Asked — Edited

What To Buy . 3D Printer

I am looking to purchase my first 3d printer.... I was looking at the Makerbot Mini as it claims to be no fuss, no muss for the user (attractive, especially to noobs like me)... I do want quality and I don't really want to cheap out however, I don't need to buy the best either... What I want is a relatively non "fiddlely" (not a word LOL) that will not make me regret my purchase... Something that would have no issues producing 3d prints for something like the inMoov project....



Thanks Richard


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I choose my lulzbot Taz because in had more options than a Makerbot.

I can print pla or abs or many other filaments.

It has dual heads if that is what you want.

see link:

also see:

My second choice was M2



Richard, buy a makerbot. I am trashing my printer and buying one. I am worn out with the frustration of it printing great for a week, and then not printing well for a few weeks while I try to get it printing well again.

Solidoodle also has a printer that has a lot of features, but it won't beat a makerbot and what I have come to realize is that I just want the printer to print without me having to mess with it constantly. I have learned all that I want to learn from building my own printer. Makerbot also print fast compared to other printers. 600 hours on a makerbot = 900 to 1200 hours on other printers.


The important features are

Fully enclosed and Heat bed. One of the newer important features to me is auto leveling.

If you are fine not printing abs, heated and fully enclosed are not important. The replicator 2 has 2 hot ends I believe. It is nice to be able to print 2 colors at the same time but not important to most.

I believe that what Bhouston had in the background of his photo was the printer you mentioned.


I was wrong, the 2x has 2 hot ends. This is a good printer.


@Richard, I just had a look at Makerbots site, I don't think the Mini will be big enough, it's build table is only 4" x 4". It's too bad they came out with the Rep 2X a month after I got my Rep 2, or I would have bought the 2X. The 2X has the dual head option, can print with ABS and PLA plastic and you don't have to buy Makerbot filament. You have to use MB filament in their new generation printers and it's expensive! The on going cost of filament needs to be considered. I can buy filament for half the cost from other sources compared to Makerbots and, in my opinion it works better.


Another 3D printer you may consider is the FlashForge. They have several different models and most are copies of the Makerbot series with some improvements to the printhead.

The basic bottom line becomes what program is used for 3D design and then what program is used to slice your model.


Thanks guys lots to digest... @bhouston... I quickly realized the mini is too small... I assume the 2x is the newest? Robotshop has them for around $2700 CAD + Tax and the basic Replicator 2 is $2195 .... I wasn't planning on that much...

@Doc I am not too interested in designing my own stuff as much as I am printing existing 3d stuff (like inmoov). However, down the road that may change...

I'll check out the flashforge...

@d.cochran .... so you reckon' I would be happy enough with the just the Makerbot 2? Multi colour would not be importand to me... I am also not quite sure I am ready to spend $3000 on the 2x...


@Richard R, that's the model I purchased just about a year ago. The seller website is located in the USA and not China so support and parts may be a bit easier to get. You might also want to check the GoogleGroups FlashForge threads for more info. You will discover (no matter the 3D prnter vendor) that some hacking and modding will be necessary.

Here's a URL Link with lots of owner/user posts.


@richard R,

The 2 would be good and I believe you would be happy with it. I have used one and it works well. The makerbot software that comes with it is good and very easy to use. I especially like their rafts a lot more than slicers rafts. You would be happy and most importantly, you would have accurate prints. You would definitely be able to print an inmoov with the quality that you have seen by @bhouston.


This is what Anthony prints his stuff on I believe. He has done some incredible things with his. Nothing will be fiddle free, but the Makerbot is more fiddle free than anything else I have seen, but you will pay a price for it, which to me is very worth the it.


@d.cochran..... Thanks... I think I have made up my mind.... I think I have decided on the Makerbot 2... Have to save a bit more money, but should have one in a week or two....

Thanks everyone else who commented... Richard


Good choice. I paid a visit to the Mothership - aka EZ-Robot's head office in Calgary - last week and they have 5 Rep 2's lined up there.


@bhouston... Were they actually doing any work, or just playing pinball:P:P

United Kingdom

Hi Richard,

I have two printers and print VERY high numbers of parts each week for online orders too. The two printers I have I bought because they were the best finish by far and also because they literally require no fiddling with settings, temperatures etc. The choices were after a lot of experience with building and using RepRap based printers.

The large printer I have is the Zortrax M200 which is incredible performance.

The small one is the Up! Plus 2. I always wanted them to come out with a larger more enclosed printer - which at long last they have done so may look into that next as they are an exceptional company.

Like I say both printers are able to print "bullet proof" and to be honest, a significant amount of online orders I get are to print things that others haven't been able to - hence why I get a lot of repeat customers.




@Jay... Thanks... I can get an UP! Plus 2 here in Canada for about $1450 CAD... The Makerbot Replicator 2 is around $2175 CAD.... I can also get an UP! Mini for about $675 CAD....


@Richard Which printer did you finally decide to buy ? Are you happy with it ? Any feedback / comments ? I too live in Canada (Ottawa area) and looking for a printer (inmoov project). How about the Dremmel (Ideal), or the Solidoodle 4 ? Makerbot 2 prints PLA only. Does printing ABS important (lets say for Inmoov) ?


From the ones you mentioned, here is what I know.

  1. Solidoodle 4 I will know more about soon. The school that I help ordered one and I will be the primary support for it. Stay tooned on that one.

  2. The Dremmel looks like the new one from FlashForge. It is getting good reviews but I dont know what is different about the Dremmel. Maybe just badging.

  3. The makerbot 2 is really good but I would stay away from the new makerbots right now. If you are looking at the MB2, I would look at the FlashForge Pro

ABS VS PLA - ABS is more flexible and to me prints better. PLA you dont need a hotbed on the printer. I like ABS because I can chop up parts when printing and then use acetone to combine them back easily.

I havent used the UP printer that Richard has but it has a small build volume. It is large enough to print an inmoov as richard printed most of his parts on it. He said it worked really well. I know he has said that he liked his FlashForge also.


@kazobond ... I wanted to print in ABS because it is much stronger than PLA... I ended up buy 2... First was the UP! Plus 2... which is an awesome easy to use printer right out of the box... One drawback is the build area is relatively small... 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.3" or something like that... It should still be enough to print the entire inMoov...

I got an awesome black Friday deal on a Flashforge Creator Pro so I could not resist and bought that as well..... The flashforge is not as neebie friendly as the UP, but it has a larger build area and the prints come out phenomenal...


I am presently printing the Inmoov robot with my Flashforge Dreamer 3D

This printer have 2 extruders and can print ABS and PLA on a 9 X 6 inch bed.

After printing 3 KG of material with no problem at all, I am still verry satisfied.

The only draw back is the special dimention size of the spool set into the printer.

My solution is to feed the material from outside the printer or tranfer the filament from a new spool to the one used inside the printer.

I am buying from a local store and having good quality print out



You need to build a robot that will transfer from the larger spool to the smaller one so you arms dont get worn out:)

I have been looking at the dreamer also. I am torn between the pro and the dreamer but the draw back you mentioned was one of the reasons I was leaning toward the pro. I still am favoring the Ultimaker 2 over any others because of the layer resolution it can print at. Also, I dont know of any other members who have the UM2 yet so I would like to see if it lives up to the hype. Having members with a variety of printers to me is a good thing.


Spool size should not be an issue for you, Flash forge do free shipping in US 29$ / spool. UM2... 1895 euro ----- 2141$ US

Dreamer... 1300 $ US local support.

You may install the FlashPrint SW and see what the dreamer can do (print resolution and support function capability).

I am just a believer.


I understand. The cost isn't the issue because I would either be buying 2 Dreamers or 1 UM2. With the UM2 having 5 times the layer resolution is also a big factor. Also the UM2 is the most desired printer out there. It could be hype but I wont know until I get one. The speed that the UM2 prints at is very impressive.

The debate that has been going on in my mind is would it be better to buy 2 dreamers or flashforge pros or 1 UM2? The print speed of the UM2 is between 2 and 3 times the speed of the Dreamer according to the specs and what I have seen in videos. This is at 100 microns. The UM2 can then go down to 20 micron layer height so that gives me more options. Also, the UM2 has fans to cool the just printed material at the hotend. This is huge for overhangs and printing with far less if any support material. Also the build envelope for the UM2 is larger.

If I got the Flashforge I would be doing the mod to allow it to use the cooling fans at the hotend, which removes one of the two hotends anyway. I have looked at the M2 which has a lot of the features that I am looking for, but the build plate moves on the y axis, which to me isnt a good design in the long run.

Ultimaker is now in the US also

2-3X Faster, 5X better precision, 90% larger build area, cooling at the hotend, local support and $2146.66 vs $2598 (2 Dreamers to match the 1 UM2) not counting the cost of shipping 2 printers instead of one (both from the US). I think I will end up going with the UM2. The cost of filament becomes free for a while due to the $450 dollar difference in price (about 10 spools or 22 lbs if I went with the expensive stuff). Also coming is the ability to add a second hot end and have the cooling which I don't think I would do anyway.

In any event, both are great options. I am sure that I wouldn't be disappointed with either.


I use Simplify3D as my slicer... It's not free, but hands down better than even makerware... With the default settings for the Flashforge Creator dual my pro printed perfect right from the get go using Simplify3D...


I agree with using Simplify3d. It seems to have helped a lot of people. It was also the first place I looked when looking at which printers to get that were commercially sold.

Its on my "Replace my reprap printer" list of things to pickup.


Alright, here's some feedback. I DID manage to find myself a 3d-printer :D A Solidoodle 2. I was hoping to find the cash for a Makerbot, but I did not have $3000 to spare. So my very good friend lend me his SD2 to play with indefinitely. Now that I can afford :-)

I've been reading non-stop since a few day, and phew, so much to lurn, but I really enjoy it.

From all the research I've done, I still have questions. If I understand correctly, there are a 5 main components within 3d-printing system: the 3d object (stl file), the host printer program, the slicer, the printer itself (hardware), and the ABS/PLA filament. Example:

  • 3d object file: EZ bits, and Inmov ...
  • Host program: Repetier (Solidoodle), Makerbit for Makerbot ? ...
  • Slicer: Slic3r (Solidoode). Simplify (recommended, but not free) ...
  • Printer: Solidoodle, Makerbot... Of course there are so many more hardware and software, but this is just an example.


  • Given the same 3d object (stl file), which components would be most important for a successfull print, in order of importance ?
  • How critical is the slicer ? Why is Simplify so recommended ? I find Slic3R (open source) highly configurable, but can not compare with any other (yet).
  • I heard of a modification to the Solidoodle to help curlup layers which consist of enclosing the printer to increase the printing temperature (thread from Josh). But at the same time, I also read another mod to add a small fan near the extruder (thanks again Josh). That would cool the layers as they print, which is just the opposite of the purpose of the enclosure. I am bit lost here.

Again, comments, feedback, answers would be really appreciated.


@Kazobond... you are seriously over thinking this... If Simplify3d supports your printer buy it... You won't regret it... If you don't want to buy it then check and see if Makerware supports your printer and as a second choice use it...

Have you looked at the Flashforge Creator pro (or even Dreamer)? It cost a lot less than a MakerBot but produces outstanding prints... (I have one so I know).... You can use Makerware which is free or buy Simplify3d (I bought it because it basically makes 3d printing on my flashforge a few mouse clicks)...

I would stay clear of the Solidoodle as it doesn't have a good buyer feedback rating... Go on (not ca) and check out 3d printer reviews...


The process you would go through Get an STL file (unless you are going to start modeling your own parts)

You might need to repair the STL file. Simplify3d does this along with a few other apps.

setup a slicer program to be compatible with your printer. Some of them have preconfigured settings (like Simplify3d) that make this process far easier.

Run the STL file through your slicer program to generate .gcode which Simplify3d does.

Send the .gcode to your printer.

Simplify3d has many abilities like resizing the STL and positioning the STL file on the build platform before printing. You can also have your raft layer printed in one material and the object printed in a different material if you have 2 extruders. It also lets you configure each extruder with different settings for different materials. It also handles all of these functions in one program instead of having to use multiple programs. The price tag is well worth it if your printer is one of the supported printers. The software will allow you to see what your printer is going to do and allow you to make decisions such as what supports to keep and which to remove among other things. It shows the print layer by layer so you can see what is going to happen with the print and make changed before printing the item.

A prime example would be the channels in the inmoov hand. These need to be clean and clear of any supports. If you use slic3r, you cant see what these channels are going to look like before printing. With Simplify3d, you can see if its slicer is going to put any supports in those channels and remove them prior to starting the print and waiting 6 hours to find out that you have an issue.

Also, Simplify3d's slicer is very fast. 3d printing is a very time consuming process and speed matters because waisting 12 hours becomes frustrating very quickly. When it happens 4 times in a row, it becomes extremely frustrating to the point that you are looking for a much better solution.

Use the best tool available for the job at hand. Right now, the best tool is Simplify3D and a good printer.


@Richard, Thanks for your feedback. Highly appreciated. I will check and try Makerware. The local Hobbie shop just purchase the Dremel Dreamer (copy of Flashforge), and I am experimenting with them and I do agree with you, it does give outstanding prints. I am very impressed. btw, I gave a demo of my Roli and the kit to the hobbie shop, and they immediately bought Roli, JD, Six, and the kit, plus many extra bits. They are now an official distributor of EZ Robot :-)

The only reason I am currently playing with the Solidoodle is because I did not pay for it. But I might end up realizing that "resistance is futile" and getting the Makerbot after all. ;)


Just be aware the Dremel only prints in PLA because of not having a heated build plate... I prefer abs because of it's superior strength over pla... and the fact it does not degrade and become brittle over time...

LOL.... DJ will be happy about that (hobby shop)...


The logic behind heating it up more is to allow more time for a second layer to be layer down on top of that layer, giving it more strength and prevent bending. I personally haven't had good luck with this.

The logic of adding a fan is to cool the layer more quickly which adds strength. I have had better luck with this approach and it is the one most people go with. It also helps prevent sagging of overhangs without supports.


I can vouch for Simplify3D, it does make things easier.

I currently have a MakerGear M2, does both PLA and ABS. Very durable 3D printer and I have only a few issues or features that should have been on the printer.

I have heard for the price of $800, the Robo 3RD cant be beat.

Has anyone printed the Nija Flex material? Thats on my list to soon try out (time and lack of concentration on one thing).