Fabbaloo Reader Needs 3D Print Assistance

Reader Andy Robb is a mechanical designer who's interested in producing real-life versions of models he's been working on. What kind of project? It's a series of 1/6th scale model RC tanks, as pictured at left (click for larger image and check out the colored items that are likely what he's seeking to produce). He's not printing the whole tank, as it is quite large - but he does intend on producing various small pieces of it. He says: 
 
I am researching the possibility of taking the plunge and buying a 3d printer either a hobby version or a v flash or even a SBRP (Roland MDX40 for example). I'd be buying this to facilitate me building parts for a large scale model I am building, I'm looking for ease of use, decent resolution and a half sensible build size (250mm x 200mm x 200mm).
 
And if you don't believe this, take a look at the picture below that shows the tank under construction. As you can see, this is a massive project. We're wondering if it will fire live shells, too!  
Our thoughts initially were:
 
  • How much money is budgeted for this 3D printing? If it's not much, then the only option is one of the inexpensive 3D printer kits. If a lot more, then heavy-duty commercial options are possible
  • How much time can Andy dedicate to building and maintaining a 3D printer? If it's not a lot of time, then assembled printers or a print service should be the focus
  • What qualities must the resulting object have? What size (see above)? What durability? Strength? Color?
 
Perhaps Andy can answer some of these in a comment?
 
The question is now tossed to you, dear readers, to provide some advice for Andy. Should he buy/borrow a 3D printer? What kind? What about using a 3D print service? Both? 

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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