JLCPCB 3D Printing in Japan
JLCPCB is a Chinese company famous for manufacturing printed circuit boards.
You can order manufacturing PCB data created by KiCAD and other software by simply clicking on the web page, even from Japan.
The prices are quite reasonable, and JLCPCB is widely used among hobby electronics craft users.
JLCPCB has recently started a "3D printing service.
So this time, I would like to introduce what this 3D printing service is like, using my actual order as an example.
Again, when ordering 3D printing from JLCPCB, I decided to use the following two types of data that I have created in the past.
Chassis of an electronic musical instrument called RakuChord
RakuChord - an electronic musical instrument that can be played like a RakuChord with ease.
Plate receptacle for the drainer shelf
Introduction of Kitchen Drainboard and Fixing Problems with 3D Printer - inajob's blog
One of the difficult parts of 3D printer is to design a suitable design for 3D printing, but in this case, I was able to skip this difficult part because of my past efforts.
Once the data is created, it can be created again and again, which is a convenient feature of 3D printing and other machining processes, unlike manual processing.
Assuming that you have already registered as a JLCPCB user, we will introduce how to place an order on the web.
However, there is nothing difficult to do, just uploading the data.
Although JLCPCB is a Chinese company, the web service is written in English, so there is nothing particularly confusing.
Registration of order data
First of all, upload the STL file from the order page, which is a familiar feature of 3D printing, and the following screen will appear.
All you have to do is write the material, number of pieces, and description.
You can choose from a variety of resins and metals, but this time we chose the inexpensive SLA (Resin).
Furthermore, there are three different materials within that category, but the differences between these seem to be subtle, so for the large drainer shelf, I chose the cheapest, 9000R Resin.
The amount seems to be determined almost entirely by volume, and this draining rack was $16.49. (Note that the volume also affects the shipping cost.)
Product Desc is where you describe what it is. In this case, we chose to use "Kitchen tool".
Next is the RakuChord part. It is very inexpensive because it has only small parts in volume compared to the drainer shelf. The smallest screw part was only $1.0.
I selected different materials in the same SLA (Resin) for a test.
The next step is to check the shipping costs.
There are a variety of shipping options: very slow but cheap, fast but expensive, etc.
This time we chose DHL, which is fast and slightly more expensive.
This is because I have experienced various problems when I usually use cheap carriers such as AliExpress, such as the shipment arriving really crudely packed, taking a month to arrive, or being damaged.
The shipping cost this time was $27.63 with DHL. (The lowest price I could find was $9.77 from Economic Global Direct Line.)
The larger the product, the larger the shipping cost will be, and I felt that no matter how low the production cost is, there will be cases where we lose money on shipping.
About the review
If you have done 3D printing before, you know that it is difficult to 3D print some shapes.
That's why JLCPCB has a manual (?) review process exists. When you Order your registered order data, you have to wait a little bit for the review process before payment.
In my case, the review was completed the next day.
I was warned that some parts were very thin and that this part might not come out correctly, but this time I chose to proceed (YES in the figure below).
After placing the order, I waited for 6 days and the sculpture arrived at my home via DHL.
I personally felt that it was "fast" to receive an original molding designed by myself in 6 days.
About the workmanship (draining shelf)
I have been using a home-use (?) I was very impressed with the output of the optical 3D printer, as I had only handled a home 3D printer.
As for the drainer shelf, the simple shape and very 3D printer-friendly design made it possible to find no defects in the modeling process.
The dimensions were also matched with the 3D printer we already have at home, so we were able to start using it in our kitchen right away.
This may not be an appropriate comparison, but here is a comparison with the one made by our 3D printer (stacked type).
About the finished product (RakuChord)
This was also data that had been output with a stacked 3D printer at home, but it was a more complex shape than the drainer shelf, with many thin sections, making it a more difficult modeling from the 3D printer's point of view.
As expected, the thin, pointy corners were output with a slight warp, and I felt that even if a professional did it, this could still happen.
Well, the warpage is acceptable for my application, but it seems to be difficult to make it exactly according to the data.
There were some overhangs, but they were small enough to be output with a 3D printer at home, so there were no problems.
RakuChord uses 3D printer screws to secure the battery box, and these screws also engaged and secured without any problems.
About the workmanship (summary)
The data was originally designed to be output with a 3D printer, and because we had actually output the data before, we were able to complete the project without major problems. However, we felt that it might be a little difficult to design and order a 3D printer without one.
For a simple modeling object like a drainer shelf, it is possible, but for a complex shape like the RakuChord, it is necessary to brush up the modeling while actually making it many times at hand, so I felt that a 3D printer at hand is necessary.
In terms of details, it was not possible to make it exactly as the 3D data I ordered, but it is clearly more like a model than a 3D printer at home, so I think it is a good idea to order it when you have the right moment. I feel that it is better to order it when the time comes.
SLA (Resin), which is an inexpensive material, is only available in milky white, so I felt that people who cannot tolerate this color may have a tough time using it.
I have not tried it, but I think this problem could be solved with a little effort, such as painting on this.
Case outsourcing options other than 3D printing
For flat modeling, there is another way to design a PCB as a case instead of 3D printing, which is less expensive. (So-called "board sandwich method" and "Paris Pipedestroyer" are examples of this method.)
Also, there are services that allow you to outsource laser cutting, so if you need to cut transparent acrylic boards or boards with a certain thickness, you may be able to make it at a lower cost.
In fact, some of RakuChord's parts are outsourced laser-cut, which is cheaper and more accurate than outsourcing the same parts by 3D printing.
On the other hand, for 3D modeling or very thick modeling, such as RakuChord's chassis or the drainer shelves, you need a 3D printer or a CNC with a high degree of freedom to make them.
Well, rather than saying what is better, it means that there is a processing method for the right person for the right job.
This was my first time ordering 3D printing, but it was cheaper than I expected and I feel the quality was good for the price.
Ordering on the web was very easy, and I felt that I could use it easily.
However, I thought it would be a wise choice in terms of time and money to have a 3D printer at home and order the data after making a prototype at hand.
Anyway, you can order a small modeling object for only a few thousand yen, so if you are interested, you should try ordering the data at hand and see the actual product.