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Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please

Posted by Jay_Z_ 
Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please
June 23, 2016 01:08AM
G'day Reprap, first time posting here. I've been reading the RepRap wiki and r/3Dprinting since last year and have decided to jump in and buy a printer. I'm keen to learn and at the stage where I need to discuss details.

Budget: ~$2000AU for initial kit, all upgrades, tools and starter filament. (Open to putting more than that in if it's truly worth it)
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer / Physicist / Draftsman / 3D Laser Scanner
Location: Near Townsville, North Queensland, Australia (for availability advice)
Purpose: Print models that I design in AutoCAD, print meshed models from laser scan data (I can convert these to STL files) and print other cool stuff.
Software: I have 3D modelling, drafting and laser scaning software packages and experience. I have also played around with Slic3r to get the feel for it.
DIYness: Let's do this. I have patience and robotics, machining, coding, troubleshooting experience. However, I've never worked hands-on with a 3D printer (yet smiling smiley ).

From what I've read the Prusa i3 (and the many many derivatives) can be upgraded heaps to produce high quality prints reliably. I would prefer to spend the money and build the printer with upgraded parts from the get go if that is advised. I am a first timer, but am keen to have a go at a higher end build. Most of my designs and models are quite detailed so a precise printer that can handle overhangs well is needed.

1. Which Prusa i3 kit/derivative would you recommend (I've had my eye a Hephestos)? If not a Prusa i3 based, which reprap kit would you recommend?

2. Links of said recommended kit online for me to throw money at? (Do these Hephestos or basic i3 look legit?

3. Are there any specific components or build technics (e.g. hot end, electronics etc.) that you would say "Yes, better than sliced bread, do it this way"

4. What am I overlooking?

5. (different aim) My laser scan data models are often meshes, not solids yet I can still make STL files from them. How do I make these printable?

Be blunt and honest, I'm here to learn. Cheers.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2016 01:57AM by Jay_Z_.
With your background and equipment available, I would highly recommend designing and building your own. A good site for design ideas is Openbuilds.com. They have a pretty nice linear rail system that is easily adaptable, but you can also go to the openbuilds projects link and see what others have designed. I am not affiliated with them in anyway, but the site has a wealth of information.

I actually went a different route fulling knowing I was going to upgrade each and every piece as a hobby. I bought the cheapest kit I could find. I ended up with a Folgertech acrylic fame. [folgertech.com] If you want a solid printer from the start you might want to look at the prusa original. [www.prusa3d.com]. It has all the good stuff and is from the developer of the prusa design.

Hope that helps.
Re: Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please
June 25, 2016 10:30PM
There are way too many cheap printers out there and most lack support and I assume you have read all the horror stories re China and acrylics if you can afford precision linear slides and an all metal frame go that route and the E3D extruder that originates down under. I purchased an Afinibot A3 here in Canada made in China but it came complete all parts and still prints months later downside was acrylic but could have all replaced laser cut metal this is kit form needs assembly. Check out 3D Platform.com you may be impressed I am its a larger printer platform precision slides prices are quotes
Re: Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please
June 25, 2016 11:23PM
I have a folgertech one too but if you are willing to spend that much I would get the kit from pursa. I got the folger one because of the cheap price and it works pretty good but I have upgraded just about every part on it. Either that or just build your own from scratch. It seems like most of the kits come with crappy hotends and extruders so if you make your own you can just get an e3d v6 and a titan from the start and not bother with the crappy one.

Newbie with Folgertech 2020 i3.
Re: Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please
July 06, 2016 06:33AM
Hello Jay_Z_

I'm a fellow Aussie (Sydney). I do recommend the self built approach of the Prusa i3, which is a tried and true design in itself.

The Prusa i3 variant I would recommend (and currently building right now) is the P3Steel:

With your background, you might be able to have access to a laser cutter to do the frame for you, otherwise I can forward you
details of the laser cutter company that I used to cut me my frame for a good price (from Perth).

It's one of the most reinforced Prusa that I've seen so far. I'm using an Aluhotend (actually made in Queensland!) for my hotend
and it's very reliable and great quality.

I'll print you the 3DP parts for the cost of the material and postage if you would like to approach this route.

We´re looking to supply these ¨kits¨ in Australia soon.. anyone interested??

With Genuine E3d´s and Bondtech extruders with Smoothieboard electronics´s as well.. so with a web interface you can print.. or run a Pi with OctoPrint


The kit is only worth about 600 Euros but it´s a solid machine and very scale-able.
OpenSource of course.
Re: Aussie keen to join the 3D printing party! Leaning to Prusa i3. Advice please
August 06, 2016 02:30AM
If I were you, with such a budget, I'd go with a genuine Prusa branded i3. That's if you're really set on an i3 type. Your budget would allow you to buy a CoreXY machine, slightly more complex in rigging but they tend to go better and faster.
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