Best 3d printers

  • MySensors Friends,

    I also plan to finally purchase a 3D printer.

    What do you recommend for a beginner right now?

    What do I want to make?
    Enclosures for sensors.
    small parts .
    and who knows what else in the future.

    So I am looking for a 3D printer that I can gain experience with as a beginner.
      not too small, maintenance friendly, but that does not mean that I do not want to carry out maintenance.

    I don't really know yet what material I want to print with, what is the best and most versatile material to start with?

    Thank you in advance for your advice and thinking along.


  • @dzjr it depends what do you need it for. This is my 2 cents on 3d printing at the moment.

    If you need to print something small with high detail, get an SLA printer like Elegoo Mars. It is cheap, easy to understand and resolution is amazing. Prints out of the box, but it is messy and smelly.


    1. You are a complete noob, you have no clue how that stuff works, you just want to print. Get Prusa and print PLA. Basic printer, not great but reliable and great company support and great community.
    2. You are a complete noob on a budget but willing to learn. Get Ender 3 and print PLA. It is basic, cheap, but gets a job done. Community support is great, but expect you will have to tinker with the printer.
    3. You are a moderately experienced in tech and you need a workhorse. Get FlashForge Creator Pro or similar and print PLA, PETG or even ABS. Community support is great, that thing is an older design but it just works.
    4. You are moderately experienced, with special (tinkering) demands. Here it gets very personal. There is a bunch of RepRap style printers with a moving bed (which I hate). There are some deltas (why??) and there is growing number of CoreXY printers of various sizes (Two Tree, Elf, Tronxy...). I would probably go that route. Stick with PLA and PETG.
    5. Geek with time, resources, and curiosity. Build your own CoreXY printer. Voron, Railcore, etc. Print what you want.

    I skipped 1) and 2) and went through 3) - 5). I personally own Elegoo, FlashForge CP, Elf, and CoreXY of my own design.

  • Plugin Developer

    @dzjr have a look here:

    I think the 'consensus' is that these are the beginner printers to go for currently:

    Under $200
    Ender 3. It's recommended as a cheap beginners machine. This does not have any automation features though, such as automatic bed levelling, detecting if your fillament runs out, etc. Although you can add those if you want. It's also quite noisy.

    Above $200
    For a more hassle free experience I believe the Prusa i3 Mk3S is the recommended one to go for. It's more expensive of course, but you get a lot of that automation.

    It also depends on what material you want to print. Woodgrain filament cannot be used with the Ender's default extruder, for example, it will damage it. Something worth checking before purchase is it it can print flexible filament. That stuff is amazing! In general it seems ABS filament has become very unpopular.

    Don't worry too much about things like touch screens. You'll likely want to get a Raspberry Pi and install Octoprint on it. That way you can send prints to your printer and monitor its progress without having to babysit it. You don't want to be sitting next to those fumes and the noise all the time.

    Also don't worry about flexible removable magnetic printer beds. From what I can tell glass beds offer the best quality for things like PLA, which is what you'll most likely be printing in generally.

    Whatever you do, go for a printer that has a large community of users. If you go on websites like Thingiverse you'll immediately notice which printers are popular. If you look at the most popular new 3D print designs you'll currently find a lot of Ender specific creations.

  • Im using the Monoprice 3D Printer the price is below $200. I bought it a few months ago so Im not sure what its price today. 3d printing is a really fun hobby. If you need more 3d printer options, you should check out this website.

  • @pptacek
    Thank you for your response to my message,
    It took a little longer on this side because my work took a lot of time this week.

    1 & 2 will not apply to me either, I may not have 3D printing experience, but I have enough technical skills to adjust and assemble something, but I don't want to be able to print something first. half an hour to adjust everything.

    So if I see your message like this, it would end up on the Ender 3 (Pro?) Or the Flashforge Creator Pro.
    I was thinking of max € 500 myself, but is it worth the price difference of about € 400?

    Ender 3 = € 180
    Ender 3-Pro = € 235
    Flashforge Creater Pro = 625

  • @alowhum

    Thank you for your response to my message,
    It took a little longer on this side because my work took a lot of time this week.

    I have read through part of the link, and keep reading that the Ender-3 (pro) would be the best choice?

    Of the Prusa i3, I read on the Dutch platform that there are some safety aspects, so would the power supply not be fireproof?

    So if I see your message like this it would end up on the Ender 3 (Pro?)
    Also thanks to @pptacek's response

    How did you mean the touch screen? do you mean that you actually have to replace the controller with a Raspberry pi?

  • Plugin Developer

    Of the Prusa i3, I read on the Dutch platform that there are some safety aspects, so would the power supply not be fireproof?

    I haven't read that, but I haven't looked into the Prusa deeply. I bought the Ender 3 because of its price to performance ratio.

    I wondered if I should get the Ender 3 pro. The only thing it really added that I wanted is a better power supply. But since it doesn't really impact anything, and you can always upgrade later, I decided to go with the normal Ender.

    How did you mean the touch screen? do you mean that you actually have to replace the controller with a Raspberry pi?

    No, I mean that some 3D printers come with fancy touch screen interfaces. The way you normally use them is that you put a file on an SD card, put that SD card in the printer, and then use the on device interface to start the print.

    But you can also connect a Raspberry Pi to your printer (it has a USB port), and then it can control the printer. Once you do that, you can start, stop and follow prints through a web interface. No more hassle with SD cards. It's something you will want.

    I use a 10 euro Raspberry Pi Zero W for this.

  • @alowhum

    I also think I'm going to buy an Ender-3,
    The difference between the 3 and the 3-Pro turns out not to be very big, in this video they tell the differences.

    If I would like to have a larger / other later, the costs are manageable, I think ....
    Or is the Flashforge Creator really worth the extra money (my dad wants to contribute too)?

    Thank you for explaining the Raspberry Pi addition,
    I have already seen a tutorial how it works, I still have a Pi-3 and Pi-2, which I can use nicely, also in combination with a camera.

  • Plugin Developer

    Go for the Ender. It has wide support. You'll love it. Later you can always sell it second hand - precisely because it's such a popular machine.

  • @dzjr difference between Ender & FFCP is huge. Let me point out the most important once:

    1. Enclosed build volume. You can print ABS, ASA, HIPS, PC, or any other "engineering" materials which shrink a lot and they WILL delaminate if printed on something like Ender.
    2. Two extruders mean you can print support structures using soluble filaments. That will give you an advantage in printing complex parts.
    3. Z only moves up. Let it sink for a bit. On the Ender, you are moving the entire mass of the print with every Y move. It is a terrible concept and only works for tiny printers.

    I understand why people like small RepRap printers (Ender). They are cheap, simple, easy to understand, and easy to fix. But they have serious limits which some people are underplaying. RepRap printers, in general, can never achieve higher print quality than gantry or corexy printers. It is simple physics. Enclosed, they take prohibitive amounts of space compare to their build volume, etc ...

    I'm not saying they are bad. Just know your limits. Ender is great if you are on a budget.
    Good luck!

    Edit: It is also important to mention, that getting "a printer" to where you want it to be, usually costs at least the same amount as the printer itself. So if you buy € 235 printer, expect to spend another ~€ 250 to do upgrades (PEI build surface, better extruder, better hotend, BL-touch, stiffening brackets, ... list never ends). This is not a cheap hobby, really.

  • @pptacek Thank you,

    Clear explanation, it certainly has an important difference.

    Do you think I have to pay a significant amount for the FFCP to improve it?

    I had more or less opted for the Ender-3, but I can still opt for the FFCP ...

    I understand that it is not a cheap hobby, hence the question of what is the best buy for me as a start.

  • @dzjr To be completely fair, there is one big downside of the FFCP and it is the control board. FFCP is running an 8-bit MightyBoard (MakerBot board) clone which is running Sailfish firmware. That FW is great for what it does on 8-bit UC, but that era is now gone. I still have it, I still use it, but there is and won't be any new development. So sooner or later, you would likely have to replace it with something else.

    So, unless you really need to print ABS, ASA, PC, Nylon, or other "hard" stuff, my suggestion is to go with Ender with an open mind (and side budget) that you will do updates. This will get you into the 3d printing quickly and you will learn some valuable lessons without wasting much money. If you find out you like it and you "need some more", I strongly suggest you go for good CoreXY experience.

    If you know you need to print for outdoors (ASA) or you will be doing some engineering parts from ABS, PC, or Nylon, forget about Ender and start saving for something better.

  • @pptacek

    Than i will order the Ender-3!

    maybe when i will buy another printer later, but we will see.

  • Well, so I bought the Ender3, but can't say it's a good buy ....

    To be honest, I regret it very much and am thinking about getting rid of it.

    I have had the printer for over two weeks now, and have been leveling the bed every night for two weeks.

    I have already taken the printer apart and reassembled it with a square hook, but that does not help.

    If I think that the bed has been leveled correctly and again prints a test print from here, the second print does not go well ....

    Yes, I heated bed (45 degrees C) before leveling.
    and I already have several youtube videos where they say, leveling is an easy job ...

    Does anyone have a tip?
    Or is choosing a different 3D printer a better idea?

  • If they ship the Ender 3 with the same bed as they did when it was still in "Public Beta", there's a good chance that it isn't flat at all. Mine had a wide and deep dip in the center that warped inconsistently when heated. Creality was kind enough to send a free replacement heat bed and build surface which was level.

    I still added a glass plate (IKEA LOTS mirror tile, 8 EUR for a 4-pack) on top, because I think it is a better print surface than this rough and grippy BuildTak stuff. Prints are super shiny on the bottom side, they adhere well and come off with just a gentle touch if you allow them to cool down after the print has finished - just clean it regularly with soap and water. I didn't even need to level the bed again in years of regular use.

    Another solution might be to get a bed leveling sensor like the BLTouch and flashing a suitable firmware like Marlin on the Ender. It'll detect any tilt in the bed or uneven surfaces and compensate for that in software.

  • Hero Member

    @dzjr I don't think you mentioned exactly which problem you're having, but maybe try a different (better) print filament. They're not all the same, and maybe you got unlucky with whichever one you picked. The good news is that whatever problem you're having, there are known solutions on how to fix it.

    The learning curve can be pretty steep if it's your first 3D printer. AFAIK, none of them are yet at the level of just unbox and print and never have any problems. Maybe that's why the big companies like Xerox, Canon, HP, and the rest aren't yet offering much in the way of consumer level 3D printers? I've been curious as to why they haven't jumped in to the market. I would think that professional level design from someone like, say, HP, would utterly blow away the mom and pop products that currently dominant. I have a Prusia printer, and, no offense, it looks like it was designed by sophomore college students who had only pocket change to pay for supplies. It works, but I have no doubt that a good team of engineers could design something better, faster, cheaper, more accurate, more reliable, more elegant, and easy to manufacture in volume.

  • @BearWithBeard Thank you for your response,

    I do notice that the print nozzle runs free on the sides, and gets stuck in the middle ....

    and that the back seems more stable than the front, the springs behind are much tighter.

    I will visit IKEA next week and purchase the LOTS.

  • @NeverDie
    The main "problem" is that I just cannot get the bed stable, I will get an IKEA LOTS first, and I will take the printer out and assemble it again.

    I understand that the printer needs to be adjusted, but I am a little disappointed that the YouTube videos pretend that it is a job of 5 to 10 minutes, but it takes more than 10 days for me ...
    Apparently I put something wrong together, I will watch the CHEP video again.

    I'm going to take the printer completely apart and then reassemble it piece by piece, and then I'll post the result.

  • Hero Member

    @dzjr Your build surface needs to be as flat as possible. You can easily check it with a straightedge: if you can see daylight under the straight edge in any orientation, then it's not flat enough. I don't know how Ender 3 does it, but on the Prusia there are extremely strong magnets that grab the build surface and flatten it against a fairly thick (and very flat) PCB (which is where the heating elements are).

    In theory you could also overcome the problem with very extensive bed leveling (as is common in CNC'ing PCBs), but that's a slow process, and you're better off not having to resort to that.

    Good luck!

  • @NeverDie

    i have checked the bed, it looks like it is not flat, also the horizontal profile is not flat.

    i am now trying to sell it.....

    ![alt text](IMG_20200622_145639_4.jpg image url)


  • Hero Member

    @dzjr Looks as though you've found the source of your pain.

  • Like many, I have been mulling about getting a 3D printer for years. Finally it seems they are getting to at least decent quality (maybe?). Well, certainly a lot of the trail blazing has been done, and prices come down a lot... So maybe it is time finally.

    @BearWithBeard said in Best 3d printers:

    I still added a glass plate (IKEA LOTS mirror tile, 8 EUR for a 4-pack) on top, because I think it is a better print surface than this rough and grippy BuildTak stuff. Prints are super shiny on the bottom side, they adhere well and come off with just a gentle touch if you allow them to cool down after the print has finished - just clean it regularly with soap and water. I didn't even need to level the bed again in years of regular use.

    This is very interesting. One of biggest features of Prusa i3 mk3 I have seen is that very clever spring steel bed that you just pop off and bend and the piece comes right off. I have read all sorts of stuff about hairspray, etc. and it all seems like such a hassle and mess to me. But it sounds like you have really found the solution to this particular problem.


    Wanted to ask you how you were getting on with your Prusa i3 mk 3 by now? I read some threads going back years where you were comparing options and then decided to purchase that one.

    I think your thought process is a lot like mine (not just in this, but also other comments of yours I have read). I specifically recall you saying how you noticed a pattern in all these review videos where people bought "ready to go out of box" which is really just a kit and then they spend a lot of time dickering with it and then finally end up with something nice. 😄 I have noticed the same thing!

    I know you said you bought Prusa largely because family reasons (ease of use, etc.) but I am thinking now of building my own from scratch, maybe one of big cube designs as they seem more stable, and no matter what it seems that you end up tinkering a lot anyway, doing upgrades over time, etc... So the way I see it, if you are doing to do all that effort anyway, might as well save yourself some money...

    That nifty bed release thing though was one of last remaining things left in favor of Prusa for me, but now if @BearWithBeard is saying a simple glass plate can work just as well, then... 🤔

  • Hero Member

    @TRS-80 said in Best 3d printers:

    Wanted to ask you how you were getting on with your Prusa i3 mk 3 by now?

    Well, for me, the main value in a 3D printer turned out to be building custom enclosures, because the effort/reward ratio is favorable. However, getting to the point where it's easy to do that takes quite a lot of time, and so I can't say I would recommend it. Also, the fumes and the noise are negatives that don't really get as much consideration as they should. The solutions for that still seem to be all DIY, unless you want to spend a small fortune for something aimed at schools or big business.

    I found that a CNC machine is far more useful, because I could make PCB's with it rather than having to wait for delivery from JLPCB or whomever. However, I haven't tried chemical etching, and, maybe all things considered, that would have been a better/easier approach, so I can't strongly recommend a CNC either.

    Thee was a time when Ender 3's were considered pretty good bang/buck. Seeing what happened to dzjr though, I do wonder whether the mfg. decided to cash out that reputation by sacrificing quality.

    Building your own from scratch? Maybe in the end it's the same amount of effort. I can't say, because I haven't tried it. I can say, though, that I've built and re-built the Prusia enough times now that maybe I may as well have. If you have "the knack," I think building something from scratch using better quality parts (such as high quality linear bearings and not the cheap stuff) could make a lot of sense:
    Dilbert - The Knack full - YouTube.flv – 01:45
    — sgispider

    The main advantage of a kit is risk mitigation. If you put it together according to the directions, then it should work, at least nominally. i.e. "No thinking required." Dzjr's case seems more the exception than the rule.

    Even so, I wouldn't recommend a 3D printer if you don't have "the knack." And if you have "the knack," then you know you have it.

  • @NeverDie said in Best 3d printers:

    I've built and re-built the Prusia enough times now that maybe I may as well have

    See, now this surprises me. The whole thing about the Prusa is that it is supposed to be "ready to go / well engineered solution." And IMO you are paying a premium for that.

    I think you are confirming my suspicions to build my own.

    In fact I came to same conclusion in almost all areas (IT, vehicles, building, etc.) and pretty much do all my own work. I suppose that is what drew me to MySensors as well (and OpenHAB, and GNU/Linux, etc...).

    And yes, I have "The Knack" LOL! I got a great kick out of that, and shared it already to my family. My wife calls it "bedtime stories" when I start talking about my projects. 😄 She mostly humors me though, bless her heart.

  • Hero Member

    @TRS-80 said in Best 3d printers:

    See, now this surprises me. The whole thing about the Prusa is that it is supposed to be "ready to go / well engineered solution." And IMO you are paying a premium for that.

    The reality is more like this plumber's advice about bronze pipe. "It's great, until something goes wrong. And something always goes wrong":
    Moonstruck - Copper Pipes.avi – 01:11
    — Rafi Vasserman

    For example, if the sensor that tracks whether the filament is jammed goes bad, then you have a lot of disassembly and re-assembly ahead of you in order to replace it. You can probably guess how I might know this.

  • I obviously can't speak for everyone, but I'm happy with the Ender 3 and have no need nor desire for another (filament) printer. The print area is large enough for my needs - custom electronics enclosures, spare parts / repairs, little mechanical tools and gadgets, etc. Print resolution and detail is fine, I generally have no noteworthy quality complaints aside from the occasional stringing (which is easy to remove with a lighter or hot air gun). Maintenance is as minimal as it gets: keep the v-groove wheels, belts and lead screw dust free, clean the glass bed. Talking about the glass plate: I fixate it with two regular metal binder clips to the original print surface. It sits tight in place and it's removable within seconds. I don't use hairspray, glue (I tried once - oh boy, what a mess) or anything else, I just rinse it with warm water and soap after a couple of prints. That's it. Keeping it in a good temperature window seems to be key for proper adhesion. I generally start the print with a bed temperature of 65°C for the first (few) layers and drop it to 50°C afterwards for PLA.

    Now this doesn't mean that I want to persuade anyone to buy an Ender 3. I don't know if they are still recommended nowadays or if Creality may have started milking the cow. Honestly, I stopped following the 3D printer communities and news once I got my Ender 3 dialed in and achieved pleasing results. I really don't know which printer one should buy today.

    But in the end, I don't think it matters much which printer you get. You can achieve good quality prints with most of them and in a lot of cases you'd have a hard time telling if something has been printed on a budget or high-end printer. It is much more important to learn how to use a (as in any) filament printer. How to use a slicer properly, learning what implications different temperatures, speeds and feed rates have, layer heights, how much infill is needed, which distances can be bridged, how steep overhangs and arches can be, retraction speed and distance, to-z-hop-or-not, finding the optimal extruder and bed temperatures for a specific filament, acceleration and jerk limits, cooling,... Knowing the basics of G-code is also very helpful to understand why a printer is doing something or even modify the print. Actually, it already starts with the design process in a CAD program - choosing a proper wall thickness, keeping the structure of the model in mind, avoiding supports if possible, etc.

    No matter how expensive or pre-built and -tuned your printer is, those are things you need to get behind either way. The learning curve with a preconfigured, factory-calibrated printer might be less steep compared to a budget kit, because you are more likely to simply adopt the recommended settings from the manufacturer or other community members.

    In this regard: if you're a tinkerer and like some challenges, you may as well build one yourself and have a great time! I'm looking forward to build a custom CNC (>1m² of surface area, for woodworking and occasional soft metal milling) soon - hopefully before the end of the year - rather because I'm interested in the build than having an urgent need for one. 😊

  • @BearWithBeard said in Best 3d printers:

    I'm happy with the Ender 3 and have no need nor desire for another (filament) printer. The print area is large enough for my needs, [...] Print resolution and detail is fine, I generally have no noteworthy quality complaints aside from the occasional stringing [...] Maintenance is as minimal

    Yeah, then I keep waffling back and forth to this. Seems there are quite a number of quite decent "ready to go" units available these days for not too much money.

    @BearWithBeard said in Best 3d printers:

    But in the end, I don't think it matters much which printer you get...

    This point is also well taken. Sounds there is going to be a learning curve no matter what. Maybe a little less so with a widely deployed model...

    I dunno, I think... I will keep thinking (for now). 🙂 Thanks for the feedback, guys.

    EDIT: Those CNC are something I keep looking at, too...

  • Hero Member

    @TRS-80 A while back Tom Sanlanderer did a video series on how to build a inexpensive clone of a Prusa printer from scratch. That would seem like an easy starting point if you wanted to dIY.
    Building the cheapest possible Prusa i3 MK2 clone: [02] Frame and motion! – 13:38
    — Thomas Sanladerer

  • @NeverDie said in Best 3d printers:

    a video series on how to build a inexpensive clone of a Prusa printer from scratch

    I actually saw that! The wood frame made me cringe! First think I was thinking, have my buddy the metal fabricator cut me something out of some off-cut flat stock he likely has lying around...

    But then I thought, well, why stop there... (also having The Knack, I suspect you know where this leads 🙂 )...

    So then I start thinking about one of these very stable cube designs out of aluminium T-bar (or whatever it's called) some pics were posted by @mbj further up thread.

    In fact all of these "simple, cheap" designs with the hot end just dangling out there at the end of some arm into space just make me shudder! I cannot imagine that staying stable...

    But then I hear feedback like from @BearWithBeard along the lines that they are "good enough" for all the sort of similar things I also plan on doing with it, which gives me pause.

    And then I start thinking about these combination CNC + 3d printer (+ other?) combination devices, and then I think "well, maybe that is the way to go..." <-- Maybe this is where I am at currently? It's all still in "planning / research" phase, for foreseeable future, anyway.

    Thanks for the link though! Perhaps a solution meeting someone else's needs.

  • Hero Member

    @TRS-80 said in Best 3d printers:

    In fact all of these "simple, cheap" designs with the hot end just dangling out there at the end of some arm into space just make me shudder! I cannot imagine that staying stable...

    You should see this then:
    Cheap 3D printer with 3 linear rails - How the Cetus changed my mind – 06:25
    — Marco Reps

    With these types of rails, the tolerances can be so tight that if you had rails on both sides they'd likely be binding quite a lot. So, though I agree it seems counterintuitive, there can be an advantage to having the support on just one side.

  • Linear rails! Yes! Now we are talking!

    Entertaining video! 😄 Thanks, one more on to the list of only a few YouTubers worth paying any attention to...

    @NeverDie said in Best 3d printers:

    With these types of rails, the tolerances can be so tight that if you had rails on both sides they'd likely be binding quite a lot. So, though I agree it seems counterintuitive, there can be an advantage to having the support on just one side.

    Well, with linear rails, yes... But, it's almost... cheating, compared to what I was talking about! 😄

    All jokes aside, actual design / engineering considerations, bla bla... Of course you are correct.

    Anyway, this looks like the "out of the box, ready to go" solution I thought that the Prusa i3 was, I wonder what these go for? After quick search on Internet, wow, comparable in price but far superior design, IMO. Would need to do more research of course, but very impressed initially. I guess these were not available when you bought your Prusa? 🙂

  • Hero Member

    @TRS-80 I didn't know it existed back when I made my purchase. Even if I had, I might have erroneously dismissed it for the reason you mentioned because, like I mentioned, it's counterintuitive. Videos like this one demonstrate why it can be better.

    Marco Reps has a wicked sense of humor. His videos are both informative and entertaining (if you happen to like his brand of humor, and I certainly do).

  • @NeverDie
    I got the IKEA LOTS, and the results seem a little better, but still not stable.

    Sometimes slightly up, then down again.

    if I do the trick with the piece of paper and make sure that the piece of paper is just attached, so making a line of the filament, I have to adjust some wheels again every time.

    Unfortunately, the supplier of the printer did not respond, so I have no support for that, unfortunately.

    As a last option I will place the nuts, and possibly remove the springs completely from the print bed.

    I probably do something very stupid wrong and it turns out to be a menu error somewhere deep in the settings or something.

    I now have a raspberryPi with octoprint attached to the printer.

  • Hero Member

    @dzjr On some printers (maybe yours?) there are some adjustment screws/wheels (or similar) intended to help you flatten the surface by pushing up the low points.

  • Plugin Developer

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. With my Ender I never have to adjust anything. It worked great out of the box and has continued to do so.

    Perhaps you could try moving the whole build plate up to a higher point, where the springs are more compressed? There are also people who replace the springs for stiffer versions. Maybe that could help here.

  • Hero Member

    I'm one of those who upgraded to stiffer springs. You can buy ten or a dozen or so for cheap on Aliexpress.

  • Contest Winner

    So after being absent for a long period, I'm almost done catching up. It is nice to see all the great projects every one has been working on. As I'm currently in the process of buying a 3d printer I'm just, gonna ask you all for advise. This topic is a little bit old, so maybe some new models have come out.

    The things that are important to me, for choosing the right 3d printer are:

    • Small foot print: The printer will be installed in my workshop, but that's also our guest bedroom and right now it is my office from which I do my work
    • limited budget: I really don't have the budget for one that is over a 1000 dollars or more
    • pre made: Unless the best alternative is one I have to assemble myself, I don't want to spend too much time on it. Because I'm pretty sure I'll have to invest a lot of time on learning how to design the casings I want to print out

    As regarding to filament types, I have no experience in 3d printing. I'm just a real noob. I also came across octo print it's not a real must, but it would be nice to hookup octoprint to the printer. Any advise is more than welcome.

  • Hero Member

    @TheoL What size build volume do you need?

    If you have no idea what you should want/need but you just want to get your feet, then I'd say the Ender 3 is a reasonable starting point for learning purposes. I would have said Ender 3 Pro or Ender 3 v2, but from what I've read, many if not most if not all of the Creality silent stepper designs are incapable of doing linear advance, which in my view puts a limit on their usefulness. The Prusa mini might be a good choice if you're OK with its smaller build size.

    I'd strongly recommend buying from Amazon or Ebay if you can, because both have reasonable return policies. I've read a lot of horror stories about people receiving bad Asian 3D printers purchased through other sources and being stuck with it and unable to get their money back. In fact, I get the impression that the primary business model for much of the Asian 3D printer market is to over promise and under deliver, sometimes dramatically so.

  • @TheoL I stick by what I said at the start of this topic. But once you get printing you will wish you got a larger print area unless you have defined your requirements in stone first.

    There are dual head printers. colour printers, resin printers (which are best for quality builds of a small size so maybe worth looking into for you?).

    If you just want to create quickly then there are online places that will print your designs (and they take the hit if a bad print needs a second run). So if you just want a few things then that is an option.

  • Contest Winner

    @NeverDie Thanx for the quick reply

    Well of course we all want to print the largest as possible. But for me it would be casings for my electronics projects. End as far as I've understood you can print them in separate parts and glue those together if needed. I also want to print some gears but that's all small stuff.

    I see 3 versions of the ender 3:

    • Ender 3
    • Ender 3 v2
    • Ender 3 pro

    But I can not see what the big differences are. Would it be possible to add auto leveling later on?

    And I think it's best to order the glass plate? There's a Dutch shop 1-2-3 3d printers. I was thinking about ordering it there. The difference between the 1-2-3 3d printer shop and amazon is over 50 euros. Would that be the difference in quality?

  • @TheoL I can't say you which is the best printer 🙂
    But I can say a word about my experience after 2 years of 3D printing...

    I have the Anet A6 printer, purchased from Elektor. At that time it was a promotion sell which included PLA filaments.
    It was a kit, but easy to assemble. Usually these types of kits can be expanded by printing parts yourself, what I did. is the place to be.

    So what is important if you don't have a 'pro'-type 3D printer (with pro, I mean auto-leveling, multi nozzle, ...)

    • place the printer on a flat stable surface (in my case it is screwed to a thick MDF plate so I can move it in and out the cabinet (don't have the place to let the printer stay))
    • the adjustment is very important, namely the distance between the nozzle and the bed. If the printer is moved from his place, the printer always needs to be recalibrated!
      You do that by taking a white A4 paper (80gr), put it on the bed and move the nozzle over the plate. You should be able to feel the paper sliding between the plate and the nozzle, not too loose, but not too tight either!
      The first times, this will take the most from your time to prepare the printing, but after a while you become handy at it 🙂
    • important that the bed can be heated (I have only PLA experience) to a 50-60 degrees Celcius.
    • I print always with 'brim' at 3 mm. Why? When the printer starts printing, the PLA will not start directly, so the first 4 à 5 cm are not well printed. With a brim around your piece, you don't have that problem. It helps also to improve bed adhesion.
      Remark : a 'brim' is connected with your piece, after printing you you have to break it down, but that's normally not a problem. You can also use the option 'skirt', same purpose and it is not connected to your printed piece.
      But from experience, I use 'brim'.
    • important that the PLA filaments are putted in their plastic bag if not used! Normally when you open the plastic bag the first time, you will find the known little bags with little granules for the humidity. Don't throw them away but let them in the plastic bag. The PLA must be kept dry!
      If you let the PLA in open air too long, say months without using it, you will see that the PLA wire will break more easily.
      Don't skimp on the PLA quality, get a premium quality, even with a cheaper printer 😉
    • a glass plate or a special 3D printing surface material is important. It should allow the heat to penetrate well so that the first print lines adhere well to the surface. You will also have a smooth bottom.
    • Don't skimp on the possible dimensions. You will regret it later 😉 . If the price is affordable, I should take the one with the biggest print volume.

    You will find after a while, if you design your own pieces, that the design phase will take the most time.
    I myself, use Freecad for 'mechanical' designs and Blender for more artistic designs.
    But before designing yourself cases for example, search on or other sites, there are plenty of designs made already. Search even on the MySensors forum for specific node cases 🙂

  • Hero Member

    @TheoL said in Best 3d printers:

    But I can not see what the big differences are. Would it be possible to add auto leveling later on?

    Yes. Autoleveling can be added later. I have it on both my Prusa I3 MK3S and my Ender 5 Plus, which came with it stock. The bigger the build area, the more useful it is. My creality doesn't hold its manual bed-leveling all that well (a common complaint among Creality owners), so the auto-leveling really helps a lot. The Prusa I3 MK3/3S is considered a well tuned and reliable printer. My Ender 5 Plus, after a lot of
    upgrades, prints almost as well, but from what I've seen Creality's engineering just isn't as good, and upgrades are needed to bring them to a more polished Prusa level. In my view Prusa's are a printer and Creality's are a project. By that I mean Prusa's work well in their stock configuration, whereas with Creality printers you'll probably want/need upgrades. I got the Ender 5 Plus because I'm in the middle of a project where I'm printing not just bigger things than the Prusa I3 MK3S can handle but also because I'm printing a lot of them, and the bigger build surface allows me to do it in parallel.

    I think people here are right when they say you'll eventually want a bigger build area, but I started with the same goals as you and for me it took 2 years before I felt I needed the bigger build space (and then only because my goals are now different). I don't really regret buying the Prusa with its smaller build volume first, however: over the last two years prices on bigger build-volume printers has fallen by a lot and quality has increased by a lot. I expect those trendlines will continue. Also, I could probably sell my Prusa today for more than I paid for it two years ago, because it's already built and there's a market on ebay of people who don't want to assemble a kit and who dont' want to wait one or two months for a shipment from Czechoslovakia. In fact, when my current project is finished, there's a good chance I will sell it on ebay while it still commands premium pricing. The Prusa was cutting edge for its day, but the other printer companies are catching up and you can now buy 3 of them for the price of one Prusa.

    If I hadn't been in a rush, I probably would have purchased an SK-GO instead of an Ender 5 Plus. That said, an SK-GO is not intended to be anyone's first printer. The Jubilee 3D printer also looks very promising, as it supports automatic changing of printheads (something that usually only multi-thousand dollar 3D printers can do), which is the next big trend. Another kit worth considering is the Voron 2.4, which is a fully open source alternative, but again, as a first printer it would likely be overwhelming for most people.

    For comic relief, consider:
    Voron life - a film, by Madcat – 04:00
    — Andrew K

    @Theol I had thought you were in the USA when I recommended amazon or ebay. Not sure what consumer rights buyers in Europe have, so I have no advice on where to buy there.

  • Contest Winner

    @skywatch I have looked at resin printers in the past. What's not so appealing is that I have to use chemicals. It is located in a guest bedroom, and even though the might be harmless. I don't think I want to go that route.

    @evb thank you for your tips! I was already prepared that this will be a long journey lol. Because I read horror stories about people not being able to print at all.

    @NeverDie I think you convinced me to go for the Prusa. I've been reading reviews and it is supposed to be one of the quietest printers. Which is a big plus.

    I know you all say go for a bigger one, don't go for a smaller one. I will do some research and see what the footprints of bigger printers are. But if I can find a 3d shop nearby. I think I will stick to a smaller one. It's not that I'm building big robots lol.

  • Sup guys,
    sorry for reviving an old topic, but I don't think new one is needed
    found this article about top printers in 2021
    so, any good actually? Ultimaker looks promising

  • Hero Member

    @LiamW Yes, Ultimaker is one of the better designs, especially for larger 3D printers. Ultimaker actually open sources their designs after a waiting period equal in length to the time it takes Ultimaker to develop a particular model. So, you can buy a legitimate knock-off kit iat quite a discount from the price Ultimaker typically asks. Why does Ultimaker do this? I'd be curious to know. It seems to work out because Ultimaker's target market is typically institutional, such as schools or corporate, where the buyers are willing to pay more so as to get guaranteed support from local live help, which you won't be getting if you buy a DIY knockoff kit.

  • Mod

    @LiamW said in Best 3d printers:

    found this article about top printers in 2021

    Seems like a rather biased comparison if brands like prusa and creality are not even considered...

  • Banned

    Hi, I'm just a random person here who knows nothing about the world of 3D printers. My grandpa's birthday is coming, so my sister and I want to make a nice gift. Once he told that he wanna try himself in the world of 3d printing, so we consider buying it. Though we know nothing about it. I found this one (spam link removed by moderator) to be fine but is it really worth the price?

  • @Alex-Miller If you have a 'maker' space near you it might be better to get him some lessons before buying a printer - That way he will know if he is going to be able to use it for what he wants and get all his questions answered by people who know about 3D printing..... Just a thought.....

  • Hero Member

    FWIW, I own both a Prusa and a Creality CR-10 Max. I purchased the CR-10 Max because I had a need for a large 3D printer, and there are very few inexpensive printers on the market as big a it is. Prusa has an excellent online community. I thought Creality would as well, since it probably sells more hobbyist printers than everyone else combined, but I was very surprised to find that the official Creality forum to be of little use. There's a huge ecosystem of 3rd party upgrades for Creality printers, and, IMHO, it's because the printers themselves desperately need upgrading.

    BIQU printers are a lot like Creality printers, but in some sense they are pre-upgraded and so are a more complete solution out of the box. It's a brand worth considering if you're in the market for a 3D printer. In particular, the print-head is much easier to demount and service than either the Prusa or the Creality because they simplified the wiring to a single wired connector. Unfortunately, they don't make anything as big as the CR-10 Max, so it wasn't an option for me.

    The SK-Tank, by SecKit, is currently in beta, but it looks like you get a great printer for the price if you don't mind assembling a kit. It's aimed at people who are already experienced 3D printer users and who can appreciate the improvements it has over regular run-of-the-mill 3D printers. The design that preceded it was well received, but it was discontinued in favor of this new design, which is meant to be easier to assemble.

    There's also a UK kit maker, whose name slips my mind, but they have a newly released large format 3D printer kit based on regular aluminum extrusions. I could look up the name if anyone has interest. Instead of typical software based auto bed leveling, it physically adjusts the bed to be level automatically, similar to the Voron. IIRC, the SK-tank also takes that approach, so apparently it has advantages over software-only autobed leveling like what Prusa and Creality offer.

  • Banned

    I've also been thinking about buying a 3D printer lately and this post has been a good help in comparing and choosing.

  • Banned

    The Ender 5 is more affordable and a great 3D printer, but the Prusa MK3S+ is definitely the best. Just depends on how much you want to spend.

Log in to reply

Suggested Topics