Casting vs Printing. Why don't I print?
Mostly because I don't know how to write up 3D files. But there are other reasons too. When printing, you need to sand to get rid of print lines. There are various ways, but its still a PITA.
Another reason is I put everything through a pressure pot. When I wash my casts...they sink to the bottom of the sink. Printed parts float. If my cast floats...its garbage. It indicates a massive internal air bubble.
I can ALWAYS make a mold work. Printing can take a bit. Orientation is even more important with printing. Too many electronics parts to adjust when the print goes pear shaped.
My costs for casting are pretty tame. Its mostly my time. Printing costs are insane. You have to include maintenance costs as well. My maintenance costs are pretty much zero. You need to be computer tech savvy for printing. Im definitely not that. lol.
Im learning more of a craft with casting. Printing intimidates me because I have such a hard time with computers.
Some parts I have had 3D printed because it was easier than sculpting. and actually the term 3D printed is wrong. It may have been printed...but the technical term is...Rapid Prototyping. Where upon you rapidly print out a prototype and then use it to make a mold and then casts. But technology has advanced to the point they can print in various colors and mediums so the term 3D Printing became a more commonly used term. Less syllables, easier to say.
I could I suppose contract out to Shapeways, but then I am not in control of my product and can lose substantial amounts of $$$ on shipping if the print doesn't turn out. Test pieces. I would have to drop the Custom Hand Made from my list of product details. And Shapeways would also take a cut on direct orders.
Rapid Prototyping definitely has its advantages. I couldn't have done some projects without it. But when it comes to a final product or result...I prefer the end result of casting over the end results of printing alone. That's a personal preference. Some people don't care, some people prefer Prototyped models. Its simply a personal preference.
2 different processes...2 different skill sets. I use the one that most compliments the skills I already have. But if I ever DO learn how to write 3D files...I will admit...I would use it more for making my masters than the process I use now.