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3d printer recommendations

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  • 3d printer recommendations

    Hope everyone had a good Christmas and holiday.

    Got some unexpected cash ($200) from my father in law this Christmas and was told it was to be only used for tools for myself. I know, I won the inlaw lottery. They also gave me a bottle of Rye to "help put up with their daughter"....just kidding, she's great too.

    Anyway, I was planning on getting a printer in the new year and had a budget around 4-500, and had it narrowed down to a few models, but now with the extra cash I'm wondering if bumping up the budget would get me more machine.

    I'm looking for an FDM printer to be able to print ABS, PLA, and that flexible stuff (still not sure of all the nomenclature). From what I gather, it's tougher to print abs on the cheaper machines? 10x10x10 would be a good size,

    The prusa I3, and it's various clones seem to keep coming up to the top of the heap, but there's such a wide range of prices on them I'm not sure what I'm getting. I DON"T want something put together with 80/20 and ready rod that keeps falling apart every 2 hours. But I don't want to pay extra for lipstick on a pig. I also don't mind waiting a couple months if a couple hundred more dollars will get me a much better machine. Not sure where the price shelf is on these between garbage, and usable tool. I'd rather pay extra for good solid electronics and controls, with some room for improvement in the mechanical side, as that's playing more to my strengths than needing to upgrade electrical components.

    Here are some I'm looking at.




    And there's also the Monoprice. Much smaller work envelope, but attractive price, and nice design.

    Any other models I'm missing? Better places to buy for a Canadian than amazon? Any "gotcha's" I'm missing?

    I'm jumping in the deep end here with little to no knowledge, and I know this question has been asked here many times before, but with such rapidly changing technology I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask again in case there was something I was missing. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Within that same style is the Creality CR-10. All share the same issue when printing ABS - ABS needs to stay warm while being printed, so the printer need an enclosure, which none of the i3 style have. But its not hard to add one.

    Check out

    In your case, I'd stick to your original budget for the machine and use the "gift money" to get a supply of various filaments. At $20 to $50 per spool, it adds up quick.

    Check out

    More tools than sense.


    • #3
      If you can increase your budget a smidgen, I highly suggest a LulzBot Mini. They are open source printers and they are really high quality. You also get .stl files for all of the parts on the printer that were 3d printed.


      • #4
        Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
        If you can increase your budget a smidgen, I highly suggest a LulzBot Mini. They are open source printers and they are really high quality. You also get .stl files for all of the parts on the printer that were 3d printed.
        Easy there big guy, I might be able to go up a smidgen but I don't have bitcoin money....

        Thanks Kevin, I'll look into that model too. I think you've got a good plan in saving that extra money for filament. Or getting something cheap like the monoprice, and put the extra towards a plasma cutter.....


        • #5
          Originally posted by KJ1I View Post
          Within that same style is the Creality CR-10. All share the same issue when printing ABS - ABS needs to stay warm while being printed, so the printer need an enclosure, which none of the i3 style have.
          No they don't need an enclosure.
          I hardly ever use pla, I mostly use abs/nylon and ninjaflex on my printrbot simple metal for some years now, and it has never had an enclosure.

          Dan, for abs, it needs a heated bed or you will have a right job trying to fight warp as it tries to unstick itself off the bed printing onto a cold bed. But even then, its possible, if a bit fraught to having tears of frustration.
          Last edited by MrFluffy; 12-27-2017, 10:42 AM.


          • #6
            I assume they all have heated beds? Just make sure you get one with a heated bed and a good printing surface like PEI laminated.


            • #7
              I was just looking at the $469 printrbot play, and it makes no mention of heated bed and is quite a few hundred dollars cheaper than their other offerings, so no, it appears even now they dont all have heated beds. My printrbot simple metal didnt have a heated bed, but I added one afterwards as its also all open hardware/source, and stretched the bed in x and z and added a few more extruders too. I've had it a few years though.
              I was told by someone else in person I couldnt print abs without a enclosure, as he watched it finishing off printing a large piece in ... abs.

              Another tip for dan, buy some good filament for it too, not just what comes free with it. Cheap no name filament can have odd bits in it that cause nozzle clogging, or fragile sections, Ive had rolls where the temperature of extrusion has needed to change halfway in and all sorts of oddities over the years as it depends what got threw into the hopper when they were extruding that day. When your starting off, you want a consistant experience and I've never had a bad one with hatchbox even if it is a couple of dollars more than the cheapest.


              • #8
                I have an I3 Prusia Mk2s, soon to be a mk2.5. Their new Mark 3 looks amazing, and has features that no one else has yet, like a PEI powder coated flexible base you can simply pop the parts off of. I now print ABS exclusively for the past few months without an enclosure. The key is to have no draft but still need ventilation. If I turn on the ceiling fan overhead, it warps and pops the part off before it’s done. The heated PEI base is almost a must. The heated part IS a requirement. I have the flexible stuff too, haven’t used it yet. Going to make cell phone case with it and tires for my models. Going to give Polycarbonate a try, as a potential replacement for ABS. PLA has too low of a temperature resistance for my uses in Florida.
                People seem to like the CR10, it lacks features of the Prusa i3 that I simply find a must for convenience. However it would appear you are paying a premium for the conveniences.
                Save 150$ in your budget for Simplify3D, and save time in your life to learn a 3d cad package such as Fusion360. 3D printers get very boring without knowing 3D cad.
                Last edited by RB211; 12-27-2017, 11:14 AM.


                • #9
                  Bought a Monoprice Maker Select V2 just before Christmas and very happy with the printer and Monoprice support. A referb can be had for $250.00, or $300.00 for new. It has a slightly less than 8 X 8 X 8 build envelope, heated bed and will do ABS among others. It does require some mechanical help right out of the box but the parts are cheap or can be made with the printer itself. Easy to get working well enough to make small stuff, harder when you start doing something 7 inches long but not that hard, at least on mine it wasn't. I'm still using the original BuildTak surface which has been great once I had the bed level and nozzle spacing correct.

                  So far I have only used PLA also bought from Monoprice printing stuff I found on Thingiverse. DesignSpark Mechanical and FreeDAD are two free 3D design apps available on the net. I have both on a Windows 7 computer but have not done enough in either one to say much. YouTube has many videos on both.


                  • #10
                    If you want to get your feet wet - you can get the mono price mini for a bit under $200. I got one to see if I would get into it. I had pretty low expectations when I went into it - and have been pleasantly surprised.

                    you do need to make a couple mods.. (this is the only one I have done - the bed wiring breaks pretty quick)


                    • #11
                      For draft sheilding the Cura slicer has an experimental feature/setting on their latest version called "Enable Draft Sheild".

                      There are a couple of settings that go with it, like how far from the part the shield is created, but essentially it builds up a one-layer wide ring/wall around your part as the part grows. The Help Tip says is for use with materials that warp easily.

                      Other slicers may also have this feature.


                      • #12
                        If you are considering smaller machines, then I just got a Cetus 180mm x 180mm x 170mm and it seems to be quite good. My first print was successful and I also printed a part that I designed myself on the first try. They have a coating on their platform that allows good adhesion while printing. They also say that you can use different materials, but I haven't tried that yet, just PLA that came with it.

                        I had a bit of trouble with their software on my laptop (low end HP of several years ago) but it worked perfectly on my desk tower. I haven't had the time to look into the laptop problem yet.
                        Paul A.
                        SE Texas

                        Make it fit.
                        You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


                        • #13
                          I just pulled the trigger on one of these the other day when our dollar hit .79USD. I hope to get it in February.
                          Can anybody give me some advice on what filaments to buy and any other important options I should consider such as nozzles etc...


                          • #14
                            I have the previous model. You made an excellent choice. It comes with a spool of PLA. Amazon Hatchbox works well with it at lower temps than he suggests for his filaments. Practice with PLA first then give ABS a try.


                            • #15
                              So much exhaustive research and debating one over the other I kind of ended up with something I was dead against from the start. I pulled the trigger on this Anet A6.

                              My reasoning is that I'm kind of interested in the tinkering "kit" aspect of it, and all the upgrading (something I didn't want from the start). From scouring the internet It seems like, unless I spend over $1000 I'm still buying something based on the same designs, using the same components, with pretty much all the same pluses and minuses. I've had a big interest in learning electronics lately so this will be a good purposeful project that I can learn on and play around with.

                              I could come to regret this purchase, but only time will tell. I bet I'll learn something in the process though so that's gotta be worth I've wasted more money and got less....

                              I have noted some of the dangerous safety issues with this board design, and have ordered all the parts to fix them, and will do it right from go. I ordered from the US warehouse so It should be here in less than 2 weeks.

                              Now to buy some filament with the left over money.

                              And Paul Schoen, I blame you for introducing me to banggood way back when you posted that cheap inductive heater module. Never heard about it before that, but I've spent more than I'd like to admit there since then.....That's kind of been the driving point behind me wanting to learn more about electronics.