View Full Version : Affordable 3D Printer?

05-29-2012, 07:03 AM
Im currently looking into buying a 3D Printer, one of the affordable ones in the around 1400 dollar range. I was wondering what you here think about those 3D printers and maybe even have experience with one?

I know i cant print out detailed sculpts with those printers since they are pretty low resolution and then also print this jagged edges but even printing out simple sculpts and models sounds awesome to me. Im also wondering how tricky it is to print out stuff with it because you can't just print the layers in thin air?

The Printers im currently looking at are the Makerbot, Buildatron and the Ultimaker, they are all ca in that price range, but for that price they also need to be assembled. I hope that will be not very complex. Buildatron seems to be the best, i read somewhere that the resolution is quite a bit better then of the others.

05-29-2012, 08:38 AM
would n't mind one myself, also a 3d scanner would be a good addition.

05-29-2012, 09:06 AM
can't help on the printers, as the quality is usually too weak, compared to per asset solutions

anyways the cheapest 3dscanner you could get right now is autodesks 123dcatch, you shoot photos of your object and it calculates the surface for you, its kinda rough but does a nice job overall. or russian3dscanner once it is out.

05-29-2012, 09:12 AM
Still Extruding: RepRap Price Points - YouTube

I've been thinking about making a rep rap...

05-29-2012, 09:27 AM

Cubify 3D Printing Systems - CES 2012

$1299, no assembly.

05-29-2012, 10:32 AM
I have a Reprap (the Makergear Mosaic), and it's at around $1k. They just came out with a newer one, the Mosaic2 or M2. They're pretty decent for printing big things.

I gotta be honest and warn you though. The quality just isn't there yet on those ~$1k machines. Maybe in 5 years? I don't know. But definitely do not expect to make something in zBrush, hit Print, and then you get it. It takes quite an effort to set something up for printing, probably going to have to do some test runs, and then you get something that's pretty poor quality.

It's a lot of fun though, I gotta say. Just gotta know what to expect.

05-29-2012, 11:03 AM
It definitely sounds like a fun hobby, price for performance is okay, it'd be fun to print stuff off for friends, or prototype objects. You wont be printing models you can sell.

05-29-2012, 11:47 AM
Cubify Printer looks great, the resolution is at 0.25 mm layer thickness, the Buildatron has 1.75mm! But i fear that you are bound to the cubify cartridges which could then be overpriced!? Just like its often which paper printers, cheap printer but high coast cartridges. On the site it says 1 Cartridge prints 13 to 14 mid-sized creations which would then be 2.25 x 2.25 x 2.25 inches objects, 1 cartridges is 50$. Is that overpriced? Here are the specs: http://cubify.com/cube/specs.aspx

@ Bigjohn
I know, i dont expect much from quality. I dont know much of whats the tricky part of printing? I know it should be holed/concave and then it could need supporting structures in it?

yea, would be just for fun, seeing it create something that i can pickup. :)

05-29-2012, 12:34 PM
that spec page is a bit vague, it doest mention the weight of filament in lbs one cartridge contains. i do know that they use regular ABS plastic filament in them.

you can buy similar filament spools in lbs from elsewhere for for lot less


however, i dont know if you would be able to match their custom requirements if any such thickness or melting temperature.

also, here are couple more printers which has the option of direct spool feed so you are not restricted to specific cartridges.


05-29-2012, 01:48 PM
It depends on what it is you're trying to print. And that's the tricky part, that every piece requires its own attention. You have to be really aware of support structures, and areas that protrude outwards. Then there's also the temperatures. Both for the bed and the plastic. Different pieces may need different temperatures. Then you need to manage a few different programs. One to slice the object, one to print it, etc.

The support structure thing is the real killer. You can get a printer that has two heads, which would mean that you could print the support in a different material. This is good, because then you could just snap it right off. Otherwise you have to print the support in the same material. Which would mean you'd have to cut it off with an exacto-knife or something.

But yeah, it depends on what it is you're trying to print. Like I said, don't expect anything coming out of zBrush to actually print nicely. (meaning high-res sculpts)

05-29-2012, 02:19 PM
My friend has a makerbot. Absolutely loves it. Uses it every day. Set up a small little side business

Shipping took forever though.

05-30-2012, 01:51 PM
That UP! mini looks also great. Even more cheap then the cubify, same resolution and not bound to cartridges. I read before that the normal UP! is really good, but its also in a higher price range. In the video it says smart breack away support, i wonder what that means: http://www.3dprinter.net/the-new-up-mini-3d-printer-only-899

@Bigjon i guess the UP! mini has that then with the different material for support sructures since it should be able to break off? The cubify looks to me like they made the whole process of printing something out more consumer friendly with their own programm. The UP! gets also advertised with easy to use software. But no idea how easy that then is.

@ slipsius
10-12 weeks leadtime it seems to be currently for a makerbot

05-30-2012, 02:06 PM
Yeah, that's what it means. That it will print the support in a different material so you could break it away. That UP! printer looks pretty good to me, other than the build-size being real small at 4.7" which is way tiny. I think some of the other ones go up to 12", but of course are much more expensive. Though really I don't know why they would be.

Anyway, yeah that sounds about right. You may also want to take a look at some of the new liquid polymer printers (http://www.indiegogo.com/veloso3dprinter) coming out. That's a really interesting technology that looks like it produces much higher quality prints than the rep-rap ones do. If you scroll down that page, there's a shot of a whistle printed with a rep-rap printer, and that's about the quality you can expect from yours. The liquid polymer one looks much better. Though it's probably way out of your price range for now.

05-31-2012, 06:42 AM
Im pretty sold on the UP! mini, i wouldnt say the build size is tiny, the cubify and the older UP! have both only 20mm more. I realized now though that the UP! mini doesnt allow me to see how the magic happens, its a case with no transparent window. Its kind of a big disadvantage for me and i guess forcing the case open will not be wise.
Here is a little review of a UP! mini prototype:
Still needs to find its way to europa it seems.

Liqiud Polymer looks great, though i have my doubts that the tech is there yet for low price printers. Im wondering how much more that polymer will cost to print. Also lools like that project will not get funded. Do you know of any other cheap liquid polymer printers?

05-31-2012, 10:35 AM
I don't know of any other (cheap) ones. There are some really expensive ones, but this is the first one I've seen that's at the sub $5k range.

BTW, it will get funded. It's on indiegogo which, unlike Kickstarter, still gives you the money even if you didn't reach your goal.

05-31-2012, 04:20 PM
I'm currently working on gathering materials to build myself a Reprap Prusa Air2i2. My focus will be on maybe one at a low cost that works decent enough.

My main goal will be to make one for at low at $250-$300, once I get enough money and my materials I will probably document the build process on here or something.

The great thing about Repraps and Open Source projects are that you can sort of experiment with materials and whatnot, so I've been taking stepper motors and stuff out of old/broken printers.

If your doing sculpts of models with less surface detail though a normal reprap can be good, there are people who have managed to get as low as 0.01mm layer height with good results and if you still need it smoother when your working with ABS plastic you can brush a little ABS juice (ABS filament scraps mixed with a little acetone to melt it down) it order to smooth out the surface.

You can see a 0.01mm layer height print here.

Makergear Prusa Mendel printing Pink Panther Lady at 0.01 layer height - YouTube

You can also use ABS juice on your print bed, it's almost a good alternative to a heated bed for printing in ABS since it will help the print stick to the bed as far as I have been able to gather from asking questions on the RepRap irc channel.

After I make my first Reprap though I will plan on making improvements to it and possibly make a second one later on with multiple extruders for multicolor printing and a better set up for support structures.

06-01-2012, 09:42 AM
Sounds nice, i expect it to be really complex to build you own from scratch, curious about your documentation then. I wonder how you would go about brushing it smooth, is there a documentation about that?

06-01-2012, 12:25 PM
Well, for Repraps their wiki page has all the info you will really need.


For brushing it smooth though I haven't seen much documentation, but there is a page for it on Thingiverse, which is basically a place people can post printable objects, improvements to parts and other stuff.