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Author Topic: Which 3D printer to buy...?  (Read 7064 times)

C-3PO

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Which 3D printer to buy...?
« on: January 23, 2022, 11:14:22 am »

I have skirted around the topic of buying a 3D printer for some years.

I have got close a few times - I almost ended up with an Ultimaker S5 in an auction - I should have held my nerve....

I had a Prusa i3 Mk3s in a basket along with every colour in the rainbow print media just before Christmas and them got whiff of the Prusa XL which allegedly will ship later this year... the XL seems to have lots of new ideas/technology implementation and I wonder if the i3 Mk4 will get the benefit if they ever launch one. The 3D printer purchase process doesn't seem to involve talking to someone that can advise and point you in the right direction.

I have looked at resin printers

I have looked into the design creation etc

It seems the only way to enter this arena is to do lots of online research and then make an online purchase hoping you have got a "good un" which is a difficult one as whilst you pick up lots of jargon, and snippets of information along the way it seems that most printers undergo user tweeking and enhancement to get them to do a decent print job.

And I end up at where I started - I still have not purchased a 3D printer

I would really welcome suggestions that will leave a hole in my wallet and a smile on my face

Thanks in advance

Regards
C-3PO
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grendel

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 11:42:02 am »

careful now, I started with a 3d printer, now I have a small CNC router, and an even bigger hole in my wallet, though I must say, the ability to cut wood to a precision of 0.1mm does feel nice.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 11:45:36 am »

You don't say what you intend using it for. It's easy to get into the common situation where the ultimate 'payload' doesn't really justify the cost and effort of producing it. I bought a lathe a few years back because I thought it 'would come in useful'. It hasn't, it just doesn't fit in with my type of modelling where I can frequently produce a perfectly adequate result by quick and dirty methods (sometimes involving an electric drill and a file...  :embarrassed:)

Colin
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derekwarner

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 12:04:35 pm »

Must say grendel....

Those CNC routed window frames look a lot more realistic in real wood  :-)) .......than 3D printed plastic versions  :((  off the same plan


Derek
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Barney Magrew

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 12:55:56 pm »

Many years ago I bought an Anet printer, which at the time wasn't bad.  Times have moved on and I have recently purchased a Creality se6 cr which I find perfect for what I want, i.e.modelling etc.  I bought mine from the Box which was about the cheapest at the time, delivery next day.  However, the after service is dire, but if all works as it should then you will have no problem.
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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2022, 04:22:49 pm »

I've been messing about with 3d Printers for the last 10 years and they are still far from plug and play devices.  Granted with automated be levelling etc they are a lot better now.
If your'e thinking FDM (Filament printer) the the Creality Ender series is worth a look.  They may not be the best printers on the market, but they have a huge following and there is plenty of support available on the interwebs.
Resin printing is another option, this gives a far superior quality for small parts, but the downside is that you also need to Wash the parts in IPA (nothe the beer) and cure the parts under UV light once printed.  There is also the smell
The introduction of water washable resins has helped, as this means parts can be washed with regular water.  It is also a little less smelly.
For a resin printer I would suggest either the Elegoo Mars or the Longer Orange 10, but these do have a limitied build area.  I had the orange 10 and recently moved to the Elegoo Saturn.
Resin Printing may be a little more expensive and time consuming to set up/maintain, but I find my failiure rate is much lerss than it was with filament printing.
Finally, If you're starting out with resin printing I highly recoomend buying the water based resin as its much easier to clean up.  It does have the downside of being (allegedly) a little more fragile, but for me it is perfect.


Happy to chat 3d printers if anyone wants to and can assist with 3d printer setups, both Filamant and resin.  The one thing I can't help with is vreating the models in the first place as my skill in that area is limited at best.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2022, 05:53:46 pm »

Ron Rees, who writes for Model Boats and has contributed material on 3D printers in the past has recently bought and recommends the Ender Pro mentioned above which now costs only £165 or so. He does say that the choice of filament can make quite a difference to the quality of the printed item.

His Ender produced the feathering paddle wheel components in the photo below and he tweaked the scale to make me a set for my ongoing paddler project although I have yet to assemble them (using the screws and nuts commonly found in spectacles  :o).

My article on Scratchbuilding in the February issue of Model Boats includes a pic of the Ender.

Colin

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gingyer

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2022, 07:33:25 am »

I was a good boy last year and Santa got me a
Elegoo Saturn and mercury wash station.


I really think itís great!
I got a few cheap files for phalanx guns, Carley floats and some other
Bits and bobs and the difference is amazing!


My plan is to use it for fittings.


Iím away from my computer for a week or so or would share pictures to see
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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2022, 02:41:47 pm »

Really happy with the saturn, when using water washable resin I use a ultrasonic cleaner for my rinsing and have a heath robinson UV curing station using a UV led lamp, a couple of mirror tiles and a solar powered ornament turntable.
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C-3PO

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2022, 02:52:42 pm »

Thanks for all the info

Colin mentioned that I had not detailed what I wanted the printer for.

Well I guess I want a Shapeways comparable quality unit in my den - I fully realise that is not going to happen.

I would like something that does give great detail - for model boat parts

Back to Googling..

Regards
C-3PO


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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2022, 03:19:28 pm »

If you have a couple of 3d model files that you can share, I'll be happy to print you off a couple of samples on my resin printer and the filament printers we have at the makerspace I am a member of, so you can get an idea of the different finishes/quality
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grendel

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2022, 03:37:35 pm »

my pinter is a few years old now, it is a davinci ai0, one of the few true plug and play printers, yet still needed the bed levelling, it arrived completely constructed, and uses branded cartridges of filament (microchipped), this is good and bad, good because there is absolutely no setting up, you plug a cartridge in, feed the filament in the extruder and start printing - all the settings are handled by the microchip, the feed rates, temperatures etc, are all done for you.
the bad part is you are tied to their brand filament in the cartridges, - yes you can get a tool (3rd party) to reset the meter count on the chip, but the filament is quite expensive (£30-£40 a cartridge) if you have limited knowledge on how to set up the machine, then its good, but trade off is cost, as a draughtsman, I was confident in my CAD abilities to be able to design anything I wanted to print, and I guess that a 95% success rate for printing demonstrates that- in fact the only issues I ever get iis when the part comes unstuck from the print bed part way through.
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Umi_Ryuzuki

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2022, 05:51:57 pm »

Shapeways quality would dictate a resin printer. some of the mono printers are fair sized now.
So limitations on how big you can print are a bit less restrictive. But the resins can be a bit messy.
The mono verses earlier resin printers are larger and faster. 
A post curing machine is nice. However some people just set the part out in the sun or use a cheap UV lamp in a box.
Large parts can sometimes fall off the plate.

When I looked into a filament printer for larger pieces, a friend recommended three things.
A direct feed, 
a swiss hot end,
 auto leveling - BL Touch
 
I bought into the direct feed, it's been trouble free.
I also bought a auto leveling sensor. But never installed it, as it essentially wanted you to 
lobotomize the brand new machine and install new firmware. I felt I should get it running first, before
trying something like that. And later developed my own "live leveling" technique. 

The most frustrating issue for either printer is plate adhesion, parts slipping or falling out of place during printing.
Often it is a printer bed leveling issue, at least that is what everyone will tell you... ;)
.
 
 I have an older Anycubic resin printer and a Creality CR10 v3(direct drive filament)
I have used the stock software for slicing for both printers.

C-3PO

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2022, 10:31:16 pm »

If you have a couple of 3d model files that you can share, I'll be happy to print you off a couple of samples on my resin printer and the filament printers we have at the makerspace I am a member of, so you can get an idea of the different finishes/quality

That's a very generous offer - thank you - When I get my act togther I may well take you up on that...

Regards
C-3PO
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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2022, 11:15:53 am »

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C-3PO

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2022, 11:44:49 am »

They look good - parts have a very smooth finish?- it's an interesting project.

How difficult is is to clean them up / seperate waste material so you have parts ready to assemble - presume this is a scapel job?

Regards
C-3PO


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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2022, 12:04:24 pm »

Once you get the exposure timing right it's quite easy. On larger parts they they can be easily removed with careful peeling, leaving a little pimple that can be cleaned up with 600-800 grit sandpaper.
There is a balancing act between time time to print and clean up.  Depending on how you orientate the model on the platform as each layer takes the same amount of time to expose whether there is lots on the layer or just a little.
For example laying a piece flat would reduce build time as opposed to placing the same object upright.
Also orientating the model in a certain way can reduce the supports required, or place the supports where the pimples won't show
As you can see from the 2 pictures, laying the fin flat will reduce the build time, however one side of the fin will be pimply due to the support material.
Changing it to upright reduced the amount of supports and moves the imperctions to an area that will be easier to make good.
Also the amount of resin used is reduced.  While not much in this particular scenario this can also be a factor on larger more comple prints
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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2022, 11:50:40 pm »

Hi,

I'm a tad reluctant to post but I can't resist.  I have been printing for 3 years now and consider myself upgraded from "rank amateur" to "amateur" now.  I cannot do resin printing due to curcumstances but I think my filament printing is now quite admirable.

Plug and play:  My Steadytech mini (a wanhao I3) was just that.  My current Flashforge Guider II even more so.  I looked at the Davinci models when upgrading but didn't like the tie-in to the unique spools there was no benefit a chip held for me than changing an option in a drop-down menu in Flashforge.

Between my I3 Mini and the Guider II I had a re-branded Ender 6 (i think that's what it resembled close-enough).  I did loads of upgrades -glass bed, proper adjuctment screws you could acually feel.  Two extra braces for the "tower".  Nothing really expensive or intrusive though.  I actually sold this as I wanted something I could progress to other filements (Hence the Guider II) and my friend got a great deal ....it printed for him straight out of the box car boot which I was rather annoyed about as I wanted him to undergo some learming curve first!

...I dunno.  I look in envy at resin printers.  The chemicals and clean-up are prohibitive for me.  I'm not 3-D cad whizz either but I print stuff down to surprisingly small parts with decent enough resolution, certaily better then wood-grain and clean-up not much worse than any cast part I've purchased in last 10 years.

You can see my efforts in other posts.  I like the fact I can print things like these (about 12x6mm on a very basic printer).  Anyone says I am cheating then they don't now how much time went into getting a good print in the first place then repeating it.

Rich



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tigertiger

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2022, 12:51:52 am »

One thing to consider is user groups. When my buddy bought his he looked for a printer that had an active user community. From those forums and groups he has been able to get a lot of problem solving help and there are lots of files created by group members online for add on components to the printer (e.g. an improved mount for spools). He can just download the files and print off components.
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RST

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2022, 02:10:19 am »

I personally learned nothing of the skill from "groups". It's ALL out there in the first place usually.
I might add I bought 3 printers from box.co.uk so far and their after-sales is absolutely zilch.  They just don't care.  I had one warranty claim the last few months (a genuine claim a part failed) -absolutely nothing from Box -I had to go to Flashforge direct in China who were exemplary in replacing in the end but that's absolutely no excuse for box for ignoring their responsibilities as the supplier according to UK law!

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Barney Magrew

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2022, 10:28:41 am »

5 weeks ago I reported the problem to Box and still nothing.  I did get a great e-mail asking me to make a short video of the unit NOT WORKING.As I said before the sales is brilliant, the after sales absolutely non existent.
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Martin (Admin)

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2022, 11:26:44 am »


 Which companies, in your own experience, have good after sales service?

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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2022, 01:14:35 pm »

Elegoo have very good customer service. My saturn arrived with a very tiny dent in the FEP film base of the resin tank. (the film base of the tank is a consumable item available on its own for a few quid)
Elegoo sent me a whole new replacement tank.
Also their email customer support has been very good with replies (that actually answer you questions) within 48 hrs, normally with in 24
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Martin (Admin)

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2022, 02:11:24 pm »


 OK, thanks ..... the ELEGOO Mars 3 Resin 3D Printer does look very interesting!
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gingyer

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Re: Which 3D printer to buy...?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2022, 07:43:42 am »

It was pointed out to me buying from Elegoo,
Buy direct from Elegooís website is cheaper than their Amazon shop.


The website the price is in dollars so it changes it pounds,
Where as itís in pounds on Amazon
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