Considering a 3D printer

There are enough good ones out there that Make has a print off every year.

Don’t go super cheap looking to just try, on the other hand, you don’t need every bell and whistle either.

I ended up going with the Lulzbot mini and love it. After a year and a half, I am considering selling it and getting the taz 6 so I can do dual heads.

Matter of fact, check out the mini and if that is something you’d want to start with, message me.


Also recommending Lulzbot here. I have a mini and it it worked straight out of the box and has kept on working reliably. We also have a bunch of Lulzbot printers in the maker space at work because we wanted reliability and low maintenance overhead.


Small ABS parts can be printed without an enclosure, but most ABS filament smells bad, so you might want an enclosure anyway. I use a type that is white when natural, rather than cream, and it doesn’t smell much.

With a heated enclosure then the hotter it is the bigger objects you can print without warping. I run mine at 45C and can print medium size parts. To print arbitrarily large parts you need a chamber at about 85C but that is too hot for my current machines.

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Oh, and another thing to be aware or depending on the kind of filament and a bunch of other factors: you may set off a nearby smoke detector. (FWIW, when I’m doing ABS I have a househould HEPA box sitting right behind the machine. Helps a fair amount.)

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If I was getting a filament printer, my research has me interested in Lulzbot. But as much as I want one I have decided to wait for resin printers to become more affordable.


Interesting. I have one near my machines and it has never gone off. Perhaps it depends on the type of ABS.

Or the machine’s enclosure. My Makerbots really don’t have a fume/odor problem. I do almost all my work in ABS (not supplied by MB though).

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I haven’t done extensive testing since I initially encountered the problem with my makerbot cupcake (Which tells you the vintage of the ABS and the quality of the printer nozzle). Also, the detector was almost directly above the machine…

Glad to hear it’s not a problem for others.

I have the taz 5, and I envy the taz 6 auto level feature…


That was a reminder to me to check the batteries in my smoke detectors. Hadn’t looked at them for a while.


I print almost exclusively in ABS and never set off the smoke detector that is 4 feet away from it.
I would echo that open printers like this may have some issues with warping and delamination. When printing objects in ABS a breeze can cause cooling issues on the part. I have a partially enclosed printer, and I can see in the print striations when the heat in the room kicked on, or even when I open the door to the room.

The other issue I have heard with this printer configuration is printing tall skinny objects. Since the platform jogs in and out at a rapid speed, it can shake parts off the platform at the base.

3d printing is a learning experience, You need to create and print designs that exploit the strengths of your printer/material and minimize the weaknesses.

For the price it looks like a great learning printer. Since you will be assembling it, you will understand how it works better. I know the first time I opened my print head to clear a jam I was overly nervous. It turns out to be very simple! There is no sorcery in these devices, simple motors and belts and cables for the most part!


This so much goes for all smart tools. I have a CNC router that has a very small cut area. It makes up for that other ways but I am always hearing owners complain that it will not cut this or that file that was written for a much larger router.
I look at the designs and ask what do I need to do to make this work?

I am at a point that I think that if you are not doing most of your own design work you are not getting near your money’s worth out of your smart tool.

I do it all the time, just make sure that you have good bed adhesion and no head bump. On one my major prints even flares at the top. I print it this way instead of 180d out because there is a hole for an insert at the top and if I put it at the bottom, touching the bed would distort it.


For those of you that print in ABS…whats the advantage of ABS vs PLA?? @mad_macs @jamesdhatch @palmercr @paulw
Sorry…total noob here on 3D printers…just the thought of learning something new makes my head hurt…lmao


ABS is printed at a higher temp than PLA, and is more resistant to melting if you use it as a coaster under a hot cup of coffee, or if you leave a gadget on the dash of the car in the summer.


It stinks to print, it warps and cracks if it is not kept warm enough during the printing process, and basically has a lot of quirks of it’s own. Also, if you don’t clean leftover PLA completely out of the nozzle before taking the temps up to ABS printing temp, you’re going to carbonize the PLA in the nozzle and eventually reduce the diameter of the opening or cause a clog in the nozzle.

PETG on the other hand is a pretty good higher-temp filament. Doesn’t warp, doesn’t split, doesn’t shrink much, doesn’t stink to print, doesn’t require an enclosure. (Still need to clean that nozzle before switching to printing it though.)

Everything you never wanted to know about 3D filaments. :smile:


So if we are just going to print hobby type stuff…maybe some custom game pieces, knick knacks etc…no need to use anything but PLA??

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PLA or you could try the PLA+ from eSun. It’s a little more flexible than PLA. (PLA is actually a very strong filament.)


I’ve been using mostly HIPS up until recently. I think its properties are similar to ABS, but I think the fumes are less of an issue. I never got into PLA because it seems a bit drippier and fussier. However, I’ve recently started using nGen from ColorFabb. I don’t know exactly how to describe the difference, it’s shinier and “crisper” in some way.

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For me, ABS cleans up and finishes much easier than PLA. It’s readily sandable and can be vapor polished with Acetone. You can glue components together using just acetone, or a Doped acetone mix. Not that kind of dope… It’s a term for the base plastic (ABS) dissolved in the solvent to make it thicker and more gap filling. HIPS finishes similar to ABS, as Styrene is the “S” in both materials.

With some sanding and minimal filler I can glue up and make things like this.


Yeah, pla or hips are great for nick nacks


PETG has to be the most underrated of the filaments