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Thread: 3d printer - ~$500

  1. #1
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    3d printer - ~$500

    I'm curious if you guys have any experience with a 3D printer in the $500 range? I'm not looking for anything too elaborate, but would like decent accuracy. I don't mind a kit too much either. I just want one to make toys for the kids and an occasional paintball part.

  2. #2
    Insider AndrewTheWookie's Avatar
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    You can get accurate prints out of just about any printer, the key is calibrating them. That said, calibrating a cartesian style is a breeze, deltas are a pain in the ass.

    I picked up a FolgerTech Kossel (~$350) a few months ago, but it was a pain in the ass to calibrate because it's a Delta style. I'd definitely recommend only looking at the cartesian model ones first. I don't have much experience with any brands other than FolgerTech so I can't give any good comparisons but they are a decent company that make adequate printers for the cost.
    I don't know, fly casual

  3. #3
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    Is calibration required for each print or does it creep over time? I want something to get my feet wet with and don't want to jump off in the deep end too much... yet.

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    I'm leaning towards this one: http://store.quintessentialuniversal...id_product=145

    I haven't found the calibration method though.

  5. #5
    Insider AndrewTheWookie's Avatar
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    Once you calibrate a printer it's good to go for a long time, but depending on the design may be more prone to going out of calibration more frequently. But to put it in perspective, my delta has way more calibration steps and more failure points where it could go out of calibration than a model like you linked, but it's held its calibration for the last 6 months and I've used it heavily the whole time.

    Calibration is pretty universal between all printers of the same style, and in the case of the one you linked the movement is pretty much good to go because the steppers are linearly linked to the axes. Everything else is just tweaking temperature, feed rate, print speed, etc. Those are a little different for every printer, so that's just something you have to fiddle around with once you actually start printing.

    Here's the RepRap calibration page: http://reprap.org/wiki/Calibration

    Don't be freaked out about how much there is, once you get a printer set up and moving around the rest usually falls into place after a few test prints and you get a feel for how your filament is doing.
    I don't know, fly casual

  6. #6
    Insider Davros's Avatar
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    3d printer - ~$500

    My brother and I built a RepRap for $400 and it took allot of TLC to get it going but it is going and very useful now. We just went to one of their website pages and ordered the appropriate parts from the list. It was a while ago so it the costs may be different for the most current design. If anything though, it should be cheaper and easier with a most recent design.
    Last edited by Davros; 05-28-2016 at 10:29 AM. Reason: Capitalization.

  7. #7
    My suggestion would be a Wanhao Replicator i3. This is the printer I started with and it works great. So great that I bought a second one for my fathers 60th birthday present. I can't believe the stuff hes printed on his. I don't think he ever turns it off. It's not a perfect printer but for $400 it comes 95% assembled and you would be printing within an hour of opening the box. A little bit of tinkering and it will produce really great prints. One of the biggest advantages is the huge user base this printer has. The community support is fantastic.

    I would advise against buying a kit for your first printer. There is just so much to learn about printing that adding the complexity of assembling a kit can be a little overwhelming. Once you get your feet wet 3d printing by all means look at a kit for your next printer.

  8. #8
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    Meh, I think I'll go with that Wanhao. There's a memorial day discount and it seems pretty solid overall. I have a little experience with the big units at college both when I was a student and again when I taught. Those were pretty darn straight-forward and I did some pretty cool prints to show the inner workings of things.

    Thanks for all the advice guys. This is going to be fun!

  9. #9
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    Placed the order for the replicator i3 this morning. Can't wait until it gets here and I can start getting it setup!

  10. #10
    Congrats,

    Here's a link to a good getting started guide. (The Cocoon Create is a re-branded Wanhao I3)

    The Wanhao google group

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