Printing the molds

There are many brands of printers, but here is a quick overview and what I use.

  • FDM Printing

    Pros of FDM printing:

    • Affordability: FDM printers are relatively affordable and accessible, making them a popular choice for hobbyists and small businesses.
    • Wide Material Compatibility: They can work with a variety of thermoplastic materials, including PLA, ABS, PETG, and more, offering flexibility in material selection.
    • Ease of Use: FDM printers are known for their user-friendly interfaces and straightforward setup, making them suitable for beginners.
    • Large Build Volume: Many FDM printers come with decent build volumes, allowing you to create larger objects or multiple smaller parts in a single print.
    • Open-Source Community: FDM printers often have a strong open-source community, which means a wealth of resources, mods, and upgrades are available.
    • Layer Adhesion: FDM prints typically have strong layer adhesion, resulting in durable and functional parts.
    • Rapid Prototyping: FDM is suitable for rapid prototyping, enabling designers and engineers to quickly iterate and test their designs.
    • Customization: Users can customize and tweak various parameters, such as layer height, infill density, and print speed, for specific print requirements.
    • Support Material: FDM printers can easily create supports for complex geometries, allowing for intricate designs.

    Cons of FDM Printers:

    • Layer Lines: FDM prints often exhibit visible layer lines, which may require post-processing to smooth or hide.
    • Lower Resolution: Compared to some other 3D printing technologies like SLA or SLS, FDM printers typically have lower print resolution.
    • Limited Detail: Fine details and intricate features may be challenging to reproduce accurately with FDM due to the layer-by-layer printing process.
    • Support Removal: Removing support material can be time-consuming and may leave marks or imperfections on the final print.
    • Warpage and Deformation: Certain materials like ABS are prone to warping and deformation if not printed with precise temperature and environmental controls.
    • Noisy Operation: FDM printers can be relatively noisy during operation, which may be a concern in shared spaces.
    • Longer Print Times: Achieving high-quality prints with FDM can often require slower print speeds, leading to longer print times.
    • Limited Material Variety: While FDM printers can use a range of materials, they may not be suitable for exotic or specialized materials used in other 3D printing methods.
    • Learning Curve for Optimization: To achieve the best results, users may need to experiment with settings and fine-tune their printers, which can require a learning curve.

    In summary, FDM printers are versatile and accessible, but they have limitations in terms of print resolution and surface finish. Understanding these pros and cons will help you make an informed decision when choosing a 3D printer for your specific needs.

  • Resin Printers

    Pros of Resin Printers (SLA and DLP):

    • High Resolution: Resin printers are known for their exceptional print resolution, producing highly detailed and smooth surfaces, making them ideal for intricate and small-scale objects.
    • Fine Layer Thickness: Resin printers can achieve very thin layer heights, resulting in smoother and more detailed prints.
    • Accuracy and Precision: These printers excel at reproducing complex geometries and intricate details with high precision and accuracy.
    • Wide Range of Materials: Resin printers offer a variety of specialized resins, including standard, flexible, castable, and engineering resins, providing a wide range of material options.
    • Minimal Warping: Resin prints are less prone to warping and deformation compared to FDM prints, making them suitable for larger, more stable prints.
    • Minimal Post-Processing: Resin prints typically require less post-processing, as they have smoother surfaces and don't have visible layer lines.
    • Fast Printing: They can produce prints relatively quickly compared to some FDM printers, especially when printing small to medium-sized objects.
    • Support Removal: Supports for resin prints are often easier to remove and leave fewer marks on the final print compared to FDM supports.
    • UV Curing: Resin prints are UV-cured, resulting in excellent layer adhesion and a smooth finish.

    Cons of Resin Printers (SLA and DLP):

    • Cost: Resin printers, both in terms of the printer itself and the materials, tend to be more expensive than FDM printers.
    • Toxic Fumes: The liquid resin used in these printers can emit unpleasant odors and potentially harmful fumes, requiring good ventilation or specialized filters.
    • Messy and Hazardous: Handling liquid resin can be messy, and it requires precautions, such as wearing gloves and eye protection.
    • Limited Build Volume: Resin printers often have smaller build volumes compared to some FDM printers, limiting the size of objects you can create.
    • Material Storage: Resin materials are light-sensitive and need to be stored properly to prevent degradation, adding to the maintenance requirements.
    • Post-Processing Cleanup: Resin prints require cleaning in isopropyl alcohol and curing under UV light, which can be time-consuming.
    • Support Removal Challenges: While supports are easier to remove than FDM, they can still leave marks and may require some effort.
    • Brittleness: Resin prints can be more brittle than FDM prints, which can affect the durability of certain parts.
    • Limited Material Compatibility: While resin printers offer a variety of materials, they may not be suitable for as wide a range of applications as FDM printers.

Resin Printing

Resin prints- I only recommend printing in Siraya tech grey sculpt high temp resin. It has a heat rating of 320f. It will work up to 375f reliably with no warping.

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PETG prints - These are what I use mostly for testing and dialing in a mold, they do work, but over time they will get some layer separation and warping. Like a stone mold, you will have to oil it in between every pour, to ensure that the baits don't stick in the mold. 

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PLA molds - They are good for a few shoots, but will warp fairly quick. I have shot them without oil, and they come apart from the mold fairly good, with no real sticking. This will vary depending what brand.

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