Very cool project. I do not know anything about 3D printing whatsoever so my question will sound a bit noobish but how does the weight/strength/durability of that material you printing with compares to more common materials like Baltic birch or aluminium, most common building materials ATM-ers use today?
I'd like to share my view on this. Hope the OP will share his as well
I can't find any specific studies which compare the two main plastics used here (PLA and PETG) with other "regular" materials but I can tell you about some advantages of the printed parts.
- even though printing is very slow, it's not actual work time, you just leave the printer alone and it does it's thing. Designing the parts does take time but I think it's still faster than building the traditional way. For example, the primary mirror box which I'm working on now, will take about 40 hours total print time.
- you are free to make (almost) any shape you can imagine. This takes some time to get used to and realize you don't need to abide by "rules" from manual DIY work.
- I would also put weight as an advantage here but I don't know how heavy regular builds are. For the parts I'm drawing up and printing with PETG, I can use quite thin walls (1.5mm) but a lot of strength comes from the design shape and from the infill. This is important, the whole prints can be filled with various patterns from straight lines, 3d shapes, honeycomb, etc. This doesn't use a lot of material and adds strength.
This is an example, a quarter of the mirror box to be printed. The whole part when complete (all 4 glued up) will weigh about 800g (a little under 2lbs). Most likely I could've made it even lighter but I don't want to spend more time optimizing and I don't know at what point I take away from the structural strength.
Keep in mind that others with newer/larger printers have it even easier, they don't need to cut up parts, most can be printed in one go.
Edited by cucubits, 22 January 2021 - 11:49 AM.