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    NOOB - have specific project in mind

    I've had just enough XP with 3D printing to be dangerous. I drew up a small stereo for a Mech Design class, and got a kick out of printing the darn thing and hooking it up to my phone. Lesson 1 involved setting the resolution so the finished piece doesn't look like it's made of small octagons!
    Anyway, I currently make custom pens on a home lathe. I'm toying with the idea of printing the pen blanks rather than turning them, but the questions I have are bruising my brain. Any help would be appreciated!
    I'm leaning towards an SLA machine because I like the idea of being able to use clear resin if I get an order for a pic inside the pen. I SHOULD be able to wrap the image around a brass tube and insert it into the SLA printed hollow blank as long as I allow for tolerances, right?
    My next concern is polishing a piece when finished. How well does the clear resin clean up? I can put the finished blank on the lathe and polish with 12000 grit sanding pads all day, but if the material is cloudy or doesn't finish well it's pointless! If I use a filament machine, does that material sand well? I rely on using the lathe to create glass-like finishes and protecting them with plastic polish. Are the resins and filaments available now going to do what I need them to?
    When I figure out what I can expect from the different materials I can choose the printer that'll be best suited to pull it off.
    I've also got questions about multi-colored prints, layering -- etc, but I'll worry about that after figuring out if a 3D printer will do what I need. Thanks in advance!


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