Hello! I am in the market for a 3d printer and I’d like you hear what others would recommend. I’d like something not too expensive (under 1000) and I don’t care too much about the resolution, but of course I’d take something with a good one. I’m looking to use it for personal messing around with and some robot pieces, of course.
I’ve had good luck with the Printrbot simple metal with a heated bed on it. 6x6x6in build volume with fairly good accuracy.
The Prusa i3 MK2 by Josef Prusa is by far your best option. His printers are incredible quality, he’s very attentive to customer questions, and by listening to user feedback the printer is getting better every day (multi-color upgrade kit coming soon)!
The best value in your price range is easily the Prusa i3 Mk2, pretty much hands down.
The Printrbot Simple leaves some to be desired, (particularly in the movement system) but we’ve had great success with it over the past season and printrbot donated the machine (along with three others) to us. If you have the student resources to write Brook a sponsorship request letter, I highly recommend it. (PM for details)
If you’re willing to do a few upgrades, the Monoprice Maker select is $320 and can rival the Mk2.
Edit: that’s a lie, it’s now on sale for $300. https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=13860
I’d recommend having more than one printer available to you, especially if they are different sizes. Splitting up parts and gluing them together in a small printer is a pain, but the issue goes both ways. Printing small rollers on a 10x10 bed is a waste as the increased mass will require you to print slower. (and you’ll have increased artifacting in more detailed prints)
Another vouch for the Prusa i3 MKII. I have the Prusa i3 Original and its the best thing ive ever purchased. Ive heard only good things about the MKII version which is 100$ more but has a 31% larger build plate, better heated bed, PEI build surface (No painters tape needed ever), and auto bed leveling.
From personal experience, I can HIGHLY recommend the Robo3d R1+ for the “under $1000” category. It has a huge build volume and works very consistently and is fairly low-maintainance. They also have a few newer models coming out if you want a bit more capability though they are a bit more expensive. All of the Robo3D printers also ship pre-assembled so you don’t have to worry about the hassle of assembling it or having to calibrate anything.
I just finished a 52-hour part on my R1+, running it at ~85mm/sec, and the part came out great (normally I would run it at ~50mm/sec, though the machine can allegedly work up to 100mm/sec or faster)!
The R1+ features:
- A heated glass build platform
- 8"x9"x10" build space (though in practice I’ve found it’s actually a bit larger)
- Layer resolutions from .1mm-.3mm
- Works with virtually any kind of filament you can get including polycarbonate (Ninjaflex requires a slight modification to not jam)
- Automatic “mesh” bed leveling
- Includes slicer software, but can use 3rd Party software as well
- Printing from SD card or USB (can also be controlled wirelessly using an Arduino with Octoprint)
- Ships Pre-assembled
The printer also ships with a stick of Elmers washable school glue to use as a bed adhesive, which has worked better than any other adhesion method I’ve tried on ANY printer (needless to say, I bought more).
I do have to add a small disclaimer that when I got mine initially it shipped with a bad stepper driver that caused some issues, but I returned that unit for a replacement (buy from a store, not direct, if you want to be able to do this, Robo3D does not offer direct returns, just warranty support) and I haven’t had any problems with it or had to do any maintenance since taking it out of the box almost a year ago.
One more vote, I love my Prusa, can’t wait for the multicolor upgrade.
I would agree with the Prusa I3. I built my own about 4 years ago, and it is still a very capable printer. I would also encourage that if you go this route, make sure go you get it from a reputable source. The Prusa I3 has been around for a while, and there are cheep knock-offs. I would also recommend getting the E3d hotend, as it is very well made. Used their V3 on my printer, and currently using the V6 Volcano on a project at work. Both are fantastic. Josef Prusa (the guy who designed the Prusa I3) sells them from his website http://www.prusa3d.com/prusa-i3-kit with the E3D head installed. He also offers a Kit if you wanted to save some money and learn how to put it together yourself.
I have also heard the Prinr Bots are good quality printers, but have not personally used one.
Another Fantastic printer based off of the Prusa I3 is the LulzBot mini. It is a bit over your budget at $1250, it is an extremely high quality printer with great support also. https://www.lulzbot.com/store/printers/lulzbot-mini.
Prusa i3 Mk2.
Right now, there is no other printer than can compete with the quality and value you get for under $1000.
+1 for the Prusa i3. Have heard awesome things about them at that price point. If you pick one off eBay, make sure it’s a metal frame unit.
Also have heard good things about the Seemecnc Rostock Max V3 kit, if you don’t mind a delta printer.
If your team thinks that the purpose of FIRST is to inspire future engineers, then designing, cading and building your own 3d printer can be a wonderful project. This is exactly what 1640 did last summer. The printer really got a work out during build season. And there is always the pride of " we built this". We based it on Openbuilds materials and inspiration.
Our team purchased two Flashforge Creator Pro’s this season and they have been running constantly with very little issues.
We are looking at purchasing a few more for our Middle School as they are robust enough to run in a HS drafting lab as well as through an entire season of FRC with great success.
On our robot this year, we had over 300 3D Printed parts. So, you could say we know a bit.
First off, if you want a solid, no hassle printer, the MakerBot Replicator+ is the best printer for you. I’ve seen these print complex pieces in any condition, we even flipped one on its side during a print and it was fine. In the hundreds of hours our mentors rep+ was run, we only had 1 jam, and because of the MakerBots easy magnetically mounted extruder, it was a piece of cake to fix. Finally, the rep+'s flexible build plate is downright magic, it sticks when it prints, but the parts just glide off when you’re done.
If you want to tinker, we’ve had good luck with the FLSUN Delta at only $250, it’s a steal, but like most other cheap 3D printers, you’ll have to assemble it yourself, and the print quality is lower. We had a bit of trouble leveling the bed at competition, as it was on a rolling bench, and we have made some firmware and hardware mods so it runs better. If you go with the FLSUN, contact me as I’d be happy to help
Tldr. If you want consistent preformance, go with MakerBot, but if you like to live life on the edge, the FLSUN is a solid budget printer.
From the other responses in this thread, I would lean towards the Prusa mainly for the cost standpoint as an easy way to get into printing. Regardless of the printer you use, it will take some time to dial in the settings needed to get the tolerances right on the parts you make.
We used our 5th gen Replicator, Z18 Replicator, and Replicator+ extensively during the season. I wouldn’t exactly say they are completely hassle free, but we get the parts made that we need. Lots of parts of our robot would not have been completed without our printers. The entire powertrain for both of our turrets and ball feeding mechanisms were printed.
Cool video from Makerbot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsKmEQEanHQ
I built a Rostock Max V3 last December and after some dialing in, I love this printer. The buid volume is HUGE, way bigger than anything I’ll ever need to do for the robot, but the heated bed has made for some really nice prints without any fuss. So far I have only printed in PLA/PHA (plenty of durability for robot season - parts have held up equally as well as our ABS parts printed on a 1200ES Dimension) but the printer is capable of ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon, and flexible filaments too so you have lots of versatility with one machine. The speed of the delta setup is impressive and fun to watch too.
The kit version is under $1000 and I learned all the ins and outs of the printer by buiding it and saved money over the pre-built kit. I did blow a few fuses along the way though! The community for the printer and customization possibilities were a big seeling point for me too.
I have a Prusa i3 MK2 and agree with everyone above me: it is fantastic!
My team has had several Makerbot Gen 5s for the past few years, they were having a lot of problems (two to three errors per print) until we called Makerbot and had them come over to look at it. I have no idea what he did, but it works pretty well now. Parts are quite a bit more expensive to replace and because you have to get the Makerbot filament, it probably wouldn’t be the greatest personal printer.
I would suggest a MonoPrice Maker select. $300 and starts you in a good place. Leaves a lot of room for mods and such which in my opinion is the best way to learn about 3d printing.
I personally own an Ultimaker 2+ Extended but after seeing plenty of user reviews and 3D printing channels on YouTube I will vouch for the Prusa i3. While I love my Ultimaker and how everything just worked right out of the box and the print quality is excellent from what I have seen the Prusa is no slouch in the quality department and the setup and maintenance is great especially considering the community behind it. My only regret with the Ultimaker was the price, again a great product but the best bang for the buck seems to be the i3, IMHO.
Also very pro Prusa here (love mine)
But I want to point out that there are still uses for painters tape. For example - I used painters tape when I was printing TPU/Ninjaflex because it adhered too well to the PEI bed.
Also, lest folks get too carried away - the Prusa is NOT a perfect flawless machine. It has failed prints, if your live Z is too close or two far you get weird artifacting. it’s still a consumer level 3d printer.
Would anyone care to comment on what exactly makes the Prusa such a good printer?
Is it the quality of the prints that it does, ie. does it print in higher resolutions than others? Are the prints more structurally sound somehow? Less prone to layers peeling off? Smoother surfaces? Does it handle overhangs better? Allow you to print specific parts that other printers don’t?
Or is it in the quality of the machine itself, ie. high quality parts? Electronics of high quality? Hard to mess up a print?
Or the ease of setup and installation? Automated calibration, etc.?