3D Printer Guidance Needed

What is your favorite 3D printer and why? I’ve tried 3 types and do not like them.

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Hello and welcome!
It might help if you tell us which printers you’ve tried and what you didn’t like about them and maybe what your expectations of a 3D printer are.
Personally, I cannot recommend the Bambu series printers enough.

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Depends what you’re going for. Plug and play ease of use? Probably bambu labs, but they’re expensive. Cheaper end that can be pretty good with a little tinkering? Creality ender series.

Seriously, enders are great. They’re dirt cheap and get great quality with some tinkering.

Yeah this 100%. I’ve worked with quite a few printers and bambu’s current offerings are pretty darn good.
Personally, I have a P1s and it’s been a workhorse this season.
The only thing I would say is if you’re looking for a good hands-on/learning experience then I would consider something like an Ender

Personally I reccomend either getting a bambu x1 series printer or anything from markforged, I personally own both a C and an E and love them both for combat robotics. I also reccomend for FRC teams with a budget anything from markforged. They are so so incredibly nice for printing frc parts. The reliability is there, not to mention the detail that they are able to acheive. Both are great options in 2 very different price points.

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Recently switched from an Ender 3 (it was the 3V2) to a BambuLabs P1S. The Ender 3 was sufficient for our team’s needs for a few years and we used it for thinks like timing belt pulleys, rollers and various types of supports and brackets. Last year, it printed a housing for roller bearings in our extending arm and portions of our grabber mechanism.

However, the Ender 3 was slow and a bit finicky. The P1S is substantially faster and works with a much wider range of filaments. The P1S is also a lot less finicky (although it does not play well with cardboard spools. The Bambu X1 Carbon is going to have the same issue.)

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Without knowing what you have/have used… it is difficult to advise properly.

As others have stated, Ender 3’s are a solid entry and easy to use. Personally I love my Ender 3 S1.

I recently got a Neptune 4 Plus which has a giant 12" build plate as well as backend kipper which brings higher speeds of printing. I am loving it as well and the web interface is great.

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I love my P1P I have upgraded its nozzle so that I can print anything from PLA to PA6(Carbon Fiber Nylon) which allows us to utilize 3d printing for a lot more robot parts. After the use this season I am in the process of convincing the team to purchase its own for team dedicated use. My favorite feature is easily the Slicer/phone app is with that I can connect to the schools wifi slice a file and send it to my printer at home thus not having to wait until after the meeting to start the print. The slicer also allows me to connect to the part camera any time and check in live to the printer to insure good print adhesion etc. If I am on the go and need to check a prints progress I can also use the camera, turn on or off the light and even stop the print if there is an issue using the phone application. Similar to what was mentioned above though if you do not want to spend the money you can do all of the same on an modified ender but there are 2 big differences,

1.Print speed is significantly slower for example you standard Benchy takes around 25 min. on a Bambu but on an ender will take you about an hour. This is a huge factor when you get to larger and longer prints which may be a 20 hour print with a Bambu but closer to 2 days with a ender(excluding the new K series as I am not experienced with them)

  1. Reliability although a lot of the ender models tend to be very reliable typically the more you mod the printers the less reliable they get from my experience with my ender 3 S1 I had prior.

I’d recommend Prusa’s over anything else, if just for the insane amount of support and community that’s around. They’re not that expensive and you can get a truly massive Prusa if you need it too with the XL now.
PrusaSlicer is also incredible (coming from someone who’s currently forced to use MakerBot Print due to working in a lab that for some reason uses MakerBots still).

Also absolutely love enders, they’re great and really cheap.

Personally I don’t like Bambus for a couple reasons, mostly related to the fact that they’re new, proprietary, and loud compared to other printers.

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I also strongly recommend BambuLabs. I started getting into 3D printing this past December and I got a Bambu P1S. It was super simple to set up and I have very few technical issues. All of the issues I have ran into were simple fixes that took roughly 5 minutes. It is a really fast, consistent, and simple to use printer

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What 3D printer technologies are you considering?

For FDM - We recently acquired a Prusa i3, and it’s been pretty great so far. It didn’t arrive until most of the way thru build season, so we haven’t truly put it thru its paces yet, but it is the most pain-free experience I’ve had with a FDM printer.

For LCD Resin Printers - I own an Anycubic Photon Mono, and it’s been a truly Plug-And-Play experience. My first two test prints (with their branded resin) were flawless without any settings changes whatsoever. In the years that have followed, I’d say more than 90% of my prints are successes (across a couple different resin types), with failures almost always being due to support issues that can be resolved. For FRC applications, resin printing is great for all sorts of lower strength items that need to be produced in quantity (spacers, low-load sprockets, etc) - since the print time is only driven by layer exposure times and how many layers are required (Z axis travel), so you can add more items to a print bed without prolonging the length of the print. We’ve also used it for Trophies and other handouts to other teams.

+1 for the Bambus. Our school has 32 X1Cs and they just print print print: they were super easy to set up and have very little required maintenance. The AMS also makes filament management a lot more painless.

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32!!! :exploding_head: Sounds like heaven
Edit: I just read the ams part. I think I am switching schools now

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I should also mention, it’s best to start with a FDM printer. Resin is a PITA to deal with in general and has a tendency to require more safety things, so it requires more special setup and is also much more expensive for no real gain in the world of FRC.
SLS is great, but requires a lot of care and maintenance so unless you’re already set up for it or have a massive budget (and will be using it a lot), it’s likely not your best choice.
FDM can just sit on a desk and do its thing (especially if you’re running PLA or PETG, they do not produce many smelly fumes in my experience. Still a great idea to have good ventilation anyway.

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Bambu A1 Mini starts at $249. And that will sling PLA and PETG all day for like 97% of the parts FRC teams print. Only parts we did this year that wouldn’t have fit are where we printed dummies of the kitbot shooter parts while ours were on the way (they were printed on my home P1P, though the $399 A1 would’ve done it too).

I’m sorry, but unless you just enjoy the tinkering (and your organization is okay with a million small purchases to get those parts from various sources for whichever guide you’re following that will fix the out-of-the-box issues they swear) the Ender series is a dead-end for teams.

Until further notice, the sub-$1000-and-good printer market is a two-horse race between Bambu and Prusa.

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These all came out of my not even current gen ender 3, the only modification I have is auto leveling which is more of just a convince.


Out of the box it just prints, I haven’t had any major issues. That pulley is the pivot for our arm and held up with 0 issues all season

yea current enders are basically unusable. they have made the kits even cheaper to produce and you could not give me one at this point. older enders are FAR better then the crap they sell now imo.

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Ah well that is disappointing to hear

I’ve heard that before. If I were to buy a “bed slinger” right now, it would probably be the Bambu A1 (or the A1 mini if the size is important.) The ability to do multiple filaments with an add-on is really a neat thing. And, for many applications on a robot, you don’t need high-temperature filaments that need an enclosure – PLA and PETG are more than sufficient.

Funny enough we’ve banned the use of PLA (amd to some extent PETG) on our bots, simply to many failures resulting from faulty assumptions of operating forces or unexpected impacts.