3D printers to complement your Shapeoko or Nomad

(Luc) #1

Following a discussion in another thread, I have looked at 3D printers to complement the capabilities of the Shapeoko but there are so many choices with a price to match. I have looked at reviews and there are dozens recommended. Often these reviews are a list of the sponsor’s offerings so I always take them with a grain of salt, I prefer opinions from knowledgeable users/owners.

On this site, someone mentioned Creality and others have mentioned other brands like Prusa. Not being familiar and not having been using one, I find it hard to decipher what is important and what is not. Is there a 3D printer that is the equivalent of the Shapeoko: good quality, reasonable price, good support, software, etc. ? Not a toy but not a large production machine.

Since several people here have already purchased them, maybe they could make recommendations and provide us with their lessons learned what is worth paying extra for and what is not e.g.: material types supported, resolution, printing speed, printing size, heated bed, quality of printer components … Does it comes assembled? If not how difficult is it to put together? How is support? What about the software to operate it; provided or not; good quality or junk?

Are there any essentials that are required along with the printer?


(Michael) #2

Depends I guess on what you are trying to print. Do you need a large or small printed models? Are you needing highly detailed 3d printed models or something that doesn’t need high resolution? If you do not need high resolution, heavily detailed models printed, then choose a FDM printer instead of a SLA printer. If you need low detail, large models (like masks) then creality seems the way to go (had my eye on it as well, but purchased the shapeoko instead - one distraction at a time!). If you need high detail, small to medium size models, then i would choose SLA. I currently have two SLA printers, but the one I use the most would be the Peopoly Moai as it is a great kit for the money. There are several people on their facebook page that show off their creations. The professionals that are using it for production make molds from the high detail 3d printed model. If you need bigger than what the current version allows, they have a larger version coming out at the end of the year.

Essentials needed for the 3d printer will be based on which type you chose.

1 Like

(William Adams) #3

One interesting question / corollary would be what printer could one make, say after upgrading from an SO3 to an XXL — ISTR someone working up/adapting a design for a delta printer.

I did write up a bit on this at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/3D_Printing (which may be badly out-of-date, but may work as a useful primer).

Choosing a good, solid design is the best starting point, then careful setup / calibration (I still need to do that on my Monoprice Mini Delta — but will probably punt and swap it out for my Ordbot which I loaned out).

Always use good quality filament and keep it clean (a filter can help quite a bit) and maintain a reasonable control of moisture exposure.

I thought this discussion was kind of neat:

as well as: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/3bmpam/what_accessories_should_every_3d_printing_maker/

1 Like

(Luc) #4

I guess, since I started this thread, in my case, what comes to mind would stuff for my shop like shop vacuum adapter that you cannot find because two systems use different sizes, dust cover for the Shapeoko V wheels, brackets replacement for parts that are no longer made or need improvements. Nothing overly intricate like small models but the pieces need to be sturdy, I don’t want to waste hours and material either. At the moment, everything I would like to produce would be under a 10in cube.

Since the speed is an abstract concept, the Creality goes at 50mm/s vs Prusa that claims 200mm/s. While one is four times as fast, what does that translate into in terms of time to print an object?

1 Like

(Julien Heyman) #5

In spring 2018 after being inspired by this thread on this forum, I bought an AnyCubic Kossel kit, for around 250$.

It’s not a Prusa, it may not be for everyone, you need to like tinkering a bit (but well, no more no less than the average Shapeoko user), but the value for money is awesome for casual 3D printing, and it has been great for me so far.

In case you are interested, I documented my experience here.


(Michael) #6

FDM is what you want based on what you are wanting to make. I think you will find speed to be highly dependent on the material used, temperature of the hot end, how well the material is sticking to the base, etc… I think the item and its related properties of the material, structure, infill amounts, etc… being printed will dictate more how fast you can go than what the max speed for the hardware can actually go. At least that’s been my experience with my SLA printers.


(Lake Forest, Ca. ) #7

Luc, I was in exactly your same position last year. I was considering buying something inexpensive to begin with but decided to jump into a real machine for not much more money.

After months of research I ended up ordering a Prusa Mk3 which had just been introduced as a follow on to the hugely popular Mk2. After a several month wait I received the kit, assembled it and started printing.

In the meantime, Prusa continued to Kaisen their printer as well as their, now, most excellent version of Slic3r. They print the parts for the Mk3 in their 400+ machine, all Mk3’s, printfarm so to say the machine is well tested is an understatement.

Like the Shapeoko, it is reliable and versatile and affordable. It produces accurate parts with excellent dimensional consistency. I print routinely with nylon, poly carbonate and PETG using the profiles provided with the Prusa version of Slic3r, the open source 3D slicer. Oh, forgot to mention, the machine is open source too.

Mine is upgraded to Mk3s now, a virtually no cost upgrade (just filament), accomplished by downloading STL files from Prusa and printing/assembling/replacing the hot end assembly.

I can go on and on, like about their assembly instructions and most helpful forum and Chat with Tech support, all top notch.

Check out the Web site and forums. You really cannot go wrong with Prusa!


(Luc) #8

Thank you Griff, I’ve seen a number of positive recommendation for the Prusa, it is one I’ve considered. They were given several awards but as you see above many different ones are being recommended too. I don’t want to start a Ford vs GM discussion, just a better understanding. Something I’m trying to get at is what made you decide that the Prusa was worth the extra money over something like the Creatly; recommendations, not Chinese built, specs, speed, accuracy, reliability, support?

How long did you have to wait to get the printer?


(Lake Forest, Ca. ) #9

My desire was to not bother with a beginner or budget printer because I felt I would just outgrow it and have to buy another, better machine.

Early on I was seriously considering a LulzBot Taz but it was pretty spendy, $2,950 now.

What pushed my button for Prusa was the dedication to constant improvement of the machine, the FW, and the slicer enabled by the use of the machine to make 10’s of thousands more machines to learn in-house of improvements needed.

Current kit pricing is $750, 1-2 weeks shipping. The reason mine took so long was because of the huge number of preorders in front of me.


(Neil Ferreri) #10

@luc.onthego I currently run and maintain several (almost a dozen) 3d printers and have experience working on and with several others. It’s hard to beat the workhorse that is our MakerBot Replicator 2, but that is not without upgrades and tweaks and sometimes wanting to throw the thing through a window. After years of experience, I got my hands on an assembled Prusa MK3. I waited to set it up until I had a good hour to sit with it. It was printing perfectly within minutes. My perspective changed. It just worked. Now, I only have probably 150-200hrs printed on it, but I’m still impressed. If I have something really small and simple, I tend to use a different printer for speed, but I’m starting to send most things to the Prusa.
My biggest tips:
Stay away from dirt cheap.
Buy decent filament. I actually really like Amazon branded.
Dual extruders are not worth it. I’ve recently modified four dual extruder printers to only run a single.

Good luck!


(Luc) #11

Thank you Neil, this is great first-hand information.

1 Like

(Jose Miguel Atala) #12

I personally recommend the Lulzbot brand.
I have a Lulzbot Mini 2, about 10 months ago, due to space limitations in my “Cave” :slight_smile: .

A “Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse” is a good option, if you need a larger print volume.
If I had more space available, I would acquire one of these or a Prusa i3 Mk3S.

Both are great options, they have very good support, documentation and an open community to help you, if you have any issue.

My experience with Lulzbot has been great.
The machine simply works, without major “headaches”.
I have printed parts for more than 24 consecutive hours without any inconvenience (NinjaFlex, ABS, Nylon compounds, PETG).
For your research, I recommend you keep in mind the following points; that have been relevant to me:

  • Rigid metal structure (Accuracy).
  • At least 280º Extruder / 100º Bed (possibility of use multiple materials).
  • Auto leveling cycles implemented.
  • HW / SW Open Source (Sufficient documentation and extensive comunity).
  • Local Support and spare parts availability (Ease of repair).
  • Volume greater than 10 “x10” x10 "(I would like to have it)
  • HW accessories and upgrades available (Long term investment and possibilities to improbe).
  • Easy Use and reliability (use when leaving the box).

(Dan Nelson) #13

I have two, one I built from a kit(SeeMeCNC Rostock Max V2), and one I bought fully built (Microcenter clone https://www.microcenter.com/product/504453/ultra-20-dual-extruder-3d-printer). I’ll second what @neilferreri said about dual extrudes, not worth the headache. The Rostock has a fairly large build area, but the clone from Microcenter is quicker and more consistent. None of them are perfect (even the industrial ones at my work require tinkering). I have been out of the market for awhile, so I won’t suggest a specific machine, but a lot of it comes down to build envelope and user base. 10”x10”x10” is fairly large and even a fast machine is going to take a lot of time filling that block. Really look at how big of parts you plan to make. As far as user base look for an active community (like this one for the C3D machines). You don’t necessarily need to be able to call the company while adjusting every screw, but if there’s an active forum you’ll likely get good answers fast anyway. I think @Griff mentioned the Prusa machines, you could probably get answers AND parts just about anywhere on the web. Good luck!!!


1 Like

(Lake Forest, Ca. ) #14

Neil, I was hoping you would jump in. Your evaluation helped me.


(Sean) #15

I’m with Neil and Griff here. I’ve owned a Prusa i3 Mk2 since 2016, and my experience has been very similar; out of the box, it just worked. No fiddling, no tweaking. The software that Prusa Research publishes is supported and frequently updated. I’d previously owned three 3D printers that spanned the hobbyist range (including ones that cost more than double what my Mk2 did), but my experience was always that my time using it was about 50% wasted in tinkering, trying to get it to work just right. I’d spend an hour setting up a one-hour print, leveling the bed, making sure the hot end wasn’t fouled, whatever.

I’ve owned my Mk2 for something like three years now, and I have to say I still have no desire to move up to the newer Mk3. I use it every day for additively roughing designs out before I take them over to the Nomad.

Anyhow, enough gushing. You can’t go wrong with a Prusa, and I’ve nothing but good experiences with mine, but I’m sure you can spend less and still be productive.


(Justin Clift) #16

On a related note… the leading edge of 3D printing (industrial) is SLA printing composite diamond:

It’s SLA resin with (seems like) a large % of diamond powder. The end result reportedly has most of the physical properties of pure diamond. Not the optical ones though. :wink:

Interesting times…


(Luc) #17

Well if you think leading edge or maybe it is living edge there is the 3D printing of human tissue (3D bioprinting) including a heart.

But we’re getting far from at the topic which is a 3D printer to complement the Shapeoko/Nomad.

On a related note, it looks like Prusa may not be taking orders for the MK3S at the moment if I understand the contradictory information on their website.


(Neil Ferreri) #18

I think they’re just not taking orders for the powder coated bed. You don’t need that.


(David Justice) #19

I’ll jump in with another suggestion. I have the QIDI X-PRO, it’s mid priced, around $700 I think. It has dual extruders and I got it specifically to print with PVA supports. PVA dissolves in water. I print a few pieces regularly that have supports and they are a paint to remove cleanly. With PVA supports on one extruder and PLA on the other I get very clean parts. The printer itself is also very nice and prints very clean and accurate parts. the customer service and technical support is unbelievable. I have had several questions and always get an answer within a day.

I also have a Creality CR-10 Mini. It has a very large build volume, so I keep it for anything large that I would like to build, but the quality is not even close the QIDI X-PRO.


(Jonathan Anderson) #20

If @myerswoodshop chimes it, I’d love it. He runs a couple Ender 3 printers and recommended then to me. He seems to make good parts off then and for only $200.