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  1. #1

    NEW! Please help

    Hello everyone,I am trying to learn about the 3D printing world but don't know where to begin. Was hoping someone could adopt me and show me the ropes. Where should I start?What is a beginner/affordable printer I should be looking at?What formats are used for the 3d printing files?What software is easy to learn?What size limitations are there when printing? small trinkets versus large objects?What is there to know about the actual printing materials? Are there printers that print several materials?What overhead/maintenance costs are associated with printing on a daily basis? Are the "ink" materials expensive?My current personal projects wouldn't be anymore complicated than creating simple stencils for my work. But am hoping to evolve into something bigger.

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    3D Printers start at varying prices from low to very high.
    Some 3D Printers claim to be able to 3D Print though are not rigid enough to to maintain a a perfectly shaped 3D Printed model.

    Not ready to Adopt you at this time though will help you find something that will work.

    There are many 3D Printers that are not too expensive, though the 3D Printer is not the only expense.
    Most software is free an will keep you going for many years, consumable cost vary how how much you print.
    Consumables are parts that will be used to make models or wear out.
    Heaters, Thermisters, Filament, Switches ect...
    Costs vary on the most use consumable from $15.00 a roll of PLA to $500.00 dollars for a roll of Peek.

    3D Printers work with 3D Models file formats and can be found in places like thingiverse, prusaprinters, and many many more.
    There are many you-tube video tutorials on 3D Printing from building to to tweaking for better performances.

    As for the size it depends on what you intend to 3D Print.
    Myself I chose to purchase a used 3D Printer thereby saving the cost of a second 3D Printer. Then I used the two 3D Printers to build a MPCNC.
    I came without any instructions though thinking ahead I found many You-Tube Videos showing the complete assembly before purchase.
    This made the assembly quite simple even with the instructions, later found the instructions online an am glad I watched the video,
    Would have never been able to have assembled the 3D Printer with the crazy instructions that were on the original CD I found.

    There is almost a unlimited source of information about 3D Printing an new information is posted daily you should have no problem learning.

  3. #3
    Technician Axl_Myk's Avatar
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    Nov 2020
    The Hartland of Michigan
    You can get a printer for $150. I have a very reliable Ender 3 pro. After that is the filament @ about $20/1kg roll. Start with plain PLA filament. I like Sunlu, but have a couple other brands.

    You need a slicer program to turn .stl files into gcode. Cura is what I use.
    You will be working with metric measurements. Cura has several config profiles to produce fine or rough results. Start with the Standard Quality config and adjust temps to 215ºC and 60ºC

  4. #4
    Thank you so much for the introduction, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to guide me. After reading your comments I think I will head over to the used 3d printers section and purchase something there. Have additional questions if you don't mind. You said some are not rigid enough to print. Can you tell me which brands or machines to stay away from or perhaps what you recommend to buy?Also is there a limitation to the size you can print? I would need to print templates/stencils at 12"x12 to 15"x15" about 1/8" thick. You mention3e consumables as a cost is this simply put the plastic material? Regarding software what an easy to use beginner one? Also for more advanced projects and to dive into the real capabilities what is the more adanced software? What is PLA and what is Peek? Why do the costs vary so much? Once again assuming these are the materials used? Are there printers that print multiple materials from plastics to metals to various plastics or is one machine dedicated to one material?

  5. #5
    What does .slt stand for and do all printers use gcode? Sorry for the ignorance I really know nothing. Research usually drives me deeper down the rabbit hole and I get confused. I will look into this printer and software. ROBERTS_Clif you concur as this being a decent unit for me to start?

  6. #6
    Staff Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    I have two of these One, two They have suited me well for four years time.
    Today they look like the image below.

    The Twins 2.jpg

    Before Purchasing the 3D Printer I found the videos below and watched, wanted to know If I could Assemble.
    As my 3D Printer came without assembly instructions I learned how to assemble watching these You-Tube Videos.
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    I have successfully 3D Printed PLA ans ABS.
    Was told ABS was very difficult to 3D Print, after watching many You-Tube Videos on the matter I built an enclosure and Have never had any warping.
    My Enclosure was built from a single sheet of plywood the front door is hinged from top using two clear plastic sheets.

    These 3D Printers suited me though you may want different from is my suggestion.
    Every part seen in above photo is 3D Printed STL is posted on this forum.
    If you decide to purchase can be re-posted again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    NW Pennsylvania
    I purchased the AnyCubic Mega Zero 2.0 for $179. Brand New from AnyCubic. It has been great for me, Easy to put together. I also recommend Cura as the slicer. Any other questions let me know.

  8. #8
    Are there 3d printers at an affordable level that print several materials such as metal, plastic, etc? Do any printers mix materials or they solely dedicated to one material?

    What about typical printing sizes? Are they all different or is there size classes? Personally I would need about 15" x 15".
    These are the machines I am looking at let me know what you all recommend (Any cubic mega zero 2.0, SainSmart coreception COreXY, Ender 5 plus, Ender 3 Pro, Ultimaker S5 Plus)

    ALso What is a slicer exactly? I will understand more when I actually get my printer but it sounds like they come with software that you build models in .stl format. Then you must take these files and convert to GCode that your actual printer reads? Is this correct?

  9. #9
    Staff Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Jun 2017
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    TRONXY® X5SA-2E Dual Colors 3D Printer Kit CoreXY with Dual Titan Extruder Dual Z axis 330*330*400mm

    Cura I use two and older 15.04.6 an the newest version. Mostly now am using Prusaslicer 2.3.0
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 02-11-2021 at 06:43 AM.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    yep a cad program is where you design your model and a slicer - does exactly what it says.
    It slices the model into really thin slices (typically 0.1-0.4 mm height) and then takes those slices and creates the g-code instructions that allow the mechanical 3d printer to turn molten beads of plastic into solid models.

    In short the slicer is probably the most important piece of software involved in 3d printing.

    Of the free slicers you can get that I have tried. I'd say that prua slicer is probably the easiest to use and most comprehensive.

    I mainly use simplify3d - which you have to buy. I'd say it's still worth the money.
    But If I started 3d printing now - as opposd to 7 years ago - I'm not sure I'd actually buy it. Plus when I bought it, it was almost half the price it is now.

    There are printers that can (sorta kinda) use plastics and metals - but bizarrely they now cost more than a dedicated metal printer. And the post processing rigmarole is a real Pita.
    Desktop metal and markforged make them.

    xactmetal make the cheapest dedicated metal printer.

    Oh yeah try and start thinking in millimetres. Pretty much all the software you will use will be in mm. Certainly the slicers are.

    So you're looking for a 400x400x400mm build volume. Yes that is large :-)

    Not all 3d printers use gcode, most do bit there are still manufacturers who like to lock you into their own software ebvironment.
    Flashforge machines still use a different format. Mainly to stop people usig their slicer who don't own their printers. And it's a great slicer too.

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