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Old 05-29-2022, 01:45 PM
gyoung's Avatar
gyoung gyoung is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Spring, TX
Posts: 339
Default 3D Printers

I've wanted a 3D printer to play with for some time but never had enough of an excuse to get one. Now I do so I'm on the hunt. I know there are a bunch of you using them but I couldn't find any threads on recommended printers. If there is I'd appreciate a link. If not, what do you recommend for a serious hobbyist to get started?

My excuse is way off the RV path. I'm starting a top overhaul on a 125 Warner radial for a 1940 Rearwin Cloudster I'm restoring. I will need cover plates to protect the rods when I remove the cylinders and to seal the crankcase so I can paint it. There are some other cover plates I'll need as well. I'm sure it would be more cost effective to draw them up and get someone else to print them but what's the fun in that? Thanks.
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1950 Navion - flying
RV-6 - first flight 5/6/2021
1940 Rearwin Cloudster project in progress
4 L-2 projects on deck

Last edited by gyoung : 05-29-2022 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 05-29-2022, 02:17 PM
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1001001 1001001 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Just Minutes from KBVI!
Posts: 1,418

I looked around at a lot of the printers when I decided to get one a couple of years ago. I wanted something that I wouldn't have to fiddle with too much--as turnkey as possible, that didn't require too much fiddling to get to work properly, as I intended to use it to make parts and tools, not as a major hobby in itself.

I ended up getting a Prusa i3Mk3s+ kit. You can buy them pre-assembled, but at a premium, and the kit is priced such that it comes in under the limit for paying customs duty. The kit took a couple of hours to assemble, but in doing so, I have a lot better understanding of the inner workings of the printer, and how to troubleshoot and repair it if necessary.

So far, I haven't had any major problems with it. I can definitely recommend it. Its print volume isn't as large as some other printers, but it's big enough (210x210x210mm).

The Prusa-supplied slicing software is really good and knows a lot about the printer itself, so you don't have to spend a ton of time configuring it.

I have already used it to print a number of jigs, tools, and parts that have helped me in building my RV-10.

Oh, also, I use a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint to control and monitor the printer.

Last edited by 1001001 : 05-29-2022 at 02:23 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-29-2022, 02:45 PM
skelrad skelrad is online now
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 332

I purchased the Prusa i3Mk3s+ about a year ago and have been extremely happy with it. I had no real "need" for a printer, but I figured it made perfect sense to spend $800 on a printer so I could make 50 cent parts whenever I want. Perfectly logical. It still blows me away that I can create complex parts and just print them at home with amazing quality. At this point I often use the printer to make a lot of things that I could absolutely make with other materials, but I do them on the printer as a way to learn what works and doesn't work (as well as to learn Fusion 360). Case in point, not too long ago I got tired of misplacing my drill and wanted to hang it on my french cleat system. I could have just throw a piece of wood up on the cleat like all of my other tools, but it was a chance to learn a new skill on 360 and play with some more printer settings.
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Old 05-29-2022, 08:44 PM
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gyoung gyoung is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Spring, TX
Posts: 339

Thanks. The Prusa i3Mk3s+ is one that I've been considering. It's great to hear of two good experiences with it.

1950 Navion - flying
RV-6 - first flight 5/6/2021
1940 Rearwin Cloudster project in progress
4 L-2 projects on deck
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Old 05-30-2022, 04:22 AM
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derLuigi derLuigi is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 102
Default another happy Prusa user here

Hi Greg,

I'm using two printers of the Prusa MK3 family too (one MK3 and one MK3S MMU2) and am very happy with them. Once properly set up they're super reliable and the fact that Prusa provides well-tuned printing profiles for many (mainstream) materials is very helpful, especially if you want to use it for producing parts.

As with any tool there's a bit of a learning curve (how to get a good first layer, keeping the bed clean, how to get a good first layer again...) but with a bit of patience and curiosity it's fairly easy to get started.

There are cheaper (the whole Ender series from China and its many clones) and pricier but more polished (i. e. Ultimaker) options, since I don't have any personal experience with those though.

A couple of things to consider:

how big to you need your printed parts to be? In most cases it's easy to split bigger parts into smaller elements and even preferable to do so because some challenges are ampliefied with the size of the print (warping etc.)

as 1001001 said, octoprint with a camera is awesome, once set up you can slice your part and send it right to the printer with the click of a button.

Especially for bigger parts some kind of enclosure might be helpful, warping is reduced if the printer operates in a nice and balmy environment.

Keeping your filament dry (I store eveything in a sealed box with some desiccant) is always a good idea.

PrusaSlicer has gotten awesome. I have used Simplify3d in the past, since PrusaSlicer introduced the possibility to save your whole printjob (the parts on the buildplate, the print settings, manual modifications...) into one file I've been using it pretty much exclusively though. Cura (by the Ultimaker guys and gals) seems to be a great tool too, availability of different open source options is really sweet.
Regardless of which slicer you choose, get to know your print settings, modifiers etc., they're gret tools of optimization.

One last thing:
At least some basic knowledge of solid 3d-modelling is essential. I believe there's still some rebate through EAA on a SolidWorks product, alternatives are Fusion 360, Onshape etc.
The saying "to the guy holding a hammer everything looks like a nail" is certainly true here, there are so many little holders, jigs, boxes which can be drawn up in a couple of minutes and be ready for use quickly.
Mario from Frankenberg, Germany
RV-7, emp. done, wings close to being ready for inspection, canoe flipped and parts of the finish kit in just about every room of the house
2022 contribution sent - thanks for this awesome space DR
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Old 05-30-2022, 07:29 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
Posts: 4,333

I've had a Prusa since the MK2 came out, it's been upgraded as far as I think makes economic sense and is now a "MK2.5" I guess. The MK3 would be my choice if buying today.

I've used an Ultimaker before (hate, hate, hate the glass bed and bodun cable for the filament). We now have a Raise3D printer at work, and it's awesome, but it was $7K new. 300x300x300mm build volume though, and its enclosed so ABS prints nicely...
Rob Prior
1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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