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Makerbot Clones

I think it's probably about time I tried printing some of the 3D parts I've been creating for the last couple of years (there are a fair few of them, I just hit a big milestone with the number of "things" I've created) so it's time to look at 3D printer options.

There's no way in hell I'm about to be able to afford a Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen since over here they are a minimum of 2,000 + VAT (20%) + Shipping so we are looking at around 2,500 ($3,800) if not more - now you know why I'm hesitant about 3D printing!

Makerbot "clones" on the other hand are a great deal less expensive. I appreciate that the components and construction will be lesser quality than the official Makerbots however we are looking at a 2,000 difference so the clones are extremely tempting (although only from a source which comes with great feedback and support, so probably more like 1,500 difference)

But I'm not naive enough to believe a clone is as good as the real thing so am reaching out to anyone who has experience in using the clones for any advice.

Yes, a makerbot would be the wiser choice but not for one who cannot drop 2,500 on concepts which may never have any return on them at all.

Alternatively, I have the option of the following 3D printers which do fall close to my price bracket...

Cube (2nd Generation) - 140x140x140 print area, 200 micron finest print.
XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 - 200x200x200 print area but stuck using their filament (unless "the people" did find a hack). 100 micron is finest print.

The da Vinci is the one which is tempting me most, especially if that hack is available (I'll search soon). But at 20% of the price of a MB Rep 5th Gen it's screaming out that either MB are darn expensive or it's not going to be much more than a paperweight.

Help... *stress* (Ideally by saying "I have a da Vinci 1.0 and it's awesome once you do this and that and tweak this")

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Look at it this way... print as much as you can up until 60 days... If it is doing fine by then... then it may be worth keeping. If it bricks itself, send it back... Be prepared for a lot of tweaking... Prints will get better as time goes on. I learned one thing. There is no need to print at the highest possible resolution... Personally I can't tell 200 microns from 250... However the at 250 microns it finishes prints quite a bit sooner....
It's likely a CTC then , they put the "3d printer" tag on the front of the build platform where Makerbot would normally go.
I can speak to:

MakerGear M2 $1800.

Then if you need a decent less than $1000 go with the Robo 3D R1 @ $800 and do the suggested upgrades (cheap). You can a nice big LCD screen for under $75.

Next in line would be the Dremel @ $1000.

If you need really cheap, I would go with the Printrbot Metal @ $600.

ALL printers have their quirks and suggested tweaks. I would highly recommend spending $140 on Simplify3D software.
I have the Arduino Materia 101 and print using ABS
Very happy with it.

Use OpenScad and Cura slicer, there both open source.
One year later, how are people doing with their CTC/3D Printer/Makerbot clones?

I saw one on eBay with dual extruders for a lowly $400 including touchpad, supposedly stand-alone printing, supposedly heated base. That seems like a lot of features and functionality for just $400, but I suppose that's the power of large scale production in a low-cost country: stuff gets affordable.

Anyway my apologies for "re-opening" an old thread, however, I think it's still a valid topic. Also, I'm curious to hear what people are printing with 1 year on, was going cheap a bad idea? Did your models crumble away? Etc.
I'm a year out from buying a DaVinci 1.0. It would be nice to buy filament from anywhere, but on the plus side my filament is consistent in quality. I've printed many parts, learned a lot. I think it's great! I've really only had one jam in the year and 2 misprints where filament did not want to stick to the surface (my fault).

Just this month I bought Simplify3D software and it really opened up my world...it makes printing sooo much easier to print under it's software. I highly recommend that software.

I also just bought an XYZ 3D handheld scanner (it has the intel 3d camera in it), and I do like it. 3D scanning is not as straight forward as one would hope, it takes tweaking and like with 3D printing the more I do with it the more I'll learn.

In the future I want to get a printer that I can swap heads outs so I can print in any filament: like flexable, pla, wood, etc and a dual head extruder. I like the idea of swapping the heads out with ones for specific purposes because I don't like the idea clogged print heads. :-)
I think opening the discussion on finding a good printer is always good, if not just to check what happened over time....things tend to evolve I guess! :D

I started my first little project and had it printed by Shapeways, just to check if I can get all the measurements right and to get a feel for the material that they are using...it was not really expensive and the quality is really good!

Of course for bigger projects this is not an option, so lets see how long it will take until I will start looking for a printer....for now Shapeways seems to be a good option!:)
Yeah i struggled with 3d scanning a few times. ARC a few years ago had a 3d scanner for kinect built in - but it was so unreliable that i couldn't promote it and it was therefore removed.

It's so easy to use CAD design software that 3d scanning doesn't make sense for the effort.

Mickey, how expensive is "not really expensive"? I had submitted some samples a few years ago and was blown away with the price of $200 - $300! I can buy a makerbot replicator 2 used for $500...

I really like the replicator 2 - however, maintenance is a little frustrating if you're not familiar with the problem symptoms.

This is my review of the FlashForge Creator Pro. It works but it too has some maintenance concerns and some faulty design due to the wires that are used. I have printed a lot with it (about 50 spools) and it works well if you get to know it and are willing to replace some wiring that wears out. Also, using the $25.00 filament tends to cause clogs in the nozzles after about 15 to 25 KG of printing. It is much easier just to replace the print head assembly than to try to replace the nozzles.

I also suggest Simplify3D with it. It will make things go a lot better with slicing and printing.
Yeah the 3D scanning thing using a Kinect was a fun thing, but for modeling or even printing it is just too messy...any CAD software will do a way better job, the scanning could give you a good approximation but will need a lot of tedious cleanup anyways, so it is better to just stay in your CAD environment and build it there!:)

I printed a model that was 8cm by 8cm which was 0.8cm deep plus a small inlet to check if I can fit it in...the printing was done in white polished nylon and had no flaws, all the measures were fitting perfect!

At Shapeways I payed 20 in the end, I could have even got it cheaper if I would have had the patience to wait longer for it to be printed!

So I guess for any small object this is quiet a good deal, or you could use this for an option to get stuff printed in different materials that your printer cannot handle!

I will check the FlashForge Creator Pro link too, I might at a point also want to have the option to print at home!:D
Seems like having a 3D printer is not really a plug&play thing....and you would have to do a lot of research finding the right one!

I was thinking of a step by step solution where I would first just deal with the construction of the robot and get the parts printed elsewhere, so I dont have too many loose ends to worry about....my robot will not be an InMoov it will probably be way smaller than the JD if I can get if done, so I hope printing cost will not skyrocket!;)
3D printing is its own beast that you have to tame before parts come out like you want them to. If the robot is small, you might check out the UP printers. There are a few people around here that have had really good success with them.

Once you get into 3D printing, you soon find yourself designing your own stuff which takes it to a completely different level of fun.

If you are looking to print a single small item, services are much cheaper in the long run. If you decide to make multiple items it quickly becomes cheaper to buy your own printer. I couldn't even begin to imagine what a service would have charged for all of the 3D printing that I have done over the past year and a half. I suspect that it would be more than the ~$2500 that I have spent on printers and filament though.
there isn't a common opinion which printer is affordable, easy to use, trouble less, etc...

so my only solution is an online service...

1) can someone recommend a service ?

2) I would like to print DJ's new EZ-BIT, i had some issues before the printed parts (clips) not fitting, did happen to someone else too ?
As I said Shapeways worked fine for me...was by far the cheapest online service!
I will work with them for now, I might check other options too, but they seem to have a good service and a nice variety of materials to choose from!

I would love to have a printer too, but I am kind of scared to invest in the wrong one....I might have to do a bit of research soon!

@CochranRobotics my aim is definitely to create my own robot, that was what exited me when I found EZ-Robot, I am still a little unsure about the different data formats and am kind of scared to miss some open edges or flip some verts buts I guess I can tackle the beast!


Auto-spell check error. Shapeways is what he meant.

Hahaha...thanks Alan, was actually my brain on auto pilot!:D

Would be kinda cool though if you could shop your 3D prints at Safeways...lets just wait a couple of years!;)
Some Staples office supply stores have 3D printers, so yes, it probably won't be long before this is much easier and cheaper. And of course the home machines are getting more reliable and eventually will just be another appliance.

I had a DaVinci, It worked well for almost three years. I was limited to there filament and I didn't like that, so I got the reseter. It didn't always work properly. I finally flashed it with Repetier as I saw on you tube. I was able to use any filament brand. You just have to set the settings properly. Lots of tinkering to find what works best for you.
I also had a CTC printer. It worked good as well. But I ran into a lot of problems after about a year, with broken wires , and spent a lot of time upgrading it. Nothing hard to do, but time consuming. Also the print bed is smaller than a Replicator 2.
I also tried an i3 Prusa. It's simpler when it comes to repairs, everything is at hand, and in the open. I got great prints at first, but after only a few long prints, it isn't printing very well. Only had it about 2 months and hardly used it.
I was able to get a makerbot 5th cheap on E-Bay. I've gotten some great prints from it. However, I have also ran into problems with filament jams, ( which I was able to find the cure for from Makerbot) and problems with the base layer coming out very rough, ( haven't cured this yet). All in all, It hasn't been a bad printer, and prints larger that the Davinci. It is noisy though. Also, it is recommended to use PLA filament only, on the 5th. You can print in ABS, but it doesn't have a heater bed.
The Davinci, was much quieter. As an entry level printer, it was great. It is a large machine size wise. I recommend it as a beginner unit, if you have the space to put it. Otherwise the CTC was a good starter and cheap as well.
I saw a printer at a trade show. It was just a robot arm, but you could change the things on the end of the arm. It started with a wrist and hand and wound up a 3D printer. The things were changed again and it was a Laser cutter. It was also an engraver, Drill, and other tools. It was in one of these kick-starters. But it was Amazing! And, it was reasonably priced.
Actually the makerbot is also based on an opensource platform. No one actually owns an opensource platform and can improve on it however they like, that is the whole idea. I have worked with the Makerbot Replicator extensively and the heated platform is a pain to work with. There are tons of curling and require constant adjustments to keep model from turning into scraps.

If Mbot’s claim that it fixed the curling issue and is able to print at max volume without issue at such a low price, it is a huge improvement on the Makerbot’s replicator. If the claims can be verify by reputable sources, Mbot then deserves much more media coverage and praises.