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Old 01-12-2020, 09:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Want to pick up a 3D printer... Suggestions +/- $300

Don't need anything 'spectacular' and am doing this mainly for learning/fun so don't want to drop a ton of money on a unit at this time.

Eyeballing the Ender-3 Pro and the Anycubic Mega-S. Both appear to have similar features, but I'm *kinda* leaning towards the Ender due to the firmware options available.

The one thing I can't find is if either unit requires proprietary spools of filaments. Looking at pics of the Mega-S, it doesn't look there's any "brains" connected to the spool - just a post the spool hangs on. Neither manual seems to hint at an answer either. (At least not the manuals I've found) The Ender website shows filament for sale and it doesn't look like there's anything special about the spools either...

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Most printers on the market use the same filament diameter; 1.75mm. However, you need to learn about the different filament types and their printing requirements. You would be starting out with PLA.


Also look at the Ender 5.


I have the Ender 3 and have enjoyed it very much. My only concern has been thinking about how I can safely enclose it (i.e. without enclosing electronics) so I can print ABS without too much effort.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The Ender 3 is a great choice simply because the user base is one of the largest in 3D printing. Tons and tons and tons of great info out there (and some bad). Very few other printers have a user base as large as the Ender 3.

It's a nice printer out of the box but IMO requires a few easy mods to make it reliable. Teaching Tech has some good videos about the Ender 3.

It just uses regular filament. I would say "most" printers don't require any proprietary filament spools... the ones that do I'd avoid like the plague. The whole philosophy of 3D printing is open-ness and open source, making it closed source and/or proprietary is lame and most people in the community hate it. It locks you into overpriced parts, components, and filaments. You can get a decent spool of PLA for $16 on Amazon... you can't use that for printers that use proprietary filament spools. Lame.


Generally speaking I'd avoid ABS. It has very few advantages over PETG besides temperature handling, and many more disadvantages. If you try to print it without an enclosure, chances are it will warp. It's super annoying. PETG has almost everything ABS has and is way easier to print. I built an enclosure for my printer, and now I can print ABS, but even with what I have now it will still warp if it's too big or my offset from the nozzle to bed is a bit too far or even too close. It's finicky and usually not worth it. To print ABS guaranteed will every time, you need an actively heated enclosure that can hit and maintain at least 55-60C air temperature. That's pretty hard to do.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I initially bought a Prusa i3 kit by Folger, wasted a ton of time building it, it was a horrible kit with even worse instructions. Had to go to home depot way too many times and got to the wiring part of the build and said eff this. Still proud of myself for getting $100 from some unsuspecting Craigslist shopper for it...lol.

Got this JGMaker:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PQK64W7

Was up and running in a short afternoon. Prints great out of the box, works with the normal fun stuff like Octoprint. And it was $200. I've printed about 2 larger spools worth of prints on it, very happy with my purchase.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was torn between the Mega s and Ender 3, also. After a lot of reading and watching videos, I went with the Mega s. Every comparison video I watched (most comparing the original i3 to the Ender 3, the Mega s seems to be a cut above the Ender 3. I picked one up from the Anycubic website for $229 US on New Years day. They were out of stock but I was just notified Friday that it shipped! Super excited to get it and start making cool stuff!
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I did some more reading about the Ender3, specifically the "must have" upgrades and quite honestly, I'd need to toss another $120 or so at the thing before I ever set it up and then I'd have leftover parts/pieces so 1 more point in favor of the Mega S.

Having said that, I *do* like the open source bit about the Ender and the ability to use different firmware *but*, at this time, I wouldn't know the differences between the capabilities so that point is almost moot.

Looks like Amazon has the Mega S "new upgrade" for $299 and I just happen to have $200 in Amazon gift cards.

Regardless of which unit I choose, I'll probably buy from Amazon since I do have those gift cards...
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I did some more reading about the Ender3, specifically the "must have" upgrades and quite honestly, I'd need to toss another $120 or so at the thing before I ever set it up and then I'd have leftover parts/pieces so 1 more point in favor of the Mega S.

Having said that, I *do* like the open source bit about the Ender and the ability to use different firmware *but*, at this time, I wouldn't know the differences between the capabilities so that point is almost moot.

Looks like Amazon has the Mega S "new upgrade" for $299 and I just happen to have $200 in Amazon gift cards.

Regardless of which unit I choose, I'll probably buy from Amazon since I do have those gift cards...


You have to take a bit of those must have upgrade posts/reviews with a grain of salt. Watch the YouTube's and check out how printer behaves as it comes. Everyone geeks out later and does all sorts of mods.

Having more hobbies than time, I somehow convinced myself that printer mods were not going to be a new hobby.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I just watched a few YT Ender 3 vs. Ender 3 Pro vids. At the end of one of 'em the reviewer said he still prefers his CR-10 Mini to the Enders. I watched his Ender 3 vs. CR-10 review and there's a definite difference in print quality between the two and the price is still right around my $300 mark.

Like you, I do NOT want to get into the 3D Printer mods hobby.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well for the most part, a $300 printer is not going to get you a trouble free experience. There's a reason they're cheap.

If you want something that just works, pick up a Prusa i3 Mk3.5 and call it a day.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You've missed my point. I could grab the Ender 3 at roughly $200 and drop another $120+ on parts and still not have a unit that prints as well as the CR-10 Mini (Per a few comparisons I've read/watched) at $305. A little fiddling won't be an issue.

I'm in no hurry so I'll keep reading/watching/learning.
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Well for the most part, a $300 printer is not going to get you a trouble free experience. There's a reason they're cheap.

If you want something that just works, pick up a Prusa i3 Mk3.5 and call it a day.


I think that used to be true but in the last year there are some great offerings in the $200-300 range, if you do your homework. My printer prints every bit as good as my buddies $1k printer from two years ago. I get good prints on even the break apart models. The only things I'm lacking are a few convenience features like auto bed leveling.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Like I said, I have an Ender 3 and enjoy it very much. I have not done any upgrades. The only mod would be to use a hand-cut glass bed because I screwed up the build mat it came with using a putty knife to pry off part. Now I use sugar solution on that glass bed and works like a charm.



Some say you have to upgrade to all metal hot end to print ABS, but if you can print it at 230deg C, the hot end it comes with will work. Just need to solve the enclosure problem.


I Have owned it about a year, and print about 10 -20 hours a week.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't really anticipate printing with ABS, but I *do* have a potential project where nylon might be a good solution..

Just for giggles, I priced out an Ender 3 with a Duet WiFi controller, all metal hot-end, all metal extruder, BL Touch leveling module, glass plate etc.. I was very quickly past $600.. Way past where I really want to be..

Kinda leaning towards the CR-10 Mini at the moment with the addition of a BL Touch sensor... Still doing more reading.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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WiFi can easily be added to any open controller printer with a raspberry pi and octoprint. You can even add a $6 camera and watch your prints remotely.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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^^ what he said. I'd never use a printer without OctoPrint unless it had an equally good web interface (which isn't going to happen in anything except high end printers, like commercial options or at least ones equipped with Duet WiFi). It's a godsend on my Ender 3. So much nicer than using an SD card. I don't even use the LCD on the printer... I removed it. The web UI does everything.
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Honestly, I would recommend a Prusa mini of you can't afford the i3. Any printer that requires upgrades will just frustrate you in the end. Joshua Bardwell has a YT video that gives you a good insight of a novice approaching the subject.

My personal experience went: cheap Delta printer, TronXY X5S, Ender 3, Hypercube Evo, and Prusa i3. The Prusa is hands down my favorite, it just works.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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WiFi can easily be added to any open controller printer with a raspberry pi and octoprint. You can even add a $6 camera and watch your prints remotely.
I already have a couple R-Pis and a camera so will add that to whatever I end up with.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm a noob with 3d printing so this post will probably get laughed at and thrown in the bin, I looked for a while and couldn't decide what to get and gave up, pricing was a factor and ironically may have ended up spending more than I did. I went with a Tevo flash and not sure if it is considered junk against the models listed here or even in general. I don't print a lot but have done some fairly long prints, I think the ls3 block was the longest or maybe something of my own design which was roughly 10 hours.


I have never really had any major issues, the only one being the push fitting at the filament extruder which I replaced and modded slightly so the PTFE tube would not come out, but other than that it has been pretty good for me. Certainly at a beginner level I find it pretty awesome. YMMV though.


Not sure of it's expandability with some of the options your talking about, wifi etc. I had a few prints go haywire in the beginning and wanted to monitor it so I just set my video camera up as a baby cam type setup and monitored from my tablet. Although after I had ironed out sticking issues I don't really use the cam anymore.
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Old 01-21-2020, 12:27 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I ended up ordering the Creality CR-10 Mini. I just finished getting Octopi/Octoprint set up on a Pi 3B with a PiCam and verified I can get to it via my phone, my tablet and my PC so I'm that much closer when the printer arrives tomorrow.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Printer showed up today with not so much as a peep from the Amazon delivery guy. I just happened to go check the front porch and it was sitting there.

Got it all assembled and spent about 2 hours getting everything square and plumb. X and Y axes I got to within .0005 of square/plumb and Z axis is about 0.001 'cuz that's as close as I could get it...

Tried Cura for slicing, but it's choking on the height when generating G-Code (showing 229mm height when the model is only 48mm tall) and causing OctoPrint to spit out an error and it won't print. I installed the Creality slicer and it worked perfectly.

I've been sitting here watching the video as it grinds away.

BLTouch is due here tomorrow so if my test print works ok, I'm gonna print up a mount and dive in to that tomorrow afternoon.

Oh, for the record, bed leveling sucks....
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