Robotics Hobbyist

Best Printer for hobbiests?

im just starting out, and I was wondering what the best printers/programs/filaments for a person just getting their first printer would be. any thoughts?

Hi @yasha200215, welcome to the forums here. We hope to see you here often and help us grow as well as hopefully help you in this wonderful hobby.

In order to best help you a few things would be most beneficial for us to know.

  • What type of item(s) are you thinking of printing or designing?
  • What type of Computer do you use? PC, MAC, Linux or something else?
  • What is your budget for software and hardware?

Are you looking to print things that others have created or are you looking to design your own things? I ask as you will want to consider a CAD program if you are looking to create your own items. I have a couple suggestions here.

  • FreeCAD - Works on PC, MAC and Linux (as the name suggests it is free)
  • Fusion 360 - Works on PC and MAC (free for hobbyists and startups that make less than $1000 from the items created with the software
  • Shapr3D - Works on all iPads that have Apple Pencil Support (has a limited trial that is useful to learn with, but the Pro Version is currently $239.99 / year

I have used all of these and many others. Currently I use Fusion 360 on a PC and MAC often, you can check out some of my projects here in the forums with these programs. Be sure to check out the projects by @Romulus369 as well, he uses Solidworks and Shapr3D with the later being used frequently. He has many great projects created with Shapr3D that he has shared.

Many others here have projects as well, some of which they created and or downloaded and modified and shared here.

If you could help us understand how you intend to use the software and hardware we can help guide you. Please share your rough budget too so we can try to share items that will fit your budget.

If you could take a moment to introduce yourself over in the Members Lounge here: https://roboticshobbyist.com/c/members-lounge You can also read about many of the members too. Please keep in mind the site is just starting out and we are spreading the word via word to mouth and through links that we share on other sites. We are heavily indexed throughout Google as well.

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biomimetic machines, resembling accurate humanoid DoF
hp laptop with sketchbook and touchscreen availability, non removable keyboard.
I budget for $55 a month for my project.
as for whether im printing my own things or using pre existing prints? lets just go with the ‘safe’ answer and say both.

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these plastic parts will merely be used to construct a smaller, functional prototype of my original project.

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So based on your input here, I would suggest using FreeCAD to start with as it is absolutely free, should run reasonably well on your laptop at the beginning. As for software for the 3D printer itself, it will depend on the printer you go with. If you look through my projects I am only printing in PLA for plastics type. I have found no reason to go with anything else at this time.

Now for a printer that will fit withing your budget may be tougher to find because many of the low cost printers are garbage in my opinion (I have tried several, and all now reside in the local dump). But I have one in mind that is reasonably priced for a beginner and seems to get great reviews, I have actually been considering purchasing the larger print bed machine to give it a try myself. Personally I use Makerbot 3D Printers, but they are not going to fit in your budget at this time (they didn’t fit in mine either at first).

Creality3D Ender-3 3D Printer Economic Ender DIY KITS

yikes. that’s the lower end of the ‘decent printer’ prices?
ima need to find me a job

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It’s tough starting out, especially with limited funds. We have all been there.

There may be other printers even less in cost than that, but I can assure you, the ones I tried were not worth purchasing. I spent more money in replacement nozzles alone trying to get them to print reasonably good.

Another option is considering having someone print the parts for you, or maybe you have a Maker Space near you. You may be able to get someone at one of those places to allow you to use the equipment they have to print your projects.

is that like hobby town or hobby lobby?

What is a makerspace?

A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.

and they would help me? would I be able to leave my project there, and/or would it be safe to do so?

Yes, typically they will. It is all about sharing and helping one another. It is a great way to get started if you have a place like that around.

I can’t honestly answer this as I assume it depends on the place and if it is permanent or a place where they rent it for a weekend or so. That would be a question to ask, when you find a place like that.

As for help with your projects, we have many very smart and talented people here in the forums. Some are active very frequent such as myself. Others are active a few times a week even just coming over to read the new posts. And others have busy personal lives but they still stop in from time to time and join in the conversations. I have found all of the members to be very helpful in one way or another.

If you continue to post, ask questions and share any work that you wish to get input on, or just have a place to share it and document it, this is a great place to do so.

The end goal is to grow this site with as many members as possible and help everyone at all levels. I have posted many questions here for help too, and I have had a good amount of responses over time that have been very helpful.

As mentioned there are many places that can print your project for you (for a fee) but it would save you from buying a printer and going through the learning curve while funds are tight. This would allow you to focus on the design end and learning the software.

An example is Shapeways, I used them to print some parts in Nylon in the past. The print quality was great and the turn around was fairly quick. I couldn’t justify investing in a 3D Printer to print Nylon for just a couple parts.

sadly the memebership for the local maker space is still out of my budget.

I am sorry to hear that. But that will change over time I am sure. It typically does.

But you have many online resources that can and will help as much as possible, an example is right here where you are now. We will help you as best we can.

Without giving away your address, can you share where you are located? State, Country? That will let us know if any of us may be local to you, which may open up more possibilities.

Please do not share an exact address publicly, just basic info. And please, there is no reason you have to share this info. I am just suggesting a method how you may locate others with similar interests that may be able to offer assistance. Be sure you trust any offers for help before giving any personal info.

Nebraska, usa. as close to my address as I am willing to post publicly.

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That’s even more than I would expect. Just Nebraska, USA is enough. It will help others who may be able to help, connect once trust has been earned.

At this time I don’t think we have others who live in Nebraska. I am in New Hampshire, Others are in California, and a few others are in the United Kingdom. Some of the members explain more in the members lounge.

I don’t mind stating my city, as I don’t ever give out my name age or gender. and without these, tracking me down is virtually impossible.

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Glad to hear that. There are to many horrible stories in the news about this type of thing. We do not want that here ever.

yeah. and if it ever happens, the authorities will be invovlved, correct? (is asking about contingincies)

Absolutely, this is a site for everyone. The members here currently will not tolerate any of that here, nor will I.

That is why I stated DO NOT share any personal info, especially publicly.

Ok, now to get back on topic.

Please let us know how we can assist with your project here in the forums. We have a broad skill set among the members. And if we can’t assist, I am sure we can help you find someone who can.

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