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I have a concept that's roughly 18"x30" (about 457x762 mm), and I just realized that the Makerbot and similar printers only allow dimensions around the size of a piece of paper. What are other options? Are there large 3D printers I just don't know about? I looked up TMC injection mold, but couldn't find anything on size (most links go to PDFs with printer images).

Is injection even in the same "world" as 3D..? Sorry for confusing the two.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to 3D Printing! Think of 3D printing as "Proof of Concept" or "prototyping" (one off or minimal production). Think of injection molding for mass production after you've proven the concept. You could mass produce with 3d printing, but it wouldn't be economically feasible, in both time and money. Using injection molding is, after the forms are paid for, much cheaper/easier if you're going to be selling something on the open market in large quantity. NOTE: These are the ramblings of a mad-man, so take them for what they are worth. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 1 '18 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ The question about TMC injection molding pretty tacked on and might warrent its own question. I focussed on the main question. $\endgroup$ – Trish Oct 1 '18 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed - please post the "injection" question, with clarifications, as a separate item. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Oct 2 '18 at 15:40
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As Trish states, a print service would appear to be your best bet. Building a printer large enough may work out costing more than the print service, especially if it is only for one print of a proof of concept.

Anecdotally, I visited a 3D Printing shop in Bangkok, JWH High tech Garden, that had a huge Delta printer that had, reputably, cost a million baht (~£20000) if my memory serves me correctly, and was capable of producing prints up to 1000 mm x 600 mm (39.37" x 23.62"):

Large Delta printer

However, the print service was not cheap at all. In May 2017, I was quoted 68000-100000 baht (~£1360-2000) for some printed parts (the proteins) for a Wilson II 3D printer, which are about only £70 on eBay!

Wilson II proteins

However, it is worth taking into consideration that, at the moment, Thailand is very expensive for 3D printing in general, as it is relatively new there, and so prices for both printers and print services are high.

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I do not know about your project, but the size of the final object.

Smaller prints glued together

Just design smaller parts and glue them together. Take a look on this video, where Joel Telling glues OpenRC Formula parts.

enter image description here

Hangprinter

Interesting concept is Hangprinter where volume size depends on your room size. It's a RepRap so you have to build it yourself. Components price should be around 500$.

enter image description here

Buy a big printer

If your budget is bigger then you can buy a printer. See following lists:

Print service

If you have higher budget and you need just one, two prints, then you can use 3d printing services like 3dhubs. Such services use large printers. See a list on all3dp.com.

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So long as you are not dealing with MortonThiokol issues, there is a simple tradeoff: high-cost printer vs. breaking down your design into smaller parts with assembly features. Many designers publish designs which snap-fit together; others suggest glue; still others go the safe route of providing clearance holes and requiring metal nuts&bolts to assemble.

In sum - if you can deal with separate parts, you can print everything on a standard bed size.

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YesIf you have the money

Either read here or look at the ones I plucked out of that list to show you:

First of all, 3D printers on FDM basis can become quite large, if you pay extra. And the price goes up really fast as the dimensions grow because the demands on stability grow exponentially.

Larger Printers?

One example of a "scaling" printer family is the CR-10: The baseline CR-10 is about 300x300x400 mm, so about 12x12x16 inch for 400\$. Not enough? 400x400x400 on the CR-10 S4 for ca 760\$. 500x500x500 on the CR-10 S5 for 900\$. That's 20 inch in all directions. But that's still not enough, isn't it? Well, if you need to go larger, you need to go professional...

Going Big!

Well, there are printers like the gCreate gMax 1.5 XT+ (406x406x533 mm) for a mere 3000\$. That's enough, isn't it? Well, we can even go bigger: 610x610x610 mm for a mere 3500\$ on the Modix Big 60.

Still not satisfied? Industrial machines can go even larger! A BigRep Studio for the little price of 50000\$ could achieve 500x1000x500 mm.

Even more? Go Parametric!

As amra mentioned, the Hangpringer project of printers has no "set" build size, but you will have to provide a build platform of fitting size and a room it can work in undisturbed and with filament supply ready... just... bring a ladder? And be wary of people tripping over wires... and somehow find a ginormous, evenly heated bed somewhere...

Ways around

Assembly

That is a little overkill, isn't it? Well, the first thing you need to remember when 3D printing is: unless you make a functional part that has to have certain dimensions, feel free to scale it down if it is just for visuals. Then, you can assemble prints. Like, take a smaller printer and print the object in halves or quarters. Then glue it back together.

Order

You don't want or can't assemble the part? Well, there are printing services out there that have these larger scale printers I mentioned (or at least similar ones) that offer to make your parts for you and then ship them to you. Usually, that is much more cost effective than buying one of these ginormous printers yourself.

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  • $\begingroup$ I build my own with 600 x 600 x 750 for around 800EUR $\endgroup$ – profesor79 Oct 2 '18 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ @profesor79 building yourself is definitely cheaper than buying a ready made printer. $\endgroup$ – Trish Oct 2 '18 at 8:33

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