When I lent my services to a collegue who was working on a film about 12 years ago, I was introduced to the world of cnc. I remember watching this huge machining centre milling out a slab of mdf and turning it into a fantastic set of gears. I knew that it would have taken me hours to achieve the same thing with traditional power tools. I decided then that I would invest in a cnc router for my own business Oxenham Design. At that time I could turn on a computer, but even to check email seemed like a crazy set of operations. I persevered and learned every piece of relevant software I could get my hands on. I am now fortunate enough to be using Vectric's ASPIRE software, and Techno cnc routers, which has helped us to create some amazing projects, both in part, or in full. I thought that this blog would be a great place to share "behind the scenes" adventures with the software, materials and equipment we use, as well as the projects we build.

Monday, 3 November 2014

3D Printing, our new addition to the family!

Finally we have added 3d printing to our arsenal of tools. I am both a technology geek, as well as a tool lover. I have had my eye on 3d printing for a very long time! But the biggest drawback was quality vs. time. Time is of the utmost importance in our business. Most projects are a 3-5 day turnaround. But, quality can't suffer because someone needs it fast, so we have to find more effective ways to produce our custom pieces.

That being said, 3d printing was well out of the budget of most small businesses. I remember pricing out a Dimension 3d printer, and it coming in well over $100, 000. That's great if that's all we were going to do, 24 hours a day, but that will never be the case for us. 3d printing will just compliment our current toolset, especially considering almost everything we do is designed in the computer anyway.
But with the current new onslaught of FFF 3d printers on the market, the prices have come down so far, that ignoring a 3d printer as a capable tool, is a grave mistake. 3d printing is here to stay!

We spent a long time looking for a printer that would meet our needs. It had to be cost effective, run low cost materials, and the materials had to be available readily. It also couldn't be a clunky looking machine, with wires and motors hanging out all over the place. That doesn't instil confidence in anyone coming to the shop.
Technical support, and warranty were the final deciding factors. These 2 factors are so overlooked, but should be first on most peoples list.

This is why we went with the KNP3d 3d printer. This machine was put out by Klic-N-Kut USA. These guys have been making cutters and embossing machines for a very long time, so 3d printing would be a natural progression for them.
The knp3d retails for $1299, and comes with a full 1 year warranty. Most of these kinds of printers usually only have a 3 month warranty, so this is fairly huge!

Stay tuned for our first print on this machine! It should be a fun new road for us!

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