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Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)

Posted by multivir 
Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
March 21, 2015 01:44PM

I just did my first few prints on an Ultimaker at the local FabLab last week. That sparked a lot of creative ideas, which lead to the idea of getting my own printer.
The budget is limited, even the Ultimaker Classic kit is more expensive than what I wanted to spend. A friend of mine has a Prusa i3 Hephestos that he got from bq.com.
These are available locally, most other kits have to be ordered, which adds custom fees & taxes on top of the list price.

I found some Prusa I3 models on aliexpress for around 350$ with shipping, whereas the bq Hephestos model costs about twice as much locally.
Youtube is my friend when I'm learning new stuff, and according to a few unboxing / review videos, the build time (and troubleshooting, tweaking, calibration etc.) for these chinese kits is more than 20-30 hours.

I tried to come to a decision, but the more I read, the less I know what I want...

Should I go for a kit or an affordable ready-to-use system? I get the impression that the build quality (per specs of these devices) is always within the same range, no matter if it's a cheap kit or a 2000$ Makerbot.

Besides the Prusa i3 I looked at the Solidoodle 4, the MBot Cube, the Robo 3D and others. Initially, the XYZPrinting DaVinci was also on the list, but it seems that you can only use proprietary filament on this one.

So... Please help me out. What's your recommendation?

If I set the budget at 350$ plus taxes, will this be a fun thing to build that just needs time or is there a chance that the kit's parts quality & print quality is so bad, that it's better not to get a cheap kit?

If I spend 700 bucks for the Hephestos, I could also get a preassembled machine. Even if I'm on a budget, I do set a price for my hours. If it's a fun learning experience, then on one hand, I'm all for it, but on the other, I want to print 3D objects and not tinker more than necessary. So if the product quality of a preassembled product is just as good as a quality kit, then I might just go for instant gratification :-)

Please let me know what you would do in my situation...

Thanks for your help
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
March 21, 2015 02:35PM
If you don't want to tinker, this may not be the hobby for you. I occasionally work with a commercial RP machine at work that ran $20,000 when it was new and it's still a fiddly piece of equipment...In some ways even more so than my home machines.

The writeup on that Hephestos amuses me...That they thoughtfully omitted the heated bed to reduce burn risk and lower power consumption was very considerate of them. Of course, it's also a major part of the reason for their lower price point and will keep you from working in most/any of the higher-temperature materials...I even find I need a significant amount of heat on the bed for larger PLA parts, though I have Kapton on it for working with ABS, which isn't ideal for PLA.

Quality does matter if you want to make parts instead of random blobs of plastic (don't remember where I saw that particular turn of phrase). Look for a rigid frame, quality components, reputation, and support. Your proposed price point might work if you are willing to just work in PLA, but understand that limitation up front, and it's still probably a little low.

I like kits (and most people here will answer the same). It familiarizes you with the machine ahead of time so you'll know your way around when (not if) you have to maintain it later.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2015 02:37PM by IMBoring25.
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
March 21, 2015 02:42PM
Oh, I don't expect this to be an experience that does't require any tinkering. But no matter what you build, if the part quality is bad, and you don't have the knowledge to debug the device yet, it's going to be frustrating.
So I'd rather go for a better kit than to save a few bucks and spent 10 hours more debugging. On the other hand, if I can get a pre-assembled machine with the same quality for the same price, that's what I'd probably do to get started. So who offers the mentioned rigid frame, quality components, reputation and support at a decent price? I wouldn't expect an AliExpress seller to help me beyond shipment or DOA issues.
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
March 21, 2015 04:00PM
Yo, find someone local to help you! You can do it but leverage someone else's knowlege.
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
March 23, 2015 06:08PM
I bought one of Ali's plexiglass Prusa i3's. It was a challenge getting through the rediculous instructions. Thanks to this site I made it work. But, you can expect to spend 20 or 30 (weeks) dialing everything in but it's worth the effort. Read, read, read. After awile you can do this. See pic. Good luck.
open | download - DSC00390.JPG (167.5 KB)
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
April 05, 2015 12:30AM
With everyone saying how you'll have to tinker... They're right, but it's fun and educational tinkering. Building my Kossel has been the most rewarding experience I've ever gone through!
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
April 05, 2015 12:20PM
Don't buy a good price, buy a good machine. Proper kits cost a bit more (aluminium or wood frame, better extruder and hotend, better linear motion...). The best is still to folow a BOM, because you can buy better components at good price. Reprappers and/or your fablab can help you in your build.

Collective intelligence emerges when a group of people work together effectively. Prusa i3 Folger (A lot of the parts are wrong, boring !)
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
May 01, 2015 08:30AM
Hello Everyone,

We have 3D Printers with high quality Metal Body with attractive color.
refer : [makemendel.com]

Makemendel Team
Re: Newbie, overwhelmed... ;-)
May 02, 2015 10:25PM
I spent $5k+ on my first because I didn't want to go as far as the $20k option and didn't want to mess with laser cut scrap wood/all thread rod setups... it didn't work out. The cartridges & "out of the" box setups are terrible!

-you are locked into using their software(typ.)
-(you CAN typ. change layer height & infill density/pattern)
-no fan settings-if it droops, it droops- if not, the part curls
-no support settings(on/off is all you get and still puts supports where it doesn't need it)
-no speed settings- depending on the part my machine would shake violently and the 'wobble' it creates was aweful... and obnoxious to feel/hear it shake as an asside.

-locked into using THEIR material...
-Cartridges that my machine was locked into cost $100-$150 and performed the same as a $15 spool i got off ebay. -remember I did not have the option to change many settings
-limited material colors/types
-5-10x the price of bulk
... I could probably go on... anyways...

I spent most of my time on it attempting to get the 'free samples' to work well. They are the few/only free file downloads off their site & the files that their advertisments showcased.

If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

Part of the poor design IMO was they have a aluminum frame holding the bed and a chamber heater(you cannot adjust temp.). The 'level the bed' program prints cold, load a part and the heater turns on but does not reach temp. waits for extruder to warm up then goes... so to get it to stick to the bed, the official answer is "use adhesive"... if your print is very long the internals go from(in my case) 15-20(c) to ~45(c)uncomfortable to touch. the most consistent results I got were start a print- wait for the chamber heater to turn on, pause the print for ~30min-1hr, (heats the chamber long enough to warm the bed etc), restart the print. the bed is made from HDPE(I think) plastic and it was common for the part to melt to the bed which got it to stick... and I usually damaged/destroyed my part getting it off the bed. but it printed as well as I could expect at that point other than that.


machines that use cartridges suck-~ buy a kit and grab settings someone else is using successfully will get you up and running just shy of what an 'out of the box' solution would. I've read through the Ormerod2 setup because I'm using the same controller board and its about as easy as Ikea furnature (plug A into slot A) and it does things like auto leveling...
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