Flash Forge Inventor Series

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  1. #1

    Which Printer? - Advice please

    Hello all,

    First post, looks like a great forum

    I'm sure this question has been asked a few times so if it has please just point me in the direction of the thread.

    The company i work for has an Objet Connex 350 which is a high end printer. The problem is, the high price of material to print using this machine is ridiculously high and of course, only available directly through the seller of the printer. Because of this, i cannot justify doing any "guilt free" prints for fun, for experimentation or for parts to use in our workshop. The high material costs also get reflected when quoting parts for customers and often scares people away.

    So, we are making the decision to purchase a more low end machine which uses far cheaper material.

    This is our main prorities which we are looking for:

    • Cheap material
    • Reliable - Able to print very often with as little problems as possible
    • PLA/ABS compatible
    • Commercial/Industry quality - Well made.

    Our secondary list of priorities are:

    • Price of printer - Under $10,000 - I do not have a minimum price because if a $500 printer meets our requirements then so be it. I understand that printer price doesn't necessarily dictate print quality in the 3d printer world.

    • Quality printed parts - Reasonable dimensional accuracy, smooth surfaces/low layer thickness
    • Build Volume - The bigger the better as long as it can still hold reasonable dimensional accuracy and quality.

    We looked into and had a demonstration of the makerbot Z18 however it didnt wow us. The main attraction was obviously the huge build volume but the models presented to us for viewing left us feeling like the $12k pirce tag wanst justified.

    If someone/anyone could throw some suggestions at which printer(s) might be best suitable for my above notes i would be extremely appreciate. Thanks in advance everyone.

  2. #2
    Engineer ralphzoontjens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Tilburg, the Netherlands
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    I understand your situation and the same was done at a university I worked for, the Connex printer was only made available to master students and for important models - experiments were only done in special cases because even a small model would already cost $100 or over. +the material gets fragile and brittle so is only suitable for prototypes and demonstrators.

    The small printers are underestimated and I recommend the Ultimaker Original. I own one myself and after several years it still works great. It is very accurate and you can print layers as thin as 0.06mm which is very detailed. With dissolvable filament and dual extrusion kit you solve the issue of distortions due to overhangs. With the Z-unlimited system you can print to unlimited heights - . Part quality also hugely depends on the filament used and in my experience Colorfabb and 3DOM are by far the best filaments. With a heated bed you can do ABS, PC and other engineering plastics. To me the extra build volume doesn't justify the much higher price of the larger printers, since 1. the printer will not be intrinsically better or faster and 2. there is software to slice up larger parts into chunks that can then be put together to create the same large part as you would get from a larger printer.

    Another option is an SLS printer which works faster and produces better parts but is for a similar budget limited to a small build volume, and you will need some ventilation. Again, you can simply glue or fasten multiple parts together. Sintratec is one of the producers.

  3. #3
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    France, Aix en Provence
    Read the makerbot subforum here and you'll see why walking away was a smart decision.

    I own a Printrbot Metal Plus and it has been extremely reliable. I really like it for the quality I get and its sturdyness. Whatever downtime there was was mostly my fault and the only exception is an early series defect that was corrected long ago (and they sent me a fix for free). Their support web portal is efficient and works well even given the time difference US/Europe.

    I've posted some stuff here :

    People on the forum seem satisfied with Lulzbot and Flashforge as well.

    If I had the money now I'd go for that one since they are closer to home.

  4. #4
    weird I answered this thread this morning - not here.
    wonder where that post ended up ?

    were I you i'd get a couple of wanhao duplicator i3's mk2.1. $400 and one of the best sub $1000 machines around.

    Then maybe look at the builder range.
    Big volumes, innovative dual material single nozzle setup and sensibly priced.
    The big builder desktop premium has 210 x 210 x 600 mm build volume.
    nozzle that'll mix colours, fully enclosed and around the $4,500 mark
    Pisses on the z18 from a great height :-)

    Also worth a look at the bcn3d sigma - currently my favourite printer. just love the independant dual head system.

    The ultimakers are good machines. But to be honest some of the newer machines with serious innovations are better value for money and a bit more plug'n'play
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-11-2016 at 08:35 AM.

  5. #5

    PM me if you'd like to set up a skype/teamviewer session to see and operate our printers remotely.


  6. #6
    If you're not pinching pennies, than look no further than the ultimaker 2.

  7. #7
    Hi all,

    THANKYOU for replying so quick and offering your advice. Extremely appreciated. I will do research on every printer you guys recommended and see which one best suits our needs. will update when/if we make a decision on a specific printer.

    There is a trade show on in Sydney (Australia) today so a few of us are going to attend and hopefully see some printer.

  8. #8
    Hi all,

    Just returned from the trade show today. We saw many 3D Printers but most were too "hobby like". One printer which did impress us was the UP! Box. @ approx $3k and the wide variety of material it can take it certainly caught our eye. They had many models there which seemed very nice indeed. Just wondering if anyone has any advice they can offer me on the UP! Box?


  9. #9
    UpBox is only $1900 online. It's a good printer, but not as high quality as an ultimaker IMO.

    As for the variety of material, the UP-Box can't print anything any other FDM printer with a heated bed cannot.

  10. #10
    Staff Engineer LambdaFF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    France, Aix en Provence
    Fpr that price there are many more attractive options. I mean 2k$ for something that has no heated bed ?????

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