7 - Vintage or 3D Printed?

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It was pointed out to me by a member of FriendsOf Digi-comp that 3D Printed DCI’s could start showing up on Ebay as vintage devices. 

I would hope not, but here’s a couple of ways to tell the difference.  

1) 3D printed parts have layers. the layers may be very fine but can still be detected by a close look, or by running a fingernail down the edge from top to bottom. 

2) There will usually be a patten of banding on the top of the print, showing the path the printhead took laying down the plastic.  This pattern will also appear on the bottom of the print but with lesser distinction. This banding may not appear with some 3D technologies.

Here’s a photo showing banding

3) Although I’ve never handled a vintage part, I would suspect that one can quickly tell the difference between a 3D printed and a pressed(?) part. 

Some of the 3D printed traits can be hidden with post printing treatments. 

But even if the part is treated after printing, a close look may reveal some areas with the above 3d printed characteristics. 

For the parts made from STL files produce by me. 

1)  Most major parts with have "3D printed” or “3DP” embossed on the top. Usually in an inconspicuous location. 

2) Most major parts will have a watermark on the bottom “3D PRINTED - NOT VINTAGE”.  You will need to examine the bottom of the print with light reflecting at the right angle. Move the piece so a reflected bright area moves across the bottom. This water mark will appear as outlined letters, possibly filled by banding at a different angle. This message may be embossed, depending on the 3D printing technology used. 

Here’s a photo adjusted to bring out the lettering. 

3) There are quite a number of differences between prints from the STL files I created and a vintage device. Of course only someone familiar with a vintage device may notice.  

3a)  I was not particularly careful placing the panel ID numbers, so they may be in a different place.

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3b)  The lettering on the readout panel “READOUT” is 90 degrees different than the original. 

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Of course the unscrupulous can certainly work around these marks. But let’s hope the market is small enough that there is little interest.

thanks for viewing!

© Some Old Guy 2017