3d printer advice

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T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
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Are there any 3d printers you can buy for starting out, and then add-on accessories to make them more advanced and do more stuff?

IE: I don't want to dump 1500$ or $3000 on an 'awesome' printer, but $500 now and some $ later IF I want\need is what I'm looking for.
note- i have no idea on price, above is just an example ;)

Any brands to stay away from?

Looking to build little things for around the house\garage to make life easier, but some parts could be exposed to more abuse than say a SSD tray ;)
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
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Your price ranges are pretty spot on. $300-500 to get the entry level printers, $1000-3000 for "good" ones.

Just like the more common computer-related questions on this forum, the real answer is "it depends...". It likely depends most of all on whether you just want to buy a printer and use it OR if you are going to get into this as a hobby and really start spending time on it.

These youtuber does a lot of 3d-printing related stuff. I like his videos because he is not sponsored by or pushing any specific vendor - they seem to be well rounded. This video is getting a bit dated but I think is really helpful
 
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T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
7,708
2,105
113
Your price ranges are pretty spot on. $300-500 to get the entry level printers, $1000-3000 for "good" ones.

Just like the more common computer-related questions on this forum, the real answer is "it depends...". It likely depends most of all on whether you just want to buy a printer and use it OR if you are going to get into this as a hobby and really start spending time on it.

These youtuber does a lot of 3d-printing related stuff. I like his videos because he is not sponsored by or pushing any specific vendor - they seem to be well rounded. This video is getting a bit dated but I think is really helpful
Thanks, yeah I should have clarified.

I'm not really looking to do it as a hobby more so of buying designs I want to print or having my kids do it as a hobby (design side) then we print it. The printer is more of the tool to get what we need accomplished.

It sounds like a 300-500 one to start with and then learn what we really need then upgrade would be a good method. Then as the kids get older they'll have their own too.

I'm interested in it as a prototype tool in the future, print a part, check fitment, then CNC Plasma out of steel. It seems super useful for this.
 

PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
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If that is the goal and you want it to "just work" without too much fiddling then I'd suggest you skip the really "low end" printers and get something a bit more supported and likely to be reliable.

The low end (Creality, et al) really become hobby projects because they take so many shortcuts to hit the price point that you end up always having to "fix" it or do upgrades so that you don't have to.

You won't go wrong with a Prusa printer. Very well supported, rock solid, large community for help too. MK3S+ in kit form (you have to put it together) is about $650. Depending on how old and how interested your kids are the building process could be really interesting (takes about 6-8 hours for a reasonably handy person, perhaps more if your kids are "helping"). Or you can buy it fully assembled for ~$900.

If you do go for the low end take a look at the Creality Ender 3 series of printers. This is probably the best selling 3d printer worldwide. People either praise them or curse them, but its common enough that you can always find parts, always find upgrades, etc. Creality "support" is typical of Chinese vendors (e.g., there really isn't any). I'd avoid the lowest end of this line but the middle/top versions are reasonable.
 

oldpenguin

Member
Apr 27, 2023
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Instead of creality, i'd probably go with elegoo for entry segment - way less fiddling needed. Won't be a prusa mk3, but nearest you could get for the lower budget.
 
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