3D Printing New to 3d printing. Recommend printer.

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Michael L

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Do your research in addition to asking other's input. Take your time.

I chose the Prusa MK3 for my first printer. Now each one of mine is upgraded to the MK3S and soon MK3S+. I chose them because they have been the top-rated printer under $1000 (799 as a kit) for 4 years and running and they have the best support team on the net. All of mine have been printing with less than a weekend of downtime combined spread over 3 years. It may not be the right one for you so do your research.
I researched which printer to buy for 6 months before I bought the MK3S+ kit. While building the kit I questioned whether or not it was worth the savings. Once I finished and it worked on first try I didn't think about that again until I was doing some troubleshooting and I knew where everything was and how it was assembled. My printer literally ran almost non-stop for a couple of months. The problems I've had were with a nozzle and, as you've pointed out numerous times, bed adhesion issues that were basically my fault.

Nozzles- brass nozzles are great. You have to be mindful of what you are printing.I printed some glow in the dark PLA from Matterhackers over the Halloween holiday. Everything printed great until about 1/2 thru a jack-o-lantern (about 4" in diameter with a lid). 1/2 way through that it started making a snarl of filament. Changing filament didn't help. I changed the nozzle to a hardened steel nozzle (in prep for printing Nylon X. Haven't done that yet) and all went well.I could even print the glow in the dark again. So why did the nozzle go so quickly? If I had read the info on glow in the dark PLA I would have seen that it was abrasive and they recommended a hardened steel nozzle. Lessons learned and all that.

I've been looking at the Pulse XE that Matterhackers sells for printer #2. It's fairly competitive in pricing, based on the Prusa MK3 design, and it's modified to use with Nylon X.

 

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I researched which printer to buy for 6 months before I bought the MK3S+ kit. While building the kit I questioned whether or not it was worth the savings. Once I finished and it worked on first try I didn't think about that again until I was doing some troubleshooting and I knew where everything was and how it was assembled. My printer literally ran almost non-stop for a couple of months. The problems I've had were with a nozzle and, as you've pointed out numerous times, bed adhesion issues that were basically my fault.

Nozzles- brass nozzles are great. You have to be mindful of what you are printing.I printed some glow in the dark PLA from Matterhackers over the Halloween holiday. Everything printed great until about 1/2 thru a jack-o-lantern (about 4" in diameter with a lid). 1/2 way through that it started making a snarl of filament. Changing filament didn't help. I changed the nozzle to a hardened steel nozzle (in prep for printing Nylon X. Haven't done that yet) and all went well.I could even print the glow in the dark again. So why did the nozzle go so quickly? If I had read the info on glow in the dark PLA I would have seen that it was abrasive and they recommended a hardened steel nozzle. Lessons learned and all that.

I've been looking at the Pulse XE that Matterhackers sells for printer #2. It's fairly competitive in pricing, based on the Prusa MK3 design, and it's modified to use with Nylon X.

I am sorry if I gave you the impression it was your fault. Each problem is without fault and a learning opportunity. Like a ballistic recovery, try not to repeat them.
 

Michael L

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I am sorry if I gave you the impression it was your fault. Each problem is without fault and a learning opportunity. Like a ballistic recovery, try not to repeat them.
I didn't / don't feel that way. I think you were/are very helpful. I was convinced that I had cleaned the bed properly and it was something else. After posting here I rechecked everything and sure enough, I was using the WRONG thing to clean the bed. You probably know this but the Prusa has two bed plates. Textured and smooth. Even now I would have to look up which gets what. I think the textured plate is windex and smooth is alcohol? Whichever it is I was doing the opposite and pretty convinced about it :) That is what solved the problem and you pointed me that way. Much appreciated.
 

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Windex reduces adhesion on any bed. I use soap and water or alcohol.
 

Michael L

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The Prusa knowledgebase and manual suggest 90% IPA but also include Windex. The wording looks different that what I remember from the manual though. Unfortunately that too is 950 miles away.


Smooth PEI sheet
  • Isopropyl alcohol 90%+ (IPA) - best degreaser
  • Windex - degreasing effect
    is worse compared to IPA
  • Warm water + few drops
    with dish soap (in case
  • IPA/Windex doesn’t remove
    sugar residue on the sheet)
  • Acetone - once in a while to
    rejuvenate the sheet
  • Use Windex when printing with PETG
  • Use glue stick when printing FLEX, PETG, and other PET-based materials
  • IPA + PETG will cause the print to adhere very strongly to the sheet. Removing it could be extremely difficult
Textured powder-coated
sheet
  • Isopropyl alcohol 90%+ (IPA) - best degreaser
  • Never use acetone!
  • Windex - degreasing effect is worse compared to IPA
 

cwbullet

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The Prusa knowledgebase and manual suggest 90% IPA but also include Windex. The wording looks different that what I remember from the manual though. Unfortunately that too is 950 miles away.


Smooth PEI sheet
  • Isopropyl alcohol 90%+ (IPA) - best degreaser
  • Windex - degreasing effect
    is worse compared to IPA
  • Warm water + few drops
    with dish soap (in case
  • IPA/Windex doesn’t remove
    sugar residue on the sheet)
  • Acetone - once in a while to
    rejuvenate the sheet
  • Use Windex when printing with PETG
  • Use glue stick when printing FLEX, PETG, and other PET-based materials
  • IPA + PETG will cause the print to adhere very strongly to the sheet. Removing it could be extremely difficult
Textured powder-coated
sheet
  • Isopropyl alcohol 90%+ (IPA) - best degreaser
  • Never use acetone!
  • Windex - degreasing effect is worse compared to IPA
I have read it many times. It has changed a lot during my 2 years of printing. "Never use acetone!" should be "rarely use acetone". I use it to reset sheets if I think I might be at my wit's end and would consider tossing them. Spray and quickly wipe if you use it without soaking.

I used soap and water on both sheets every 1-2 weeks to remove finger grime. You need to dry the sheet with paper towels thoroughly.

Windex is can make PLA difficult to adhere. It does remove the fingerprints, but it also leaves a film to reduce adhesion.
 

Michael L

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I plan to stop using windex. Alcohol works. The stuff I bought from Vision Miner is pretty good. I put it on once and then wipe it down with IPA to "level" the coating (my words not theirs) after a print like this:


I printed 168 of these (now I have to attached the pin to the back) for work. Our ops manager just had a radical mastectomy (I guess they still call it that) and another lady's mother has stage 4 breast cancer. One of these days we'll get back to our monthly in person meeting and we'll all (up to 150 of us show up to the quarterly meetings at one location and 35-50 at the other) wear these during the meeting to show our support. I wiped the plate down (gently) after each print and the marks from the previous print disappeared. I did a single ribbon test prior to printing all of them and I had bed adhesion issues, which is one of the reasons I posted here. After this discussion I'm going to chalk it up to poor bed cleaning technique.

My biggest issue with 3D printing is wanting more printers :)
 
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FishnBeer

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I have had an interest in getting a 3d printer for a few years now for misc small parts for the hundreds of hobbies I have. Gotta be honest, I am not very tech savvy when it comes to computer programs.

So whats the process like? Say I want to print a nose cone. How hard is it to find what part I want and have it magically come out of a printer? Are you guys actually designing the parts in a program? Pretty sure that is beyond my ability
 

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I plan to stop using windex. Alcohol works. The stuff I bought from Vision Miner is pretty good. I put it on once and then wipe it down with IPA to "level" the coating (my words not theirs) after a print like this:


I printed 168 of these (now I have to attached the pin to the back) for work. Our ops manager just had a radical mastectomy (I guess they still call it that) and another lady's mother has stage 4 breast cancer. One of these days we'll get back to our monthly in person meeting and we'll all (up to 150 of us show up to the quarterly meetings at one location and 35-50 at the other) wear these during the meeting to show our support. I wiped the plate down (gently) after each print and the marks from the previous print disappeared. I did a single ribbon test prior to printing all of them and I had bed adhesion issues, which is one of the reasons I posted here. After this discussion I'm going to chalk it up to poor bed cleaning technique.

My biggest issue with 3D printing is wanting more printers :)
Keep a bottle of Windex handy. Eventually, if you start printing with PETG and do it enough, you will get some over adhesion. Windex is helpful when you bed gets a little older.
 

Alan R

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I have an Ender 3 a few years old. Bought it for <$200 just to experiment and play with. Which means I learned a lot over time. I put picture glass over the bed and then blue tape on top of it. I think PETG actually adheres better straight to the glass, but I've only had a few problems in that respect and rarely change it out. I print 99% of PETG and PLA on the blue tape. If I have PETG adhesion problems, I'll pull it off. Depends on what I'm printing (something else learned).

Best to stick with one type and be done with it. For rocket stuff, PLA+ is the way to go. It prints easily and is more temperature resistant than regular PLA. PETG is a real bitch to print with, it is temperamental, prone to nozzle clogs and is very stringy.
Actually for rocket stuff, I like to use PETG. Yes, it took forever to dial it in but it is so much better for parts. PLA parts are pretty brittle and break on impact when lawn-darting. It will also warp if left in the sun. Trust me. Experience.
Some PETG tips: stringing occurs across gaps or when printing multiple parts. Just do one part at a time, and you get minimal stringing only over the gaps or inside tubes. Just burn them away with a bic lighter or mini-torch.

I have a whole slew of alignment guides made from PLA though. It prints fast and I can knock out a set of parametrics in about an hour while I work on the motor mount. I am acquiring quite a collection of different sizes now.

For leveling I use an old feeler gauge .102 PLA and .152 PETG. Leveling only takes about a minute after changing filaments.

So whats the process like? Say I want to print a nose cone. How hard is it to find what part I want and have it magically come out of a printer? Are you guys actually designing the parts in a program? Pretty sure that is beyond my ability
I use Tinkercad. Easy to design stuff there. Make a nose cone: cylinder, dia slightly less than ID of tube. put a hole in it. drop an ogive shape into your workspace. copy it. make the copy a hole slightly less height, dia of the original. group. put ogive on shoulder. group. ta-da! nose cone.

Like @David Schwantz said there are also tons of things on Thingiverse. But I find sometimes that they need a little tweaking and have to load into Tinkercad to modify a bit.

PETG nose cone, Eggfinder case:
IMG_0031.jpg IMG_20200405_140932132.jpg
 

Alan R

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@beeblebrox ... i just re-read your comment after I posted. I completely missed you were talking about PLA+ (not regular PLA). I'll have to look into that.
 

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Well this thread dun' did it to me. I went down the rabbit hole yesterday on 3d printers and decided I am gonna pull the trigger on one. As per reccomendations on here, I am leaning towards the mini PRUSA machine. Its the right size, in my price range and it just want the darn thing to work and not have to mess with it.

I am curious on one thing you guys may or may not have experience with... I have a friend who has a small forge and has been making castings from scrap aluminum as a hobby. He has made things in the past using the 'lost wax' method and the molds are hand shaped. I have a need for more precision parts so I want to know if you can do the same thing with a 3d printed mold? Maybe a certain kind of filament would be needed?
 

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Well this thread dun' did it to me. I went down the rabbit hole yesterday on 3d printers and decided I am gonna pull the trigger on one. As per reccomendations on here, I am leaning towards the mini PRUSA machine. Its the right size, in my price range and it just want the darn thing to work and not have to mess with it.

I am curious on one thing you guys may or may not have experience with... I have a friend who has a small forge and has been making castings from scrap aluminum as a hobby. He has made things in the past using the 'lost wax' method and the molds are hand shaped. I have a need for more precision parts so I want to know if you can do the same thing with a 3d printed mold? Maybe a certain kind of filament would be needed?
Look up lost PLA casting. I've wanted to try it but it have no place to melt metal currently. There is also a special filament that is developed just for casting:
 

Alan R

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He has made things in the past using the 'lost wax' method and the molds are hand shaped. I have a need for more precision parts so I want to know if you can do the same thing with a 3d printed mold? Maybe a certain kind of filament would be needed?
Saw a youtube once on a guy who does that. He 3d prints the part, plasters it, melts it and pours in aluminum. pretty cool.
we did that once in a high school art class making rings.
 

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The Prusa Mini has been a great experience for me as a first printer. It was up and running within a couple hours and has been very reliable for the four months I have had it. Easy enough to use that my 13 year old has learned to set up and run prints from Thingiverse with little or no supervision. She is still learning about supports, but can run the slicer and printer. I had one print that crashed the printer firmware... emailed Prusa and had a response to fix it within hours (yeah, just update the firmware). Results with Pursament PETG have been good. Results with SUNLU Silk PLA have been mixed, but I get the sense that regular PLA would run better. A do-it-yourselfer might get more satisfaction saving a few dollars and/or tinkering with other models; but I can confirm that if you want something that works first time out of the box, the Pursa Mini is a good way to go.
 

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I appreciate all the input. Definitely has Been educational. I've decided to save up for a bit better printer in the size I want, but I want a Prusa. I've scowered online everywhere. Watched tons of videos. And read articles after articles. Review after review. Checked all sorts of Facebook support groups. And one thing ... Prusa works no bs. You can pretty well build the machine set it up and your ready to really print. I plan to utilize pla+ so should be pretty easy. I'm not looking for another hobby. Just another tool to help with rocketry projects I want.

Either the mini or the I3 MK3S+.

The later is a little higher in price but $750 for all it has and does plus bigger than the mini. I think I'm leaning that direction. Just need a little more save money time for it. But think it's gonna be a better investment


Anyone with experience with the I3 MK3S+?
 

Michael L

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I appreciate all the input. Definitely has Been educational. I've decided to save up for a bit better printer in the size I want, but I want a Prusa. I've scowered online everywhere. Watched tons of videos. And read articles after articles. Review after review. Checked all sorts of Facebook support groups. And one thing ... Prusa works no bs. You can pretty well build the machine set it up and your ready to really print. I plan to utilize pla+ so should be pretty easy. I'm not looking for another hobby. Just another tool to help with rocketry projects I want.

Either the mini or the I3 MK3S+.

The later is a little higher in price but $750 for all it has and does plus bigger than the mini. I think I'm leaning that direction. Just need a little more save money time for it. But think it's gonna be a better investment


Anyone with experience with the I3 MK3S+?
Mine is currently printing away. It was offline for two weeks while I was away for Christmas. I turned it on, made sure the bed was clean, installed filament, selected a file, and it's almost done with a 4 hour print of 24 different items (that's a lot of moves) that cover the entire bed. I built mine. I've said this before but about 1/2 way through I was questioning my decision to save some money but the first time I needed to troubleshoot it I knew where everything was. I'd build another one, for myself, if the urge hit me.
 
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0011001100

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I appreciate all the input. Definitely has Been educational. I've decided to save up for a bit better printer in the size I want, but I want a Prusa. I've scowered online everywhere. Watched tons of videos. And read articles after articles. Review after review. Checked all sorts of Facebook support groups. And one thing ... Prusa works no bs. You can pretty well build the machine set it up and your ready to really print. I plan to utilize pla+ so should be pretty easy. I'm not looking for another hobby. Just another tool to help with rocketry projects I want.

Either the mini or the I3 MK3S+.

The later is a little higher in price but $750 for all it has and does plus bigger than the mini. I think I'm leaning that direction. Just need a little more save money time for it. But think it's gonna be a better investment


Anyone with experience with the I3 MK3S+?
I used to maintain multiple printers at my old school including two Prusa MK3s. Once setup properly they can just print and print. One went a whole semester printing parts for student projects without needing anything but a wipe down of the bed between prints. It had a 5kg roll on a separate holder and just worked. We also did multiple long prints including a 38 hour print 3 times in a row (need multiple pieces). We printed materials from pla to nylon and cf pla. Just follow the instructions and take your time when building and make sure to keep the bed clean and it will just work. On the official Prusa Facebook group there are a bunch of profiles already made that work great. You may have to tweak them to your exact machine setup (eg if it isnt on as rigid of a table you will have to slow down the printing).
 

FishnBeer

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Dont mean to hijack the thread but I am curious about 'wood PLA' filament for printing some fins. From what I have come to understand is that there is sawdust mixed in to about 10% giving it a wood-like appearance, can be sanded and smells like a campfire while printing.

Anyone have experience with this stuff? How well does it accept paint & glue? Strength?
 

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Dont mean to hijack the thread but I am curious about 'wood PLA' filament for printing some fins. From what I have come to understand is that there is sawdust mixed in to about 10% giving it a wood-like appearance, can be sanded and smells like a campfire while printing.

Anyone have experience with this stuff? How well does it accept paint & glue? Strength?
Yes. It creates an interesting smell. It can cause some jams and nozzle erosion over time.

I like SunLu Wood and iSanMate Wood filaments. Amolen Wood Bamboo is also pretty good.
 

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  1. Anycubic Mega Pro - Great starter printer. It works right out of the box and needs very little tinkering. Due back in stock from XMAS in February.
Do you have any more info on the Anycubic mega-Pro? The website says back in stock Feb 10th, taking pre-orders. I tried to input my info, to get a shipping amount, and I get a message "we do not ship to your destination, contact store"
 

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Do you have any more info on the Anycubic mega-Pro? The website says back in stock Feb 10th, taking pre-orders. I tried to input my info, to get a shipping amount, and I get a message "we do not ship to your destination, contact store"
It is the Chinese new year. If that is the printer you want, I would order Anycubic Mega Pro from Amazon. Once you pay to ship, you will not save any by ordering it directly.
 

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I have Creality CR-6 SE that I've been printing on since Dec. If I had to do it over again, either a) I'd spend more money and get a Prusa or b) I'd have gone with the latest Ender 3 family.

Why? Both have really good 3rd party support, and lots of information on them, and can be modded easily, etc. (not that CR-6 can't... just no ready set mod solutions out there at this point).

I ended up getting a Prusa as it has a temp window up to 300deg, which some of the filaments I am interested in trying out are in the 280 range which the Creality wasn't equipped for.
 

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I have the The Creality Cr6 se and love it. The Auto-bed leveling works great. I've had zero issues and have done no upgrades to it. I actually like the stock print bed, but have only printed PLA projects. Getting ready to do my first Petg in a day or to. Small canvas clips for a RV.
 

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I use some dope with PETG with the CR-6 SE and 85deg build plate temp. Occasionally, depending on print, I get something that is really stuck onto the service.
 

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Is shop.prusa3d.com the only place to get an original / brand name Prusa i3 MK3S+ kit? They're 3-4 weeks out?
 
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