3D Printer

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I just picked one up in Denver. Thanks for the heads up on the sale. Anyone have any advice on how to get started with this 3D printer?
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PAToyota

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Hmmm... Looks like an hour down to Baltimore or an hour and a half to Philadelphia for me.

Not a lot of information on software. You can apparently use anything that will output an STL file, but what actually runs the printer? The MicroCenter website lists operating systems of Windows 7, 8, and 10 as well as XP and Vista as well as Mac OSX and Linux, which should give a pretty wide range of options. Went to the Creality website and they have even less information - mostly in broken English.
 
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Pretty well all consumer 3D printers will take a sliced file (starting with an STL).

Design process:

1) design your widget using a 3D cad package, e.g. solidworks, autocad fusion, etc etc. Lots of free 3D cad stuff out there and lots of $$$$ cad stuff too.
2) generate an STL
3) run the STL through a slicer program (lots of them out there, some $ many free). Figuring out whether you need supports for overhangs etc, also orienting the 3D model to be able to print without massive numbers of overhangs. Practice and google and forums.
4) feed sliced program into the 3D printer. Some can take straight from USB etc and some will just read an SD card directly.
5) wait for 3D printer to do its thing.

Slicing is basically taking the STL model (that is the 3D thing) and slicing it horizontally layer by layer - each layer is a horizontal slice through the entire 3D object (like cheese). Each slice gets printed as a layer and then the next slice starts printing and the next and .... The sliced file contains the path that the x/y motors take to lay down the plastic strand and also a bunch of other stuff like retract speed, platen temperature, print head temperature, x speed, y speed, and the list goes on and on. Lot's of 'knobs' to tweak in search of the ultimate configuration. That will change depending on the printer, the resolution you want to print at, the type/brand of filament and so on.

Consider that 3D printers are like inkjet printers were a long time ago. Sometimes it'll print great and sometimes nothing works and it's just a mess of melted plastic that doesn't want to stick to the platen or layer to layer or .... the list goes on.

3D printing (SLA) is definitely NOT a turnkey event. If you don't have patience to learn the process and how to adjust a myriad of parameters both in the slicing software and printer calibration etc, don't waste your money. It can become a full time hobby in of itself :)

cheers,
george.

edit: typo and bit of clarification of slicing
 
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PAToyota

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Well, I made the drive down to Parkville, MD this morning (the closest MicroCenter to me, about an hour away). Their website said they had 25+ in stock, but had a stack of more than 200 of them in one of the aisles. Picked up the 3D printer, a box of filament to get me started, and a "3D Make & Print" magazine that caught my eye while checking out.

I asked a guy I know who has some experience with 3D printing about the Ender 3 Pro. He actually has an Ender 3 and showed me some of the prints he has done with it and I was suitably impressed. At $100 it really seemed like a no-brainer.

George gives a good overview of what this guy told me - create the STL file, slice it, and load it into the printer - and play around with it to learn what you need to do.

I'll get it set up and let you all know how it goes.
 
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Well, I made the drive down to Parkville, MD this morning (the closest MicroCenter to me, about an hour away). Their website said they had 25+ in stock, but had a stack of more than 200 of them in one of the aisles. Picked up the 3D printer, a box of filament to get me started, and a "3D Make & Print" magazine that caught my eye while checking out.

I asked a guy I know who has some experience with 3D printing about the Ender 3 Pro. He actually has an Ender 3 and showed me some of the prints he has done with it and I was suitably impressed. At $100 it really seemed like a no-brainer.

George gives a good overview of what this guy told me - create the STL file, slice it, and load it into the printer - and play around with it to learn what you need to do.

I'll get it set up and let you all know how it goes.
I am pretty impressed with this printer. It has been easier to just print, but harder to interpret the results.

The printer will come with Creality Slicer on the SD card that is included. I am getting much better prints with PrusaSlicer.

Thingiverse.com has been my go to for interesting free designs.
 

PAToyota

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I found this video review of the printer:

Points to recognize: 1) This is an older design - the video review is from 2019. 2) In the video the price was $400 and dropped to $300, so I think $100 is a pretty good deal even if it is older technology. 3) Note that upgrading the bowden tube for the printer makes a pretty significant change in the quality. 4) Take some time to check out the other links - particularly the two settings videos linked below the video.
 

davegonz

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Great deal on a solid machine. I have an Ender 3 and have been really happy with it.
 

davegonz

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Ender 3.

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PAToyota

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Just a note that the coupon is still available. A guy I know got his girlfriend to fill out the form for a second one.
 

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