Best 3d printers

  • Ok I am thinking of getting a 3d printer but do not know where to start and what to stay clear of!
    What's everyone using in the way of printer and software?
    Any advice greatly appreciated!

  • 3D printing is quite a minefield at the moment. Technology is developing rapidly and new models appear all the time.

    A few thoughts I can offer as a year long 3d printer owner are as follows......

    How good are you at engineering? Are you happy taking the printer apart to clean the print head nozzle?
    What are your expectations? what are you intending to use it to print?
    What material do you want to print with? pla? abs? nylon? carbon fibre?
    What sort of 3D printing do you have in mind? There are different types with wildly varying uses (and prices!).
    How big is the biggest item you want to print?
    How strong does the print have to be? WIll it be used outdoors? Does it need to be waterproof?
    What is your budget - for the printer and the running costs including material used for printing?

    If I were you I'd spend a week looking at you tube videos on the subject and look at a few dedicated online 3d printing forums to get a feel for it.

    FWIW I went with a branded 'ready to use out the box' printer (flashforge finder) and it has given me a good introduction to 3d design and printing. There are occasions when I wish the build area was bigger, but often things can be made in sections and assembled into a larger item, but not always...

  • Thanks for the response. All good points that I will investigate. I am happy with the engineering (avionics Eng by trade) etc
    At the moment I am looking at the Ender 3 pro but still researching.

  • Good thread! I'm considering buying a 3D printer too. Hopefully others will provide some feedback.

  • @crumpy10 The creality CR-10 seems good for the price, but be careful which one, some are made of metal and some from acrylic (usually the cheaper ones). It has a decent build area but a few people have reported issues with the controller board.

    As you are an avionics eng you could also consider building your own from scratch. It will take longer but you will know how it all went together and how to fix/upgrade it. All the stuff is out there to buy...Stepper motors, power supply, controller board, frame extrusion, hotend etc.... So that could be an option for you.

    Another idea is to look for any 3D printing or 'maker' places near you and have a chat with them.

    Whatever you do good luck - when you start 3D printing it soon becomes addictive (and sometimes frustrating). πŸ˜‰

  • Plugin Developer

    The $100 3D printer on Gearbest sounds interesting to me.

  • I bought the ender 3 (non pro) from gearbest. So far I'm very satisfied with it. For 180$ it is a very good printer.
    The bed surface I upgraded for a PEI one. This thing is awesome. Very clean bottom surface and the prints are easy to remove.
    Later I will add a bltouch for automatic bed leveling. Then I want to replace the board. In embedded stepper motor drivers are a bit to noisy. No need for in terms of quality. Mostly for silence reasons. Another great addition is a raspberry pi with octoprint. With this you can run your printer wirelessly over WiFi.
    200$ is already very cheap. I wouldn't by a cheaper one than the ender 3.
    If you need more build volume you might better go with the 10s from creality.

  • When I started with 3D printing quite a few years ago I bought an Ord Bot Hadron frame and then assembled the electronics from bits and pieces bought here and there. The printing table is 200 x 200 mm and the useful height is somewhat less but it has all functions needed. During this assembly process and years thereafter of printing I learned a lot and when the Ord Bot started to feel a bit small I began thinking about something bigger.

    So I designed from scratch a much bigger one (printing volume 450 x 450 x 500, footprint about 700 x 700 mm, two extruders and a 220V heated bed) based on the CoreXY principle and this became a really good printer which has been working well for a couple of years now. All plastic parts were printed on the Ord Bot (I attach a screen dump from the 3D design model for info)

    So my advise is much along the lines as mentioned by @skywatch - if you have the skills, time and facilities build one yourself. You will never regret it (except for during some memorable events during the process πŸ™‚ ).

    If building one yourself is out of the question do not look for the cheapest options. It will just take a few prints before realizing that a heated bed is needed, that more advanced software is a must, that network connectivity would be nice etc. etc. Well known brands like a Prusa I3 is a good choice but there are cheaper options (clones) out there as well but do not expect getting much or any at all support for the cheaper stuff.

  • mbj: The architecture of the printer looks great. Did you publish the project somewhere? I would like to rebuild it some time.
    Crumpy: Back to your question: I can recommend the Anycubic i3 Mega which is some kind of Prusa clone. There any many youtube channels and guides for this printer. It is great for beginners. At the other end there are many upgrade possibilities.

  • @mbj - Just wonderful! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • I have a zonestar P802QR2, it's ok, if you can assemble it yourself. I use Cura as STL converter. and I have a RPI with octoprint. Then I can send my Cura converted files directly to my 3D printer. I have also MQTT installed so my domoticz is aware of the percentage that have been printed, so a little script switchs on a light when 99% is printed + send me an email πŸ™‚

    My best advices:

    1. Get a Iprusa or clone (Mine is clone) (don't flame war this topic, it's an advice to a novice to get started easily. It's quite seldom your first car is the most expensive Mercedes.. Get the point...)
    2. When assy screws then use loctite to secure, else screws will unwind due to the stepper movements
    3. heated bed, and add a 3mm glass on top, and spray a thin layer of hairspray on top of glass plate. then you PLA will stick nicely
    4. Start to use PLA, and ONLY PLA until you are getting experienced
    5. calibrate you heatbed often. This is typically your problem if print fucks up
    6. still got printing problem, look here:
    7. Don't let your PLA get exposed too long to air, as it is hygroscopic and moisture will damage your PLA, so sometimes get new and fresh PLA is also helping

    Here is a 3d printing from my white PLA print motor mount for BOFU motor to use with IKEA Tupplur blinds, STL files can be found here:
    Livestream for Brian Jac – 00:00
    — Brian Jac

  • All great advice everyone, thanks for the input!

  • @cyberthom Thank you for the comment. No, I have not published the model anywhere and mainly because I do not have the time to support others trying to build it.

    Like with any other big 3d-model like this it is also hard to guarantee that all small changes are incorporated into the model. Also, to build the various parts a fairly good 3D printer is needed (all plastic parts are made of ABS using roughly 100 degC bed heating).

  • @skywatch Thank yo so much.

  • @mbj You are welcome - I have been thinking of this myself, but it is finding the time to do it that is a problem for me......

    @Crumpy10 - Also know that colour 3d printer are now available and likely to become the norm sometime in the future. So something to bear in mind....

  • @skywatch said in Best 3d printers:

    @mbj Also know that colour 3d printer are now available and likely to become the norm sometime in the future. So something to bear in mind....

    Doesn't matter, if you need it in the future, buy parts for it when you need it. I purchased to be "future" safe a version with dual hotends, so I during print can change and use another colour. I thought it could be nice if I print a box and embed name for input or output in another colour. I have not used it yet... as Dymo labels are easier

  • @bjacobse I mean 'full colour' printers. I know triple feed hot ends are available and with dual head you could have 6 colours, but still limited compared to current HP full colour 3D printers.

  • @bjacobse Dual hotends are quite nice to have. I often have ABS going to one of them and PETG to the other. I do not use this to change colors during printing (actually have just tested it a couple of times) but being able to slice for extruder 1 or 2 means that I often can print without changing the plastic because my most common choices are those two qualities.

  • @skywatch @mbj
    I think you are experienced and - and would you really recommend for a fist time use/novice as the topic poster to suggest printing in more than 1 colour? as beginner you need advice to get started and get success, and build competence, then you can later on move to a higher level, modify your printer and print with several colours

  • I'm thinking about buying the Creality CR-10 S5. Has anyone had any experience with this 3D printer or have heard any good or negative comments about it?

  • @bjacobse With two extruders you load up each with your most common filaments and thus do a filament change less frequent. Then it is a "nice-to-have" but nothing cruicial at least not for me who rarely combine materials in same print.

    In more advanced use when people want to print for example support structures in one material and the item itself with another filament this is not practically possible with less than two extruders.

    Changing colors can be done with one extruder but frequent changes for same part are of course a pain.

    So depending on use the dual (or even more complex) extruders are everything from just nice to a must. For a beginner it is not needed (and for something "home built" it is most likely possible to change to a more complex extruder after some years).

  • @mbj
    And please share you experience using 2 extruders when available, (as I agree it is a nice enhancement) after a novice have become experienced using one filament/extruder