3D printer and running costs
Our tech department want to buy 3d printers and hope to write this into their curriculum plan. They are interested in the Makerbots in particular but are open to other suggestions.
The concern is related around running costs, and time to print - the two classic considerations when it comes to buying any machine like this.
Makerbot say you can print 392 chess pieces with a 1kg roll (A Matter of Scales: How Much Can You Print with a Single 1kg Spool?)which doesn't sound too bad, but does anybody already run these and how are the DT department finding the costs?
Also, it took 14 working days x 8 hours so about 112 hours to print 392 pieces. That is 3.5 pieces per hour, but then they had 6 chess pieces on the plate at a time, so I don't know if the time would be any different if you were only printing 1 on the plate at a time as might happen in a DT lesson. Either way, you are looking at 3 students getting a model printed per hour lesson. That means if a class of 30 has 1 hour lesson per week, it would take 10 lessons to get 1 model printed for each class. Then if there was a mistake and it needed to be re-printed.....
DT are looking at buying 5 to increase the throughput but i was just wondering what other people's experience is of using them in relation to running costs and time limitations.