[amsat-bb] Hamsat uses for a 3d printer?

Daniel Cussen dan at post.com
Thu Jan 29 14:33:46 UTC 2015

Hi Andy

STL files are an industry standard.
3D printers are being used by SATNOGS to make rotator parts. the main
upside is when they wear out you can print more.

Regarding the magazine it probably works out at £800 or more all in.
You can get a complete 3D printer assembled for less. There will be no
reviews on that model until people have built it, probably better to
just buy a kit or finished model.

In general there are issues with 3D printing and it cannot do
everything like any tool.
You can research more online but basic issues are:

1) You cannot print anything unless you have a 3D model, which is most
of the work.
2) Generally most printers only print in plastic like lego plastic
3) They are very slow and take time to setup and often hours to print.
4) They cannot print certain things, The material "falls down" so you
cannot print an overhang. There is work around such as parts you break
off, but it does limit the type of things you can build
5) There is a limited max size you can make, normally quite small but
there is also work a rounds.

In my local hackerspace I have access to two 3D printers, laser cutter
and a lathe. I have yet to use them for any of my actual projects.
With the 3D printer getting a model of what I wanted in a printable
format was a stumbling block.

It's probably better to buy one as a club or group due to the cost and
the fact it may not get much use. Most of what is printed are
trinkets, or people messing about. If you get a really good one, and
are good with 3D packages you can stretch the boundaries, and even
send off your STL files to get the same item printed in metal on a
professional model. I bodge stuff with plastic and metal all the time
without needing a 3d printer.

I found it better just to pay a professional to make items such as
aluminium brackets or welded shapes for one off projects. £800 would
go a long way towards making parts needed. The SATNOGS guys are in the
greek hackerspace so, as such, they have access to the printer for

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