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Printing 3d models/ prototypes affordably? Is there a cheap place to get my cad file printed by a 3d printer? Answered

So I am working on a futuristic design of a ferris wheel and am having trouble finding a company or manufacturer that could make an affordable prototype. My 3d model has the dimensions 100mm x 100mm x 75mm max size with the volume of 5 cubic inches. The school I go to does not have a 3d printer but I was fortunate to find one of my teachers came from a school who had one and she was going to try and see if they would print my model for me. It's been over a month since I heard of that option and I am assuming that option is no longer on the table. So, I am looking for an affordable option to print my 3d model. My budget is under $50. Had I been able to use the school's 3d printer it would have only cost me $4 per cubic inch, resulting in $20 cost to make. Doing a google search for 3d prototyping companies I found a few commercial options yet the quotes end up costing around $375 - $725. I know the Makerbot is one of the most affordable 3d printers out there yet $1000 is not in my price rang.

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user
icengBest Answer (author)2011-09-14

Here is the perfect ible for you read.

A

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mcguyverzboss (author)2011-09-15

Thanks Guys! Both Ponoko and Shapeways look to be very promising in making the prototype. The costs are around $2 per cubic centimeter. I have reduced my design files to the bare minimum of what is needed to make a working model and fit within my budget of $50. My design ended up being 20 cm^3. All of your answers have been great in helping me find a solution. I agree finding someone who has a 3d printer would be the most affordable.

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fungus amungus (author)2011-09-15

Short answer: no.

Longer answer: nooooooooooooooooo.

But really, it's not about the material. It's about the machine time and with that much volume it will take a while.

For your budget, which is quite low, 3D printing is not really an option. Here's what would have to happen for it to work.

- You have access to a 3D printer
- You know how to use it
- You can use it to print it yourself
- You will probably make a few mistakes and use up material in the process

Or, if you're really lucky, you find someone who has one and is willing to help you out as a favor.

As an option, you could prototype it with paper. Hard to say without seeing the model you're trying to print, though.

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rickharris (author)2011-09-15

No idea where you are or what you might call cheap.

the web is your best bet.

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