Looking for a decent 3d printer

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,247
I need to buy a 3d printer in the very near future to work on prototype electronic enclosures. It's minimum capacity should be 5x5x5 inches. Does anyone here own, or have experience with, a good 3d printer brand?

I'm asking because I already did some searching, and found that there are literally dozens of brands out there, and that's only those that are listed in amazon. Having so many options is a little confusing for me.

At this moment I'm willing to spend up to $2,500.00 dlls on this gadget. Also, I can see that some printers are equipped with a laser engraving head... that's a feature that could come in handy too.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
I have an Ultimaker 2 at work..
I don't think I can recommend it or that brand because at $2500 it still has problems and requires more maintenance than I believe it should for the price..
From what I've seen those with lower cost printers have the same issues and can print out parts of comparable quality with printers costing far less.. (aka.. I expected with the higher price I'd get a better unit and I'm not sure I did)
The biggest issue I have is under extrusion and mostly the base layers where the drive mechanism of the filament skips (more force than stepper can do)..
I even upgraded to a Bondtech feeder which helped for a bit but I'm right back to the same issue only a few weeks later.. Its only used a few hours a month if that..

Just giving you feedback one way or the other..
 

Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
Capitalism sucks, don't it?

You should see me shopping for toilet paper. I've been kicked out of Publix for brand comparison in isle 2.
So you're less productive, more expensive and more time consuming than the government effort.

While shopping for toilet paper making minimum wage people escort you out the door... ;)
 

Sinus23

Joined Sep 7, 2013
246
But yeah I have never owned a 3d printer myself so I cant really advice on that matter:(

I wish you good luck in finding the one that serves your needs.
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,247
Thank you very much, Mr Chips ... Indeed, after much MUCH browsing around today, I decided that I wanted a printer with high resolution capability, and there's only a handful out there that feature this capability. Most printers out there have a working range of 0.1 to 0.3 mm layer thickness. Also, a capacity of at least 180 x 180 x 180 mm is a must. And its seems that this printer has it all, and is even on the low price range of what I'm willing to spend.

Here's the finalists' short list:
Code:
               Brand                            capacity     resolution    WiFi    Price
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monoprice Maker Ultimate 3D Printer - MK11     200x200x175   0.02 - 0.30    No     $700.00
Robo R2 Smart 3D Printer                       200x200x250   0.02 - 0.30   Yes   $1,500.00
JGAURORA A-8-CA                                250x350x300   0.05 - 0.30    No   $2,200.00
BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder Laser Engraving  214x186x160   0.05 - 0.30   Yes     $859.00
The links to the previous items, in the same order:

And here's what I think:
  • The BIBO printer is the most enticing one, mainly because a laser engraving diode is included and so is also capable of marking and engraving objects ... BUT ... I looked around for spare parts, and the only place where I could find them was through AliExpress, which in my experience is a hassle when it comes to ordering. Unlike Amazon, that place is too unsafe and unsecured for my taste... so BIBO's out
  • The JGAURUORA one has the same spare parts problem as BIBO, plus they have a delivery time which is far too long for my needs ... thirty days or so... not to mention that it's the most expensive item in the list

This leaves us with two front runners:
  • Robo R2: Looks cool, really cool ... and it has a smartphone app! ... plus it has a much larger capacity on the z-axis (250 vs 175 of the Monoprice) but it costs more than twice as much.
  • Monoprice Ultimate: I think this is it ... there are spare parts readily available out there, such as nozzles and its power supply. And it looks decent enough not to embarrass me in front of my clients when I show it off... but it had me at hello when I saw the price ... AND, I can buy it directly from Amazon Mexico, without the hassle of going through all those import protocols out there ...
 

RichardO

Joined May 4, 2013
2,271
Also, I can see that some printers are equipped with a laser engraving head... that's a feature that could come in handy too.
I haven't researched this but I would be wary of just adding a Laser to a 3-D printer. Lots of potential problems -- The biggest one being eye safety.
 

RichardO

Joined May 4, 2013
2,271
And one review for the a bit more expensive ones:
https://www.3dhubs.com/best-3d-printer-guide
I noticed that Aleph Objects has 3 of their LulzBot products in the top 15 reviews.

The reason I mention this is that I was at an open house at the Aleph Objects factory. They are, sort of, just up the road from me.

What impressed me most was their faith in their own products. They have a large room filled with LulzBot printers making parts for new printers.


Note that I have no affiliation with Aleph Objects.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
If resolution is important I'd research UV/DLP/SLA printers vs FDM..
But I'm not sure what you really want to be printing out most often..

An "electronic enclosure" isn't likely to need high resolution..
Not to mention you could be waiting double digit hours vs an hour or 2..
3d printing (FDM specifically) is NOT a fast process at all..

I'm often changing my designs just because I don't want to wait 8 hours for some silly part to print..
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,247
If resolution is important I'd research UV/DLP/SLA printers vs FDM..
But I'm not sure what you really want to be printing out most often..

An "electronic enclosure" isn't likely to need high resolution..
Not to mention you could be waiting double digit hours vs an hour or 2..
3d printing (FDM specifically) is NOT a fast process at all..

I'm often changing my designs just because I don't want to wait 8 hours for some silly part to print..
High resolution is a most, since some of the items I'll be working on will require a very fine level of detail. But of course, that's a feature that I don't plan to use until the first drafts of the model are created. And yes, I do understand that's a rather lengthy process.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
2,887
Prepare to be disappointed. I purchased a Prusa I3 clone. It works as expected, but...

It is nothing more than a toy. It takes many tries at hours per try to get a good print on anything I have tried. An enclosure of about 4 x 2 x 2 inches would take all day to print. I have not yet gotten a good print with ABS, which would be the preferred material for such an enclosure. I have PLA printing down pretty well, but the prints still tend to warp after taking them off the bed, and PLA is too brittle for a lot of things. I seriously doubt that a printer with better specs would do any better, it the the process itself that is the problem.

Bob
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,247
Prepare to be disappointed
Thanks for the warning ... I'm preparing myself for the many hours it will take to get acquainted not just with the printer, but the material itself, I've you just mentioned ... but I'm a very perseverant individual, and (judging from the samples out there) I'm sure that eventually I'll get what I need for my application.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
Prepare to be disappointed. I purchased a Prusa I3 clone. It works as expected, but...

It is nothing more than a toy. It takes many tries at hours per try to get a good print on anything I have tried. An enclosure of about 4 x 2 x 2 inches would take all day to print. I have not yet gotten a good print with ABS, which would be the preferred material for such an enclosure. I have PLA printing down pretty well, but the prints still tend to warp after taking them off the bed, and PLA is too brittle for a lot of things. I seriously doubt that a printer with better specs would do any better, it the the process itself that is the problem.

Bob
I use ours for functional test fixtures/assembly jigs,etc... all the time.. currently just using ABS and then some with a PHA/PLA blend filament..
You can make parts that are pretty darn strong given proper design..
Like any material it has physical properties associated with it..
While not often as durable as a real injection molded part you can have parts that aren't just brittle/warped toys..
Even things as ensuring that you put it into the printer in a direction that the forces exerted on the item during use are not just peeling layers apart,etc.. can have a huge effect on the strength of a part..

Yes... They are slow... and do not expect full on injection molded durability..
But with proper design/proper settings (melt temp is very important) you can have some pretty tough parts that can take a beating..
Trust me.. our assembly staff handles stuff like they are 1000lb gorillas.. They don't give 2 craps about stuff here..
 

Thread Starter

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,247
Yes... They are slow... and do not expect full on injection molded durability..
Thanks for the useful info. As a matter of fact, I intend to use this tool for prototyping purposes. So long durability is not a feature that I'm looking for. It will only be after the part has been designed to satisfaction and thoroughly tested, that I intend to go to a local supplier and have it mass produced by injection molding.
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,724
My main printer is a Deltaprintr that was a kickstarter some years ago. it has done a massive amount of work.
Deltaprintr.jpg
I also have a re-badge Wanhao Duplicator i3 so I can use ABS. The Deltaprintr does not have a heated bad. If you use ABS, make sure the printed has a case. Here is a simple but effective one I did... https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2351805
But for good strong prints, I use Polymaker PolyMax PLA. It is stronger than ABS, does not need a heated bed, and 9 x stronger than standard PLA.
A good way to select a printer I think, is to look for forums on hacks and mods for the printer. That will often give you real info on the printers, and help to fix the problems.
 
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