Speed Phreaks

I have figured out what is going on with the marketing of speed with 3D printers.

The issue with the marketing departments is they cannot sell intangibles in their marketing efforts. A quality print output is a perception by human judgement. In the world of 3D printing, there are far too many variables that will affect both produced and perceived output quality.

The very best hardware with improper variable settings, environmental conditions, printing materials, choice of design, and many other factors beyond the control of the printer maker, makes print quality a very hard claim to fulfill. It’s an intangible. It can be a claim but how is output quality measured?

The quality of the hardware itself is a bit different. With experience, the user becomes more professional and understands the tools in use. There are great differences and some minor differences between the quality of hardware. One tangible measurement is the cost. Quality of product is almost always, “higher is better”.

Methods of printing and system configurations vary considerably. Resin and FDM both have several subcategories. It becomes the user’s choice of which they prefer. Reality is, there is no one best.

Speed, on the other hand, is a tangible in all systems. Not only can it be seen, but it can be measured. So, claiming to be the fastest will still be a comparison, it certainly is a metric.

Management people and marketers love metrics. Both view metrics as hard evidence of effort. Speed can be measured with some certainty. Quality is a judgement and hard to measure.

The largest issue for most users, especially FDM 3D printing, is the time required to produce a print.

In my human experience, one of the major metrics of “best” is being faster than any competition. Everything in life becomes a race or competition for lowest time. Faster, bigger is always “better”.

“Doing it with style” sometimes adds to a score, say in ballroom dancing. It’s the length of the music score that determines the time. So overall time is not judged. I have never heard of “speed dancing”, but it may exist…

At my (considerable) age, I have discovered that speed is not always the best measure of quality. Some things just need to be done slowly.

I stick here with 3D printing.

Pushing the laws of motion, mass and inertia do not produce acceptable quality printing in my opinion. At least with hobbyist grade desktop 3D printers. The one good take-away I HAVE discovered is those 3D printer makers who are bragging high speed are actually producing a higher quality hardware.

These machines when operating at speeds that don’t cause them to “rock and roll” on the work bench and don’t exceed the filament (and resin) makers speed limitations, will produce outstanding prints when all other variables are properly configured.

Bottom line: Just because they claim and will run at 600+ mm/s, doesn’t mean they produce the best results at that speed. I’m just doin’ what works best.


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