Any Resident 3D Printer Guru's here?

Hey guys,

I am wondering if anyone here has any experience first hand usage of a 3D Printer. I was talking with my Teenage nephew and he wanted to get one for Christmas. so I am here to ask the pros/cons of a 3D Printer under 4-500USD or which ones to get or things to look out for…

Does not need to be topline but a good quality and one that reliably works like it should… So any body have any info on 3D Printers I need to know…

Thank you for comments look forward to hearing some…


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I have a Monoprice Ultimaker (basically a clone of a Wanhao Duplicator 6). I was able to figure it out the basics relatively quickly, and it works great for anything I throw at it. I use Tinkercad to create the shape files, and the Cura software that came with the printer for the gcode.

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I have a 3D printer. It’s a Creality Ender 3 v2. It’s a very versatile printer, but requires some knowledge as you need to build it yourself.
For a first printer I’d go with something ready made, like a Prusa, perhaps.
My first was a Flashforge Creator, which was a nice entry level printer.


+1 on the Prusa. It just works!


Taking notes, just in case

This can get complicated, fast :slight_smile:

First, you have to decide whether you want to go with one of the ‘material add’ printers (where prints layers are piled up on top of each other on a print bed) or a … whatever the other option is called (basically it is a tank of resin that gets hardened in layers by UV (?) light as the print gets pulled out of the tank). The first type is much easier to get started in but can sacrifice some fine, fine detail and shapes that the second type of printer might be better at.

I suggest the first type.

Of the first type, the Prusa i3 is a great choice but it is a little expensive. You get what you pay for in the Prusa but if you are not sure that the 3D printing bug is going to stick, having an expensive machine sitting in a box in the basement as a spider home is … a choice that the spiders will appreciate :-). Prusa does have the MINI. A friend of mine is a Prusa fanboi and has both the I3 and the Mini. Both were relatively simple to assemble - the i3 can come pre-assembled but the Mini does require some simple assembly.

For cheaper options, Creality has a large, confusing selection of printers. The Ender 3 V2 is a nice option. I have the older Ender 3 and it was a good entry level choice. I upgrades to a Creality CR-6SE which added some features and that is also a good choice.

The Creality path is cheaper but does require assembly and some knowledge of 3D printers but there are a lot of youtube videos that you can use to help set up the printer.

There are a lot of options in that format from various companies. There is one important thing to take into consideration.

The biggest challenge is bed leveling. Most ‘modern’ (2 years old or newer) 3D printers probably have some sort of automatic bed leveling sensor option. Bed leveling is where the you are trying to make the print service level to two of the planes that the print head travels in. Printers with a sensor will move the head around the bed and measure various points (9+ point grid) to fine tune the ‘flatness’ of the bed. Older printers require a process of turning knobs and using pieces of paper under the print head nozzle to tune in the printer bed. The thing is, if you do not (generally) get a good first layer, then the rest of the print is going to be a bit of a challenge as the piece you are printing may become detached from the bed during the print, or other artifacts may show up in the print.

The Prusa printers have this. The Ender printers have an addon/option for this (but my CR-6SE came with a sensor). Most printers have an option for this or have it as a feature.

Second thing that I would consider is a printer enclosure. If you put the printer in your living or dining room, it may be annoying and it does it’s mechanical business but the biggest problem that you may run into with prints is uneven cooling of the print. If one side gets cooler that the other (or cools faster) it will start to warp the print and may start to pull it off the bed. Depending on the drafty-ness of the room, this could show up as artifacts in your prints. You don’t have to get one right away but keep that in mind. It may add to the frustration of printing something and having to figure out what is going wrong.

Last: It’s a hobby. There are lots of gotchas and lots of things to learn about the printer and process itself, let along modeling something yourself. Sometimes, it is just download-and-print but it can take some learning to be able to get to that point. Spending more usually means more features and a more stable, solid structure to help you eliminate various variables from your print. But the trade off is giving away more of your heard earned money.


Thank you everybody. IF we get one for Christmas I will have you guys to thank and will updae you all on which one if we get one…

:wink: cheers

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