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  1. #1

    Which 300x300x400 printer?

    Hi, I'm looking to buy my first 3D printer. I'm a bit stuck...

    I'd like to start with components and organisers for my tabletop games, then move onto household objects, like vases, light shades, and practical items, and then onto gifts for friends and family. I think I'd best go with a large print volume to keep my options open.

    1. It would be nice to print in a variety of materials, but this could be with upgrades rather than out of the box, so I can continue to explore the hobby.
    2. Laser engraving would also be cool as a thing to do some time in the future. I suspect that if I want to CNC, I should buy a different machine vs the Snapmaker 2 or other all in ones.
    3. Silence would be ideal. I appreciate a lot of cheaper printers can be noisy. Happy to upgrade components to change that, I just don't want to spend so much money on upgrades that I may as well have bought a better printer in the first place. I live in a flat, and my girlfriend sometimes suffers from noise sensitivity. Could also print/build an enclosure?
    4. WiFi would be nice. I think I can do this via a Raspberry Pi for the cheaper printers. Will probably get a camera of some kind for it anyway.
    5. Auto-levelling would be helpful (I think)
    6. I'm not sure quite what Direct Drive is, but it sounds like it improves reliability, so would be nice, even if it's a potential upgrade instead of out of the box

    So far:

    * I think the CR-10S, with subsequent modifications to reduce noise, is my best bet, for print volume, community size and cost. I can get a customer returned unit for ?250 from Hictop, and they'll send any replacement parts I need, if any. Is that worth the effort? Otherwise, about ?300 new.
    * I've also just spotted the CR-10S Pro, but it's about ?500. Might be worth it if that's what modifying the CR-10S would cost me.
    * I'm not sure how the CR-X and CR-10S Pro differ from each other, but I could get the CR-X for ?415.
    * I haven't seen much about the Steadytech Pro X, but it also looks pretty good at ?329
    * The Wanhao Duplicator 9 MK2 looks very sturdy. It's ?399
    * The new TEVO Nereus looks like a lot of printer for the money at around ?300, via AliExpress but shipping from within the EU
    * The Artillery Sidewinder X1 also fits the price range

    Thanks for your much needed advice!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    they're all I3's.

    So look for dual side support rails/rods for the print bed - rather than a single central rail.
    Look for direct drive extruder - there is no logical reason to have abowden extruder on an i3 - and a lot of reasons why a direct drive extruder is better.

    Looking at that lot - the wanhao would be my choice. Good make, always turn out quality.

    Looking at the creality machines - all use a bowden, none have the reinforced frame of the wanhao.
    The steady tech looks identical to the creality machines.

    Basically a more rigid frame and direct drive extruder put the wanhao ahead by a reasonable margin.

  3. #3
    Thanks, I hadn't spotted that the Wanhao has direct drive. Is the Nereus worth considering? Looks like it does a lot for the money, and it's slightly cheaper than the Wanhao.

    I guess I'm not as concerned about the extra support bars too much, as I think they're easy enough to add to the other models as a mod?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    the nereus is just a ender/creality clone.
    one z axis motor, bowden extruder, central rail mounted bed.
    It's pretty much an ender 3. Even angus on makesmuse had trouble with the ender 3 :-)

    The wanhao is the only one that has dual z screws, direct extruder and a properly mounted bed - on a gantry that wide, dual z screws matter.
    Plus has bl touch.

    In the 3d printer world, you don't necessarily always get what you pay for - but more often than not you do. For the build volume, build quality and features, the wanhao is head and shoulders above the others.

    You're stuck with cura for them all - but wanhao has made their own customised version - which, hopefully is better than the bog standard piece of junk. It should have the bed levelling built in - which saves you a lot of hassle.
    I'll always recommend simplify3d, but at least wanhao have made an effort :-)

    Also this is your first printer - the wanhao is the only one there that you shouldn't need to modify and hopefully won't give you hassle in all the areas ender 3 style designs usually do.
    Plus wanhao have a good reputation for customer service.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-24-2019 at 05:20 AM.

  5. #5
    Ok, leaning towards the Wanhao then!

    The community looks a lot smaller though, about 800 people in the Facebook group compared to the tens of thousands on CR-10 groups. I've also seen people have upgraded the D9 with Bondtech extruders, but why is this ~?100 upgrade worth doing if the Wanhao already has direct drive?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    the short answer is that most upgrades make very little difference and aren't worth doing.
    people like doing it, I've yet to work out why :-)

    My dirt cheap ctc 13 pro b - has the cheapest, nastiest extruder I've ever seen - it's not even spring tensioned.
    I modded it with a couple of short lengths of ptfe tubing and it's a cracking little bit of kit.
    First one I've had that will actually print well with filaflex original - and that stuff is like wet spaghetti.

    Rather than learn to use the printer they have, people seem to prefer changing things - for no apparent reason - and having problems with the changed bits.

    Also it's a new model - so won't have as many owners as older models.

    For some reason - again beyong my understanding - people keep buying the machines with the ender 3 design flaws. They are cheap - but you have to factor in, upgrades, mods and time spent banging your head against a brick wall and swearing a lot.

    The 3d printing community can be - largely - divided into two basic camps.

    1) people who think it's magic and will work perfectly out of the box. They haven't learned to design, they haven't done any research beyond watching a few youtube videos.
    2) people who just like to tinker with stuff, whether it's necessary or not. 'the z3000 stepper driver will make my printer 0.002 decibels quieter and under a scanning electron microscope you won't see the fractal patterns any more.'

    There's also a small group of us in the middle who buy cheap and do the bare minimum with the existing hardware to actually get it to work and produce practical things.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 05-26-2019 at 06:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Thanks. I've gone for the Ender 3 Pro + Glass Bed. Should be fine to start with, and there are plenty of mods available if it's not, so I'll have the opportunity to learn cheaply what does and doesn't make any difference.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    good luck - it's a piece of crap, so you'll need it :-)

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