Looking to purchase a 3D printer for personal use

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RudeCurve, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. RudeCurve

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    Anyone have any experience and/or recommendations for a good and reliable but fairly affordable 3D printer? My budget is $800 or less. I'll be using it for prototyping parts designed with SolidWorks. Would like the machine to be able to handle small production runs reliably as well.
     
  2. ERP

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    I have 3 3D printers.
    The short version is make sure your expectations are inline with what they are. And you'll need to be specific about what your requirements are.

    I would strongly recommend you build it from a kit, it will fail, and you will have to fix it, if you built it diagnosing and fixing it are a lot easier.
     
  3. RudeCurve

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    Hi ERP thanks for chiming in. I think my expectations are fairly realistic. I've seen stuff printed and so far it's likely good enough for my purposes. I only plan to print using PLA or ABS and know it takes quite a long time. I think the precision is acceptable for rough prototype and proof of concept type stuff. I'll be using it for parts that don't need to be superstrong. Once the proof of concept stage is complete I'll have the part machined out of stronger materials if required for large production runs. I'll mainly use it to make prototype parts for RC models.
     
    #3 RudeCurve, Mar 12, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2014
  4. ERP

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    The other thing to set expectations on is the amount of dicking around getting a decent print takes.
    I'd you have access to someone who can walk you through the initial setup, it's a lot less painful.
    My printers are pretty much slice and click at this point, but I destroyed a number of parts on the first one when discovering what works by trial and error.

    Short version is you can get a decent print out of almost any half decent printer, if you spend the time getting it set up.
    Prusa i3 is a safe bet, as is Mendel max, I like the attention to detail in Nop heads Mendel 90 design, but they can be hard to get in the US, I also like the ultimaker, but it's out of your price range.
    Thee are many other good options, I'd stay away from a rostock based design as a first printer, mine is my goto printer right now, but there extra hassle in initial calibration that can be very frustrating for a beginner.

    If you're into RC the technical side shouldn't be an issue, but initial debugging can be a bear, it's often difficult without experience to determine if an issue is mechanical, electrical or software related.
     
  5. Grall

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    Why are these things so finicky? I thought we'd be past the stage now where you need to be a sorcerer casting spells at your computer hardware to make it work.

    Anyway, saw in the news that a Swedish team at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a medical 3D printer that can successfully print cartilage tissue such as ears using cultivated cells taken from a patient. Basically the only thing holding the tech back from re-constructing more complicated organs right now is the need to construct enough blood vessels to supply the organ with oxygen, this can be solved by printing with different types of cells, one of the scientists involved explained. The goal is to be able to print a human heart...! :D
     
  6. ERP

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    A lot of the issues with finikyness is the reliance on open source software. It basically only ever evolves to be good enough to meet the needs of the core developers, and making it easy to use is rarely a focus. You're also at the mercy of the somewhat dubious IMO hardware choices that were made by the original developers! arduino was just choice made because it was readily available, not because it was the best or even a good fit as a printer driver.

    The hardware is also usually designed around low cost first and assembly becomes critical to get good quality.

    You can go spend money and buy something that really is click and print, but the prices are outside of most peoples budgets.
     
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