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"Which Printer?" Topic

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528 hits since 9 Oct 2017
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Comments or corrections?

Bronco Betty09 Oct 2017 11:31 a.m. PST

If you were going to purchase a 3D printer which one would you buy? Price is a consideration, but also the quality of the print.

Thank you,

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 11:39 a.m. PST

First Question what do you want to do with it.

I persanaly would go for something like a Wanho I3 XX whatever the latest is. HOWEVER it is limited to 0,1mm layer height which I find perfectly acceptable but some folk don't like 0,1mm steps.

If I had the money the Ultimaker 2+ looks good as it will print VERY SMALL bits with a 0,25mm nozzle. but its much more expensive.

If you want a resin printer I am no help.

Royal Air Force09 Oct 2017 12:36 p.m. PST

I've just started using the Prusa I3 Mk2S and am very happy with it. Of course a week after it arrived, they announced the Mk3. Excellent engineering and support.

Mad Mecha Guy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 2:12 p.m. PST

As need detailed prints, I'm saving for a Form2 (around 50% there).

Rob Richardson09 Oct 2017 2:33 p.m. PST

I'll second RAF's recommendation of the Prusa I3 MK2S. Very, very nice printer. The MK3 looks even better… I'm going to order one soon-ish. There is a bit of a learning curve, and you have the ability to change a huge number of setting to get that "perfect print".

My first printer was a Flash Forge finder, which was good as a starter – easy to use right out of the box. The print quality is OK – Prusa is much better. The main drawbacks are the lack of heated print bed (you will want that feature) and small-ish print area (5.5" cube).

Mutant Q09 Oct 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

I'm using a Monoprice Maker Select which is really nice starter printer. However, I do wish I had waited for the latest version of the Prusa. That one has automatic bed-leveling which can be a pain to do manually.

Of course, what I really want is a SLA printer. The Duplicator 7 looks nice, but I hear that it's still in beta right now.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2017 7:47 p.m. PST

What are you guys printing with it, wargaming-wise?

Mutant Q09 Oct 2017 10:52 p.m. PST

As I type, I'm printing out some starfighter models for Star Eagles. I've printed up some nice terrain pieces.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2017 1:54 a.m. PST

Me, I print 1/144 vehicles, prone 1/144 infantry and recently some hills (there is a post somewhere fairly recently on the hills. Occasionally Hexon II tiles they do not make. I also do some N gauge stuff like fences for the model railway.

Royal Air Force10 Oct 2017 5:31 a.m. PST

I've used it for multiple terrain pieces, there are a lot of creative people on thingaverse. I've also been printing boardgame 'upgrades' and storage solutions.

SeattleGamer10 Oct 2017 6:48 p.m. PST

I have a Monoprice Maker Select v2 (Wanhao clone). Cost me $275 USD ish on sale, and had free shipping.

I am printing terrain. Dungeon tiles, building tiles, cobblestone street tiles, arabic village buildings (for North Africa WWII), Normandy buildings, Carribbean buildings (for pirate gaming), ships, cargo, mail boxes, street lights, fire escapes … lots and lots of stuff.

Not printing any force miniatures though. Don't think printers are to the quality they would need, at a price point that makes them affordable. I don't think a $2,500 USD FDM printer is capable of producing a 30mm WWII soldier (for example). Neither is a $250 USD FDM printer.

But you want trenches? Sandbags? Crates? Oil Drums? Shacks? Brick Walls? Rubble? All the scatter terrain you can think of? Your average-price 3D printer is certainly capable of producing lots and lots and lots of that!

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2017 6:57 p.m. PST

I see people selling 3D-printed buildings on Ebay--Normandy houses, castle towers, other medium-sized such items--are those doable with a sub-$500 printer, or do they have an investment in a bigger machine?

SeattleGamer11 Oct 2017 10:03 a.m. PST

It would be doable, just depends on how much you value your hobby time to work out a viable cost factor, if you choose to do that yourself.

In my case, figure $300 USD printer. Figure it is good for 300 prints before something needs replacing, so tack on $1 USD minimum for wear and tear. A Normandy house, 2-story, 28mm scale, will probably run about $6 USD or so for filament. Let's call that $7. USD

So you have $8 USD invested in materials already. If your time is worth something, add that in. Maybe you decide $2 USD per house.

So you can print them, and sell them at $10 USD and cover the very basic costs of materials, wear and tear, and a little for your time.

Now, let's say that every 10th time you print, it fails half way through. You just wasted some materials that get tossed. Are you going to factor that in? If so, then perhaps you need to charge $12 USD per house to allow for the occasional waste.

Printing only for myself, I consider my hobby time basically free. I buy the file, I load it on a thumb drive, I plug that into my printer, I tell it to go, and it goes. I am now free to go paint or whatever. I come back, and it worked or it did not. If it worked, I tell myself I just got a Normandy house that somebody would probably charge me $20 USD to get (thinking shipping now, plus tax if necessary) for about $5 USD worth of filament.

I don't print to sell.

Besides, the files you can buy almost ALWAYS say they are for personal use only, and NOT to be sold. So unless that Normandy House was designed by that seller, or he got the rights to sell it from the guy who designed it, he is not being nice.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 4:42 a.m. PST

Thanks, I have toured a place which has accessible 3D printers, but had concerns over cost of filament.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 5:12 a.m. PST

Look round and ask on the boards. I pay £20.00 GBP ish a rell of 1Kg deliverd in the UK. A kg does LOT of prints. Even a 1/72 scale tank proably only cost a couple of pounds. All my 1/144 tanks cost less than about 20p in material. Hard to tell but I guess around £1.00 GBP an hour to run the printer. Most of that is the cost of the printer at £2,000.00 GBP Next is the bed. Mine uses a lexon plate and that has to be replaced every 200 to 400 hrs of printing depending whats need printed. Cost per hour of the material is proably 7p.

UshCha Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

Forgot. for models I use PLA, perfectly acceptable.

Mutant Q14 Oct 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

@ SeattleGamer

I too use a Monoprice Maker Select. It's a nice starter printer, though I'm keeping my eyes open for an upgrade. Like you, I've mainly printed terrain pieces, buildings, and some vehicles. I wouldn't trust it to do standard scale humanoid figures. The layer thickness is jut too great for that.

Still, this is probably the future for our hobby, so it's a good idea to learn the technology now and adapt with it.

Mutant Q14 Oct 2017 9:35 a.m. PST


I too mainly work in PLA. ABS has a reputation for being more durable, but it's very…. finicky to work with. Everything has to be just right or the model will warp during printing.

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