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3D printers and CNC mills

So I’m considering a machine to speed up my one piece workflow, I currently do a lot of etching/engraving of precise patterns, the etching is somewhat time consuming and messy, and since I do all the graphic on a computer I’ve been thinking why don’t I just get one of those machine that will mill/print the design in one go, Obviously 3d printers and cnc mills are different beasts but for my uses they served a similar purpose,
Has anyone ever tried one of thees devices? ‘links below’

First consideration is a 4 axis CNC

next a cheap 3d printer, I can’t find any real close images of its work but at this price I can’t say i’m not intrigued, any input would be appreciated, obviously the main concern here is resolution.

Hello. I have a 3D filament printer that I use for making models. But the filament resolution is low, there is a lot of time in prepping models to cast after printing. So my recommendation is, that if you choose a 3D printer just go straight to the resin printers. All3DP is a great resource for basic information about CNC and 3D printers.

Good Luck

Hi, I think I can help you out a bit. I have two FDM printers, a 5 axis cnc and a 3 axis cnc. The FDM printers work great for work holding and making plastic parts for holding you rotary tools and a bunch of other stuff. However, for jewellery they do not have any where near the resolution for smithing.

For that you will need an SLA resin printer. Very Very messy though… Here are my choices…
** Prusa SL1 (First choice but 5 times more expensive)
Trying to figure out how to convince my wife that I need this…

  • QIDI Shadow 5.5S (Second Choice)
    Elegoo Mars (Third)
    Phrozen Sonic Mini (Fourth) (Cheapest in price, but really good resolution.)
    Creality LD-002R SLA (Fifth)

As for CNC machines a four axis is a good start but that particular one is pricey for that machine, 900 euros? Ouch!! Sometimes they do not have the resolution needed for a nice clean finish. Depending on your budget you might want to consider the PocketNC there are two versions, I have the V2-50 and I have nothing but great praise for the company and the machine. Excellent support and very personal. One support guy spent four hours with me on the phone on easter long weekend last year helping me out. There are things that you could never do on a four axis that you could on a five.

If you are thinking of the AnyCube LCD Photon, Check out the Phrozen Sonic Mini. They are very comparable and the Phrozen is getting some good reviews. Things to consider is the resolution… HD 1080p vs 4k or 8k resolution. I would go for the 4k resolution if you can, but 1080 is not bad.

Hope this info helps you a bits

Thanks for that, After reading about the resins used in 3d printers I’m leaning away from that side of things, I know wear gloves and all that but I’m thinking a high resolution CNC that I can cut wax with and ideally mill some silver would suit better,
what CNC do you have? those PocketNC machines seems neat but are quite expensive,
the machine I linked to looked to me to be the the best Chinese option, they start at 300 for a small one, up to 2k for a big one, calmed accuracy 0.05mm, is that good? I wonder could I expect to get near that in real world use.
no one on YouTube has thought of testing it’s resolution yet, apparently they’re all still ‘blown away’ by its plywood cutting capabilities.

Well I own the PocketNC v2-50 and I swear by it. I will be purchasing a resin printer in the next few months, just deciding on which one. If you get that 4 axis machine, I would highly recommend you get a 3D printer too. I use it to make fixtures and jigs for locating and holding a lot of my jewellery designs.

With the resin printer there is less work in the long run. The design time is the same but setup takes longer on a CNC then the post work on a 3D printer. I wouldn’t be too quick to count out the resin printer. There is a tone of cleanup and wast with the CNC process. There is way less waste with the 3D resin compared to a CNC and the resin is reusable with the 3D printer. Although the clean up is messy with resin , I still believe it is way less than the CNC.

When doing silver work on the CNC, it has a tendency to go through cutters really quickly. if you are using regular HSS cutters, factor in a one time use for every cutter you need for the job or invest in very high end expense cutters.

Wax is a breeze with any cutter.


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Hello again. I agree with rdtymko, don’t count out resin printing. I know Formlabs castable resin doesn’t require post processing and where there is one there will be others.

I suggest sending out for samples and trying a printing service like craft cloud to get an idea of what you can get from a resin printer.

Hi Sean

Here is my 2 cents worth. I love my printer an older B9creator. It came with a huge learning curve and requires a lot of fine tuning and maintenance. After spending a year or two sending out models for printing, it became a must to have this in-house to vet my newly acquired CAD skills and then to show customers a model.

I never hit the casting of resign models well and have tried hard to do so. My go to is to make RTV mold of print which has made my casting gods happy. I also have a pal locally who has a Revo mill, when the situation calls for it I call on him.

As my B9 ages out I am looking at a Form 3. But I hope that will be some time from now as when it is going well I have never seen better prints.