Originally Posted by MAN OF BLUES
Being the Cad Guru has benefits, but Fairings and such are complex flowing rounded shapes, which no current Cad program is good for relating to design...unfortunatly...
BT, have you actually seen / held the plastic used for that process?
I had a "Flatbed" type 3d Modeler back around '95 when I worked for Gould, it had a 12 x 12 platen, and deposited layers like an ink jet printer.
Cost a bizillion$$ for the thing then, and the prototype plastic was very soft and not durable, a cross between extremely hard wax and flakey plastic, actually about the same as hot-melt glue sticks... It would print "layers" about .002"-.005" th'k., and any voids during the vertical build contained "pillars" spaced out so you could crumble them out after the build...which supported the next consecutive layer.
I have to think even today, the meltable material is still soft, and fragile comparably.
The new industrial rage is UV hardenable plymers, where a High output UV light probe circulates in a "vat" of polymer, and "prints" the pattern by hardening in a vertical build in a similar fashion. Those plastics are much harder, and can actually be utilized for finished parts...unfortunatly they cost $$$$$$$$$$$
You are correct on all those points, but it not quite so fragile.
I purchased a set of printed plastic parts that were made on a similar printer. The layers are thin, and I noticed they tend to break under load along layers.
The breakage I have seen so far is when I tighten the bolts a bit too snug.
When it comes to modeling, there are quite a few programs that you can use freely. A google search will show many. I have been using OpenSCAD and Autodesk 123D; both are free with different advantages. I will be checking out more though... still looking for the right one for me.
I am going to use this printer to make a flatbed XYZ router. I plan to use a dremmel for the cutting tool. I plan to cut wood and plastic with it for yet other projects.
I should have the printer working by middle of June... excited :)
There are quite a few printing technologies.. that UV stuff is nice... but expensive.