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3D Printers, anyone have a recommendation?


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3D Printers, anyone have a recommendation?
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-07-31, 19:43

So I'm really interested in getting a 3D printer to start playing with. I have seen some really cool fabrications and would like to be able to make things like a cool iPhone stand! Or computer case.

Anyway, you get the idea. I don't expect to build anything really ornate or require a top of the line machine but I would like something that is really good and will work the first time. I don't care if it's wired to the network or wireless but it would need to be network driven rather than USB assuming that is an option.

Anyone have a 3D printer or know about them and have a recommendation for me?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2019-07-31, 21:04

Oh man oh man oh man.

I've been reading so much about 3D printers over the last three years. My journey started when I created an original model and ordered a print on Shapeways to replace my car's front emblem that mysteriously went missing (presumed stolen). Apparently Shapeways has changed its system since I made it 3.5 years ago and I can't direct link to it, but trust me when I say it's pretty dope.



I've grown much more interested in terms of supporting plain old creative projects and things like props and cosplay, and I have come really close to purchasing my own 3D printer on more than one occasion, but my resolve has held firm and my wallet full. So, I speak strictly as an armchair enthusiast, not an owner.

I know a lot more about filament-based (FDM) printers, but I know a bit about resin-based (DLP) style printers as well. Your first decision will be which of those two you want. They implement very different printing technologies, each with their trade-offs:

filament (FDM) printers:
+ can print much larger volumes
+ much more affordable in the consumer space
+ relatively mature technology
+ most printers can be heavily modded and upgraded
+ excellent variety of filament materials (including pretty much all colors, transparent, glow-in-the-dark, semi-wood, metallic)
+ can operate a various quality vs. speed settings (think like an inkjet printer's "fast" vs "photo" settings)
- even at the slowest, highest-quality settings, prints may have noticeable horizontal lines/ridges along the Z axis; faster prints have more pronounced lines
- tend to need lots tweaking and adjusting to get the perfect print
- generate a lot of heat to melt the filaments and work best in a small, enclosed space to keep that temperature consistent
- tend to be open and could be dangerous if small animals are nearby
- some filaments need to be kept in low-humidity storage when not in use

resin-based (DLP) printers:
+ do not produce high heat to make prints
+ tend to be much quieter than FDM printers
+ prints can have incredibly buttery-smooth surfaces
+ tend to work more perfectly out of the box with far less calibration
- tend to have few if any user-serviceable parts
- print volume is very small
- much more expensive than similarly sized FDM printers
- print medium is liquid and may be prone to spills

Most consumers getting into 3D printing for the first time go for FDM printers because they're affordable, widely available, and have big print volumes. I even see miniature FDM "3D pen" printers on the shelves of my neighborhood Target and Michaels!

The gold standard for FDM has been Prusa, and when I say standard I mean it because the creator open-sourced his designs. Many Chinese FDM printers are just cheap Prusa clones, some taking shortcuts and some adding features. All 3D printers have learning curves, require fine-tuning, trial and error, purchasing or making replacement parts, etc. However, Prusas have an excellent reputation for just working well right out of the box. They tend to be some of the more expensive options for their size, and sometimes there's a backlog waiting list to get your order, but that's all because you're generally paying for a higher quality product.

There are probably a dozen next-level manufacturers. Without digging through a bunch of my old sources, I can say that I've seen LulzBot, Creality, and some of the Monoprice rise to the top of reviews.

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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2019-07-31, 22:26

Wow, you really have been looking haven't you!

The one I was looking at is the Monoprice Voxel:

I read about it in some of my searching and it fits the price I was looking to spend. I know there are cheaper ones but I just can't image them being any good. I like that this one is enclosed as that seems like it would make a big difference, especially in my space where it is going to end up under a vent diffuser.

I didn't even know a resin based option was out there. Likely because it is way beyond my price range right now. I figure if I print a bunch of stuff and love doing it then I can get another model that is better.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
  quote
torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2019-08-23, 09:33

We got the Ender 3D Pro on Prime day for a little over $200. Putting it together with my 12 yo son was not too hard and it's been fairly easy to get printing well for standard filament. We are now trying flexible filament which is more challenging but definitely a fun thing to work on.

I had my son "design" a few coat hooks and he did well for his first 3d modeling project. I want to get him more invested in learning about it since I know he'll really enjoy it once he's through the early part of the learning process.

There's a subreddit /r/3dprinting that is pretty informative and a few good youtubers we've found.

If it's not red and showing substantial musculature, you're wearing it wrong.
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