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Is it a good investment to buy a 3D printer for model needs?


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1 hour ago, John Tapsell said:

The danger/risk I see is that the ability and willingness to share freely will last only as long as no-one takes those files and starts to use them to sell the products commercially without the the permission of the designers. At the moment, the community works on trust and integrity but I suspect that may only last until the first 'theft' occurs. 

 

Perhaps the development of something like the Open Source Software license is needed, where the developer is free to use the software for personal use or for profit as long as the source code is made readily available and the name of all previous developer(s) is preserved. This has been a successful business model for many. Users would be free to use and/or change the files and sell the results of their work as long as all previous developers is noted and the files, including all changes they made, are made available to anyone who wants them.

 

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2 hours ago, Mstor said:

 

Perhaps the development of something like the Open Source Software license is needed, where the developer is free to use the software for personal use or for profit as long as the source code is made readily available and the name of all previous developer(s) is preserved. This has been a successful business model for many. Users would be free to use and/or change the files and sell the results of their work as long as all previous developers is noted and the files, including all changes they made, are made available to anyone who wants them.

 

There are some out there. Seems like Blender comes to mind as being open source. It has quite a learning curve if I recall though since a lot (most?) of it is speed key oriented and being opened source, there isn't or at least wasn't a lot of operating instructions. I'm sure by now the community has grown and it's much easier to get information. It's a very powerful program though if you can learn it. I've never really dug too far into it since I have access to Solidworks.

 

https://www.blender.org/

 

Hope that helps.

Bill

 

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4 hours ago, Mstor said:

 

Perhaps the development of something like the Open Source Software license is needed, where the developer is free to use the software for personal use or for profit as long as the source code is made readily available and the name of all previous developer(s) is preserved. This has been a successful business model for many. Users would be free to use and/or change the files and sell the results of their work as long as all previous developers is noted and the files, including all changes they made, are made available to anyone who wants them.

 

 

The difficulty with that approach is that the end file is a stand-alone item. In order to share it you need to save it in a format that is easily shared across a community with access to different CAD systems so a universally acceptable format such STL is needed. It's fundamentally no different from downloading a copy of a photo or a pdf. Once somebody else has that file, you lose the practical control of what they can do with it and you're back to trust and integrity.

 

I know that sounds negative but I genuinely believe that sharing within a community is the right approach. However, the community needs to have checks and balances to ensure that freely shared files are not used commercially. The bigger the community you share with, the greater the risk of that happening.

 

This thread is drifting off topic so my apologies for that, but I feel it's an important consideration not only if you're a designer wanting to protect your own Intellectual Property, but also the obligations placed on you if you are the end user of that shared print file.

 

John 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, John Tapsell said:

 

The difficulty with that approach is that the end file is a stand-alone item. In order to share it you need to save it in a format that is easily shared across a community with access to different CAD systems so a universally acceptable format such STL is needed. It's fundamentally no different from downloading a copy of a photo or a pdf. Once somebody else has that file, you lose the practical control of what they can do with it and you're back to trust and integrity.

 

I know that sounds negative but I genuinely believe that sharing within a community is the right approach. However, the community needs to have checks and balances to ensure that freely shared files are not used commercially. The bigger the community you share with, the greater the risk of that happening.

 

This thread is drifting off topic so my apologies for that, but I feel it's an important consideration not only if you're a designer wanting to protect your own Intellectual Property, but also the obligations placed on you if you are the end user of that shared print file.

 

I let loose the concept of selling one's STL files for single use on my F-104 start cart that I posted earlier. The outcome is like you describe: once you sold the file once, it can travel around the world for free, leaving you with one sold copy. And since there's maybe 20 hours of 3D CAD work in there, and maybe 20 more hours of 2D CAD (working from photos), it's not a pretty thought.

 

I would rather go the resin route: make a silicone rubber mold from the 3D printed item, and sell the castings. I think those parts will be cheaper too than the 3D printed part, taking all costs in account. Maybe the ever-increasing shipping costs could be the killer here though. Now any resin part can be copied again too, I know, but at least you have a chance of catching illegal casters.


Rob

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23 minutes ago, John Tapsell said:

 

The difficulty with that approach is that the end file is a stand-alone item. In order to share it you need to save it in a format that is easily shared across a community with access to different CAD systems so a universally acceptable format such STL is needed. It's fundamentally no different from downloading a copy of a photo or a pdf. Once somebody else has that file, you lose the practical control of what they can do with it and you're back to trust and integrity.

 

I know that sounds negative but I genuinely believe that sharing within a community is the right approach. However, the community needs to have checks and balances to ensure that freely shared files are not used commercially. The bigger the community you share with, the greater the risk of that happening.

 

This thread is drifting off topic so my apologies for that, but I feel it's an important consideration not only if you're a designer wanting to protect your own Intellectual Property, but also the obligations placed on you if you are the end user of that shared print file.

 

John 

 

 

I think he was talking about open source for the 3D program to create the models, not necessarily open source models themselves, but I could be wrong. As far as Blender, I'm fairly certain it can save in .stl format, which currently is the most commonly used file to import into a slicing program. In fact, the slicing programs are the ones that are more important when it comes to being able to print. As long as it can import in a format you're comfortable modeling from, and can export to your particular printer, then you're good to go.

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2 hours ago, niart17 said:

I think he was talking about open source for the 3D program to create the models, not necessarily open source models themselves, but I could be wrong. As far as Blender, I'm fairly certain it can save in .stl format, which currently is the most commonly used file to import into a slicing program. In fact, the slicing programs are the ones that are more important when it comes to being able to print. As long as it can import in a format you're comfortable modeling from, and can export to your particular printer, then you're good to go.

 

Actually, it was the other way around, open source for the models (or parts or whatever you have designed).  Within the software development communities there have been a number of licensing models developed. Some allow unrestricted use, including commercial use, as long as the full source code is made available and all authors are cited.

Most people that use open source software, either free or payed for, do not have the ability to design or even modify the software code. They are therefore content to simply get and use the software. If, on the other hand, I am an experienced software developer, the open source license allows me to use the code and incorporate it into any project I want to as long as I meet the requirements of the license (as noted above). Let's take Linux as an example. There are various completely free versions and then there are versions that you can buy. Those "for purchase" versions usually are just value-added versions that include support. This makes them attractive to businesses that can't afford to keep a Linux guru on staff. These "for purchase" versions must still adhere to the provisions of the GNU General Public License (the license model Linux uses), which means their source code must be made freely available without restriction. Means I could take there code base, make a few changes and then release it to the public for sale too. As long as I adhere to the GNU license. And, most importantly, these licenses are legally binding. If I develop code under, say. the GNU license, and someone uses my code but does make the source code available, the community enforces the license by imposing restrictions on the use of the code. If the violator does not comply with the GNU terms, redress may be sought in court for copyright violations under the terms of the GNU license.

Now, I think this is what is needed in the 3D printing communities. They need to develop licenses under which they can release their code. Actually, you could release it under the GNU license. This gives you, essentially, a copyright on the code that you can enforce under the terms of the GNU license.

If, on the other hand, you simply want to print parts and sell them, you need to copyright the code and not distribute it. If you want to share it, the adoption of some sort of licensing would be a good idea. This would give you certain rights that can be spelled out in the license.

As John pointed out above, all this might not work well unless the community develops a universally accepted format for the files that is easily shared among users with different printers.

Now, I am pretty much just thinking out loud here and I am sure I have missed a lot as my understanding of the output of design software is limited. So, take it for what its worth.

 

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32 minutes ago, Mstor said:

 

Actually, it was the other way around, open source for the models (or parts or whatever you have designed).  Within the software development communities there have been a number of licensing models developed. Some allow unrestricted use, including commercial use, as long as the full source code is made available and all authors are cited.

Most people that use open source software, either free or payed for, do not have the ability to design or even modify the software code. They are therefore content to simply get and use the software. If, on the other hand, I am an experienced software developer, the open source license allows me to use the code and incorporate it into any project I want to as long as I meet the requirements of the license (as noted above). Let's take Linux as an example. There are various completely free versions and then there are versions that you can buy. Those "for purchase" versions usually are just value-added versions that include support. This makes them attractive to businesses that can't afford to keep a Linux guru on staff. These "for purchase" versions must still adhere to the provisions of the GNU General Public License (the license model Linux uses), which means their source code must be made freely available without restriction. Means I could take there code base, make a few changes and then release it to the public for sale too. As long as I adhere to the GNU license. And, most importantly, these licenses are legally binding. If I develop code under, say. the GNU license, and someone uses my code but does make the source code available, the community enforces the license by imposing restrictions on the use of the code. If the violator does not comply with the GNU terms, redress may be sought in court for copyright violations under the terms of the GNU license.

Now, I think this is what is needed in the 3D printing communities. They need to develop licenses under which they can release their code. Actually, you could release it under the GNU license. This gives you, essentially, a copyright on the code that you can enforce under the terms of the GNU license.

If, on the other hand, you simply want to print parts and sell them, you need to copyright the code and not distribute it. If you want to share it, the adoption of some sort of licensing would be a good idea. This would give you certain rights that can be spelled out in the license.

As John pointed out above, all this might not work well unless the community develops a universally accepted format for the files that is easily shared among users with different printers.

Now, I am pretty much just thinking out loud here and I am sure I have missed a lot as my understanding of the output of design software is limited. So, take it for what its worth.

 

ok, I guess I misunderstood/misunderstand. Still sounds like you're talking about open source programs and not files, but I'm not sure.  

 

But anyway. To answer the original posts question my answer would be it depends. For the price of the printer and quality you're getting I'd say it's a worthwhile investment. That is ASSUMING you're ok with having to learn a lot of CAD and are ok with having another hobby of learning how to print. It's not quite to the "easy button" push and print stage yet. there is a lot of learning and living with failed prints to get consistent results. But if that's your kind of thing then YES, go for it. It's quite liberating knowing that you can create almost any part you'd like with the right amount of work and thought and you don't have to wait for a company to come out with something obscure just for your needs.

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4 hours ago, niart17 said:

ok, I guess I misunderstood/misunderstand. Still sounds like you're talking about open source programs and not files, but I'm not sure.  

 

Sorry if I caused any confusion. I was kinda comparing the files used to print 3D objects with software for the purpose of a discussion on how to control the use of said files and share them openly without giving up complete control over their use.

 

In any case, it was all secondary to the OP's original question. Plus, confusion is a common state of mind for me these days and it tends to rub off :gr_eek2: :thumbsup:

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19 hours ago, John Tapsell said:

 

 

The danger/risk I see is that the ability and willingness to share freely will last only as long as no-one takes those files and starts to use them to sell the products commercially without the the permission of the designers. At the moment, the community works on trust and integrity but I suspect that may only last until the first 'theft' occurs. 

 

 

 

Oh, that's already a pretty big problem in the Nerf community. Some guy put out files for a blaster he calls the Woozi and wouldn't you know it someone later stole it and reproduced it themselves to sell (video link, it's the very first news item discussed in the video right after the cute jingle). Some other dude who calls himself Captain Slug makes another gun called the Caliburn that's pretty much the staple of the Nerf 3D printing world, it has many design variants, some authorized, but some, particularly coming out of Singapore, are unauthorized ripoffs (note there is a large company that's also making it, but that design is authorized too).

 

Unfortunately I don't know what to do about it but I'll ask my friends who are "deeper" into this hobby.

Edited by Just call me Ray
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8 hours ago, Mstor said:

 

Sorry if I caused any confusion. I was kinda comparing the files used to print 3D objects with software for the purpose of a discussion on how to control the use of said files and share them openly without giving up complete control over their use.

 

In any case, it was all secondary to the OP's original question. Plus, confusion is a common state of mind for me these days and it tends to rub off :gr_eek2: :thumbsup:

ahhhh gotcha now. Sorry about that, that was me being dense. Yes, we are living in the Land of Confusion! I'm practically a permanent resident there. 

 

There are people out there that are selling .stl files for single person use but I'm pretty sure the only protection against theft is the honor system. Malix3Design sells his beautiful files of some great figure models for a great price. He has you sign (check box) an agreement that you will not share the files, but I believe the only course of action he has if you do is to black list you from downloading any other files in the future. It's an interesting world and I'm sure someone at some point will figure out a way to make the files fully protected. But then of course someone will figure out a way to hack that and probably start a back and forth battle. 

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On 7/28/2020 at 7:08 AM, niart17 said:

ahhhh gotcha now. Sorry about that, that was me being dense. Yes, we are living in the Land of Confusion! I'm practically a permanent resident there. 

 

There are people out there that are selling .stl files for single person use but I'm pretty sure the only protection against theft is the honor system. Malix3Design sells his beautiful files of some great figure models for a great price. He has you sign (check box) an agreement that you will not share the files, but I believe the only course of action he has if you do is to black list you from downloading any other files in the future. It's an interesting world and I'm sure someone at some point will figure out a way to make the files fully protected. But then of course someone will figure out a way to hack that and probably start a back and forth battle. 

Do you know of any source that sells file to print model airplane parts? say 1/48 F84 wing tanks... Dai 

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1 hour ago, dai phan said:

Do you know of any source that sells file to print model airplane parts? say 1/48 F84 wing tanks... Dai 

I don't but Dave Roof might know of someone. He's more in that line of products than I am. Dave, what say you Sir?

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22 hours ago, niart17 said:

I don't but Dave Roof might know of someone. He's more in that line of products than I am. Dave, what say you Sir?

 

Sorry, none that I know of.

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