Hi All, I am new to this world so need a bit of advice.

(Posh Man) #1

Hi All,

I am new to this world so need a bit of advice. I am involved in conventional printing but want to expand in to other areas.

Looking to purchase a 3D Printer next year for my small business based in the US. Probably FDM that produces PLA parts (possibly other).

My criteria (quite broad):-

  1. Good speed to be cost-effective. I want to produce small batch runs of simple plastic parts but don’t want to wait all day. Important.
  2. Straightforward to use. Which CAD is best user-friendly?
  3. Reliability, Repeatability and decent quality.
  4. Budget $10-15,000 maybe more so Professional Machine or Entry Commercial.
  5. Maybe 12 Inch Bed square +. Doesn’t have to be big.

Better new or better value second hand?
What machine is seen as the benchmark in this category?

I have had suggestions elsewhere of Hyrel 3D machines, Leapfrog and minifactory ultra?

It looks as if there are amazingly knowledgeable people on here so any thoughts and experience with your own machines would be really appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

(ThantiK) #2

The Prusa i3 is going to be one of your better options. It’s certainly the most value-oriented. It comes in at less than $1k. If you’re looking in the 3k+ range, the Ultimaker is a good choice too. Don’t buy anything above that range. It’s just not worth it.

Speed is going to be a problem, however - FDM is all pretty much the same. The speed is all dependent on slicer settings, and can range from 20 minutes to a couple of days depending on how finely you set them. You could get multiple Ultimakers/Prusa i3’s and control them with BotQueue if you wanted to parallelize though. Beats buying a single $15k printer.

As far as CAD goes, everyone here will have their own opinions. Personally if I’ve got a company offering up $15k for just the printer, I’d go with Solidworks simply because it’s the best. However for people on a budget I often recommend Fusion360, OnShape, etc. Stay away from SketchUp.

(Posh Man) #3

Thanks ThantiK that’s useful feedback. Maybe multiple machines could be a way forward.

(Mano Biletsky (Open MAKER)) #4

+1 for solidworks!