Greetings everyone, I'm ready to make the jump and purchase a 3D printer kit.

Greetings everyone,
I’m ready to make the jump and purchase a 3D printer kit.
I’ll be using it mostly for experimentation and hacking hobby projects.
It will be a learning tool above all else.
I’m a lifetime maker, so I have good construction and electronics skills.
I’ve been a technophile all my life, but these are the most exciting times I can remember

These are my primary considerations (in order of importance):

  1. Print quality
  2. Experimentation with materials and techniques - Dual print head desirable
  3. Future proof - Open source, hardware and controls
  4. Total Cost < $1200

I’m enamored with the delta configuration, but I’m not sure about the print quality.
I very much appreciate your expert and vibrant community here on G+ and would really like to hear your opinions about which 3D printers you recommend?

mendelmax, mendel90, prusa i3. Those would be my 3 recommendations in no particular order.

Prusa I3 doesn’t really have kits on the market just yet. I have heard good things about the Mendel90.

Thanks @Nicolas_Arias and @Shachar_Weis

3 printers (not in order) which I have given much consideration to are:
Rostock Max
Bukobot 8
I should mention that I live near Philadelphia, PA, USA

I can vouch for the Mendel90 (and consequently for the similar Prusa i3 as well). However, multi-head printing has always been a step-child of our revolution, because it’s tedious to do each time, finicky to set up and requires the x-axis to haul around an extra extruder. The real fun is in trying out new materials, like Taulman’s Nylon, Laywood-3’ wood-infused PLA or polycarbonate. Some materials, like PC, require a PTFE-free hotend, like the Prusanozzle, to work well without poisoning the printer operator. I’d look into finding one future-proof hotend instead of two that are stuck in 2012 :wink:

Thanks @Thomas_Sanladerer for that advice. I wasn’t aware of toxicity and compatibility issues between Polycarbonate and PTFE, but have been considering PC as a potential advantageous structural print medium. I’d also be glad to hear printhead recommendations as well, but I’ve got a few ideas of my own that I’d like to try out.