For me 3D printing isn’t a hobby but ancillary equipment I use in my hobby of make accurate (by my eye’s anyway) scale models by machining parts out of metal. In the past I have made patterns to cast metal, a friend cast the parts in bronze for me, gears, boxes to hold tools and expensive indicators and various pieces for repairs around the house. Need a new coat hook, print don’t buy.
On my current project I needed to mill some parts at angles. Normally this would be done with sine bars and gauge blocks and take an hour or two to get right, if possible at all. Some machining set ups can be difficult. In an moment of rare genius I realized I could print out jigs to hold the parts at the right angles when clamped in the milling machine vise. This would be an easy set up, the parts are aligned to the jig so that the bit to be removed would be lined up with the table axis at the appropriate angle. Compound angles, which can a real B…H will be simple this way.
In you favourite CAD program create a rectangular box, import into an assembly, import the model of the part to be milled and using constraints, align to part in the box so it has the appropriate angle arrangement. Then preform a Boolean subtraction AKA “the cut” and you are left with a jig. Snap the part into the jig, set up on the mill and make the cut. It took about an hour to print each jig, .28 layer height and I was able to work on other parts in the shop at the same time. A great time saver for me.
Two jigs, one right and one left
Jig showing where the the part fits.
Part fitted into jig
This was a previous operation with a angle setup that would have been difficult to do, at least with my equipment, but was very easy with printed jigs.
Anyway I just wanted to show that there are always new ideas for using 3D printers to make life better and save money. Cost of printer and filament not withstanding.