6
$\begingroup$

We have a recent question that brings up the question of "Should we support general hobbyist questions?"

Currently, there doesn't appear to be a viable site within the SE network. The question at hand seems to be a mix between 3D Printing and DIY. If we allow this question, it could allow people to ask questions like the following:

  • CNC Mills
  • Routers
  • Lasers
  • etc.
$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ This topic has a positive reception but 19 month later, no actions are taken. Is there a plan to change 3D printing scope? $\endgroup$ – Adrian Maire Mar 26 '20 at 16:34
3
$\begingroup$

I believe all of these machines essentially are 3D printers with a different tool! As far as I know, you will often end up using both the same software and electronics as with 3D printers, and many questions can therefore be directly related as well. There are even several commercial "Multi 3D printers" that can do several of these functions.

Then again, I also think it depends on the specific question asked. :-)

$\endgroup$
3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm still not quite convinced that these machines fit within scope. It might be different if the site was named Hobbyist Machines. My experience with routers and such is they have their own kinks (like 3D printing) and completely different software. However, I don't think there is currently a site on Stack Exchange that fits, making 3D printing the closest fit. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 8 '16 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like you have at least some experience with these machines, which I don't. I can look at each machine and say these look the same, but I have no real experience with each one of them. As such, you might be right that these topics should be separated. $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene May 8 '16 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ Whomever -1, care to elaborate? $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 8 '16 at 21:04
3
$\begingroup$

It is worth noting that the question referenced in the OP deals with a vacuum forming machine, which isn't (similar to) a 3D printer by any stretch of the imagination. It heats up a sheet of plastic so it melts, which is then formed (using a vacuum applied from below) over a model. This just allows you to make copies of an existing model.

If we want to allow these types of questions, we should get the name of this site changed (to something like "Makers SE"/"Rapid Prototyping"). I don't know if that's even an option, but as it stands, "3D printing SE" should be about 3D printing; CNC mills, vacuum formers, etc... are clearly not 3D printers and thus off-topic.

I don't find "there's no other place for this" to be a convincing argument; the scope of a site should not depend on what other sites do or do not exist.

That said, I do feel the just 3D printing scope is a bit limited and we could attract a larger audience by including other types of rapid prototyping/manufacturing. The name would be a huge misnomer if the scope included that, but I guess the only way to get a name change (if that is possible/appropriate at all) is to begin by changing the scope.

As it stands, the question referenced in the post is definitely not on-topic (since the machine involved is very un-printer-like), but questions about CNC machines (and similar machines) might be. They mostly run different softwares (GRBL/Mach3) but you could conceivably run a CNC machine on Marlin.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I agree. I think a slightly generalized site name like "Makers SE" would be more appropriate. Such as StackOverflow allows multiple languages, we should have a site that adheres to rapid prototyping of varying types. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 May 8 '16 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ I agree as well. The specific question mentioned seems off topics, but I still don't think that all CNC questions need to be. Could we perhaps use an approach where we evaluate each question that come in one by one - at least until we know what kind of questions we will encounter? $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene May 9 '16 at 5:20
3
$\begingroup$

I understand 3D printing as a specialized topic of CNC. To extend the community other topics like mills, lathe or even punching turrets seem a good option to me because:

  • They all relate closely to the same techology: CNC control, axis, CAD modeling, G-Code, etc.
  • It would extend the possibilities of this SO page, which seem to struggle to get questions.

I would however not accept very different technologies: molding, vacum forming, welding, etc. :

  • Those are too different from the original 3D-Pringer topic.
  • I would orient the community toward hobbyist, ejecting the professional community, and this is something to avoid.

Speaking about renaming the SO, I would recommend something like:

  • 3D Printing and CNC systems
  • 3D Printing and Digital fabrication

This keep the identity of the community, but open the door to some other topics.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I am for including CNC but against Vacuum forming, as in the first case the machinery is pretty much the same (even though it it substractive manufacturing) while in case of VF you use entirely different machinery (even though you can use 3D printed "molds" to create the actual item you want). Even a laser engraver is pretty much closer to a 3D printer than a VF machine. $\endgroup$ – Trish Aug 12 '18 at 8:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .