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  1. #1

    Good second printer for mid-range

    Hi Group,I have a (what I think is a good) starter printer - a MonoPrice Mini V2. I have done some simple prints on it, and have the basics down. However, the printer fails quite a bit and of course has some limitations. So I am thinking of adding a second printer to my repertoire.

    My use case is:
    Hobby Printing - Mostly consisting of
    Robot pieces / outside shell / simple gears / etc.
    Project pieces (shells for Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects around the house for home automation, etc). Just a nice wrapper so it's not ugly wires.
    Small useful household items (a hanger for my toothbrush, a shelf bracket, that kind of thing).
    maybe some figurines. I have a kid who wants to print some stuff and paint it.

    Usage is minimal. I am not going into business with it. I don't have the time or energy to set up prints every day before I go to work and every night. More likely it will be something where I may work on the model over the weekend and print one day while I head to work.

    Printer requirements:
    I would like to be open source. OR at least accept all filaments. I see a use for PLA, ABS, possibly PETG. I may want to play with other filaments (although I doubt I will be using metal. Wood might be interesting.... ).
    I guess with ABS, it would require a heated bed.
    Should the bed also be enclosed? Because of the ABS? Or is it better to enclose it myself? (that is not beyond my ability)
    I would LIKE to have a self leveling bed. Maybe it's just me, but I seem to struggle with that on the Monoprice.
    Multi filament would be nice - I can see a use case for it. I can live without and get that as my third printer if I can't get it with my budget and other desires. Not as concerned with color as mixing materials.

    Budget - mid level. I won't blink at $300-$800. I could go as high as 2K. If I go above that, it has to be for a specific benefit (like gee.... that 2K budget is nice, but for 2.2K, you can get a printer that's bed can heat another 40 degrees which will allow you to do x....)So please don't take that budget as a hard not to cross line if there is reason. However, don't go WAY over (no matter how great a print quality I will get from a $400,000 printer, it's not in my range. Even a 5K printer I would have a difficult time swallowing for a hobby).

    Skill level - beginning to intermediate. Pre-assembled is great. However, I don't mind some assembly required. I enjoy putting things together. I would not qualify myself as highly skilled in the 3D Printing realm. Fiddling, I can do. Screwdrivers, I can use. However, if you need to be an expert before it will print, it's probably above my skill level. I don't mind learning how it works so I can improve upon it as my skill level progresses - but it should be able to do some stuff before i need to drill holes in it.

    Desired - less print failures. :-) (I have a feeling this is a matter of my bed leveling and other minor things that I need to address in how I print which no printer is going to solve. But the Monoprice does seem finicky. I am hoping a higher quality printer will maybe be a touch more forgiving).

    So... what would you recommend for my second printer? What are the features? What am I not going to get?

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by Linias; 11-05-2019 at 09:33 AM.

  2. #2
    As many readers will note, I'm a big fan of the Prusa printer line. I don't own one, but recommended to the local public library makerspace that they purchase one. At the time, it was the MK 2s version (kit) which allowed us to assemble it as a club project. Great fun, rather easy to accomplish and the MK 3 has become even easier. You save money by purchasing the kit and learn a little bit, although it's not particularly difficult. As a group, the assembly took three times as long as it would have been for an individual, of course. That's part of the fun.

    The library subjects the printer to tremendous use and part failures are rare. I had a 3 mm x 20 mm horizontal cylinder print fail due to dislodging from the bed. Simple fix, move the brim/skirt to the part, rather than space it out a couple of millimeters. Sometimes a model is poorly formed, but that's not the printer's fault, only the model's designer!

    I've printed PETG on the library prusa and I suspect ABS would be nearly as easy. Using a full height skirt/brim offset from the part can reduce draft-induced delamination, or you can build your own enclosure for the required protection.

    The Prusa does mesh bed leveling, an incredibly useful feature. The build plate is a magnetic snap-on design, which flexes to pop parts free. This feature was not available at the time the library purchased the MK 2 and it's not really been a problem.

    We learned to place models randomly on the print bed, as consistent centering will eventually wear out the PEI layer at that location. It's easy enough to get the PEI sheet off, using dry ice, but the adhesive that remains is extremely tenacious and took about four hours and plenty of goo-gone to clean it off. The replacement sheet went on flawlessly. With the pop-off sheets you may be able to wear out a single location, but you'd have an easier job of replacing it.

    PrusaSlicer has evolved into a very capable piece of software as well. One of our members had purchased Simplify3D and has begun to use PrusaSlicer almost exclusively, due to the higher quality output and ease of use.

    I suspect you would not regret a purchase of this sort and it falls into your budget range.

  3. #3
    I own a MakerGear M2 and am very happy with it. However, if I ever add a second printer it will be a Prusa as other owners of M2 machine that doe make a living with them say the Prusa are on par if not better as far as print quality. So +1 on Prusa line.. they also have taken over one of the open source slicers and are actively developing.
    Good luck on your purchase BTE Prusa just came out with a new min that is under $400. For the enclosure I built my own and have full access to remove my printer form it if I want.. don't like the idea of an enclosed printer personally

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    for that budget you can afford an idex printer with a large build volume.
    I still like the trex:
    Also why bother with abs ?
    pla and petg are both better as fdm materials than abs, Then there is the plethora of upgraded pla's available.
    If you go for the hi-temp hot end option (which I would recommend) you start bringing things like polycarbonate into the mix.

    So the b2 option with hi temp hotend and upgraded heatbed would be my choice.
    Don't bother with the laser - it's not got enough oomph to bother with. ht=300&width=960&hash=4176854a21d81215100907acb984 a57d
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 11-07-2019 at 01:51 PM.

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