Obtaining 3d printed parts?

So im in to a lot of SatCom projects, and im also interested in running a satnogs station. I don’t have a lot of money, fortunately I have almost everything I need or am able to build it with chips and materials I already own. Except the 3D printed parts! I know there is no kits out there for a full satnogs setup but is there anyone just selling the 3d printed parts? If not does anyone know about what it cost to have a company like shapeways to print and mail all the parts? Im sorry I have never been involved in any type of 3D printing, its just not my thing, Im more in to RF engineering.

I was thinking about building 2 rotors one to steer, 4 helix antennas, 2 UHF and two L-band, this would be mostly dedicated to the satnogs cause with some use of the L-band helicals when I need them. Then I want a second one the could steer a cassagrain dish just under a meter (28x25inches), would the rotor be able to handle this as long as the tripod was sturdy enough to fight wind load?

So I am building a station with some partners for our school and we got a quote from a 3d printing shop and they were expecting $1100 cash for the sets to build 1 rotator. We ended up just getting the school to buy us one for 600$ and I have been pumping out the peices. You could look into a DIY printer on amazon for around 250-300$ or you could check your local craigslist or yellowbooks to see if there is some 3d printer guys willing to throw down for you for cheap.

Like I said I know nothing about 3D printing… I am under the impression the only thing 3D printed in this project is the gears and maybe some brackets to keep the gearbox together. I was thinking a big place like shapeways may be 5 to 15 bucks a piece!!! Am I wrong is $1100 dollars the serious going rate for getting gears printed??! That seems exceptionally expensive considering #1 As you said you can buy a printer for less #2 I could probably have a steel gearbox machined for less #3 I could get a quality Az/El system for $1100! I thought 3d printing was suppose to empower people to manufacture objects for cheap?

haha yeah. I was just trying to give you the quote we got, we obviously didn’t want to pay for that, the place we were going to buy from employed engineers and most of the cost was just labor hours. You can probably find something cheaper indefinitely.

Hi rwcast,

Like yourself I am about to start my build of a groundstation, but I had the initial problem of not having access to a 3D printer.

I initially got quotes from DirtyPCBs which is a great online store as they can do your PCB fabrication, 3D Printing and lasercutting for the groundstation and you can upload the files to the site to get the quotes for the pieces.

I did find a local 3D printer was slightly cheaper as they charged by the bounding box rather than per the gram. However with a v3 rotator it still would have worked out that the 3D parts would be about $500 AUD. In the end I found the local hackerspace had a WORKING and reasonably accurate 3D printer, so I joined up for $55 for the first month.

The downside of the hackerspace is I need to be on site to do the prints which have taken over 24 hours of my time so far to print (including some bad prints). On the plus side you save heaps of money, and you’ll probably learn stuff about 3D printing in the process because you can ask for help from other hackerspace members.

Since the rotator uses a worm gear I think this will act as an efficient brake during wind up to a point. I don’t know what that point is yet since I haven’t started by build, but I’m sure to find out since it can get quite windy in Tasmania.

For reference I priced a commercial rotator, the Yaesu GS-5500 at about $1200 AUD so it’s good I’ve been able to build an open source solution for about half that price and my time.