For my uses the 4 extruders are a must have ! I do a lot of 2D signage and things of that nature and the added color is amazing. I have yet to use much soluble support as I model to minimize supports and usually print without them . The prusa uses a prime tower which does waste some material, but the gains outweigh the waste for me . If you can foresee the need to do a lot of complex designs that require support then the option of multiples is nice. The ultimaker and bcn sigma excel at this , but the price is a lot to swallow for arguably better print quality. I cannot speak to the MK3 as I don’t own one. But I doubt if you chose that machine that you would regret it. I bought my MK2S as a kit and it did not disappoint. It is my go to printer.
I built a Rostock MAX V2 as my first printer and learned a bunch from it, but I was constantly tinkering with it and never got it to the oint of “point and shoot” although I got many acceptable prints. After that I bought a Powerspec 3D Pro 2 from Microcenter ( http://www.microcenter.com/product/486803/3D_Pro_2_Printer?ob=1 ) . The build volume isn’t huge, but it does good solid prints and fairly fast. In all honesty though once I went CNC I kinda quit playing with my printers. The Rostock is on semi-permanent loan to a friend of mine, and the Powerspec is in my office, but hasn’t even been plugged in since I moved almost a year ago. As far as single/double extruders goes, figure out if you really need them or if you are buying a machine that can be upgraded later. They can be a real pain, and 95% of the time I never use mine(but maybe you have a specific use, that’s up to you). You might consider getting one of the cheap Folgertec Prusa kits and building your own. You’ll likely see different features later on and by that time you’ll want a bigger better machine and you’ll have gained a ton of experience for very little money.
As a side note, last year my company asked me to research getting a new 3D printer for our prototyping shop. They wanted to go “BIG”, so I found them this and they bought it. So if you think you might need to 3D print full sized furniture and have money stashed away for a new car, it might be worth considering, haha!
I’ve gotten to play with it quite a bit, it is a nice machine!
I’ve had quite a few printers over the years, and by far the best experience has been the Prusa i3 Mk2. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Mk3 today, but the Mk2 is reliable and produces good results, which is all I ask of my printer!
I’ll note that the Mk2 has required significantly less “tinkering” than any other printer I’ve owned. I spend almost no time fixing the printer compared to printing with it.
https://3dplatform.com/3d-printers/#300series, maybe in my next life, haha!
My motivation here is mostly to explore “home manufacturing”, CNC/3D printer-wise with an emphasis on getting my grandkids focus on something other then social media…wish me luck.
All I want is an SO3 class printer that will enable the production of projects beyond making dragons, Star Wars ships, cutesy doodads with no practical purpose. I really admire the DIY Engineering dude, hope to emulate him in some small way. It’s looking more and more like the Prusa Mk3 is probably my best bet. The $ saved (vs TAZ) will buy a lot of filament etc!
The multiextruder thing is also an upgrade for the Prusa so there’s no need to get it right away. I’d get the printer first and see how much you use it and what else you might like to do with it. True for any printer not just the i3.
Some more thoughts on multiextruders.
Basically there are a few different ways on the market.
- machines that simply have 2 nozzles fitted in one head, without a lifting system to keep the unused nozzle out of the way. Stay away from this it does not work.
- Machines that print multi material through one nozzle (prusa, builder, etc…) It does work but has limitations. If you check out the prusa samples you see the waste material on priming is enormous. I also suspect you may run into issues when you want to print materials that need a significant different printing temperature.
- printers with 2 nozzles that have a way of keeping the not used nozzle out of the way. f.e. Ultimaker3 with the lifting system, BCN Sigma with the 2 heads on one rail (IDEX)
IMHO the last category is the best, but these machines are not cheap, so for a starter hobby machine I can totally see the prusa being a good option.
I’m biased, as I’m a Ultimaker user, my oldest Ultimaker2 is almost 4 years old and still a reliable workhorse. I would also pay attention to the ease of maintenance and availability of spare parts, but that should be no issue with al machines I mentioned.
And, just for fun, here’s a multimaterial project I’ve been contributing to, a conversion of an Ultimaker2 into a dual material machine.
I picked up a Creality CR-10s about a month ago on sale from Gear Best. It has been in nearly constant use since I got it assembled and it is fantastic at twice the price. There is also an active community that has made printable upgrades for cooling fans, hot end mounts, etc. I tore mine down to the nuts and bolts to make sure everything was properly aligned and it prints better than the high end desktop printers I have at my office. I highly recommend this one.
The Ultimaker printers are very capable but way beyond what I “need” at this point. Thanks for your comments, good to know more about the multiextruder options.
I think Prusa is kinda where Carbide 3D was when I bought my SO3 kit. A good, well designed product with excellent support and a helpful, knowledgeable user community for a very reasonable price. Continuous improvement a top priority. I’d imagine an improved multiextruder will show up eventually.
Thanks Kevin, not aware of this one, I’ll check it out.
I’ve looked at a lot of reviews and I really like the CEL Robox Dual. It can print either two colors at once or two different materials. Alternately, it can use smaller filaments for detail and larger filaments for speed. They are designed in such a way that in the future, swappable heads such as a milling spindle can be installed. Although they currently don’t offer one.
The documentation for assembling the Prusa is also top notch, use the web version as it is constantly updated based on user feedback. One thing I like is users can leave feedback step by step which they can them incorporate. I believe they were using an off the shelf solution to build that so it might be something Carbide3D could look into adopting. I can’t understate the usefulness.
Thanks, I’ll check it out.
On the Prusa Mk3, been lurking on their forums, seems to be a pretty big problem with print quality with the few Mk3’s in the wild. Something to do with “ringing” and related to x/y belt tension. Haha, I can relate to that!
We’ll see what shakes out.
Yeah it’s still pretty new, like any new model there’s going to be improvements and drawbacks. I got the MK2S after it had been out for a bit.
Yeah, I’m in no hurry, especially since I’m still not too sure if the current hobby-grade SOA machines can truly produce durable, usable “things” I might incorporate into other projects. I’m hoping after, what, 10 years or so (?) 3D capabilities will have progressed to a usable state.
I waited for the 3rd generation Shapeoko, glad I did, super happy with it!
Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to others in our little CNC world that might be considering a printer.
Keep the comments, recommendations coming! Most appreciated!
Yeah, I’m a bit annoyed that I didn’t get a Printrbot Small back when they were available, and am still debating digging out the plans and just making one — at one point in time I was trying to puzzle out which 3D printer design could be most affordably made using a Shapeoko — guess I should revisit that.
One thing you could look into is casting. Smooth-On has some affordable starter kits in the $20-$30 range so you can play with it. Smooth-Cast 300 and OOMOO 30 would be a good starting place. Essentially the parts from a 3d printer are likely to always be weak especially along layer lines, but it’s a great way to make a castable object which you can then make out of actual resin.
Yeah, that and vacuum molding — so many projects, so little time.
Or, how about 3D sintering, now there is a robust materials system. About 3 lives ago I was involved in providing various gas mixes for sintering furnaces used in aerospace. Always amazed me what can be done with powdered metal!
Hmmm, never thought about that. I’ll check it out!
+1 on vacuum forming. I bought a 1960’s Mattel Vac.U.Form toy machine at a thrift store for $6. The quality is pretty good. It’s missing the mold platform however. I plan on milling one on my Nomad at some point.