Author Topic: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?  (Read 1415 times)

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Offline dastructhm

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Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« on: May 12, 2022, 12:01:20 am »
I've never used a 3D printer before. Is there a 3D printer on the market that I can buy and print a housing for my PCB project, so I can sell it on the market? I mean, will the enclosure be good enough to be accepted by consumers?!
 :o
If yes, which one should I buy?
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 12:03:36 am by dastructhm »
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Online xrunner

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2022, 12:17:59 am »
I've never used a 3D printer before. Is there a 3D printer on the market that I can buy and print a housing for my PCB project,
so I can sell it on the market?

If yes, which one should I buy?

Yes, sure there are lots of choices. I can't tell you which one to buy now, because the one I use is so heavily modded with custom parts that it isn't something that can be purchased per se. But there are plenty of nice models available now, someone who has a newer one can recommend one.

As far as the housing, if you can't find one already designed then, well, you will have to learn a 3D modelling program and design it yourself, which can either be fun or torture - depending on your skill and drive.  :)

Quote
I mean, will the enclosure be good enough to be accepted by consumers?!

"ay, there's the rub!" says Hamlet. Well that's a subjective question. The finish of a 3D printed part is not a glossy smooth plastic surface, it has a texture all it's own. You can look at pics on the internets and see for yourself what they look like. You'll have to decide if it will be acceptable for your customers.

 :-//
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Offline eugene

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2022, 12:28:53 am »
It's possible to make ABS look smooth and glossy, but it's a bit of an art.

My advice is to buy a printer (could be a cheap one), print a few things, and then decide where to go from there.
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2022, 02:34:31 am »
The finish of a 3D printed part is not a glossy smooth plastic surface, it has a texture all it's own.
highly depends on the technology used. FDM , resin , sintered powder , metal sputtering ... There are technologies that deliver better than injection molded or milled , but those are not hobby machines. they are in the 6 figure dollar amounts. Your 400$ plastic spaghetti-squirter can't do that.
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Offline univ

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2022, 11:20:56 pm »
I assume you ask about FDM printers, as these are the most common and attainable type. Here's the essence of what I learned about it.
FDM 3d printed parts can already be found in many public places where they often appear almost indistinguishable from "normal" plastic parts.
Your results can be exquisite, given these three prerequisites:
  • Suitable design. For example, and most importantly: FDM print quality looks somewhat ugly on the underside of overhangs, even if you help it with support material. For nice results you need to already take this into account when designing your casing.
  • Well adjusted printer. A perfectly tuned 3d printer (using filament with a constant diameter) can produce very smooth surfaces without ugly artifacts (up to a certain print speed/acceleration), with each and every print. The cheaper the printer, the harder it is to reach and maintain that state.
  • Right material. Skip PLA, use PETG or better instead. PLA is brittle, hard to sand, and exhibits significant creep under load. Heat deflection can quickly become an issue (limit for PLA is ~60°C). Also, the color of the material can change the quality impression of your parts a lot, just by hiding or highlighting layer lines and imperfections.
From my 8 years of experience, an original Prusa MK3S printer is the way to go. You can get good results with cheaper printers too (Ender 3 for example), but usually not as good, and you will need to invest a lot more time (easily one day per month) adjusting (to) your printer, upgrading, fixing and adjusting your slicing profiles, or worrying over failed prints. Especially for a newbie, a Prusa will make your life much easier, because it's a perfect well rounded and supported product that just works. If you are on a budget, look for a used machine. I got my first MK3S used and never regretted it. Good luck!
 

Offline Ranayna

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2022, 11:57:08 am »
@jannie: I think your post would warrant a new topic, since the OP is not talking about printing PCBs.

A couple of immediate concerns come to mind though:
What material would you even use to create tracks? There are metal infused filaments, but those need a hardened nozzle, since they are abrasive. But i can't imagine that you will be able to get reasonable track resistance.
You would likely need two separate nozzles to reduce cross contamination of track and carrier material.
Finally, how would you solder to those PCBs? Anything that can be printed with ordinary FDM printers would certainly melt at soldering temperatures. PLA already goes soft at a mere 60 degrees C.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2022, 04:18:22 pm »
I am going to make a 3d printer that can print PCBs. I would like to ask you what it must be capable of to be of use to you. So far we have come up with (link removed):
The time it takes to print a PCB should be within a reasonable amount of time.

A 3D printer does not make the PCBs. The rest of your post is irrelevant.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2022, 10:21:14 am by Simon »
 

Offline MarkF

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Re: Printing a casing for my PCB and sell it?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2022, 04:46:07 pm »
I am going to make a 3d printer that can print PCBs. I would like to ask you what it must be capable of to be of use to you. So far we have come up with these:

The only possible way I could see this working would be to print the resist.
However, finding the filament, the copper etch chemical which does NOT remove the filament, and the chemical to remove the filament after etching will be a difficult sourcing.

It is very unlikely you will be able to make PCBs.
Especially when you can get PCBs made for $4.00 for five, I don't see that trying to print them is practical.
You can't even make PCBs using traditional methods at home for that cheap.

Another thought is that you will not be able to print fine pitch parts.  I would guess through-hole dual-inline parts would be the limit.
 


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