What 3D printer...

  1. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    6,254
    UK London
    I was shocked recently by the current price/performance of the latest batch of Prusa i3 clones (?) out there. It may be because they are suddenly cheap or I suddenly feel the need to have one.

    Anyhow, I have settled on an Anycubic i3 Mega-S though my mind flutters like a butterfly so best be quick. I'll have to buy it in a hurry before the wind changes direction or the cash runs dry.

    This one: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/329...earchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

    I link to the actual item my buy-it-now finger is poised over in case there is a "well known" problem with shipping, fake fakes, poor quality etc that I am not aware of or if there's a cheaper/better device.

    It's intended job is to produce parts for workshop use, brackets, clamps, widgets so I am looking for a printer that produces robust parts (ABS/Nylon??). I am having a "storage solutions" blitz so custom small parts holders/storages/brackets etc. is it's main target.

    Second question assuming I get this thing: how much are the consumables? What sort of running costs are there for decent filaments typically? I have no idea how much plastic these things will get through and I don't want to paint myself into a corner where "I'm not wasting £xx.xx of plastic on that"
     
  2. Bladevane

    Bladevane Member

    Messages:
    708
    Location:
    Harwell, Oxon
    I’ve just bought one from Mike at Factory3D in Newcastle. Superb customer service. He answers queries by email virtually straight away. It’s a development of an early Prusa but I am so impressed with the component quality and thinking behind it. When things go wrong(as they will) do Aliexpress have a decent customer service?

    So far running costs are limited to filament. I have some spare nozzles and barrels and is also bought a borosilicate glass bed. Otherwise there’s not much to go wrong.

    It’s also great fun to build and a hugely time wasting spectator sport watching prints grow.
     
  3. Maker

    Maker nEw mEmBeR

    Messages:
    7,358
    Location:
    Don't ask questions
    Dirt cheap, my friend printed something for me, I offered to pay so he weighed it and told me I owed about eight pence. :laughing: The cheap filament is about £15 a kilo, no idea what paying more gets you. I imagine the slicer can tell you the weight of the print and therefore the price before you actually print if you're concerned.
     
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  4. Jay1st

    Jay1st Member

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    South West FRANCE
    Cheap and reliable, easy to use and even modify is the CREALITY ENDER 3, it's the one i use and tinker with.
     
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  5. Ali

    Ali Member

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    740
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Don’t bank on getting good results with ABS out of an open printer like that, unless you put the whole thing in your oven during the print - it’s very fussy about cooling and warps unless the environment temp is exactly right.
     
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  6. hotponyshoes Member

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    2,482
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    I can't help with the choice of printer, I bought mine because it was local enough to collect.
    So far it is only the filament I have had to pay for. Nothing has broken (yet)

    Filiment prices have gone up recently as everybody is printing masks. I was paying £10 a kg when I first got it.
    You might have to do a couple of test runs to adjust the printer settings to the filament so may be worth ordering 10 rolls the same from China to save a bit of messing.

    Apart from the first few test/adjustment prints there is virtually no wastage. Print times can be very slow, my longest one so far was about 35hrs so obviously there would be some wastage if you get a power cut at 34hrs or something goes wrong. Mine runs on a 2a 24v power supply so electric usage is minimal.
    Printing abs needs a higher spec machine than mine so would cost a little more on the electric bill.

    The slicer software will give an estimate of weight used to print so costs can be worked out but I dont think I have printed anything that cost more than £3.50 yet.

    Various software options are available for checking models before printing so most errors can be eliminated.

    I have found pla to be strong enough for most of the things I have printed and I have made some fairly useable objects.
    If buying again I would spend the extra for one that could print abs and I would also be tempted to get a duel extruder version to print disovable supports as removing those can take a while.

    The only other thing I spent any money on was some ipa to clean the bed between prints and a ridiculous amount on a ceramic deburring tool which I would buy again without hesitation as it means I can use a much faster print speed and clean the parts up easily after printing.
     
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  7. dobbslc

    dobbslc Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    5,287
    Location:
    Hertfordshire UK
    A friend has just bought one from the Czech Republic that cost about £800 but does come with a bag of Gummy Bears that they tell you to eat at strategic points along the build!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020
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  8. Parm

    Parm Temporarily operating from the Devon Annex

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    11,834
    Location:
    Towcester
    Watch out for the cheap filament. It gives off some serious nasties
     
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  9. choco

    choco Member

    Messages:
    400
    ireland
    I'd recommend the creality printers , I have an ender2 and cr10. Both working fantastic. modded now running different boards etc but they where still great out the box.
     
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  10. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    6,254
    UK London
    Some good info thanks, the Ender was/is also on my list but I keep bumping into "upgrade to a glass table" comments. I'd like to hit the ground running.

    My guess is PLA should indeed be good enough for most things I'll be making, most of which might end up with fabricated metal parts where strength/durability is required.

    Still gonna have to hit the brick wall learning curve for Fusion/Autocad. Shame that (free) Sketchup can't help, I'm a dab hand with that.
     
  11. Bladevane

    Bladevane Member

    Messages:
    708
    Location:
    Harwell, Oxon
    For me buying a 3D printer was a 2 part process. Learning to model (I use Fusion 360) and learning about print parameters such as temperatures, speed, infill, layer thickness, materials. Fascinating stuff.
     
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  12. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,482
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    You can use sketchup. The major drawback with it is it can not draw a proper circle/radius so you either need a fair bit of computing power or you put up with viable lines on the prints.
     
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  13. choco

    choco Member

    Messages:
    400
    ireland
    I have a Chinese cheap flex spring steel plate on my ender 2 and works good. I have a mirror on the cr10 and that works great too. Much better than the glass I found
     
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  14. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    6,254
    UK London
    Ooh that's good to know! I can knock things up in Sketchup in a flash. As you imply there are ways to get around the circle segments (by increasing the segment count). I guess that makes the file/print a much bigger chore, I can live with that.

    Yes I may be going into too much detail, I just don't want to get mugged for £200 and buy a machine that would require some widget or other to be acceptable. Bottom line is, while it is a valuable lesson to learn from your own mistake, it's much cheaper if you can learn from others! :thumbup:

    At the moment the machinery/printer side of this subject is a complete mystery to me can't afford to go too wrong. Picked up a couple of jobs (finally) so I need to spend that virtual cash before it disappears into a large hole in the bank.
     
  15. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,482
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    There are a few things needed to get sketchup working but all simple stuff.

    The circle/curve issue is a bit more problematic.
    You can increase the number of segments which needs more computer power.
    It does not seem to increase the print time at all, presumably because it has to go through the slicer software first which turns the 1000's of segments into something else.

    The main issue with the segments is building the models in the first place. For example, if you draw a hollow cylinder (toilet roll) then wanted to put a hole through the side of this at 45deg.
    Where they are not true circles and just lots of segments/lines all the intersection points of the hole will not meet up with all the lines on the cylinder.

    If you just leave them as they are the slicer software will not understand them and flump out on you.
    Some can be resolved automatically with more computing power but you can quite easily spend a lot of time trying to sort the mess out manually.

    If you had no previous experience with 3d modeling software and wanted to start 3d printing I would not suggest sketchup as the best option.
    As you can already use it then it would make sense to start with it and see if the limits of it become an issue for you. By this stage you will have got the hang of all the other stuff you need to learn.
    On the other hand, it might not be best to wait until you want to design/print something complicated to start learning a new software???

    I still use sketchup for at least 50% of my 3d printing but that's mainly because a lot of the little brackets/items I print are drawn up in the workshop and i can't get fusion to run properly on a laptop yet!
     
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  16. Jay1st

    Jay1st Member

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    South West FRANCE
    I switched to a cheap piece of mirror cut to size, and works perfect with some very cheap hair spray as bed adhesive
     
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  17. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    6,254
    UK London
    Awesome info thanks. Yes I have run into the circle in a curve problem many times. I stick a form into it, intersect and delete. I guess that's going to give "proper" 3D software some serious grief.

    I think I'll start simple...

    Yep, like the sound of that! :thumbup:
     
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  18. Jlg

    Jlg Member

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    2,282
    Location:
    Cumbria
     
  19. veesix Member

    Messages:
    32
    UK
    If you're looking to print at higher temperatures than typical PLA (PETG, some ABS, Nylon, etc.), budget for an all-metal hotend or at least check if your chosen printer has one stock (Ender 3 does not - but it's a great printer). Cheaper hotends run the PTFE filament guide tube right down to the heater and start to give off nasties as the PTFE melts.
     
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  20. PhillipM

    PhillipM Member

    Messages:
    1,846
    Rotherham
    It's not so much a price thing, PTFE lined hotends are better for feeding flexible filaments and low-temperature nylons than the all metal ones.
     
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