted to print a dice tower, I’d be happy to pay the material cost understanding its a larger project.

Hopefully this insight helps!


Great thanks for putting in your ideas. Th more people that voice their opinions and concerns the quicker we can move forward!

So the automatic fire extinguishers could be suitable but would only be applicable to an open frame system. Things like the flash forge would need another solution or be exempt from overnight prints.

The idea of night an day print shifts could be further looked at I suppose. I it may be that you have to have a minimum print time of say over 4/5 hours is always a night print and under 4/5 hours is a day print. Personally i would find it annoying if someone were to run a 2 hour print on a night shift because they didn’t want to wait around for it and I’m sat there with a a 12 hour print not being able to get the machine time.

Material management I think would be a matter of seeing how it goes. Definitely an honesty box for larger prints should be a thing at a minimum. I guess that things like the laser materials work in a way that the honesty box just pays for the material supply 1:1 and doesn’t effect the monthly allotted budget of the area.

We could get to the point of holding a small quantity of spools in stock for purchase but we wouldn’t have room for any on site storage and some filaments can be very particular in the way they are stored.

If we first address print speed, I think it will be surprising how many more prints come to within the 1-3 hour range that are currently wildly longer. It is very model specific but the the general rule is more changes in direction the longer the print as most time is the printer accelerating and decelerating to the target speed rather than actually printing at the target speed. Take the dice tower I showed at the induction for example. Sliced on the ultimaker it is showing a print time of 1day 3 hours and 20 mins. on my personal machine optimised slightly for acceleration It will print the same model in 14 hours flat. Its basically just spending less time speeding up and slowing down. You can then maybe print something that would take like 8 hours and print it in 3.5/4 hours so a lot more becomes accessible in the same amount of time

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These are all great points and very useful info.

Depending on demand, maybe an open frame printer setup exclusively for 6 hour + prints could solve a lot of these issues as it could just run one large print after another.

Regarding spools, I feel that anyone wanting a very specific material would be able to plan that in advance and order, so regular stock probably only needs to be a few different colours of traditional pla /pla+? My practical experience was a woodshop group buy that maxg ordered and delivered to the space, and we just grabbed our stuff. Simple and straightforward which I think is important in a space like ours.

Again these are all just personal opinions, and I have very very limited 3d printing experience so you will know more than I in regards to the details

As far as immediate action goes, I’d be happy to either contribute a spool or £20 to a material fund if we have a few folks interested in stocking up on some filament so we can all explore different projects.

Whatever slicing software you use will tell you how much filament the print uses. It would be pretty easy to go from there to a cost.

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Yes, all slicers will support this and you can plumb in the spool cost directly to calculate the print cost. Once we have decided on a common filament(s) and answered the questions of ‘how much is fair use and part of the membership?’, ‘At what point do we charge for filament?’ and ‘Do people buy their own spools or do we have house filament?’, I can build and disseminate the filament and printer profiles for people to use at home and everyone will know what they will need to contribute before coming in slicing it and being supposed by the cost. (Not too much of an issue for smaller prints but if you wanted a 20 hour structural part with lots of infill, you could be talking a fair whack of filament.)

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The estimate is pretty helpful when knowing whether to start a print with remaining filament on the spool but I am wondering about failed first layers and aborted prints. How about a pre and post weigh?

Just to fill in what has happened in the past in 3d printing - the Space has never bought any filament before, members have bought their own filament and left it to share with others with an informal, use some but not all of it attitude.

That doesn’t have to stay the case, 3D techs could buy some using their consumables budget, or 3D techs could have an honesty box that covers it, or even more controlled pay for what you use like the Laser Shop… All up to what @3dtechs and members want to see and agree on!

Also feel free to try it one way, and change it - since we have never done it in this area, we don’t know what will work best…

Yes not a bad shout, you just have to check that people are actively and honestly weighing the spools.