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  1. #1

    Recommendation for a 3d printer for a beginner

    I want to enter the 3d printing world and after doing quite a bit of research into selecting a printer (and almost finding a good one), I am still having trouble finding the right one, so I thought I should ask for assistance.

    Basically, this is what I'm looking for:

    1. Cost <= $600. A bit more is okay if really necessary.
    2. A printer that would work out of the box and is easy for beginners to begin with. NO DIY.
    3. A printer that does not need repair every few months. I have almost chosen the QIDI X-One 2 but found out that something always breaks there.
    4. Optional - a printer that would work with any type of filaments and not just company specific ones.

    Forget about what I wish to print, this is not important at the moment. Please just recommend me a printer that complies with the above requirements.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by nettek; 12-01-2018 at 01:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    It's time for me to dust off my Prusa hat once again.

    Even though you want an out of the box printer, consider to save a few dollars to purchase a Prusa kit, rather than fully assembled. The new MK3 versions are a great improvement on the previously easy-to-build MK2. Our public library purchased the MK2 on my recommendation and have been very pleased with the results. Public access and tons of use and it's been soldiering away nicely for more than a year. A fellow makerspace member purchased a MK3 and reiterated how easy it was to assemble.

    He recently performed prints for a business on commission and was able to compare his product with that of an online 3D printing service. He said the results were like night and day. The Prusa created models of substantially better quality than the online service.

    We have been using various manufacturer's filaments in the library printer with little to no problems related to the printer. Some of the filament was crap (Cube3D!) and yet printed quite well.

    If you purchase a kit, you save money and also learn what makes it work. You won't have to worry about minimal problems in the future but those that might crop up are easier to address.

    Another makerspace member has a Robo R1 printer and he's had good luck with it, an out-of-the box, ready-to-go printer. His heat bed has failed and he simply uses the machine cold and is still happy with it. I think he also had a controller board fail, but that was replaced under warranty. It was easy to fix, as the machine is simple and easy to open. Also not specific brand filament sensitive.

  3. #3
    Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred_dot_u View Post

    If you purchase a kit, you save money and also learn what makes it work. You won't have to worry about minimal problems in the future but those that might crop up are easier to address.
    There are quite a few such 3D Printers that will fit into your price range.
    Though I believe that all 3D Printers require maintenance. ("A printer that does not need repair")
    This is basically how I an a lot of Users got better 3D Printers than we could afford,
    Someone purchased them could not maintain them and sold them at a reduced price.

    I would get busy learning about any 3D Printer you decide to purchase,
    and anything that should be checked regularly to allow this New 3D Printer its Maximum Performance.

    Good Luck with this Perfect 3D Printer an I hope you find it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    @fred_dot_u said it Perfectly!!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    no matter what you buy in that price range - tinkering will be required at some point.

    the qidi's are usually pretty decent quality.
    I think sometimes google just brings up negative posts for a laugh.

    The only plug and play out of the box printer I know of is the monoprice mini delta.
    I literally loaded filament pressed print and it printed a waving cat.
    The cat is perfect every time, I'm trying to figure out what settings they used to slice it lol

    The prusa mk3 is just over $900 - way out of the price range.
    The mk2s is still $725.

    Me I'd be inclined to stay with qidi but throw $69 at your budget and get the x-pro:

    There is no such thing as plug-n-play.
    You WILL need to learn how to use a slicer.
    You WILL need to learn about how different filaments behave in different environments
    You WILL have problems with prints either not sticking or sticking too bloody much.
    No matter what the website says - you WILL have calibration issues at some point (not my mini delta - yet).

    3d printing is currently as much an art as a science.

    The x-one 2 looks decent - small print volume, but at that price you get waht you pay for :-)

  5. #5
    Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    Last Note:

    Before you purchase a 3D Printer Look to see if you can find a forum like this one that will support the 3D Print you have chosen.
    If you can not find a good support forum you may want to keep looking, learning can be hard but self teaching without any help may be impossible.

  6. #6
    Everyone, thank you so much for your replies.

    I asked for a printer that does not need repair because I was certain that after existing for so much time, the end user doesn't need to fiddle with repairing his own printer. I mean, do you repair your computer? Your phone? Your TV?

    Anyway, putting that feeling aside, you've convinced me to purchase a DIY printer so I'll go with the Prusa MK2, I understand it's very popular and is part of some open source project called RepRap?

    So I'll ask this now - if I choose to purchase the Prusa MK2, what should I do while waiting for it to arrive? What should I learn? How should I learn? Just watch some videos? Download the software(s) and just fiddle with them?
    I saw what curious aardvark wrote but I prefer to do ask anyway, so that I can learn things in a more organized way. Is there some good tutorial that you can recommend which will go from A to Z and will give me a good background before I actually get the printer?

    Also, since I'm not American, are there any more discount periods (like black friday/cyber monday) that I should wait for to purchase?

    Again, thank you very much.
    Last edited by nettek; 12-03-2018 at 01:29 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    If you've decided on the Prusa, it is a good idea to read thoroughly the assembly pages on his web site, which occasionally include videos. This will help you beyond the printed manual, as the web pages are more up-to-date than the printed material. Paper printing, not 3D printing!

    Also, there are many Prusa-authored videos on YouTube which will be of value, not only to Prusa owners, but some are useful to any 3D printer owner.

    For software, you have a huge selection. Stay away from SketchUp for creating 3D models to be printed. You can find many instances on the 'net of people who have designed models with that program and have had problems getting them to print properly.

    On the plus side, you can use TinkerCad, which is simplistic and somewhat limiting. OnShape is less limiting, more challenging to learn, fairly powerful and capable. Even more challenging would be Autodesk's Fusion 360, which is free for hobbyist use and requires that you re-license once per year. I've used all of the above, as well as Meshmixer, which is handy for checking model integrity and for measuring completed parts. I like the plane cut feature for cutting difficult models for better printing. For more esoteric users, OpenSCAD is a text-based modeling program that can be written for parametric design, a feature at the top of my happy-3D-printing list. Another "off-the-wall" program that engages my interest is SolveSpace, another parametric 3D modeling package that approaches the build in a unique manner, but with similar aspects to many of the other programs.

    All of the above programs are free to download and install. OnShape is browser based, no download required.

    When you engage your brain cells, you'll have plenty more questions. Use The Google first to see if you can find an answer that you can understand. From there, this forum and the 3D printing Stack Exchange are good resources for your questions. This forum is less strict than the Stack Exchange, so if you join there, read carefully the rules and recommendations.

    For your tutorials, use The Google again, or your favorite search engine and type as the search terms the name of the program and the word tutorial. Many many results for all of the above!

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    A question, at this page, where it shows the features of the i3 mk3, it says:
    Optional WIFI with Octoprint interface included

    Does this mean I don't need to buy a raspberry pi (so that I can flash the Octoprint software in it)?

    Also, I was thinking of buying the mk3 in all black, but it says that instead of the orange, it is "black printed parts" (in the dropdown where you choose color). Does this mean the all black is of less quality than the orange?

  9. #9
    Also, another question - should I buy any accessories along with the i3 mk3?
    I prefer to buy everything at once because I don't live in the US and don't want to pay heavily for shipping for every small thing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    A can of denatured alcohol is useful for cleaning the bed, to ensure good bonding of the print. The kit arrives with all the tools needed to assemble, plus the cable (I think). You may want to pick up a palette knife or similar flat scraper device, but you can find things of this sort locally. It's safer to let the bed completely cool when removing the print and therefore, no tools are needed, but our library people are impatient.

    I cannot answer the question about Octoprint, as the owner of the MK3 is in Hawaii, lucky fellow. The black parts are not going to be less strong then the orange, but I expect some people object to the "loud" color of orange and had requested black.

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