3D Printer Recommendations

Hey, friends! Who here keeps up on the latest-and-greatest in 3D printing hardware?

I’m away from our beloved MakeICT makerspace for at least the next few months, and I need to do some printing. There are a couple of makerspaces near me, but they’re all around $150/mo and quite limited (e.g., they only have a single 3D printer, and it’s usually booked up 3-4 days in advanced). Some of the local libraries have 3D printers, but they are literally booked out as far as their calendars go…

So, I’m looking to buy. The Prusa is my favorite among the printers at MakeICT, so I’m definitely considering the MK3s, but before I order anything, I figured I should check in with the 3d printing geniuses in our community might suggest or recommend. My needs are pretty basic, but quality/precision is often very important in my prints.

@jwithers - I saw your thread from December asking about printers. What did you end up with? Are you happy with it?

@ssaner, @whateg01 - are you guys still happy with your Creality printers?

@jameslancaster @Christian

I own a MK3-S and CR-10 s pro and a ender 3 pro that I keep running almost constantly.

The Prusa Mk3s($799) is my most dependable printer … complex build took me 5 hours to do.the print quality is very good … this machine is virtually silent when ran in stealth mode. and I have had virtually no failed prints the only complaint I have with it is depending on the filament you can get some very thin stingy leftovers. I blow these off with a craft heat gun and the prints are great.

The Cr-10s pro ($650) is my largest format printer … very very very easy to build the print quality is great but I find it starts to shake a bit with the top 3 inches of the 15 inch built height below that the print quality matches the mk3s. the auto level of the cr10s pro leaves a bit to be desired and I rarely use it. touch controls are nice and the different print bed options are a plus.

I also use an Ender 3 Pro ($180)… for the money this machine cannot be beat… great print quality once you get your retraction settings dialed in.

I do have to level the bed quite often ( every 3 or 4 prints) and there are some upgrades to print once you get it out of the box and built. the machine is loud thou I put this one in a closet just so I don’t hear it they do sell products that help with the sound I ordered a few and they really dropped the print quality so I took them back off.
I defiantly suggest upgrading the bowden tube to a nicer Capricorn tube if you go with the ender 3 as the stock tube tends to drag and pop free of the connectors.

If I order another 3d printer I would select another MK3 s without a seconds hesitation … but its also the one that will cost the most so there is that.

I’d love to know what you end up getting hope this reply helps . have a great one !

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Overall I would recommend the MK3S out of all of the printers I have experience with. It’s not the cheapest printer you can get, but the quality you get for the price is very good. You can certainly get a much cheaper printer working quite well, but in my experience it takes a good bit of work and you’ll probably ending up needing to buy some higher quality replacement parts to fix some of the corners the manufacturer cut. For example, on the CR-10s at the makerspace (which cost around $500) we had to do the following:

  • Replace the bed glass because it wasn’t flat
  • Replace the bed adjustment thumbscrews with locknuts because they constantly came loose
  • Replace the PTFE tube because the I.D. and O.D. were both too large
  • Replace the Hotend because it was unreliable and filament melted inside the PTFE and caused jams
  • Flash updated firmware to enable thermal runaway protection
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I own a MK3s with the MMU2s (multi material). I have to say, if you are willing to put $700 into a printer, it is going to be pretty tough to beat the MK3s overall! I would almost argue it’s a “stress free” printer.

On the other hand, for only $200, a great starter printer is the Ender 3 Pro. Some of my friends have it and it does the job fine as long as you are willing to put in some effort with it.

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I’m still very happy with the ender 3 pro. As stated, for the money it’s a great printer vs cheap prusa knockoffs. We did change to a direct drive extruder so my son could print with flexible filament more reliably, but that’s not related to the quality of the product itself. Features like auto bed leveling would be handy but if I’m the only one printing, I find I don’t need to level it often. The magnetic build surface was great until my son did some maintenance and didn’t recheck the z0, when he started the next print it drove the hot end into the print surface and damaged the magnetic backing. The replacement print surface from creality on Amazon doesn’t seem to stick as well as the original did, but it is functional. I’ve not had a chance to contact creality about it yet as I’ve been traveling for work this past couple weeks.

I have a elegoo Mars waiting in the shipping/receiving department at work when I get back so I’ll hopefully be able to provide feedback on it soon, though it’s not directly comparable to the fdm machines discussed here.

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The CR-10 continues to work pretty well for me and gets done what I need. I’m not a 3D printer power user at this point, though. If that ever changes and I find myself doing more printing and demanding higher quality and consistency, I can imagine that the CR-10 could leave me wanting more.

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These are exactly the kind of testimonies I was hoping for. I really appreciate each of you taking the time to respond and share your experiences. I think this has pushed me (even closer) to the Prusa. If I were a true beginner, I’d probably go for the cheaper Ender 3 Pro, but since I pretty much know exactly what I need and how much use I’ll get out of the thing, I think the Prusa is a better choice for me.

Although… there is one printer that I was hoping someone would bring up, but it hasn’t happened yet. The Ender 5 makes some improvements over the Ender 3, and some online reviews rate it equal to or better than the Prusa. Anyone have any thoughts (even if it’s not direct experience) on the Ender 5?

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I love my prusa and the kit was fun to put together.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the Anet A8.

It is weird that the z-axis comes up and just… stops a little before the hole where it could go through. I really enjoyed putting it together. I don’t know if this is true across the board, but mine needs to warm up a bit before you start printing. I added a glass build plate, and never regretted it. Octoprint wants me to upgrade the firmware on it, and I will. I see the Anet A8 as an old car you work on from time to time. It’s really not something you pull out of the box and start printing. Though you can. I’d recommend it for someone who doesn’t mind tinkering with their setup from time to time. I’ve learned a lot, and have learned there is much I don’t know. But, if you keep the screws tight, and the bearings lubed, she’ll print some pretty good prints. (I think) Danielle has even broken down and gotten a Thingaverse account, and I’ve been playing with FreeCad. Is it the best printer? nah, but for just over $100 and some time. It does what I need it to.