Concept iro3d: Is this metal 3D printer the low-cost endgame option we are after?

Hifihedgehog

Editor-in-chief of SFFPC.review
Original poster
May 3, 2016
415
380
www.sffpc.review


I recently looked into getting a custom 3D printed metal lid for my Streacom F1C and it was nothing short of expensive: $200+. The reason I was told for such a high quote is the specialized metal 3D printers commonly push into the $100,000 territory. I did some superficial research into the metal 3D printer market and I stumbled on this 3D printer whose lofty goal is to make metal 3D printing accessible for all: the iro3d, at a mere $7,000 a unit. $7,000 is still a hefty investment for most of us, not to mention a kiln or furnace is needed for post-processing. But considering the extreme temperatures required for molten metal, I more than understand the price point which is an absolute steal compared to the alternatives. I figured I would ask if anyone had any experience with this product since a cheap, decent metal 3D printer would be endgame for us modders, who have had to settle on plastics if we want anything 3D printed at a reasonable, rational price point. Is this a decent product and is it worth investing in?
 
Last edited:

Thehack

Shrink Way Wielder
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,571
3,149
J-hackcompany.com
No.

These are the reasons that makes metal 3d printing attractive:

1. Low setup work. Slice and go.

2. You are able to build things from "inside out" and other intricate designs.

3. You actually need metal for strength.

This item is neither of the above things for what we do. It still takes quite a bit of labor, doesn't look reliable. The stuff we're building doesn't need to be 3d printed, we can use subtractive techniques just fine. The build volume looks really bad. You also need to add the cost of something that heats up to the required temps.

For 5k, you can probably make 20 different lid design if it isn't too intricate at $250 a prototype. Or you can get a bench top router and cut aluminum with much nicer finish quality. 5k can also get you a lot of multijet parts or a very nice dual head printer, or 5 prusa printers.

It is definitely a cool design and can be very good for other work or hobby/educational use, but for chassis design I can't see it being that useful.
 

Thehack

Shrink Way Wielder
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,571
3,149
J-hackcompany.com
Thanks, @Thehack! How far away do you think we are from an economical metal 3D printer that is "good enough" for case design?
I don't think it'll ever be good for case design. Most of issue is finish quality and metal printers leave a lot of post processing labor to do.

I think the break through is cheaper "prusa" based cnc milling machine.

Bench top router doesn't have the z or the stiffness and vertical mills are very expensive for the volume. A prusa style mill offers a good compromise between the two.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hifihedgehog

Hifihedgehog

Editor-in-chief of SFFPC.review
Original poster
May 3, 2016
415
380
www.sffpc.review
So, say, if I wanted to make a custom metal lid for a case, like this one for a Streacom case. I am not familiar or expert in CNC routing but I am familiar and know enough to create or use 3D STL models. For me, today, what would be the smartest and most economical path which would only entail an automated workflow in the actual manufacture of this lid?
 

Thehack

Shrink Way Wielder
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,571
3,149
J-hackcompany.com
If you want to make it yourself, you can get a bench top cnc router. You'll have to learn to use CAM and program the cut yourself but it is easily doable since it is a simple 2d design.

If you want someone else make it, use sendcutsend or any kind of 2d cutting service.

Draw the design send a dxf or dwg of the 2d cuts. Do a call out for the countersink holes. Send files through sendcutsend, xometry, protocase or any prototype based service. You can also look for cheap overseas service as well.

If you want to look nice, you need to have a place that can do a deburr and an anodized finish.

It'll cost $100-300 depending on how high quality the finish is. It's just a 2d cut so it is pretty easy to get done. I would also just check for local services.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hifihedgehog

Hifihedgehog

Editor-in-chief of SFFPC.review
Original poster
May 3, 2016
415
380
www.sffpc.review
It'll cost $100-300 depending on how high quality the finish is. It's just a 2d cut so it is pretty easy to get done. I would also just check for local services.
That is basically what I was quoted for a 3D printed, DMLS Aluminum, black anodized lid for a manual order at FacFox. Is this then market competitive with a 2D cutting service?

 

Thehack

Shrink Way Wielder
Creator
Bronze Supporter
Mar 6, 2016
2,571
3,149
J-hackcompany.com
That is basically what I was quoted for a 3D printed, DMLS Aluminum, black anodized lid for a manual order at FacFox. Is this then market competitive with a 2D cutting service?

Yeah. See how much cnc costs. Its a single setup so should be priced similarly but gives you better finish quality.

Or check laser cutting.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Hifihedgehog

Hifihedgehog

Editor-in-chief of SFFPC.review
Original poster
May 3, 2016
415
380
www.sffpc.review
Yeah. See how much cnc costs. Its a single setup so should be priced similarly but gives you better finish quality.

Or check laser cutting.
Will do! Thank you so much for the tremendous boost. I just requested CNC quotes on FacFox and TreatStock and I should be hearing back soon.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
1,931
2,101
I haven't used TreatStock for CNC but they've been a great third party service for 3D printing. TreatStock lets you pick whatever service you want available for different pricing options. For me they fill the void that 3D Hubs left after they decided to drop transparency for individual printing shops and just "fulfill" everything themselves.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hifihedgehog

duynguyenle

Cable-Tie Ninja
Aug 20, 2019
177
169
For a flat sheet design (that you only need one or several of), there's no reason to do anything other than laser or waterjet cutting. Any sheet metal fab worth their salt should be able to knock this out for you with a day or two lead time. I don't even know why you would consider 3D printing (metal or not) unless there's additional non-planar geometry you need to form (for example integrated side rails or something like that) and even then, it's much more cost-effective to have the fab do it for you via the myriad of options available (side rails could be formed and bent separately, then spot welded onto flat panels, mounting tabs could be punched out or bent depending on your designs.

3D printing as I see it is generally great for rapid prototyping before you bring that design to be manufactured.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hifihedgehog