MiiCraft - Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I buy the MiiCraft printer through Creative CADworks?
As with any high tech product, a 3D printer is only as good as the support and service you receive. This is where Creative CADworks stands head and shoulders above all others. My brother, Kamal, and I are third generation jewellers and we have touched on nearly every aspect of the industry. We entered the 3D design, printing and manufacturing in 2009. We have quickly gained a broad range of expertise in digital manufacturing ranging from creating CAD models on Matrix, Rhino and RhinoGold. In addition, we have experience in using a wide range of 3D printing platforms and teaching a wide range of age groups, from children as young as 9 years old, to experienced CAD designers who wanted to learn a new skill or program platform.
We have been the North American distributor of MiiCraft printers since 2014 and so we have a very good understanding of the printer. We are your key contact persons whether you need technical details, printing advice or general customer service questions and all enquiries are handled by us personally. As your digital partner, we will be with you every step of the way from when you first receive and unbox your MiiCraft printer to the first set of prints. We will also provide you with important tips that will allow you to create models that will take advantage of your MiiCraft printer by eliminating the need for supports and maximising the resolution of your printer. And we can also provide valuable guidance in the area of casting and the variety of other materials that we are continually developing and experimenting with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key differences between the MiiCraft printer and other available 3D printers?
The MiiCraft 3D printer has been built to be a 3D printer from the ground up. All the parts and components have been specifically built and engineered for 3D printing. The light engine is the key feature of all resin based 3D printers, since this is the component that cures and builds the 3D printed model. The MiiCraft printer uses a LED DLP light engine specifically made for 3D printers, unlike other commercially available printers that use a standard home projector to serve as the light engine. The teflon vats, which houses the resin, is amongst the least expensive on the market. Each MiiCraft vat will cost US$125, in other available systems these vats can cost upward to US$500. Teflon vats last from 3 to 6 months, based on use and experience when handling the vat itself. During these 3 to 6 months, the vat itself does not need to be replaced. An experienced user may see a longer lifespan when using the vat. The MiiCraft printer does not need to be calibrated when you receive it. All of the calibration is done during manufacturing and is fixed in place before shipping. The MiiCraft printer does NOT come with any additional recurring costs related to the slicing software or maintenance.
What are the advantages of having a dedicated LED DLP light engine as opposed to an off the shelf home projector?
The strengths of a dedicated LED DLP light engine is only way to create an efficient, fine-tuned 3D printer at the exact 405 nm wavelength, which is the optimal wavelength needed to cure the vast majority of the 3D printer resins. An off the shelf home projector is turned into a 3D printer when the UV filter, which is located inside the unit, is removed in order to access this 405nm wavelength. By doing so, the home projector is now running at 90% of its full power output. This excess in power starts to decade the projector within months. In the case of the dedicated MiiCraft LED DLP projector, the power output needed to run the printer is only 20%, and this results in an excellent use of power without any degradation of power or the LED DLP projector. In comparison to the home projector, when the MiiCraft projector was tested at 90% output and the results show no degradation of power or effectiveness in over one year of daily use under normal conditions.
Are all castable resins the same?
By doing a quick survey of all the available resins in the marketplace, you will find out that not all castable resins are the same. Our castable resin was created by jewellers for jewellers. The resin had gone through 8 months of thorough testing over 5 key parameters that all jewellers want from a castable resin.
Initially the focus of this resin was only to create a castable resin that can work with all precious metal alloys. But during the development of the resin, we decided to raise the bar and make the resin as easy to cast as traditional injection wax. Therefore, we partnered with various casting houses, who were working with a wide range of materials and investments using a digital casting oven. We asked them to start casting our resins in the same flask as their traditional injection waxes using Stain Cast investments. After a tough five months of testing, we were having successful casting results. The flower that you see below, was casted in the method mentioned. As we continue to work with new customers, we always encourage them to cast with our materials before buying our product and we are confident that with some minor fine tuning they will be successful with casting our material.
Accuracy of detail
This is one area where the strength of the MiiCraft projector and the quality of the castable resin go hand in hand. The resin has been fined-tuned to be efficiently optimized by the 405 nm wavelength MiiCraft LED projector. The level of detail that is achieved is amongst the leaders in castable resins within the sub $10,000 printer category. The flower ring that is attached, has detail parts that are no more that 0.3mm wide, printed on the MiiCraft 125 printer, which has a XY resolution of 64 microns. With the Miicraft 100 or MiiCraft 50, even more detailed accuracy can be achieved with the castable resin.
Shrinkage from CAD to printed model
The success of any printer in the jewellery industry that is a designed part for 1.3mm stones should not print out at 1.2mm. The Castable resin has a negligible shrinkage of 0.02mm from design to print. This is where the background of the MiiCraft printer sets the standard. The MiiCraft made its first entry in the 3D printer world in 2013 as the leading 3D printer in the engineering field of microfluidics where successful parts are printed to an accuracy of 1.5% .
Faster print speed
Perhaps the least known fact about resins is that the materials curing characteristics can impact the speed of a 3D printing cycle. MiiCraft resins have been optimized to give results as quickly as possible without sacrificing print quality. A typical print tray on the MiiCraft 125 can support up to 25 rings and you can have your models completed in a short time period as 3.5 hours. This is achieved through the MiiCraft printer software and as simple as a changing the setting within a drop down menu.
What are my operating costs?
The MiiCraft LED DLP printer has one of the lowest year to year cost of operation. With the delivery of your MiiCraft printer, you will have everything needed to start to print once you are setup. As you become more experienced you will need supplies from month to month. For MiiCraft printers that are purchased through Creative CADworks, you will have access to the lowest cost of supplies for the MiiCraft available. Your castable resin cost will be US$185 per half kg, which equates to anywhere between $0.75 to $1.50 for an average sized ring. The cost of a teflon vat will be US$125 per vat, the average lifespan of each vat ranges from 3 to 6 months depending on how diligent you are with the basic maintenance of resin. Other than these two items, you should not be needing any additional items. There is NO recurring software costs or a maintenance program. The printer is built to have the simplicity of plug and play technology.
Do I need to calibrate my MiiCraft?
Simply put, No. Each and every MiiCraft is shipped from the factory fully calibrated for immediate use. As an additional service to our customers, we do an additional calibration before we send out each and every unit. It involves printing a calibration block before we ship out each printer. Packaging and shipping the printer and upon landing to our customer’s location, we immediately print the same calibration block to ensure that there was no damage done during shipping.
What is involved in calibrating each printer?
One of the many strengths of the MiiCraft LED DLP projector is the level of detail that is examined to ensure a perfect printer setup. It all starts with ensuring the power emitted by the projector is uniform throughout the build plate. An even power distribution through the plate ensures that items are built in the middle of the printable area, is exactly the same as ones that are printed along the edges. This is done by examining and evaluating 144 points throughout the build plate and building an accurate representation of the power output map. All slight variations are identified and the engineers at MiiCraft created a digital mask in order to create a uniform power output throughout the build plate. Conversely, this level of accuracy cannot be done with a home projector, the mask that is created to even out the power output are based on readings from anywhere from 4 to 50 points. The second calibration that is done is a geometric calibration, which involves ensuring the outside borders of the LED DLP projector image are straight. All projector images exhibit a slight deviation where the corners meet. Instead of the corners meeting at 90 degrees, the borders curve outwards causing the corner angles to be less than 90 degrees. The engineers at MiiCraft create a digital mask to straighten this deviation with an equally high number of measured points like the power map’s 144. Though a similar mask is created for the home projector 3D printer, the measurable points used to create the mask is far less. This level of accuracy for the MiiCraft printer results in a consistent printed file regardless of where the printed object is located on the plate.