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I've personally never used a 3D printer, but I have to imagine that the actual "printing" phase is just a tiny part of any project that ultimately involves a 3D printer...so I would suggest you spend plenty of time getting ahold of and working with 3D models with relevant software and get intimately familiar with the editing process, since this is where you'll probably spend most of your time. If you decide this isn't your cup of tea, then all you'll use the printer for is printing models others have already created.
I'm not trying to be a naysayer...I'm just trying to place myself in that situation and figuring out whether I could justify it. Obviously, YMMV.
Remember I have 6 months holiday a year to fill up!
I have Anet E12. It is able to print big parts and works very well for me and I use it a lot. I used it to print some replacement parts for my old car (like inside the cabin door unlock part) and replacement parts for children toys, replacement parts around the house (like chair supports). I find a lot of parts on thingiverse. I just dovnload and print them (check out replacement parts for cars, it's amazing). The parts that I don't find online I drow by myself in "fusion 360" 3D sw.
I keep asking myself: What is my problem, that I want to solve? Do I break my plastic cups on every camping trip, so they need steady replacements? Do I wish to replace the knobs and pushbuttons on my stereo system and other electronics with "designer" alternatives (the designer being yours truly)? Do I regularly develop new board games for myself, that needs tailor made pieces, similar to chess pieces?
No, no and no. Essentially, I'd be curious to have a 3D printer to print 3D objects, sort of like in OO programming: Any object, no specifics, no defined use, not covering any need. Their purpose is to be an object, created on my 3D printer.
Before that, I will buy myself a top grade photo printer that can print on heavy stock, on canvas, or superwide panoramas on paper from a roll. Earlier, I was an eager photographer; if I am able to revive that old hobby and start making pictures, I will have a need for such a printer, and I will buy it.
The day I identify a true need for a 3D printer - a problem / task that without much discussion is best solved if I get myself one - then I will buy a 3D printer. Maybe the technology has matured then. It could take ten years before I see a true need. Maybe the techology by then has more than matured, maybe it is dead...
Many of the libraries in my municipality have 3D printers that residents can use for pennies. I was initially quite excited about that, but to date have printed nothing. I too would like to play with a 3D printer, but in the end it would be a tool waiting for a project.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx
I'm technical person and I playing with 3d printers for 4 years..(not that I want to show off but to give you a reference to my comments).
First question that you need to ask yourself is how much do you really want to spend on device?
Second is do you like to tinker(as this is your hobby) or you want to have working device right of the box?
Depending on your answers.. if you can afford kits >1000$ so anything is good. If you want to spend 500$-1000$ probably Prusa MK3 is the natural choice (you can save a bit buy buying DIY kit) or pay a bit more for assembled one. Of course market is big and you can spend on something else but Prusa is a BRAND and they have a support and big community behind this.
200$-500$ probably anything from better known Chinese brands like Creality, Tronxy, JGAurora, Tevo or similar check Youtube for the more popular guys how it looks..
Under 200$ Ender3 is the king..
And last 2 quick comments..
1. don't be greedy.. 3D printer is slow process going big(big printer is a problem if you don't relay print that big prints) small printer are faster to use for small bits.. and big printers are slow for small prints and it takes ages to print a big print. There is a reason why most popular printers are below 300mm.
2. good heated print bed with autoleveling is the key with "extra" print surface which saves you ton of failed prints. Everything else these days are extra features that makes life a bit easier but are not that important.
If you get an FDM printer - consider overall size carefully. I bought a large one (Tronxy X5S). Problem is that I want to build an enclosure around it and it's just too big for that and the space I have.
The company I work for thought we would get a lot of usage out of 3D printing parts. That was a few years ago and I think we do 4 small usage parts. Luckily we outsourced the printing and saved the cost of buying a printer.
I will tell you I read one of the best bits of advice I think I have seen regarding 3D printing. "If you are not a tinkerer, 3D printing is not for you."
I have a Tevo Tornado. I am happy with it. As a beginner it is a cheap entry printer ~$400. The instructions for setting it up are horrible but there are plenty of You tubes that you can go through to help in getting going. Then you can go to places like thingiverse and get models to download and print until you get designing figured out.
Steps I went through.
1. set it up
2. Find pre-made models on thingiverse etc to print
3. Learn how to tweak printer/slicer settings
4. trial and error followed by trial and error
5. Learn to design your own models.
6. repeat step 4.
I strongly agree. I developed printers for 3D Systems for past 6 years - they gave up on consumer printers years ago, it just didn't make business sense. It wasn't easy to make the models, FDM couldn't be made reliable for us, so we just stuck with the industrial side (SLS, SLA, Multi-jet, Metal, etc.). Prototyping is the largest market area.
I still feel the 3D model creation side is the worse part of it, the software just isn't there, steep learning curve. However, if you like a challenge...good luck!!!
I've been using the Ultimaker 2+ for several years now and love the printer! I started out with Autodesk's 123D Design and loved it due to it's simplicity and mainly because I didn't have any real CAD experience and was a noob. Autodesk has since dropped this product and you have to use Fusion 360 which is a better CAD product, but I grew up on 123D Design and don't care for Fusion. I've used the Ultimaker 2+ to build gear boxes, gears, axles, support arms, enclosure boxes, stepper motor mounts, etc. Some of the parts I used to print took 36 hours and the Ultimaker with its heated bed did a awesome job! But you have to make sure that you put the printer on a UPS just in case you loose power (which happens where I live). Ultimaker with Cura (slicer app) and you can't go wrong.
I have an old Aluminatus,big,loud and heavy. Uses 3mm size filaments. A work horse though, I have printed parts that took 40 hours to complete. It has been very reliable. It has a 300mm X 300mm X 300mm work area.
The latest top-up went down like toxic fumes: laptop frozen for over 30 minutes with the blue screen saying: 'do not turn your computer off' ... no vibes of disk activity ... alt-control-delete didn't work. Multiple reboots holding down various keys I thought would get to the bios, or enable boot in safe-mode ... didn't work.
I went in the bedroom, got under a quilt, assumed a fetal position, tried to wish it all away ... back to the room of the infested beast after sleep-fail: one final try holding spacebar down ... damn ... it booted, and I was able to complete the update, and reboot.
This was a barbed-wire proctology alarm-clock wakey-wakey: I have not backed up the beast with AOMEI for over six weeks. Even though I'm all clouded-up, the thought of another day of installing and installing, and making sure apps are registered, etc., fills me with deep existential dread.
There: I feel better now ... isn't suffering.shared == suffering.diluted ?
Time to get backed-up
«One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.» Salvador Dali
Good thing about running 10 in a VM, can carry on doing work while it does (or pretends) to do it's update thing, and oh yeah, if it does go titsup there's this handy roll back feature.
10 belongs in a VM, particularlyabsolutely always on new Gen 8+ hardware
(such a waste dedicating hardware to just 10, you really don't get your moneys worth, like using a Ferrari to go shopping half a mile down the road and nothing else.)
I've got a fairly simple machine
i5-8400, 32GB DDR4, 1TB SSD X 2. using integrated graphics (don't play games that need more)
and a backup machine identical except it's got 64GB RAM.
the VMs (VirtualBox) boots and runs win as fast as when I ran it direct on the machine (did some basic timing before trashing the windows partitions) 2 VM's side by side (including running virtual studio, compiling, debugging etc on both at the same time) and even then I only give the VM's 2 CPU cores each.
... above tells me windows clearly not taking full advantage of the machine if it boots/runs as fast virtualized with only 2 of 6 cores available.
...and hence I say windows is a waste of new gen hardware. Yeah it's a little bit faster, but no where near as much as it should be.
(not counting benchmarks which are purposely optimized for hardware often bypassing windows calls) yeah OK windows was never designed with multi core (or true multi user) in mind, like any new features it was just bolted onto the Win2K core - and that hack it seems still remains in win10.
Summary: if you're running windows native on new hardware you're big-time missing out on what that hardware is capable of.
windows was never designed with multi core (or true multi user) in mind, like any new features it was just bolted onto the Win2K core
I think you need to dig further back into history. Win2K didn't evolve from 95/98/ME as many people believe (I'd otherwise agree with your claims). The NT line originally could run on x86, IA-32, MIPS and Alpha systems, and was designed to support multiple CPUs and cores (and users) from the get-go.
I have not backed up the beast with AOMEI for over six weeks. Even though I'm all clouded-up, the thought of another day of installing and installing, and making sure apps are registered, etc., fills me with deep existential dread.
I'll refer you to HEndrik's rules of computing:
1) Make a backup
2) Make *ANOTHER* backup
3) *CHECK* those backups
They are actually in *reverse* order of importance