Personally I’ve been a fan of the latest offerings from Snapmaker, my F350 has been a rock-solid workhorse and the large build volume is great for big projects (printed our teams shooter hood on it last year in one piece). They’re also releasing a Dual Extrusion add-on for it which looks interesting. Plus, you can also convert the 2.0 series into a small mill or laser engraver with some add-ons if you’re into that kind of thing, they’re quite versatile.
No real insights on other brands. I do agree the Prusa mk4 release looks interesting, and definitely something our team will look to upgrade our mk3s with (our mk3s have had a number of reliability problems TBH).
Beyond that, my must-have specs for 3D printers generally are:
Fully automatic bed leveling (zero excuse to not have this in 2023)
Large Build Volume (maybe just a personal preference)
Direct-drive extruder (too many issues with bowden IMO)
All-metal hot end (PTFE liners are a disaster waiting to happen)
Highly recommend the Bambu Labs X1 Carbon. The number of features that it has that previously would have been reserved for much more expensive professional printers is simply amazing.
I am still blown away that they are able to sell it at the current price, and I’m convinced they will raise the price at some point.
Our team has 2 Prusa minis (and access to 10 MakerBots), but almost all of the printed parts on our robot were made on our lead mentors personal X1C.
Our lead mentor had a fan start making noise on his and chatting with support thru the app went very smoothly for him (athough TBF they do take most of a day to respond). After sending a video of the noise, they sent him a coupon code for the value of the bad fan + $15 for shipping. He was then able to add the fan to his next fillament order and save the $15 since the order got free shipping.
I love my X1C, really. But I’ve heard enough horror stories about support that it’s currently 3rd place of printers I recommend. (Prusa normal sized offering, Markforge Onyx 1, X1C). If BL can get their support and some QA stuff resolved then it’s a big fight between Prusa and X1C in my mind. Ask me again next year and you might get a different answer.
Prusa, through and through. After replacing a fleet of Ultimakers with a family of MK3S, it’s fair to say that they’re some of the least combative printers I’ve used. Yes, there are cheaper, and yes, there are faster, but in terms of reliability, a Prusa bought today is likely to still be working 5+ years down the road and to me that makes it worth a lot.
A former coworker took a Mk3S in the back of a pickup across two provinces, plugged it in, and it spit out the same quality as before the road trip. To me, that’s a testament to their quality.
Plus, their commitments to open-source are something I personally really like.
Thanks everybody. We have a couple MarkForged already, but it’s silly to print everything from Onyx. We have Makerbot Replicators in storage but the school said no more ABS allowed due to fumes, and they’re finicky.
PLA+ and PETG are likely what our new printer(s) will print most, but it useful to be able to print non-CF nylon, PC, and other higher temp materials to take advantage of their properties. Maybe we’ll go Prusa mk4 & do an enclosure project (including air filter) this summer. Or we could just buy an enclosure.
I have Prusa’s both at home and at work, they’re super solid and easy to maintain. I would note that you can buy Prusa’s as either a kit or assembled, and unless you have one person familiar with printers who is able to take the time to assemble it right (I did mine over 2 days, maybe 7 hours total?) then buy the preassembled and save yourself some headache.
If you want something that is going to “just work” and do you want it to continue to “just work” I would highly recommend getting a Prusa.
I got mine as a kit over 4 years ago, I was 13 at the time. When I was telling my parents what I was thinking of buying with them my dad said to get the one that will work the best and last long, not to get the cheapest, to get the one that will be a great asset into the future.
I decided on a Prusa i3 mk3. I got the kit in the mail a few weeks later and I got to work. I knew a older kid that had his own and he helped me build my printer. It turns out now that he was a part of the robotics team I am on now! And to this day I still use that printer to print parts for the robot and print parts for customers.
Now, after running this printer for more than 4 years I trust it more than I probably should. I have set up octoprint on it and I now often just click print on my computer in my room and just go to bed. I know it will “just work.”
The few problems I have run into with the printer are 90% me trying to fix something and doing the opposite. Having built it from the kit allows me to have a great understanding of how all the separate mechanisms as I now call them work together. I can’t recommend the kit enough, it showed me lots of little design tricks with looking at all the printed parts and let me know what it takes to run a robot.
Time shown to proven that the conclusion I came to as a 13 year old, still stands today. If you want something that will just work and last as a tool. Get a Prusa.
I have five Prusa 3s and a Mini, and have had literally zero issues with any of them in terms of reliability through near-continuous printing since November. They’re excellent workhorses with PETG, PLA, and ABS.
Nope. But I only ever print ABS overnight when there aren’t students in the room, because it’s kind of stinky. (Also, I’ve only done PLA on the Mini, for no reason other than we’ve been using it as the “make purple things” machine.)
I haven’t had issues with adhesion or anything despite not having enclosures.
I forgot to mention we also have a Markforged Onyx 1; our workflow often involves PLA drafts and then MF Onyx final parts where needed.
I personally think a Bambu X1C is just about optimal for an FRC team. It offers far more capability in printing technical materials than a Prusa out of the box. I have several open air printers that I use to pump out tough PLA parts, but the X1C has allowed hassle free printing with nylon and polycarbonate that has allowed my team to increase use for parts that need more durability. The speed is a nice to have, but the enclosure and hardened steel extrusion path make a big difference for these materials.
I have only put about 20kg through it so far, though, and long term durability is unknown.