3D Printer Experience and/or Advice


Anyone have any experience with cheap 3D printers? I’m just looking for something to experiment with and create some small enclosure-y type things.

Looking at a few options under $400 (Prusa I3, A8) but don’t know anyone who has seen them in action.


I don’t own one in the $400 price range, but I do own Prusa i3 MK2 and it works great. Compared to my original MakerGear Prusa Mendel from 4 years ago, this machine is a dream. Nearly runs like an appliance. There have been many, many YouTube reviews of it. Some of the reviewers have also reviewed the clones and claim certain i3 clones performed very well. The A8 does well in the reviews.


Excellent, that’s good to hear, thanks!


I have the Wilson 2, designed by my friend Marty:

It’s been great overall, but like anything, 3D printing is a skill building exercise, so have patience while you work through the learning curve.

What are you hoping to build?


That looks like a decent option too, looks solid and compact.

I have a few practical uses, like the clips for the magnets on our shutters that keep breaking or broken/missing parts of toys for the kids. I have a project idea that I’ve been working on with the kids, but can’t find the right hardware to be able to connect things together the way we want and might be able to create. I’d also like to try to come up with some enclosures/holders for PCBs, etc.


10-11 week lead time on Prusa right now. Want one, don’t want to wait, lead time grows longer, rinse, repeat :frowning:



Yep. I ordered mine on 12.4.2016 and it shipped 1.17.2017. So about 7 weeks back then already.


I got myself a Kossel delta 3d printer about 6 months ago and after multiple converastions with the manufacture, got it working quite well with a heated bed. its about 200 and its a build it yourself kit but once its done and calibrated properly ( wich is not currently in the manual ) it does a great job for a 200 dollar machine. I would reccomend it as its got a small desktop footprint, with the power supply its about a 1 ft X 1ft X 1ft space if you mount the power supply on one of the rails. the customer support is great as I had a heck of a time getting it set up and calibrated but they gave me great pointers and extra documents which I will freely hand out now that I have them. I got it off Amazon BTW.


@ALeggeUp, did you end up deciding on a printer?

The Prusa i3 MK2 is still working great.


Hey @hedrickbt, I haven’t been able to justify the money yet, I keep getting tempted by $300-ish priced ones and then scared off by reviews and comments… I challenged myself to learn Fusion 360 and come up with 3 designs that I wanted printed and I haven’t been able to do it yet, so something tells me I’m not quite ready for it.

I think I’ll end up paying for the reliability though, I don’t want to end up being a 3d printer mechanic so the feedback on the Prusa i3 MK2 is really helpful, that probably puts that one in the lead in my mind right now.



Have you thought about trying out something like Shapeways for now?

I went for having an in-house printer due to iterations. Maybe 1/3 of the time I get exactly what I need on the first print, but most of the time, it takes at least a couple redesigns. I like keeping the iteration loop tight.


The last time I had looked into it the shipping was prohibitive, but it looks more reasonable now so that is definitely an option, thanks!

What software are you using for your designs?



I use Alibre Design (aka Geomagic ) and have been for about 4 years. I did use Fusion 360 for about 2 months, this year, when it looked like the end was near for Alibre and it worked very well too. Plus, you can use Fusion 360 for 1 year for free. You will have to purchase Alibre after the 30 day trial.

Here are the details on how to get started with Fusion 360 and some of the details you want to pay attention to if you are using it for commercial purposes.


Thanks @hedrickbt, I’ll give that a shot, the license looks pretty good for someone like me just starting up a side business, the $100,000 threshold shouldn’t be an issue for a long while, if ever (hoping it will be an issue).


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