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New 3D Printer

#1
So I have decided to get my feet wet in the 3D printing world and have an Anycubic i3 Mega on the way.

My primary intent is really just to learn with the added benefit of being able to make small parts for my models.

Any suggestions on filament choices and where to start?

EDIT: I ended up cancelling the order for the Anycubic and now have a Prusa MK3s. It is all set up and I am happily printing with it. In the end after doing a bit of research and the Anycubic not shipping due to the virus situation in China I realized that the Prusa was a better suited machine for what I intended to do.

The kit was a pleasure to build, it is well documented both online and with a printed manual. Prusa chat support has been easy to get a hold of and very helpful as well. The prusa was quite a bit over my initial budget but I believe in the end it was a good decision.
 
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#2
Welcome to the hobby!

I don't have any specific experience with that model but if you have any troubles feel free to ask!

As for filament I'd suggest Matterhackers Build series PLA. In my opinion it's the best bang-for-your-buck PLA: cheap, tight tolerance, clean winding, good color options and easy printing. I would also suggest their PETG if you want to get into some more hearty pieces for models.
 
#3
Welcome to the hobby!

I don't have any specific experience with that model but if you have any troubles feel free to ask!

As for filament I'd suggest Matterhackers Build series PLA. In my opinion it's the best bang-for-your-buck PLA: cheap, tight tolerance, clean winding, good color options and easy printing. I would also suggest their PETG if you want to get into some more hearty pieces for models.
I have watched a couple of videos about material choices but am still really in the dark. I know that to begin I want to be able to print small things such as control horns, servo mounts, maybe wheels and things of that nature. Down the road, maybe motor mounts for my nitro stuff. So I have lots to learn with respect to the chemistry and the pros/cons of each material.

It was suggested to start with PLA, but I'm not sure why. I'm familiar with some basic polymer chemistry, but it is not something I have much knowledge on when it comes to matching type to a specific application.

EDIT: I am looking at Matterhackers site and there is a lot of good reading there.
 
#5
I would love to get a 3d printer but im holding off for a while. let us know how it work for you
I will. The last time I even looked into 3D printing it was cost prohibitive, even for a hobbyist. I kind of forgot about it. I found this site after seeing some FB planes on the internet and it sparked my interest to get back into RC after a long lapse and the frustration of planting multiple helicopters. Spending some time here browsing around and seeing what others are doing got me interested in 3D printing again. To have the ability to make things like This smartphone photography studio at home is remarkable. I had no idea.

If in the end, it doesn't work out the less than 200$ price tag will be a good learning experience. I have had hangovers that cost more than that. :sick:
 
#6
PLA is the "easiest" stuff to print. i guess you can say it is forgiving. It is cheap as well as environmentally friendly (i think it is biodegradable?).
It can be a very brittle material (especially when it is cold). Good for prototyping. I prefer ABS if i need the item to take a bump. I print all control horns for ft planes in pla so...its ok just brittle.
 
#7
3d printers sure are good learning tools. They can be extremely frustrating but just as rewarding (like anything fun). Used usable (non-proprietary) printers can be picked up for 100 bucks.
 
#9
Materials:

PLA: PLA is the most used filament for hobbyists for several reasons: it's very easy to print (prints at low temperature, doesn't need a heated bed, doesn't string very much at all) and it comes in a huge selection of colors and finishes. This makes it a great filament for decorative prints. However, for practical prints there are some downsides. The reason it's easy to print is because it softens at a very low temperature. Even a hair dryer is hot enough to dramatically soften it. So anything that's going to be subject to heat (even leaving it in a hot car) should probably not be printed in PLA. Also, although it is quite strong, it tends to deform under continuous pressure, so if you have screws holding PLA parts together you may find that you need to re-tighten them periodically.

ABS: I personally haven't used ABS, but know something about it. ABS is much more resistant to high temperatures. It's slightly more flexible than PLA and doesn't deform under pressure. However, it's much harder to print - it requires higher temperatures which may not be achievable by cheaper 3D printers, must be printed on a heated bed, and tends to warp badly if printing large flat parts. Also, printing ABS produces somewhat toxic fumes so it should only be printed in a well ventilated area. The warping can be reduced by printing inside an enclosure that keeps the ambient temperature high, but that's an extra complication.

PETG: PETG is actually the name for a whole family of materials. PETG stands for PolyEthylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified. PolyEthylene Terephthalate (PET) is what most disposable water bottles are made of. When PET is turned into PETG one or more of the glycol groups is replaced with something else. There are several different things that can be used resulting in different behaviors. However, there are some things that are pretty constant. PETG is sort of half way between PLA and ABS on both the ease-of-printing and the temperature resistance scales. Some PETGs will print well at temperatures as low as 225C which should be achievable by most printers. It is much more temperature resistant than PLA although not as much as ABS. On the down side it tends to string and glob much more than PLA when retractions occur so prints are not going to look as attractive as PLA prints do. This is usually not a huge problem for practical prints.

In general, for decorative prints or practical prints where temperature resistance isn't an issue I use either MatterHackers Build or 3D Solutech PLA, and for practical prints where temperature is an issue (such as the X carriage or part cooling nozzle for my printer) I use 3D Solutech PETG (this is one that prints fine at 225C).
 
#10
So, I was just informed that because of the virus outbreak in china that Anycubic will not be shipping any product to the US in the near future. They have not replied to a single email regarding my order and so rather than just have my money sitting in a vacuum for some unknown timeframe I have chose to do a chargeback with paypal.

I am still really interested in getting a 3D printer. So I am back looking for more recommendations, preferably something I can order from a US warehouse and have delivered soon. I'm not opposed to one in kit form as I like to tinker around.

What should I look for? and what should I avoid?
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#11
So, I was just informed that because of the virus outbreak in china that Anycubic will not be shipping any product to the US in the near future. They have not replied to a single email regarding my order and so rather than just have my money sitting in a vacuum for some unknown timeframe I have chose to do a chargeback with paypal.

I am still really interested in getting a 3D printer. So I am back looking for more recommendations, preferably something I can order from a US warehouse and have delivered soon. I'm not opposed to one in kit form as I like to tinker around.

What should I look for? and what should I avoid?
Well, if you don't mind a smaller bed, you can get a 3D printer from Monoprice:

https://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=21711&seq=1&format=2

I've got the V1 of this, and I've printed all sorts of motor mounts, control horns for planes, antenna brackets for my quadcopter, extra game pieces for board games, display stands for some of my LEGO kits, even some succulent planters for my wife.

Monoprice's warehouse is out of Los Angeles, so things tend to arrive fairly quickly if you're on the West Coast, and usually arrive within a week.
 
#13
Thanks for the suggestions, I am on the west coast. I really don't know anything about 3D printers, I just want one to learn about the technology, how to setup, how to do simple designs and maybe make some small parts for my models. I'd like to keep it inexpensive, but I also want something that is servicable and can get help with, if needed.
 

CrazyFastFlying

Well-known member
#14
Thanks for the suggestions, I am on the west coast. I really don't know anything about 3D printers, I just want one to learn about the technology, how to setup, how to do simple designs and maybe make some small parts for my models. I'd like to keep it inexpensive, but I also want something that is servicable and can get help with, if needed.
The Anet ET4 has a 1 year warranty, so if anything breaks you get free replacement parts. What is your price range?

The Creality ender 3 would be a good choice as well. There are hundreds of videos on youtube about it so if you have a problem, there most likely something on youtube.
 
#15
The Anet ET4 has a 1 year warranty, so if anything breaks you get free replacement parts. What is your price range?

The Creality ender 3 would be a good choice as well. There are hundreds of videos on youtube about it so if you have a problem, there most likely something on youtube.
I was right around 200$ for the i3 Mega so something in that ballpark give or take a bit would fit my budget.
 
#16
Ultimately, down the road I would like to be able to print some of the planes @localfiend has designed.

Specifically the one in this thread .

Since I had to cancel my original order (that I kind of purchased on a whim) I am trying to do a little more research to get the right printer this time.
 

localfiend

I like 3D printers...
Mentor
#17
If you can find an Ender 3 in the US, it can work for planes, but you'll be much better off after modding it to be direct drive.

I primarily use genuine Prusa printers, and it's what I recommend if you can afford it. If you end up not liking 3D printing, and want to get out of it, a Prusa will sell used very easily for a decent price. The cheaper stuff, no one generally wants used unless it's basically going for nothing. They can take a gamble on a new one instead.

I've got one of these as I wanted something bigger than a Prusa that would work well for planes.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QKJMJKG/?tag=lstir-20

It's already direct drive (way better for thin wall airplane printing, and other things like TPU), and has an AC heated bed. Assembly and leveling was quick and easy. $419 on amazon. You can probably shop around and find it cheaper. When I ordered mine, I think it came from China and was around $350. It's also amazingly quiet. I think the newer Prusas are probably comparable. All mine are the older Mk2s.
 
#18
If you can find an Ender 3 in the US, it can work for planes, but you'll be much better off after modding it to be direct drive.

I primarily use genuine Prusa printers, and it's what I recommend if you can afford it. If you end up not liking 3D printing, and want to get out of it, a Prusa will sell used very easily for a decent price. The cheaper stuff, no one generally wants used unless it's basically going for nothing. They can take a gamble on a new one instead.

I've got one of these as I wanted something bigger than a Prusa that would work well for planes.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QKJMJKG/?tag=lstir-20

It's already direct drive (way better for thin wall airplane printing, and other things like TPU), and has an AC heated bed. Assembly and leveling was quick and easy. $419 on amazon. You can probably shop around and find it cheaper. When I ordered mine, I think it came from China and was around $350. It's also amazingly quiet. I think the newer Prusas are probably comparable. All mine are the older Mk2s.
Thanks for the information. I remember you explaining about Direct drive and I had looked into converting the Anycubic, it didn't seem like it was that hard to mod it, nor terribly expensive. At this point I'm just kind of frustrated that they held my money and never shipped so I want to find something from somebody reputable that I know will get delivered. I'm not going to split hairs over 50$ at this point.

While I know from reading that it's not as simple as just loading the file and poof, out comes a plane, I am willing to put in the time and effort to learn. If at first all I can do is make simple control horns and motor mounts then I am ok with that, but I know down the road my goal will be able to print one of your planes. They are spectacular and I love what your doing with them.

Like everybody, I have to pick and choose what to spend money on, but I would rather get the "right" product the first time than to purchase something that won't live up to the purpose in the end. I also know that I don't need to purchase a backhoe in order to put a fencepost in... so to speak. The problem is I don't have any background to know what is good and what isn't.

I am assuming that Prusa is maybe the original inventor or something like that?

My luck to date with getting items shipped from china with no issues is not very good.

I appreciate your help.
 

localfiend

I like 3D printers...
Mentor
#19
When I first decided to purchase a 3D printer I tried to order an Anet A8. There were a bunch of shipping issues, so I canceled the order. I didn't want to deal with not being able to reliably get parts if I needed them. Glad I moved on and decided to spend a bit more money.

A direct drive mod isn't hard on a lot of machines. It can just be more work than most want to put in.

Prusa isn't the original inventor of FDM printers, although they were very involved in the early rep rap stages of development outside of major corporations once the requisite patents expired. One of their original designs worked out a lot better than the competition, and since Prusa made all their designs open source, it's been copied by the majority of fdm printer manufacturers you see for sale in the lower price brackets. Almost all of the Creality, Anet, Tevo, Mega, Wanhao, and Artillery printers are Prusa clones. That i3 you see in a lot of printer names come from Prusa.

Some clones are better than others, it can range from really bad to pretty good. Just keep in mind that at the cheaper price point, it's highly likely you'll be needing to swap out parts, or modify things to print anything more complex than control horns or cool paper weights. Not that that's necessarily a deal breaker. Troubleshooting your machine and figuring out how to make it work, will make you a better printer. Just depends on if you mind spending your time that way.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#20
I'd say it really comes down to whether you want printing itself to become a new hobby - or if you just want it to support your existing hobbies.
My first printer was a FolgerTech i3 "clone". It was about $350 when I got it in January of 2016. Like many of the lower cost i3 clones it really didn't have a lot in common with the actual Prusa design other than having the same basic layout/dimensions and being mostly compatible with most printed parts. But the frame was a totally different design than what Prusa did.

It was (and still is) a very good printer...but it was also very much a project and out of the box had a number of issues. Yeah, I got a successful print out of it my first try (and still use that print to this day!) but I fairly quickly found I had to do quite a few upgrades to the machine and that really opened up a deep rabbit hole. I don't think there are any original printed parts left on it at this point. And some things like the extruder I replaced several times over trying to find what worked best.

I was still able to get a lot of prints out to support my hobbies. But I spent a lot of time and money getting that printer to where it could reliably produce prints at the quality I expected of it.

A bit over a year ago I splurged and got myself a Prusa i3 mk3. I haven't had the need or urge to make any modifications to it. It really does "just work" and is far more reliable than my heavily modified cheap printer. It's not however quieter. It's pretty quiet...but my original printer I replaced the Y axis with one that uses open build parts instead of linear bearings and the fans on it (even though I use nice quiet noctura fans) are louder than the motion system. The prusa the linear bearings aren't loud...but they're definitely louder than plastic wheels on v-rail that the open build parts use.

Since I got the mk3 my old printer has been gathering dust. Partly because I just don't have room to keep it setup, but also because it's just so much more work to get consistent reliable prints out of it. I keep saying I'm going to fix the last few issues it has (most relate to a beta version of Marlin that's currently on it) but just can't bring myself to make time for it since the Prusa is so reliable and easy to use.

The prusa isn't cheap. And it's not perfect. (I don't suggest spending money on the MMU for example - it's kind of cool when it works...but I've had really inconsistent results with it and even when not printing with multiple materials it causes me headaches with filament management...I've almost got it working reliably but it's definitely not as reliable as the mk3 itself.) But the biggest issue I've had with the prusa is just that it's not quite as quiet as I had hoped it would be, and my print cooling fan died after a few months - ordering a replacement from Prusa wasn't practical due to shipping costs being higher than the fan itself, but I was able to get one off ebay that works just fine. But for the money - the Prusa is a MUCH better value than my original cheap printer was. If you can find a way to swing the extra cost I don't hesitate to recommend it.