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Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

10/18/2018 3:58 PM

I was looking at an ad today, regarding a 3D printer. The ad is here: https://www.frys.com/product/9528332?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

I was wondering if anyone here has used this printer and if so, what do you think. Are there limitations? Maintenance? And most important, what about the quality? Will I need additional software?

This is going to be a "toy" for me. I've been thinking about getting one for years and Fry's has this special sale price of $239 for this unit. I'm just wondering if it's too "junior" of a 3D printer.

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#1

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/18/2018 4:10 PM

I have a 3D printer but not that one nor do I know anything about that one. The main thing about that printer that would bother me is I think they require you to buy their filament. It has an rfid in it that checks the filament and stops it when it runs out. It looks like they sell it for about $32 for a 600g spool where I typically buy filament for about $15 for a 1kg spool.

It looks like some sort of hack exists to bypass it, so as long as you are comfortable doing that it might be okay.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/18/2018 7:21 PM

Thanks for your insight. The proprietary filament reminds me of printer injet cartridges. Give away the printer and make money on the supplies.

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#3

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/18/2018 9:23 PM

Google "3D printer reviews" as I have been. I've almost convinced myself I need one, but I'm not sure "what for". A toy, I guess.

A friend of mine got one, a kit, I can't remember what kind. With a kit, you know a whole lot about it when you get it put together, which is invaluable for troubleshooting.

What fascinates me is that there are people coming up with upgrades. You just download a file and print new parts for your 3D printer.

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#4
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/18/2018 9:41 PM

Same thinking that I have. I don't need one, but it would be a nice "toy" to have. I don't have time to build one, though understanding how it's put together would be very valuable ... just in case it breaks.

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#5

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/18/2018 10:44 PM

I've got a Robo3D+ and for the price it's satisfactory.

I found what I think is the same printer you're looking at on Frys for $100 cheaper on Amazon.

https://smile.amazon.com/Vinci-Jr-1-0-Printer-Built/dp/B00V3J8JEG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539916768&sr=8-1&keywords=XYZPrinting+da+Vinci+Jr

Check reviews on Amazon and everywhere else you can before committing. These things can be hard on your patience when things don't work quite as smoothly as they advertise.

Also 5.9" cubed is awful small. You won't be able to do much besides trinkets in the long run. I'd consider investing more for a larger volume.

Good Luck.

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#6
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 1:15 AM

Thanks for your input. I took a look at the Amazon one and it looks like the same printer, however there's a different model number. Hmmmm. The specs on the Amazon unit say 240VAC power source, while the Fry's unit says 120VAC.

I don't have a 240 source available, so the Fry's unit seems like the one I'll get - if I get one.

I'm hesitant, due to the small <6" dimensions of the printed object.

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#7
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 7:19 AM

Well, that's confusing. Their website lists all variations of the Da Vinci Jr's at 100V~240V. And I didn't look through all 220 questions on Amazon but I presume that someone on there would've brought that up if it was 240V only.

In any case I wouldn't recommend this due to the build volume and proprietary filament with inflated cost.

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#23
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 10:49 PM

I was thinking the same thing. Most Amazon buyers don't have a 240 outlet, so I'm thinking that it was a mistake. I tried going to the Da Vinci site and I couldn't find the required power.

I did check on the proprietary filament and the hack to bypass it - seems the way to go if I want a Da Vinci. Then I thought about the small output and less than 6" doesn't seem like it'll be good for many things. Definitely a toy, but I prefer something bigger.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 10:12 AM

If you are in the USA, surely many houses have a 240 volt supply with a "center" earthed neutral? Especially if you have your own transformer....

Can someone else confirm or deny that please?

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#10
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 10:45 AM

Most, if not all, modern US homes have (three wire) 220VAC available at the main electrical panel. From there most house circuits are tapped at (two wire) 110VAC but can be tapped at (three wire) 220VAC. For example I have two 220VAC taps, one for my water heater and another for my clothes dryer.

The problem is that few houses have a spare 220VAC receptacle readily available for other uses. Most of us would require an electrician to come in to provide another receptacle. Unless, of course, one is comfortable doing their own electrical work.

IMO, going through all that trouble for a "toy" 3D printer is hardly worth the expense of getting a 220VAC outlet.

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#13
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 12:34 PM

You make sense!

We here have 240VAC between line and neutral and 380VAC P2P....

I even have a 3 phase socket in the cellar, fused for 75 amps per phase. Not often used, but when you need it.....

I am a showoff!!Sorry!

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 1:07 PM

We can get 3 phase here but it takes a number of things:

A papal directive, or a near equivalent,

A large upfront dispensation to the electric company, and

A personal visit from those with halos, er, hardhats to install the transformer and wiring.

Not to mention the extra monthly tithe to keep it turned on.

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#17
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 3:01 PM

You really made me laugh!!

The UK is very similar!!

Have a great weekend!!

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#25
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 10:55 PM

Or, if you're one of the few who live in an area zones for industrial.

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#24
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 10:54 PM

I wish we had three phase power here. It's much more efficient and doesn't heat up the wires as much = probably less chance of electrical fires. The big problem is that there are many "experts" here in the US, who would tinker with it and cause damage. Not to mention the people who don't maintain their homes (or the apartment managers).

Most people don't touch anything electrical, because they're afraid to get shocked, but the handyman/electrician will do almost anything, safe or not. You don't know how many times I've had to re-wire three way switches or GFCI's.

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#22
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 10:46 PM

You read my mind. I have 240 at the panel, but nowhere else. My dryer is gas and there's no electric 240 outlet. Ditto for the water heater.

For something that's going to be a toy, I want it to be easy, just plug it in and go.

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#20
In reply to #9

Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/20/2018 3:08 PM

There might be rare exceptions, but that is generally correct. Almost all water heaters, clothes dryers, and kitchen stoves are 240VAC.

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#21
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/20/2018 3:25 PM

Dang, you're right. I forgot all about my stove!

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#26
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 10:57 PM

Funny thing. One of my houses has an electric dryer, gas stove and gas water heater. Another has electric dryer, stove, oven and water heater, along with 240 ceiling heaters - 3 of them. One has a 240 in the garage for the dryer. The rest don't have a single 240, other than the circuit breaker box.

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#11
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 11:05 AM

Watch the model numbers when comparing price on other sites. It appears the "W" in model 3F1JWXUS00B stands for Wireless. The model 3F1J0XUS00C (on Amazon) for $199.99 doesn't appear to have WiFi so wouldn't be a fair price comparison. I assume the "0" represents the original base model. The "W" model 3F1JWXUS00B (on Amazon) appears to be $259.95 and a closer match to the one in your link (saving $40). It also appears the naming scheme may identify some available features as well. No I have not used any 3D printers, so I can't help there.

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#27
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Re: Recommendation for an inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 11:00 PM

Thanks for helping decipher the model numbers. I've seen the same sort of thing when comparing Best Buy, Home Depot and Fry's. I'm not a big Amazon shopper, but if there's a deal there, I'll buy from them.

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#8

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 10:08 AM

Go to www.instructables.com and join. They have many for the DIYer, though I haven't myself built one quite yet!! Only a CNC once years ago!

There are at least several dozen DIY ones on instructables, and with careful ebay purchases, second hand stepper motors that I have bought there were all good except for 1 of 8 purchased for 1 Euro!! (For CNC!) It was still OK for spare parts!!

The power supply I made from a excellent design in an electronics magazine. The rest I made from high density chip board, 8mm threaded rod and skateboard bearings!!

The electronics and PC interface I bought also for 1 Euro on ebay.....There is also available free CNC software to drive it from Sourceforge if I remember correctly...I expect there is 3d printer software fro free nowadays too!

The "riders" I wanted welded for me from a company, but they wanted 200 euros for the two!! So I bought a great new MIG welder for 250 Euros from ebay and made them myself!

I am building a soap box racer for my grandson with the same welder nowadays!!

Then you could build a 3d printer for $100-200 or so! (Not counting the welder!)

Repairing it if required would also then be easy and cheap....as you built it!!

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#12

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 11:33 AM

Forget that thing. Too small and you can't modify it. And it's expensive for a little thing. Get a Creality CR-10 for $150 bucks and you will be happy. Large enough build surface, and tall enough for most projects, and you can add a heated bed for larger flatter prints or for higher temp plastics.

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#28
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 11:08 PM

Thanks for the tip. I did a Google search and these things are pretty cool. I didn't see one for $150 - the least was 349. From the sites selling the Creality CR-10, I found other brands out there for under $200.

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#14

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 12:59 PM

it is very true with 3D printers that you get what you pay for. As part of my job I take care of 16 various 3d printers - not this model. The cheaper ones really are limited in what they can do.

Many of the little ones won't print ABS which require the stage to be at 100C to adhere well. I have some UP minis made by tiertime. They have serious stage temp issues with anything. They also require a raft which is a waste of material. I have been printing some logo keychains this week. The raft is just slightly more volume than the keychain, so more than 50% waste. If one of the Ultimakers was available I could print onto glass using PLA with almost no waste.

find something that prints onto PEI, its better than glass.

Vellman and prusa both have kits that are well designed.

I personally own a prusa that was a kit. If I buy another 3D printer it will be a prusa

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#18
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 9:59 PM

GA from me Pal! I got a TronXY for Christmas and rebuilt it 5 times. I found the original Melzi board didn't have an active heated bed channel. Built a RAMPS for it and added a heated glass bed. I use hairspray on the glass to stick PLA. Havn't tried ABS on it yet, but my temp controls are good and should work fine.

I'm building my own machine but if I wanted to just buy one that size I would buy the Creality. It can be modded forever and is the right size to do serious work. And CHEAP... up front.

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#29
In reply to #14

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 11:14 PM

Thanks for the tip. I took a look at the Prusa and it looks pretty good. I was looking for hands on advice, so thank you!

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#16

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/19/2018 2:49 PM

For what it is worth the one I have is the Wanhao duplicator i3, I paid $375 for it when it first came out. It had a good user support group and they made some changes early on that I don't have in my version. Their have since been new versions of it that have some good and some bad features as well. You can get what is basically the same printer for cheaper sold as the monoprice maker select v2 for about $270 new. Their is also a version that has the control box built into the main unit, I am not a fan of that design because you can't enclose the print area without enclosing the electronics. I buy my filament from microcenter at the $15 a spool price.

I also use a raspberry pi running octoprint which makes using the printer much nicer and eliminates the need to use an sd card.

Overall I have been happy with it but it is not as easy to use as a paper printer, you will run into issues that take some diy to fix but overall I find it is a great tool that I didn't know why I needed it but now I do.

At the beginning to learn how to use it I used it to make chachkies. Now I mostly use it to make parts to fix things such as that plastic gear for a candy dispenser, broken bracket for my leaf blower air filter, or sofa legs that cracked and so on. I also use it to design my own parts like a case for electronics for a bluetooth adapter for my telescope. I tend to use the very simple yet easy to use tinkercad to design my own simple parts. You can also find others designs on thingiverse or modify them. With the tinkercad, octoprint, thingiverse combo I can use any computer in my house or elsewhere to design and print.

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#19
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/20/2018 1:40 AM

I use octopi too and my mobius camera for a live feed right from the bed. may camera is mounted to a bracket on the bed so the timelapse is of the changes to the part not the scenery around it.

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#30
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D printer

10/22/2018 11:22 PM

Thanks for the tips!

I'm thinking about all the things I can make with the printer. For instance, my air compressor lost the cover to the air cleaner. I'm thinking that I can scan the base and make a new cover - I think I'll be able to make it. Ditto for parts for my old cars (parts that I can't find). Or even to create things like holders for my desk (to hold odd sized objects with little wasted space).

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#31

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

10/22/2018 11:31 PM

As always, thanks to everyone for helping. I was skeptical about the Da Vinci unit. Yes, I would like to buy a 3d printer. I don't have time to build one - for those who gave advice on building one, I appreciate it and I almost took the leap, but I just don't have time for it and I'm looking for something I can plug in and start printing things.

This is going to be a new toy for me. There are lots of projects I can use a 3d printer for. I just don't want to buy one that won't allow me to customize it for my needs and has too many limitations.

So, the Da Vinci is a no go. I think the group agrees. The others recommended look pretty good. I do think that I'd like to have it in a box, to keep any dust or a breeze from harming the printing quality. If anyone has any input on this, I'm all ears!

Thanks again to everyone here! I always know where to go for the best advice!

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#32
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

10/23/2018 11:44 AM

One afternoon is all it takes to assemble a DIY kit like the Creality. Like I said before, if I was to buy one instead of "build" one I would buy the creality without hesitation. You get to know what make the machine work and what doesn't when you assemble it yourself. You learn all about bed leveling, belt tention, filament temp, feed rates etc.

You have to know these things even with a out-of-box machine anyway. Might as well learn with a machine you can tweak and fix with off the shelf parts. You can print upgraded parts for your machine too with just a download.

You will need two different programs and maybe three to run any 3D printer. You need CAD of some sort, a Slicer of some sort (I like Cura), and you may want a server of some sort. Repetier is ok and has a slicer built in. I use OctoPi as it has a camera option so I can monitor my print without camping out in my shed.

Every part and every bit of code in the creality is open source or off-the-shelf pretty much. Software and firmware are free downloads. Every aspect of the machine can be modified. What more could you want?

Specialized machines often have propriatary firmware, software, and parts and woe to the buyer, supplies. I avoid those products.

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#33
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

10/26/2018 12:31 AM

Great tips! I'm going to look into the Creality. Sounds like a good one. I didn't give any thought to tweaking the printer - belt tension, bed leveling, filament temp, feed rates, etc. Nor did I consider the types of software I'd need.

The info you gave is just what I'm looking for. Someone who has been there and done that!

Thank you. It's greatly appreciated.

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#34

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/04/2018 9:59 AM

What do the experts think about this one:-

LIGHTBLUE 3D Printer

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#35
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/04/2018 11:28 AM

Interesting. I think I'm going to put this one on my winter project list. It will complement my Robo3D nicely. I like that many of the niceties are already incorporated; heated bed, autoleveling, a very capable hot end, etc.

Two immediate thoughts.

1. I think scaling it up to about a 300mm cubed build volume will expand the possibilities by a level of magnitude. But I have not looked into it adequately to see if the drive system can handle it. Offhand, I can't see why not.

2. The machine screw into the aluminum extrusions that form the frame will eventually result in excess wobbling as the machine gets used and worn in. Those joints are very likely to quickly wear under the print head acceleration/deceleration. I would add provisions for some kind of thin strip diagonal bracing on the sides that do not require table access to add firmness. It wouldn't take much. Maybe a 100mm brace that would stiffen all the vertical faces.

That's all I have time to look at at this time. I'll look into it in more depth soon. But right now I'm heavy into turning my newly acquired garage into a workshop.

Thanks for posting that link.

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#37
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/05/2018 2:02 AM

No problem Sir!

I am a keen "instructables" person and I can download the full instructions as a pdf, that might be interesting for you to look at.

It will also contain any software or firmware as links usually, which I can send separately to the same email address that you give me! See below.

No cost of course.

But you will need to send me a "proper" email address to send it to, via a CR4 Personal Message, not here of course...

Your choice.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/04/2018 11:29 AM

That is the kind of thing you want. Or an Anet or Creality. Something you can build and re-build with new features and or larger bed. Run it with a RAMPS or Melzi controller and tweak it to do what you want it to do.

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#38
In reply to #34

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/07/2018 10:46 PM

Wow, great instructions! I'll keep this one in mind. Thank you!

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

11/08/2018 4:27 AM

Glad you liked it!

regards

Andy

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#40

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

12/24/2018 10:32 AM

The main thing about that printer that would bother me is I think they require you to buy their filament. It has an rfid in it that checks the filament and stops it when it runs out. It looks like they sell it for about $32 for a 600g spool where I typically buy filament for about $15 for a 1kg spool.

It looks like some sort of hack exists to bypass it, so as long as you are comfortable doing that it might be okay.

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#41

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

04/21/2019 6:27 AM

One afternoon is all it takes to assemble a DIY kit like the Creality. Like I said before, if I was to buy one instead of "build" one I would buy the creality without hesitation. You get to know what make the machine work and what doesn't when you assemble it yourself youtubeconverter . You learn all about bed leveling, belt tention, filament temp, feed rates etc.

You have to know these things even with a out-of-box machine anyway. Might as well learn with a machine you can tweak and fix with off the shelf parts. You can print upgraded parts for your machine too with just a download.

You will need two different programs and maybe three to run any 3D printer. You need CAD of some sort, a Slicer of some sort (I like Cura), and you may want a server of some sort. Repetier is ok and has a slicer built in. I use OctoPi as it has a camera option so I can monitor my print without camping out in my shed.

Every part and every bit of code in the creality is open source or off-the-shelf pretty much. Software and firmware are free downloads. Every aspect of the machine can be modified. What more could you want?

Specialized machines often have propriatary firmware, software, and parts and woe to the buyer, supplies. I avoid those products.

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

04/21/2019 9:45 AM

Really good to know from someone who (Bravely?) did it from the ground up.

Also many thanks for the update here, too many forget that!!

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#43
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

04/27/2019 6:32 PM

I had something come up - AGAIN!, so my toy is on hold. I'll look into it when I have some free time. Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

Thanks for the info - I think I'm going with the Creality when I make my move.

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#44

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

05/15/2019 3:57 AM

I have a 3D printer yet not so one nor do I know anything about that one. The primary concern about that printer that would trouble me is I think they expect you to purchase their fiber. It has an RFID in it that checks and stops it when it runs out. It would seem that they offer it for about $32 for a 600g spool where I ordinarily purchase fiber for about $15 for a 1kg spool. It would seem that some kind of hack exists to sidestep it, so as long as you are happy with doing that it may be alright.

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/18/2019 5:05 AM

The primary concern about that printer that would trouble me is I think they expect you to purchase their fiber. It has an RFID in it that checks and read emergence fiber and stops it when it runs out. It would seem that they offer it for about $32 for a 600g spool where I ordinarily purchase fiber for about $15 for a 1kg spool.

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#46
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/18/2019 10:20 PM

Reminds me of the ink jet/laser jet printer dilemna. Buy the printer for $50 and the toner/ink cartridges cost just as much or even more.

I still haven't purchased my 3D printer yet. Life got busy again.

I would like to buy one soon. Since I purchased another old car, I have more needs to make parts.

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#47
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/19/2019 4:52 AM

I took a look at the Amazon one and it looks like the same printer, however there's a different model number. Hmmmm. The specs on the Amazon unit say 240VAC power source, while the Fry's unit says 120VAC. I don't have a 240 source available, so the Fry's unit seems like the one I'll get - if I get one.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/19/2019 6:25 AM

If you are in the USA, you already have 220VAC in your home! Which is near enough to 240! Frequency should not be a problem at all....

It is often in use for certain units that require a lot of power I believe. Dryers and the like....

You may have to lay a cable to your workshop from your power box.

I am sure that someone here knows exactly what you need to do!!

Here for instance:-

Can-I-get-220V-outlets-installed-in-a-US-house

There are correct plugs and sockets for 220VAC in the USA,please use them!!

Also, I do recommend installing a GFCI, something missing in many houses even today!! It makes the power system safer for all living things

Residual-current-device

Or even installing a 2:1 step up transformer, would be possible as well.

Regards

Andy

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#50
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/19/2019 3:02 PM

Hi Andy,

Back when I was a kid, my dad ran a 240 VAC line to the garage. The garage is detached and he had to run the line from the house and under a sidewalk. He spent a lot of time getting the line beneath the sidewalk, but he succeeded and we have 240 in the garage.

My mom still lives in the house and she doesn't use the 240 line, but it's there, just in case.

My house is much easier. The circuit breakers are on the outside wall of the garage and the garage is connected to the house. So, I could break a hole in the drywall and run the wires through conduit to my work bench. Our daughter is in the house now, so there's no need for 240 right now. The house I'm in is my friend's house and the garage is filled with a car and all my "stuff". I know ... I need to clear some room in the garage. When we moved here, we went from a 2 1/2 car garage to a tight 2 car garage. The extra space of the 1/2 car is truly missed. And I've acquired more "stuff" in the last year and a half!

A step up transformer may be a good idea. As long as the printer doesn't need much current, there won't be a problem. I believe we have a 15 A circuit breaker.

Thanks for the tips!

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#51
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/19/2019 3:20 PM

I would be surprised if it even needed 2 amps at 240 VAC!

Or 4 amps at 120 VAC...

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#52
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/20/2019 4:17 PM

Good to know. A step up transformer is a great solution vs pulling wires and installing a 240 VAC outlet.

Thank you.

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#53
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/20/2019 4:38 PM

my Tiertime UP minis with a 4 in" stage are rated at 9.5 amps. They do not get hot enough for abs. Hotter would require more power.

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#54
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/24/2019 2:46 PM

Does your printer run off 120VAC or 240 VAC?

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#55
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/24/2019 3:50 PM

120vac

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#56
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

07/08/2019 2:33 PM

Thanks for the info. Good to know!

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#49
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Re: Recommendation for an Inexpensive 3D Printer

06/19/2019 2:55 PM

I'm in the same position. I have 120 VAC available, but no outlet for 240VAC. I could run some new lines - probably should, but it's another project and I have too many of them already. The Fry's unit is out of the box ready, but the fun of building one of the other units sounds like something I'd like to do. And I'm not a fan of modifying a unit so I can use standard supplies.

When I have more time, I'm going to look into this again.

Good luck with your printer, when you get it.

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