There has been some sporadic chat about 3d printing and 3d printers on the “last bit of tech you bought” thread, but I thought it might be worth having a dedicated 3d printing thread both for beginners and more advanced users…
To get this thread started…I’m a complete novice and thinking of buying my first 3d printer. I do have a few things in mind to print to get started (a few things for small hobby electronics projects) but at this stage I don’t know if its something I will end up using a lot or if its something I will use a few times and then lose interest. So I’m hoping I can get started with something fairly inexpensive - perhaps £250 or less. Does anyone have any suggestions for a starter printer?
Would also appreciate being directed to any good getting started websites/guides or just any tips for beginners that you want to mention.
Very similar position for me, although I am fairly sure I will loose interest. There are so many 3D print folk around now, with very reasonable prices. I think it would take me a long time to spend £250 ish on my own printer. R-
Ooh yes this thread sparks my interests. I’ve just recieved notification that my Prusa MK4 is on the way. Printer #4 to the squad.
I started this as a lockdown hobby, have spent some time learning CAD to make my own designs for functional parts - and do a lot of hobby printing for little bits of problem solving at home - when your only tool is a hammer, etc.
I’m super keen to start learning 3D modelling through Blender for more artistic and creative versions of designing - but I really think learning design and learning Printing go so hand in hand.
I’ve seen people make 3d printers that do ceramics and pottery - I would love to try that.
I’ve been making and selling my own designs of things and have a litle Etsy store that’s doing quite well. From phone stands, apple watch accessories, and even vintage campervan replacement parts. The day job does get in the way though.
I’m htinking of adding cookie cutters to the line up
I looked into this - cost seems ok for 5+ day turnaround times. But if you want something in 24-48 hours it seems to go up quite significantly (expectedly I suppose). I’m not great at planning ahead and waiting, which is one of the reasons I’m thinking of getting my own.
As for accessibly priced ones - I personally think it depends what kind of interest you have and how much tinkering you’re willing to do.
There are some very good priced printers, <£200, that you will need to spend a good chunk of energy on getting good quality reliable prints. (e…g the basic Ender machines) - if you’re not willing to tinker with those, I’d say spending more on something that prints well out of the box is key.
A decent printer that is reliable out of the box is the Prusa Mini at about £350.
They’ll all require tinkering and maintenance, but some produce more reliable results more easily than others.
Here’s a good page with a lot of options in terms of price, volume, reliability…
What sort of things would this entail?
So basically some of the very basic printers have limited ‘quality of life’ features that make printing quicker and smoother.
- bed levelling - key to a good print is a very very flat bed. Some printers are notoriously hard to do that with - thumb screws to self level - vs automatic compensation, for example. Printers with auto compensation cost more, or you can tend to upgrade some.
- Plastic parts vs metal - on some components.
- Accuracy of the X and Y gantry - some are notoriously loose and can struggle to provide dimensional accuracy.
- Poor temperature regulation of the hot end that extrudes the material, or poor / not optimal cooling - which affects look and feel.
So the basic printers can require a lot of tuning to get to good accuracy levels.
Learning that can really help pick up the hobby and learn how printers work, but it can also be frustrating in that it stops you from doing actual printing.
Thanks. Do you have any suggestions for good sites for reading reviews of 3d printers, or Youtube review channels?
I’ll post a few links later on in the week - there’s loads of really good resources on the internet for general learning. The ones that have helped me the most have been the 3D printing subreddit, CNC kitchen on YouTube, and Thomas Salanderer.
But also trying to learn CAD and functional design skills at the same time.
In other news my MK4 arrived and is set up - I’ve just set it up with the Input Shaping firmware and it’s turned some 8 hour prints into 3 hour prints, and the quality is insane.
One of the first things I made on it, a dice box with a magnetic lid
On the cost, I’ll say it’s very possible to get a resin printer for £200 or less that’s perfectly good. My resin printer was around £200, unlike FDM printers, resin tend to all work about the same right out of the box, whether they are £200 or £800 - the difference is build size and features but not really usability.
Whether resin works for you over FDM is another question, I’m sure there are lots of videos on the subject. It’s generally for smaller, higher detailed prints.
I keep looking to make the plunge on a resin printer - but I keep getting FOMO over “what if I need…” and features of higher spec machines.
That plus the post-processing and having some way to extract and or filter the air are a bit more of a hurdle. I’d love to have one in my space though, just don’t think it’s practical for my living space.
I mean, I do mine on my bedroom floor so it’s possible. Messy though.
In terms of printer specs, build size is really the only important one. All LCD resin printers print about the same (outstanding!) quality.