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February 2016-Best 3D Printers?

Hey guys. As you know, I'm a wiz with cardboard structures, but those aren't really the best. I started to look into 3D printers, but with the huge number out there I wanted to see the opinions of those whom may have already gotten and used their printers for a while.
I continue to fall back on the da vinci 1.0 or 1.0 pro but shipping to Canada from the USA sucks with our $.70 dollar. Also am looking at the solidoodle press. Any recommended printers out there?

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#1  
There is an UP! Mini on www.robotshop.ca (in Quebec) going for a bargan at $795 (or there abouts)... I whole heatedly recommend it... It is a great abs printer and it is the closest thing (in that price range) to plug n' play as you can get... If you are a rookie at 3d printing the Up is second to none... Also it has a 1 year warranty to boot... Most printers have maybe 6 months at best...

Here's another option... Prusa i3... You are a smart kid, so this may be ok for you... It isn't as plug and play and it will need some tweaking for sure. I don't own one but it looks decent... It's a kit by the way so you will have to put it together... These guys are also in Quebec... Prusa i3
#2  
@Richard R Thanks, but it seems quite small for a print area. 12cmx12cmx12cm?
#3  
Yes it does... but large print areas are kind of a marketing scheme really... Those large print areas can take up to 24hrs to print stls (or longer). Failure rate for long prints is high... A print that made it to 23hrs then failed is seriously frustrating... I usually slice my stls into to smaller pieces, print them separately and then use acetone to glue them together... assuming you are using abs... You can get acetone from Canadian Tire for dirt cheap and abs parts bonded with it are actually stronger than the original part... The problem I have with PLA even though it is easier to print with is finding a strong adhesive to glue parts together... Acetone does not work on PLA...

Anyway, I printed 3/4 of my inMoov on my Up! Mini... so the print bed isn't really all that small...

The Prusa i3 is a better PLA printer due to the fact it doesn't have an enclosed build space...
#4  
I built a Prusa i3 clone kit and repaired a defective ebay kit I bought for parts. I am happy with them but like Richard said it is not plug and play. I didn't / don't mind tweaking it and it does print well. Upon assembly you need to check all wiring connections and be sure mechanically everything fits correctly and is tightened.

Also you really need to build an enclosure around it when printing ABS. Otherwise you get a bit of cracking and warping, which many open frame printers do. I am planning on printing Rafiki on the two printers I have. So far they are doing the job.

A 23 hour print failure is real painful if you are doing a 150 x 130 x 120 mm part on any machine, but I have been successful more than disappointed.

I posted a review on my printer last year.

Ron
#5  
What was the building process like on the i3 clone? I'm not quite sure about building a kit but if its a modestly simple process I'll be fine.
#6  
If you go with an I3, start with a kit. Here is why...

With a kit, you have a starting point. The settings to run the steppers will all be close to good and tweaking is a lot easier. Starting without this makes the process a lot more difficult and you end up designing a robot to use those metal rods that you purchased for your 3d printer named Rafiki...
#7  
The above statement was from a man who knows from experience, and has the skill to build anything he wants.

A kit is not a disassembled printer. It requires you to double check every part to be sure it fits correctly. You need to be sure all electrical wires are crimped fully and are not going to fall apart. I have even had solder joints be loose. Building a kit is not a quick build. Don't get me wrong, it is worth it but you must pay attention to details. I modified the heck out of the hardware and firmware on my second printer. Now it prints better than the original kit I bought.

You tube has a lot of information. Educate yourself, check out forums, then ask around. Look at the features offered, then you can decide what to get.

The last issue is because you built it you know how to take it apart to fix it. Parts are easily available. Spares are needed for the extruder and hot end, but are cheap.

Ron
#8  
Thanks for the tips guys! I'll continue my research and report back my decision! I3 is an interesting idea.
#9  
If you are serious about 3D printing and want a printer that really performs, maybe consider a Makerbot Replicator 2 or 2X. I got a Rep 2, 3 years ago and after 2500 hrs of printing, I haven't had a seconds problem with it. It is plug in and print right out of the box and if you don't use Makerbots filament you will get flawless prints over and over again. (I get the best PLA prints with RepRapper filament).
I have printed with PLA, flexible, wood and T-glass filaments - pretty easy!
Yes, the Makerbots seem expensive, but you get what you pay for. If you want to buy a printer that you need to continually "tinker" with buy a cheap one for a few hundred dollars, however, if you want one that continually performs spend the money and get a good one.