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  1. #1
    Student
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    Aug 2019
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    Middle Tennessee
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    Basic 3D printer - Top of budget or buy low-end first

    I'm about to take the plunge into 3D printing

    Is it better to buy cheap unit first to get feel my way around? Or, buy near top and get all capability budget will allow?

    My use will be strictly hobbyist making things for RC flying for myself and maybe friends. Budget is probably $700 or a little more

    Don't want to throw away money on very low end printer unless there is some education value.

    I'll probably stay in the PLA area with some potential for nylon in future.

    Appreciate any tips along these lines.

    Regis

  2. #2
    Engineer-in-Training
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    265
    Many moons ago, the local library was saddled with a Cube3 printer. It started well but deteriorated rather quickly, especially after the manufacturer pulled all support. I was asked to recommend a printer for the library to purchase.

    I suggested a Genuine Prusa assembly kit. The logic was to save money by buying the kit, but also allowing the makerspace to enjoy the process of building it, appropriate for the circumstances.

    The Prusa has been nearly flawless these past two years. Minimal instruction to the library staff has resulted in hundreds of printed models based on patron selection. The learning experience was relatively painless. We did have a problem with the PEI bed wearing out at the center, as it was not considered at the time to randomly locate the print to different locations. The replacement was easy, but time consuming and now all printing is done in various locations to reduce the problem.

    The new model from Prusa uses a different surface and is unlikely to have wear issues. The newer model is also much easier to assemble with accuracy.

    This library Prusa has been used to print PLA, ABS and PETG. The printer has an E3Dv6 hot end which is capable of many types of filament, possibly nylon as well.

    I think you would not regret purchasing a genuine Prusa kit. As an RC builder, you will find no difficulty in assembly. The support from Prusa is also quite excellent.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
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    6,994
    genuine prusa kit is a good buy.
    And there is a benefit to puttin together a GOOD kit.
    It should work
    and you'll have an idea how to fix or change things.
    I - personally - would not recommend a dirt cheap machine for a first time user. Generally you need a good working machine to make parts for the cheap ones :-)
    And the cheap one won't work, right away and will usually require modification.

    So other things to look at, I'll skip the nes with small print volumes:
    Qidi x pro - not the largest print volume, but a solid machine with great support and zero build required - also has dual extruders:https://www.amazon.com/Function-Extr...strial&sr=1-28

    On the I3 front there are a LOT of crappy designs out there.
    The sovol 2v01 is getting some good reviews and it looks klike they've actually thought about it: https://www.amazon.com/Sovol-Pre-Ass...ustrial&sr=1-1
    Support is good. They're a small company and still care about their machines and customers.

    This is also along similiar lines: https://www.amazon.com/ADIMLab-Assem...ateway&sr=8-20

    Were you to thrwo another $300 at your max budget, we'd come into some serious machines :-)





    There are some good machines around, that

  4. #4
    Student
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    Aug 2019
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
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    fred_dot
    I appreciate your reply as I'm not concerned about a kit build.
    Thanks,
    Regis

    Quote Originally Posted by fred_dot_u View Post
    Many moons ago, the local library was saddled with a Cube3 printer. It started well but deteriorated rather quickly, especially after the manufacturer pulled all support. I was asked to recommend a printer for the library to purchase...………………………………… ………………………………………… ..

    ………………………………………… ………………………………………… ………………….. The support from Prusa is also quite excellent.

  5. #5
    Student
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
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    curious aardvark,I appreciate the tips. Clone copies do tend to be bragging about originals designs but, I would tend to stick with original and not risk a copy. Where would that extra $300 take me?Thank you,Regis
    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    genuine prusa kit is a good buy. And there is a benefit to puttin together a GOOD kit. It should work and you'll have an idea how to fix or change things.I - personally - would not recommend a dirt cheap machine for a first time user. Generally you need a good working machine to make parts for the cheap ones :-)And the cheap one won't work, right away and will usually require modification. ………………………………………… ………………………………. ………………………………………… ………………………………………… ……………………….Were you to thrwo another $300 at your max budget, we'd come into some serious machines :-) There are some good machines around, that

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    OOh, now you're talking :-)
    qidi x plus: https://www.amazon.com/Intelligent-I...s%2C465&sr=8-3

    formbot raptor: https://www.formbot3d.com/formbot-ra...ing-p0022.html

    I'm a big fan of deltas: https://www.tevousa.com/products/tev...3d-printer-kit

    ready built prusa mk3s: https://www.tevousa.com/products/tev...3d-printer-kit
    that said you save $250 by building it yourself :-) https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/3d-print...-mk3-kit.html#
    And you can buy a lot of filament for $250 :-)

    To a certain extent it's about what you might want to print.
    Now sme people will say you can go too big (josef prusa is probably one lol) But, Nah - there's always something that little bit bigger than your printbed you'd like to print in one go :-)
    Also just because it will go big, does not mean it won't also do very small and detailed.

    Those 4 printers cover most of the options. The prusa is in there because if you're not bothered about size - it just wins every award out there. There is a video of someone interviewing josef with a mk3. He holds the carriage in place, it resets and carries on. Pulls the plug, same thing. Just a serious piece of kit. If there's something that could have been done to improve his machines - mr prusa has probably done it.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 08-26-2019 at 10:37 AM.

  7. #7
    In my opinion it kind of depends what you're looking to do. I started with a Monoprice Select Mini V1 and I love it and don't regret buying it at all. It worked great right out of the box and got me printing and learning right away. It was less than $200 and really did well for that kind of money. A year later, after learning some things and figuring out if i would actually use it and enjoy it etc, I ordered a Prusa MK3 Kit. It took about 10 months to arrive lol. I'm not sure what the lead time on them is these days but I don't think you will be getting one right away for sure.

    If you know for sure you like 3d printing and are going to be spending a decent amount on a printer at some point anyways then by all means order a good one. For $200 it might be worth getting a monoprice mini while you wait for a Prusa. I have seen Mini Delta's on Amazon for cheap refurbished and sold by monoprice themselves. Worth thinking about anyways.

    One last note; Resin printers have come down drastically in price in the last year. I recently bought an Elegoo Mars and love it. It is a bit messier and the vat film needs to be replaced more often than i expected but all in all an amazing value for the quality of prints you get. However, resin availability is limited still and anything other than the normal stuff is crazy expensive. I love my Prusa because its so easy to print in so many different materials. I have used PLA, PETG, Nylon, ABS, TPU, PPEPS, PolyCarbonate, and there are endless more options depending on your use/needs.

    Hope that helps

  8. #8
    Engineer-in-Training
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    224
    There is a lot to learn to be able to print something, don't be fooled it is not plug and play. You will have a much higher frustration level using "low end" ( putting it nicely) machine then with a "quality" machine. Save your money a few months long and you will be get some practice at patients (also a required skill for 3d printing) and end up with a Tool that will do what you want, as you learn you want more than PLA. Nylon is a tall hill to climb and requires a really good machine to succeed.

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