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3d printer help.

#1
I am looking at (eventually) getting a 3d printer. I am used to working on the lulzbot mini 1. This is priced at $1,000. What is the difference between the lulzbot mini 1 and say something like this: https://store.flitetest.com/creality-3d-crx-2color-3d-printer-3dp-1002/p789908

The link i posted seems like a better value as it can print two colors at once. Why the price difference? What would you reccomend for something cheap? Could i use cura on this? Is cura free? What software would you reccomend using to design prints? Is there any way that i can download a file off of say thingiverse, and then modify it? Thanks!
 

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#4
PLA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polylactic_acid )is made from vegetable matter and is strong but quite brittle - good for general use and easy to print.
ABS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylonitrile_butadiene_styrene ) is made from oil. It's very tough, that is strong and resilient so good to high load items - difficult to print as it needs a heated enclosure and good ventlation as the fumes created are not nice at all!
TPU (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoplastic_polyurethane )is rubbery and flexible - harder to print than PLA but useful for things like phone covers, camera mounts on quads
PETG (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene_terephthalate#Copolymers )is a very good halfway house between ABS and PLA - and much easier to print than PLA.
PMMA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly(methyl_methacrylate ) - can't help you with - new one on me!!! Page on it from Rigid Ink (https://rigid.ink/blogs/news/why-you-should-try-pmma-filament-and-how-to-print-it ) and reading through that it looks like it is quite demanding on the printer and could do with a heated enclosure.
 
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#5
Am new to 3d printing myself... more $ isn’t always mean a better printer... I use a Prusa mk3... & lulzbot, well they just work out of the box. Ender & Crealty have good loyal followings. I print in PLA mostly as it does what I want and is a bit cheaper.

Some free 3d files are modifiable, some aren’t. With anything... vistit the mfg web site or some of the forums to get a take on what the users of that printer have to say. Ie..make sure you get some support. I recommend you buy from someone who will offer some help while you are starting printing vs someone who just sells boxes.

My Prusa came with Slicr but will run with Cura equally well. I think most will.

Lastly I think features you may want to focus on are things like bed print size & a heated bed ... Prusa has a kit out that will allow printing in 4 or 5 colours but not something I need. So consider your features that you need.

Still having problems...Make magazine usually does a review of 3d printers in the December issue... check your local library or visit there website...worth the money before you buy....helps answer a lot of questions.
 

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#6
Cura is free and converts 3D files to G-CODE that the 3D printers use. It works with pretty much all 3D printers. I only have an Anet A8 which I built from a kit - very cheap, one head and yet capable of producing quite good quality prints. Perfect for making bits for quads, firewalls and control horns for planes.
Yes, I download stuff off of thingiverse top print often, also Tinkercad, a web based free application is great for designing simple items. I trying to get my head around fusion 360.....steep learning curve.
 
#8
So the link that i posted for the creality printer. Is that a good printer? I had a large bed, dual color, and i hope it hays a self leveling bed? Is it a good printwr?
 

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#10
So the link that i posted for the creality printer. Is that a good printer? I had a large bed, dual color, and i hope it hays a self leveling bed? Is it a good printwr?
Why do you want dual heads? That's the question you should ask yourself.
The best use of dual heads is the ability to have two different filaments print together. For example, water soluble support you can remove by immersing the print in water or maybe a PETG part with TPA flexible hinges.
Printing two colours is less useful as you can just paint a part rather than the added complexity of dual heads.
The printer is a good one but unless you really need dual heads you might just be better to get the single head version and save some money.
 
#12
Why do you want dual heads? That's the question you should ask yourself.
The best use of dual heads is the ability to have two different filaments print together. For example, water soluble support you can remove by immersing the print in water or maybe a PETG part with TPA flexible hinges.
Printing two colours is less useful as you can just paint a part rather than the added complexity of dual heads.
The printer is a good one but unless you really need dual heads you might just be better to get the single head version and save some money.
I am hoping of starting a bussiness of printing and selling 3d printed models. I figure i could sell assorted things on ebay, i could 3d print ANY model airplane and sell it to hobbytownUSA (I am friends with everyone that works there and hopefully they would as least give me a chance) And finally, i was hoping to print and sell phone cases to a local phone and computer store. I figure that for all of those dual color printing will be helpful. I was also hoping to be able to print with to materials. For example a phone case i would print the part that holds the phone on the sides as TPA as it is more flexible and then the part that is on the back of the phone case PLA as it is harder and stronger. I am hoping to be able to do this in one build as opposed to printing the back of the case, and then the sides. This would also let me not have to put a glue joint in the phone case.
 

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#13
I am hoping of starting a bussiness of printing and selling 3d printed models. I figure i could sell assorted things on ebay, i could 3d print ANY model airplane and sell it to hobbytownUSA (I am friends with everyone that works there and hopefully they would as least give me a chance) And finally, i was hoping to print and sell phone cases to a local phone and computer store. I figure that for all of those dual color printing will be helpful. I was also hoping to be able to print with to materials. For example a phone case i would print the part that holds the phone on the sides as TPA as it is more flexible and then the part that is on the back of the phone case PLA as it is harder and stronger. I am hoping to be able to do this in one build as opposed to printing the back of the case, and then the sides. This would also let me not have to put a glue joint in the phone case.
These are decent use cases for dual print heads, that is for sure. :)
 
#14
What print material would you reccomend for a phone case? Which would be the best to be able to easily get the phone in and out but for the case to protect the phone when dropped?
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#15
The creality printer is a decent printer, to be sure. However, that said? The Prusa i3 at $750 is a better printer. Cura, Slic3r, and other 3D printing software generally has a setting for it built in because it's kind of the industry standard for consumer 3D printing.

I'm going to be honest - while you can do a 3D printing business using one of these printers, they are SLOW. My father printed the Spitfire 3D plane model that came with his Prusa i3, and it took the better part of a week, almost nonstop, to print that plane. If you are going to crank out the planes or phone cases, you'll want to have a large inventory first, and replenish it quickly.

In addition, where you are talking about switching out two different types of materials, especially from PLA to TPU - it may not work like you think it will. Bonding for the two different types of materials may cause it to fail at the bonding site. I would DEFINITELY test to see if they'll bond or do your research for it. If you're going to go for a phone case, my recommendation is to just print the entire thing out of TPU, the rubbery/flexible material that Caroline mentioned. It'll give a bit, it'll be flexible, and will help add a little bit of protection over a hard case. Plus, it'll flex around a phone to go on the phone, whereas the PLA or ABS might crack/snap.

Where you might find it better is to use the 3D models you print as prototypes, and then have molds made from the prototypes for a lower cost, higher production run method, like injection molding. I'm not saying you can't do this with one of these printers; there are lots of people on websites like Etsy that have done just that. I just don't think the consumer level 3D printers you are looking at are going to push out the products at the speed you want.
 
#16
The creality printer is a decent printer, to be sure. However, that said? The Prusa i3 at $750 is a better printer. Cura, Slic3r, and other 3D printing software generally has a setting for it built in because it's kind of the industry standard for consumer 3D printing.

I'm going to be honest - while you can do a 3D printing business using one of these printers, they are SLOW. My father printed the Spitfire 3D plane model that came with his Prusa i3, and it took the better part of a week, almost nonstop, to print that plane. If you are going to crank out the planes or phone cases, you'll want to have a large inventory first, and replenish it quickly.

In addition, where you are talking about switching out two different types of materials, especially from PLA to TPU - it may not work like you think it will. Bonding for the two different types of materials may cause it to fail at the bonding site. I would DEFINITELY test to see if they'll bond or do your research for it. If you're going to go for a phone case, my recommendation is to just print the entire thing out of TPU, the rubbery/flexible material that Caroline mentioned. It'll give a bit, it'll be flexible, and will help add a little bit of protection over a hard case. Plus, it'll flex around a phone to go on the phone, whereas the PLA or ABS might crack/snap.

Where you might find it better is to use the 3D models you print as prototypes, and then have molds made from the prototypes for a lower cost, higher production run method, like injection molding. I'm not saying you can't do this with one of these printers; there are lots of people on websites like Etsy that have done just that. I just don't think the consumer level 3D printers you are looking at are going to push out the products at the speed you want.
Wow that was a lot! Thanks for the help! I will check out the Prusai3. As far as print time it took the printer i was using about 2 hours to print a phone case, at a constant pace that is 6 a day (i am considering a 12 hour day as i won't always be beside my printer) That seems like alot to me. Thanks for the help!
 
#17
Agree with Sprzout... well almost. Not all 3d prints come out... failed prints are part of it... so a reliable printer is more important I think... I have a Prusa mk 3 & can vouch for it.

The one thing that may help a lot more commercially is the bigger bed size. But all of us can’t tell you what you should buy... we can tell what has worked best for us. Personally haven’t used a dual head...so no idea how well they work vs what is claimed.

One of the problems is that people usually always want cheaper prices...eventually they may decide a cheap printer is the way they want to go...& go it on their own... (hence loosing repeat business). forgetting the wee bit about a learning curve. On printed planes the trick is to be able to print thin & again reliably.... check & see what the guys offering to print planes are using themselves to print. So finding something you can do that other have problems with may set you apart.... hence the consideration of the bigger bed size.

Lastly I have a good friend...wanted to try things...so he bought a printer out of China...no idea which one. Diagram didn’t match what he got shipped... so it never made it together. It helped send me towards Prusa.... who offers spectacular support and when together it is rock solid....and from a family member the lulzbot‘s work out of the box all the time.

So take all of this with a grain of salt.... and hope it helps.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#19
Agree with Sprzout... well almost. Not all 3d prints come out... failed prints are part of it... so a reliable printer is more important I think... I have a Prusa mk 3 & can vouch for it.

The one thing that may help a lot more commercially is the bigger bed size. But all of us can’t tell you what you should buy... we can tell what has worked best for us. Personally haven’t used a dual head...so no idea how well they work vs what is claimed.

One of the problems is that people usually always want cheaper prices...eventually they may decide a cheap printer is the way they want to go...& go it on their own... (hence loosing repeat business). forgetting the wee bit about a learning curve. On printed planes the trick is to be able to print thin & again reliably.... check & see what the guys offering to print planes are using themselves to print. So finding something you can do that other have problems with may set you apart.... hence the consideration of the bigger bed size.

Lastly I have a good friend...wanted to try things...so he bought a printer out of China...no idea which one. Diagram didn’t match what he got shipped... so it never made it together. It helped send me towards Prusa.... who offers spectacular support and when together it is rock solid....and from a family member the lulzbot‘s work out of the box all the time.

So take all of this with a grain of salt.... and hope it helps.
LOL I bought a Monoprice Mini Select for my 1st 3D printer. It was like, $200 or $250 when I bought it (I honestly don't remember) and I still have it. It does the job I need it to do, but it isn't perfect. The print bed is small, and if I leave filament in it for an extended amount of time the nozzle gets jammed and I have to flush it out.

My dad wanted a 3D printer, and so I pointed him at the Prusa after lots of research, reviews, and looking at the 3D printing software. Yes, it's not the most expensive. Yes, there are a lot of clones of it that people have made cheaper. The question I had when I saw that, though, was:

Why are there so many clones of this printer? Why is the Asian market making cheap knockoffs of it?

Turns out it's because it's damned good quality, at a fair price. When I looked at a lot of the others that were cheaper, they were either missing functions, had a "Chinese engineer to Chinese document writer to English as a Second Language translator to English document writer" written manual, or there were cheap parts and reviews that said, "Ehh, it's ok, but I had to replace this," or "it doesn't have a solid metal hotend/good belts/good foundation."
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#20
I had a i3 "clone" as my first printer (still have it actually, but don't use it very often anymore). Honestly it was more i3 inspired than a clone. And while it was billed as a kit (which was kitted in the US with Chinese sourced parts) the manual was a joke and I would call it more of a "box of parts that can probably make a printer" than an actual kit.

Last November I took advantage of Prusa's black friday special and got an actual i3 mk3. I always respected what Prusa had created - but funds were tight and with all the clones out there I just couldn't afford the real deal and justified it to myself by saying it couldn't possibly be that much better. I was wrong. The attention to detail Prusa puts into the i3 is astounding. The manual is fantastic, the packaging and organization of the kit is top notch. I honestly can't think of any other kit for anything that comes close in terms of quality (I built a good number of heathkit projects back in the 80's and previously considered them to be highest level kitting...but Prusa blows even their old kits away.)

The mk3 isn't perfect. The extruder is a bit of a pain to disassemble if you ever need to. I put off tightening my X belt for a few months because to do so I'd have to take apart the wiring harness, cut zip ties, and half disassemble the extruder to do so and I'm just too lazy to bother when it's already printing so much better than my old printer. The power supplies used up until recently were not great for 110v countries like the US (they've recently upgraded to better power supplies.). Some people had issues with the filament sensor - but it can always be turned off. I had no issues even with clear and translucent filaments. The new mk3s upgrade I'm not a huge fan of - due to the people who had issues with the original filament sensor they re-worked it and it now only senses filament presence not movement - and getting the new sensor dialed in can be finicky.

I also have to say I'm not very impressed with the MMU2s which I just got a few weeks ago. In fact my printer is completely down because of the issues I'm having with the MMU2. It changes the filament sensor further and has become completely unreliable for me. I was able to get 1 small successful multi material print - and 1 almost successful:

20190422_065111.jpg

The sheep came out well. I didn't quite have my purge values dialed in so there is some color bleed in the top...but otherwise no complaints.


20190422_203001.jpg

This octopus however was a nightmare. It was an 8 hour print and I started having filament change issues. You can see what a mess the purge block in the back is. As a result a few layers were lost or weak and the octopus head fell off :(

And overall the MMU in general just isn't impressing me. It makes prints a LOT slower. That little sheep is <1 hour single color. The 2 color version is 3:15 to print! And the waste...holy cow. Both the sheep and the octopus had purge blocks that weighed almost double the actual print itself.

I mostly wanted the MMU for using PVA or BVOH for soluble supports. But I've found that supports on the MK3 are so much easier to remove already that I no longer really want that. And BVOH which is what prusa recommends is crazy expensive (The cheapest I've found it is from Prusa themselves where it's $90 for .5kg...and shipping from Prusa isn't cheap either!) PVA is a bit less expensive but apparently trickier to work with and still about $50 for .5kg. Since most PLA is $20-$30 for 1kg that's a big price jump to swallow.

So...while I wholeheartedly recommend the MK3s and am now 100% convinced that yes it really is worth the extra cost over a clone...I'm still not convinced the MMU2s is worth the expense and hassle. If I can get it working reliably it will be great - having 5 filaments ready to go at any time and not having to manually swap between them will be wonderful even if I very seldom plan to use more than 1 per print. But so far getting the MMU to work at all has been a huge pain.