Complete noob, build me a shopping list?

GhengisKhan

Supreme [H]ardness
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May 16, 2005
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A couple of important things to know first:
1. I have never even seen a 3D printer up close.
2. I do have some experience with building 3D models in a couple of different softwares, but nothing with the intention of printing it.
3. I have 20+ years of mechanical and electrical experience, not to mention I've built and modded many PCs over the last few decades.

What I'm planning on doing with it:
1. I guess this is pretty standard stuff... Replacement plastic parts for various things (household items, vehicle parts). Make various cool little trinkets.
2. I plan to start out printing stuff I download, but eventually start fabricating my own stuff from scratch.

Basic things I think I want from it:
1. Fairly simple setup.
2. Average bed size. I don't need anything stupidly large, 12"x12"x12" sounds about right.
3. Ability to monitor remotely, via webcam.

Things I already have:
1. Raspberry Pi 3b
2. Logitech webcam
3. Enough tools that I could measure, modify, repair pretty much anything. Including multimeter, calipers, o-scope, etc, etc...

I have a budget of around $500 to get started (printer, a couple types of filament to get started with, anything else???)
I have access to a MicroCenter (prefer to buy it there if possible)
I have no idea what to even shop for when it comes to these things. Like what are the most important specs that I should be paying attention to when shopping around, are there different filament or nozzle sizes?
 

modi123

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Sep 6, 2006
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I have a budget of around $500 to get started (printer, a couple types of filament to get started with, anything else???)
I am partial to the Ender 3 line. V2 dropped out a bit ago and has some nice upgrades that would be worth the cost over a v1. (glass bed, better main board, tension knobs)

I picked up an ender 3 pro a year ago (see my thread on it), and the only major upgrades were a third party mainboard (silent, better steppers, and ability to hook a octopi into it), and an amazon 'upgrade kit'.. the upgrade kit had a metal extruder (the OEM plastic wears out), capricorn tube (cuts down on filament flex and heat creep), yellow springs (less frequent leveling needed), and better couplers (tube won't pop out).

Oh, I did get an enclosure so that helps with thermal drafts.

Like what are the most important specs that I should be paying attention to when shopping around, are there different filament or nozzle sizes?
I think the bed size is usually the most important, and then general reviews. I would shy away from perma enclosed FDM ones and keep it open.

A good article on it:
https://all3dp.com/1/best-3d-printer-reviews-top-3d-printers-home-3-d-printer-3d/

Filament wise most PLA, PLA+, and PETG will work with a basic ender. If you want something more exotic like nylon, ABS, TPU (flexible) that would be a few more upgrades.. an all metal hot end, direct drive print head, hardened steel nozzle etc.

Do note things like ABS and carbon fiber typically need pretty damn high heat.. which in turn lets out some less than healthy gases so venting in an enclosure is good idea as well as checking out a more high powered heating element.

You can find printers with a lot of these upgrades baked in like Sovol SV03 (my boss has one and I dig the enhancements like dual z screws and direct drive)
https://sovol3d.com/products/sv03

Standard nozzles are 0.4mm brass and that works with the 1.75mm filament that is found everywhere. You can go bigger or smaller depending on the need, but honestly for what I've been doing over a year I haven't had a need to.

As for monitoring octoprint is the way to go. Wifi connect, monitoring, webcam for monitoring, etc.
https://octoprint.org/

Slicer wise I use Cura. It works well and has a plethora of options.
https://ultimaker.com/software/ultimaker-cura

Unless you go expensive on the "do it all for me" printers 3d printing is very much a tinkerer's game. You may run into road blocks and have to hit up some research. The biggest first hurdle (after assembling) was learning the feel to bed leveling. Then it was print all the weird crap off thingiverse like trex skulls, inplace gears to see if my tolerances were tight, slide out katanas, aliens, etc.

After that it was a lot of learning 3d modeling (Tinker Cad and Blender) and then cycling between idea to design to print to design to print etc.
https://www.reddit.com//r/3Dprinting/wiki/makingmodels
 

GhengisKhan

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That's a lot of good info and research for me to do. Thank you very much for everything!
 

modi123

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Also I would like to add that tracking the subreddits for general 3d printing and which ever model of printer you go with is a treasure trove of passive help.

Example of the two I follow:
https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/new/
https://www.reddit.com/r/ender3/new/

Both of those typically have a lot of n00bs asking a lot of the same questions, and just passively picking up info like "why does this first layer look like X" or "why does my print have Y deformities" has helped me navigate many a pitfalls before I become too frustrated. Also the 3dprinting wiki is nice info.
 

@dmin

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To build on what Modi said, the ender 3 pro can't really be beat in the current market and has room for endless modding. The only thing I'll add to what he said is, if you truly want to unlock high temp and carbon/fiber filled filaments, Micro Swiss makes a bolt on replacement hot end that solves all the issues. They even make a bolt on direct drive kit for super soft filaments. However, those fancier materials need things like dryers to get good quality. You'll hear a lot about nylon, but ignore the hype. PLA and PETG are the sweet spot. PLA is "stronger" but will deform in a hot car in the summer. PETG has better heat resistance.

Cura and CHEP (some old man youtuber) profiles will be the key to unlocking great out of the box prints. Take your time with leveling the bed on your first go and it'll be fine, watch as many youtube videos as it takes.
 

Viper16

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Step One...find out how big of prints you may want, if you do not plan on having more than one printer.

I would go with Ender 3 PRO w/BL Touch if you want to just tinker and do smaller prints.
if you want larger prints you could go with a Creality CR-10.

I went Ender 3 Pro and put a Duet 2 Maestro controller on it with BL Touch, haven't looked back since! The drivers really quietted down the unit. Eventually you could put on some fun upgrades later on down the road. Eventually you will put more money in the upgrades than you will the initial printer, if you like to tinker/improve components.

Lots of fun with software tweaking the g-code to improve your printing.
 

IndyColtsFan

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Jul 4, 2017
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A couple of things:

1. A 12 x 12 x 12 build space is larger than the Ender 3 can do. You’re looking at a CR10 model for that kind of space.

2. You mention vehicle parts. Keep in mind that if you’re talking about high temp applications, you’re going to need modifications to print something like nylon including an all-metal hotend.
 

GhengisKhan

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I'm headed to microcenter in about 3 hours (when they open).

I was planning to get an Ender 3 v2. But after reading a bit more I'm considering the CR-10s. It says it will do ABS right out of the gate, which the v2 does not mention.

Bahhh, decisions suck.
 

GhengisKhan

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Read a few reviews, and it looks like I will probably stick with the v2. Apparently the v2 is a bit more user-friendly out of the box, and it's fairly easy to upgrade to print ABS later. This is going to be like building my first PC. A good learning experience, and it will be functional, but definitely looking at upgrades in the future.
 

IndyColtsFan

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CR10 v2 should be able to do ABS. However, you’ll likely need an enclosure and you’ll want to vent those fumes. That will be true of any printer, however. ABS is very susceptible to drafts and temp fluctuations so you can’t to keep the print bed draft-free and the environment pretty warm while printing.
 

GhengisKhan

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IMG_20201227_155521_968.jpg
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Viper16

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Congrats on the purchase! It is a very fun hobby to introduce yourself into.

What may sound vague on instructions will eventually make alot of sense...its the terminologies everyone uses that sometimes gets confusing!

Looks like you got it all properly setup for your initial prints.
 

Viper16

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Yup 😁
Now for the hard/fun part. Learning to make my own stuff. 🤓
Awesome. You can sign up for solidworks as a "experimental aircraft" designer. I think the cost is like $40/year or something cheap as you are a "EAA" memeber....and you can have the software on your PC I believe.
 

GhengisKhan

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Awesome. You can sign up for solidworks as a "experimental aircraft" designer. I think the cost is like $40/year or something cheap as you are a "EAA" memeber....and you can have the software on your PC I believe.
I already have and am familiar with Blender. It's working out well for me so far.
 
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