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NEW and looking for some good input....THX!

Posted by 3deez 
NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 10, 2016 10:48PM
Hi. I am totally new with this, am excited to get started on a prusa i3 kit, and am looking for some advice from the community. Ive been reading, watching videos, and scouring online sources for a bit. I am looking to spend $300 - $400. If someone would comment on the following topics, I would greatly appreciate it:

1) Brand. Ive see a few brands mentioned for about 70% of what I see, and would welcome any input as to recommendation.

2) Frame type. I see a lot of acrylic and have read comments about brittle aspect being a negative (cracking when tightening screws?) Is aluminum truly a significant factor in performance and worth the extra $$?

3) AliExpress??? Ive seen quite a bit of mention buying here...pricing looks good. Comments on buying experience with the site?

4) LCD? How important/advantageous is this?

5) MISC. With the ability to upgrade parts, I am not sure how critical it is to buy something on the higher end of my budget that already comes with better parts (more capable?, higher quality?)..

Thank you so much in advance for anyone responding..
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 11, 2016 12:44AM
I have an acrylic model and it was a long journey to get it to perform well. Stiffening things was the hardest part. Creating feet that screwed down to a table proved to remove most of the chassis flex. Since then I have replaced every part except the chassis with new designs and it works pretty darn good. Knowing what I know now I would spend double the money to get something with a metal chassis and a quality build plate and heated bed design. For what it's worth, had I bought something that worked great right out of the box I wouldn't have learned as much as quick as I did. Good luck.
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 11, 2016 10:05AM
thanks for the post...
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 11, 2016 12:39PM
With an LCD, you can use the 3d printer without a pc.
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 17, 2016 09:30PM
Avoid acrylic frames, get actual lead screw on Z axis not threaded rods, look for all metal extruder/ hot end get official E3D not clones or an MK8 in the least as most cheap printers have limited temp ranges not for exotic filaments and buy from a well know supplier with support not generic suppliers. LCD is good to diagnose esp communications and errors. Upgrades would be extruders, larger size ,linear precision slides faster print speeds, better electronics and a good CAD
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 18, 2016 02:57AM
1. While I understand why people want a kit, most kits I have helped people with lack quality and do need some upgrades - especially in the z-axis endstop. Most people it seems want to go to auto-leveling because of the poor design in that area. If I was to buy a kit it would be the Prusa Research kit from the i3 designer.

2. yes aluminum all the way. I wouldn't even consider acrylic. I have built 3 Prusa i3's from scratch, 2 with plywood frames and 1 with aluminum. While the plywood is a lot better than acrylic, a metal frame is better, especially for the bed. After a year of use the plywood bed of my i3 is flexing a little and I an getting an aluminum frame cut to replace it

3. I have bought Arduino/RAMPS, belts & pulleys, LCD's from AliExpress and they have been OK. I also have a RAMPs board from "staticboards" which is far superior than the China made ones.

4. An LCD is useful in that you don't have the PC feeding gcode to the printer for hours. I prep my printer with a laptop and pronterface - heat the bed, check z height, heat the nozzle, prime the filament, then print the job from the SD card attached to the LCD. Noise on the PC/laptop USB to Arduino can reset the Arduino in mid print and thus ruin your job.

5. Personally I like quality when it comes to my 3D printer, there aren't enough hours in the day as it is, so I don't want to waste them trying to get cheap junk to work like it should. I like to use my printer and not spend my time tweaking/fixing/upgrading it. Others on the forum like to build and fix stuff rather that print stuff.

Other notes:
I like aluminum heated beds not the flexible PCB ones, that way you don't need auto leveling to compensate for a bowed bed.
Use a genuine E3D or hexagon hot-end. I prefer the wades style extruder vs the MK8 as I find the gears allow you to change filament and prime the hot-end easier than with the MK8 direct drive. Beside that the China made MK8 I saw in a kit was total junk - the person I was helping ended up tossing it and buying a hexagon and I printed a wades style for him. Night and day difference.

My updated Instructable on our Prusa i3 Build
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 19, 2016 10:48PM
Thanks everybody for the input...SteveRoy I appreciate the time and extensive response...Ive opted for a Tevo tarantula kit..aluminum frame, E3D bowden extruder, auto-level, large aluminum bed heated..rollers and pulley system...excited to get started and will post my experience...

thanks everyone...
Re: NEW and looking for some good input....THX!
May 22, 2016 02:08PM
I think the Tevo will be a good entry level choice. I also think that once you have it and use it for a while, you'll be thinking about upgrades - and at some point you might consider building one from scratch. You can use your Tevo to print parts for your new machine, and you have the option of reusing many of the parts from the Tevo - many of the parts are standard, like Nema 17 motors (or just build another printer so you have two). I am in the process of building a large one (400mm x 400mm x 400mm build area) from scratch (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1130016). I've bought lots and lots of parts from AliExpress and have had good luck with everything.

Either way these machines are infinitely upgradable. Lots of great things to download and print from thingiverse and other sites. I'm building this extruder for my printer: [www.thingiverse.com]

Have fun with your build!
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