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Need information on 3D printing

So I am looking to make decorative phone cases using a 3D printer.

But I have no experience with them. Essentially what I am hoping to do is make snap on or slide on covers.
What kind of 3D printer would be able to do this? What sort of designs/colours would I be able to do?
Anything I have to take into consideration?

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Roy3 years ago
Try thingiverse.com they have hundreds of phone case files.
MrJet (author) 3 years ago
Actually that brings to mind something. Is it possible to print in more stretchy materials like silicone?
ratmax00 MrJet3 years ago
Users out there are already developing nylon 3d printing filament. Don't go and throw your trimmer line in your 3d printer, that would be bad, but do a search for nylon 3d printer filament. You should get some hits.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQSP6takiSU
wilgubeast3 years ago
Ensure that your files work as phone cases by getting them printed in a variety of materials from a printing service like Ponoko or Shapeways. (I printed phone cases on an Objet that wouldn't stick to the phone because the softer materials were too flexible and would slip off easily.) Prototype, iterate, then make an informed investment in a machine that does what you need it to do.

Once you dial in your files, kelseymh's advice is dead-on.
MrJet (author) 3 years ago
So how much would I be looking at spending on a printer that could handle multiple colours with the sort of precision required?
kelseymh3 years ago
There are lots of technical things you should take into consideration, if you're trying to choose what printer to buy:

1) What is the printer's precision, in terms of repeatability? If you print the same object twice, how consistent are the dimensions? This is important for snap-on components, because you want them to be snug and not come off in use, but you also need the clips to be as short as possible to make it easy to use.

2) What material(s) can the printer handle? Can you get those materials pre-colored in the shades you want? If not, can the material be colored reliably either before or after use?

3) If you want to produce multicolored objects, do you want to print in one go? Then you need a printer with multiple heads. Otherwise, you need a high-precision printer so the pieces will fit together properly.

4) What is the printer's throughput? You don't want to take two hours to print each object if you're going to try to make twenty or thirty per day.

5) How reliable is the printer? Can you just start sending jobs and leave it alone, or does it require a lot of manual intervention? Does it require frequent alignments or maintenance? How long does a spool of material last?

Then you need to answer all the typical questions of a business plan (that is a keyword to use in a search).
MrJet (author) 3 years ago
Generate an income
Kiteman3 years ago
Are you wanting to do this for fun/creativity reasons, or to generate an income?