Which printer to buy? Where to start research?

Liver

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Looking to get into 3D printing.

Rather than ask for a blanket what printer to buy, do y’all have any recommendations on where to start reading?

Any good online sources? Good YouTube sources?

My initial budget is $1000. I absolutely do not want a machine that I’ll have to modify for it to work initially. I believe the learning curve will be enough to begin with, instead of dealing with a problematic printer.

I do see the usefulness of such a machine in my life.

if it matters, I only have a MacBook Pro (and iOS devices). No standalone windows machine.
 

Liver

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Been talking to people at work, who are far from experts.

general advice, which is usually good. Is to stay away from proprietary parts, and ones that can use various file inputs. Their recommendation was to look at the ender lineup.

maybe I should aim lower with my first printer, as in aim lower in cost.
 

Valnar

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The Ender is a good piece, but a lot of people end up upgrading components to close to what a Prusa is. But yes, you've already honed in on the two good choices.
 

Kelvarr

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Looking to get into 3D printing.

Rather than ask for a blanket what printer to buy, do y’all have any recommendations on where to start reading?

Any good online sources? Good YouTube sources?

My initial budget is $1000. I absolutely do not want a machine that I’ll have to modify for it to work initially. I believe the learning curve will be enough to begin with, instead of dealing with a problematic printer.

I do see the usefulness of such a machine in my life.

if it matters, I only have a MacBook Pro (and iOS devices). No standalone windows machine.

I am recently new also. I'll give you my impressions.

I went with a Creality Ender 3 Pro. Yes, you have to put it together. IF YOU ARE SCARED TO DO THIS, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T GET INTO THE HOBBY. Again, my opinion. Putting it together teaches you some valuable insight as to how everything works on the printer. Thus, like when I had a problem with my z-axis not working correctly, I had a chance to figure out why, as I knew how I put it together. I had ZERO experience with a 3D printer prior to just purchasing it and going to town.

While you may have a $1000 budget, I wouldn't spend that until you decide whether you like it, or want to fiddle with it. For me, I play tabletop games, so it had large interest just for that factor from me.

For online sources, I like the following:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbgBDBrwsikmtoLqtpc59Bw
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb8Rde3uRL1ohROUVg46h1A
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_7aK9PpYTqt08ERh1MewlQ

I have others, but they are really geared towards miniatures.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_uz-iWzyR1VJNlN-E1y7w
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Lbnd97HV3rU98gcwHklzQ


Tom from Tomb of 3d Printed Horrors/Fat Dragon Games has a good tutorial on how to set up your Ender 3.


Whatever you do, you'll need a MicroSD > USB converter to copy your files to, and then you put the MicroSD into the printer. I don't know if I would initially venture into OctoPrint on a Pi or not (although I can tell that that will be one of my upgrades in the near future).
 
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Kelvarr

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The Ender is a good piece, but a lot of people end up upgrading components to close to what a Prusa is. But yes, you've already honed in on the two good choices.
Yes, but all of them are optional. And many of them you don't get what a Prusa has anyway. To each their own. I don't have any love or hate for a Prusa. But glancing at the price, and the wait/lead time, I'm glad I got my Ender instantly at the local MicroCenter.
One thing I will say about the Prusa.....it appears that it works and all, but zip ties are not a good look holding functional pieces together. I really like my Ender, and all the aluminum extrusion. It is rock-solid.
 
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Valnar

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Yes, but all of them are optional. And many of them you don't get what a Prusa has anyway. To each their own. I don't have any love or hate for a Prusa. But glancing at the price, and the wait/lead time, I'm glad I got my Ender instantly at the local MicroCenter.
One thing I will say about the Prusa.....it appears that it works and all, but zip ties are not a good look holding functional pieces together. I really like my Ender, and all the aluminum extrusion. It is rock-solid.

If you have not seen a Prusa, that isn't a fair evaluation. Despite the cost, they're actually easier for a noobie to use because everything is top shelf with a good ecosystem. There are fewer problems to troubleshoot or even worry about upgrading.

OP. Do your research. Check Reddit and official reviews. There are many who are happy with the Ender, and several others who send it back or upgrade it.
 

Liver

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If you have not seen a Prusa, that isn't a fair evaluation. Despite the cost, they're actually easier for a noobie to use because everything is top shelf with a good ecosystem. There are fewer problems to troubleshoot or even worry about upgrading.

OP. Do your research. Check Reddit and official reviews. There are many who are happy with the Ender, and several others who send it back or upgrade it.

yes sir, that is what i am doing.
 

Kelvarr

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If you have not seen a Prusa, that isn't a fair evaluation. Despite the cost, they're actually easier for a noobie to use because everything is top shelf with a good ecosystem. There are fewer problems to troubleshoot or even worry about upgrading.

OP. Do your research. Check Reddit and official reviews. There are many who are happy with the Ender, and several others who send it back or upgrade it.
Fair enough. I have not seen one, nor had any experience using one. I wasn't trying to start anything, I was merely commenting on how it looked to me, a first time user (regarding the zip ties and stuff).
 

IndyColtsFan

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I am recently new also. I'll give you my impressions.

I went with a Creality Ender 3 Pro. Yes, you have to put it together. IF YOU ARE SCARED TO DO THIS, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T GET INTO THE HOBBY. Again, my opinion. Putting it together teaches you some valuable insight as to how everything works on the printer. Thus, like when I had a problem with my z-axis not working correctly, I had a chance to figure out why, as I knew how I put it together. I had ZERO experience with a 3D printer prior to just purchasing it and going to town.

While you may have a $1000 budget, I wouldn't spend that until you decide whether you like it, or want to fiddle with it. For me, I play tabletop games, so it had large interest just for that factor from me.

For online sources, I like the following:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbgBDBrwsikmtoLqtpc59Bw
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb8Rde3uRL1ohROUVg46h1A
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_7aK9PpYTqt08ERh1MewlQ

I have others, but they are really geared towards miniatures.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_uz-iWzyR1VJNlN-E1y7w
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Lbnd97HV3rU98gcwHklzQ


Tom from Tomb of 3d Printed Horrors/Fat Dragon Games has a good tutorial on how to set up your Ender 3.


Whatever you do, you'll need a MicroSD > USB converter to copy your files to, and then you put the MicroSD into the printer. I don't know if I would initially venture into OctoPrint on a Pi or not (although I can tell that that will be one of my upgrades in the near future).

Great advice. I just bought an Ender 3 Pro. I wanted to go with the Prusa, but I thought it would be better to go with something cheaper first to see how much I enjoy the hobby. I hope to put it together this weekend and start printing - I already have OctoPrint ready to go!
 

supafreak

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I have a Prusa MK3S, a Lulzbot Mini, Makerbot Replicator 2, and a Type A Machines Series 1. I happened upon the last 3 broken at one point or another for a good price so I have had to do a lot of tinkering getting them up and running. I got the Prusa kit and it is incredibly fun to build but budget some time for it. I chipped away at it over several days balancing work and kids. It's like adult legos. The Lulzbot is actually a great machine, really like the engineering and it seems to be very stout, if imperfect, little machine. But the Prusa just takes whatever I throw at it without complaint or any fuss. PETG is as easy as PLA and it doesn't seem to care what filaments brands I use.

If you go that route, I got both of the sheets and am glad I did. Next printer will probably be a Creality CR-10 of some flavor or an Ender 3 v2. I want to try their products to see how well I like them and perhaps build out a farm. They are highly regarded and seem to be the best budget printer so I don't think you can go wrong. Just as Kelvarr said, be prepared to tinker! But that is half the fun.
 

kju1

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I have a CR-10S5 and its great but it required a lot of work out of the box. Their stock firmware varies and you can forget getting it off their website because its not what ships with the box. Im planning to just use Marlin (which they are based off of anyway). You WILL need a heated bed upgrade if you plan do anything with it because the bed heater is undersized.

That being said its printed some really awesome things for me even without my upgrades (I have them...its just not a plague project yet) and some really shitty ones. All in all the 10s5 is a huge but fairly good quality machine. It just has a good learning curve - like any printer I imagine.
 

compcons

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 25, 2006
Messages
152
I am recently new also. I'll give you my impressions.

I went with a Creality Ender 3 Pro. Yes, you have to put it together. IF YOU ARE SCARED TO DO THIS, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T GET INTO THE HOBBY. Again, my opinion. Putting it together teaches you some valuable insight as to how everything works on the printer. Thus, like when I had a problem with my z-axis not working correctly, I had a chance to figure out why, as I knew how I put it together. I had ZERO experience with a 3D printer prior to just purchasing it and going to town.

While you may have a $1000 budget, I wouldn't spend that until you decide whether you like it, or want to fiddle with it. For me, I play tabletop games, so it had large interest just for that factor from me.
...
Whatever you do, you'll need a MicroSD > USB converter to copy your files to, and then you put the MicroSD into the printer. I don't know if I would initially venture into OctoPrint on a Pi or not (although I can tell that that will be one of my upgrades in the near future).

I agree with all of this. I am happy with my Ender 3 but I bought it used and upgraded. I have no idea how to manage the firmware, what board was in it, the hot-end cooler mod, etc. It's been a grind figuring things out (and I want to stop bugging the seller for help). Building it gives you significant insights into what you have and how it all works.

You can pick up used printers for super cheap if you are diligent. Someone on Craigslist or Offerup had a Monorpice Maker Selecte v2 for $60! (I talked myself out of buying it just long enough for someone to snag it). That's like throw away money to get started into 3D printing. You an learn the essentials about design, slicing, and printing really quickly on someone else's built printer. You could even do low-cost upgrades and then get your investment back on a resell.

Good luck!
 

Viper16

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I also feel compelled to point out that there are kits to build them: https://all3dp.com/1/best-cheap-diy-3d-printer-kit/ and you can DIY it: https://hackaday.com/2016/07/06/build-a-3d-printer-workhorse/

IMO you can learn a LOT going that route. But it will take you longer to get going.

Building your own will help you understand how to correct the problems you will have on your prints as you will have a deeper understanding of how it was assembled. There will never not be tweaking on these printers...its parts of the fun. I recommend at a minimum to have a bed probe as upgrade. You will spend less time leveling and more time printing.
 

kju1

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Building your own will help you understand how to correct the problems you will have on your prints as you will have a deeper understanding of how it was assembled. There will never not be tweaking on these printers...its parts of the fun. I recommend at a minimum to have a bed probe as upgrade. You will spend less time leveling and more time printing.

+ solid bed mounts instead of springs.
 

kju1

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Mar 27, 2002
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Like nylon spacers? I just heard about these today, but have not seen any references prior.

You can print them: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2683800

Or get a kit: https://www.th3dstudio.com/product/cr-10solidmounts/

Or use aluminum parts: https://www.decathlon.co.uk/alu-spacers-pack-8-mm-6-mm-id_8122625.html#v1183870 like these.

Printed ones can mushroom if the heated bed gets too warm for them. So consider the material vs what youre using the printer for.
 

sed8em

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Messages
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Couldn't have said it better myself.
With a properly set up and well tuned Ender 3 Pro, the print quality will be the same as a Prusa. Also, you will gain very important working knowledge of what makes these machines work. Something will eventually need replacing or tweeaking, no matter the brand.

A lot of the upgrades are optional, and cheap. And with each upgrade you install, you'll gain more knowledge on your machine. I've had mine since Christmas and have done quite a few functional upgrades that enhance the experience, and my prints come out top notch.

I maybe have $400 into my Ender 3 (that includes RPi 3b+ w/ camera and touchscreen). Octoprint is certainly not necessary, but it is convenient. You could just get a 3b+ for $35 and print an enclosure.

Just picked up a Monoprice Maker Select Mini v2 off eBay for $100, dropped another $100 into upgrades for it as well (Meanwell 150w power supply,E3Dv6 clone hotend, upgraded bed components, etc). This little mini printer is slick, I like it a lot. It has a small build area but the prints it makes are just as high quality as the Ender 3 Pro.

If you have a Monoprice near you, you can pick up their version of the same machine (Powerspec mini) for $140-$160 depending on sales. Great, inexpensive way to dip your toes in the water.

I am recently new also. I'll give you my impressions.

I went with a Creality Ender 3 Pro. Yes, you have to put it together. IF YOU ARE SCARED TO DO THIS, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T GET INTO THE HOBBY. Again, my opinion. Putting it together teaches you some valuable insight as to how everything works on the printer. Thus, like when I had a problem with my z-axis not working correctly, I had a chance to figure out why, as I knew how I put it together. I had ZERO experience with a 3D printer prior to just purchasing it and going to town.

While you may have a $1000 budget, I wouldn't spend that until you decide whether you like it, or want to fiddle with it. For me, I play tabletop games, so it had large interest just for that factor from me.

For online sources, I like the following:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbgBDBrwsikmtoLqtpc59Bw
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb8Rde3uRL1ohROUVg46h1A
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_7aK9PpYTqt08ERh1MewlQ

I have others, but they are really geared towards miniatures.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr_uz-iWzyR1VJNlN-E1y7w
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5Lbnd97HV3rU98gcwHklzQ


Tom from Tomb of 3d Printed Horrors/Fat Dragon Games has a good tutorial on how to set up your Ender 3.


Whatever you do, you'll need a MicroSD > USB converter to copy your files to, and then you put the MicroSD into the printer. I don't know if I would initially venture into OctoPrint on a Pi or not (although I can tell that that will be one of my upgrades in the near future).
 
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No matter which brand/model you get, be prepared to tinker and learn, which can take some time. Again, if you just want results and don't want to mess around with learning & experimenting a bit, then 3D printing as a hobby probably isn't for you. I'd also recommend a kit over pre-built. Forces you to learn how the machine works and operates, what all the parts are, how to fix it, etc. I've been VERY pleased with my Prusa. Rock solid printer with pretty much all the top end bells/whistles/features and I really enjoyed building it - the kit is fantastic. Really well laid out and very complete. I will add that with the Prusa, you won't need to do a bunch of upgrades/mods/tweaks to get stellar results... they are pretty much top shelf already as to quality of design and parts... so you pay a bit more for this up front. Service/support/community are pretty stellar with the Prusa as well. Like supafreak posted, building a kit is also a lot like Legos for adults, but you end up with something quite useful as a machine/tool that you can use to build other things.
 
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sed8em

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My one counterpoint to not buying a kit argument, the mini variants out there (Maker Select Mini and Powerspec mini) are ready to rock out of the box, minus bed leveling.
I got mine off eBay for $100, used but not abused, and was printing PLA+ like nobody's business within 5 min of unboxing it. Can't beat that convenience.
Print area is small, but it has room for most little projects.
I like having it, it reserves the Ender for bigger/better projects while it cranks out the little stuff. Its fast too.
 

Skott

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Earlier this week I backed the Creality CR6 SE 3D printer. It will be my first 3D printer. Really looking forward to it. I wanted something that had more features than a basic Ender 3 but I didnt really want to do a lot of installation to get it working. I was leaning towards a Prusa MK3S but decided to go with the CR6 SE since its a bit less than half the price at $319usd on Kickstarter. Which seems to me to be more like a pre order than a backing but whatever. If its as good as what the reviewers are getting and saying then I think its a good first time 3D printer for me. Come September I will find out.
 

Dan_D

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I was expecting to come in here and trash Inkjet style printers. No need for that I see. Carry on. :)
 
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IndyColtsFan

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Earlier this week I backed the Creality CR6 SE 3D printer. It will be my first 3D printer. Really looking forward to it. I wanted something that had more features than a basic Ender 3 but I didnt really want to do a lot of installation to get it working. I was leaning towards a Prusa MK3S but decided to go with the CR6 SE since its a bit less than half the price at $319usd on Kickstarter. Which seems to me to be more like a pre order than a backing but whatever. If its as good as what the reviewers are getting and saying then I think its a good first time 3D printer for me. Come September I will find out.

I backed it as well. I already have an Ender 3 Pro but wanted another printer and CR6SE has a great feature set for the price. Once I get it, I’ll probably start seriously upgrading the Ender 3.
 
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Baenwort

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In the $1k range I like the SeeMeCNC Delta kits and the ready to print models are good if you just want to drop coin and go.

I have a Rostock V3.2 at home and a Artemis and Prusa mk3 at work. the Artemis can go 3 or 4 months with just filament changes. The Prusa needs to be tweaked every couple of weeks. We've been printing non-stop since April at work and have put ~40 kg through the Artemis and ~20kg though the Prusa.

The difference is mostly down to how often the Prusa has to be worked on. So far the Artemis has only had 2 clogs and we had to tighten the belts after 3 months.
 
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