I'm thinking it might finally be time for me to add a #3d printer to the lab. Looking to prototype structural parts and cases for some of my tinkering experiments.

There are a lot of options.

Looking to keep initial costs under $500.

Hit me with your experiences and recommendations.

@djsundog i got a Creality Ender 3 Pro (~230USD) recently and it's worked out well

@ddipaola excellent, that one's been on my short list. What's your biggest frustration with it?

@djsundog the bottom 2mm or so seems to get slightly over-extruded and a little layer shifted for some reason. a sacrificial raft seems to fix that. it prints great afterwards, so I'm not sure what's going on with it


While it is NOT in your budget range, I'll drop in the comment that the Lulzbot Mini is marvelously functional out of the box. Most of the under $500 are self-build and need variable amounts of careful calibration from what I have read.

@Algot thanks! I'm not particularly averse to the self-building and calibration fiddliness to be honest, but it's definitely something to take into consideration.


As a starter, the Monoprice Select Mini v2 (E3D) is good. Not only is there a big, long-standing community, but it NEEDS at least a mod or two out of the box—simple ones that get a person used to the idea they CAN mod the thing.

You can use the money you save to buy filament and make dry boxes for it.

@djsundog i heard ender3 is simple, robust and works without much hassle.. and should be in your price-range..

@qwazix your BOM tops my theoretical budget, but your approach and reasoning (and particularly your focus on play) makes it likely that I'll end up going along for the ride - thanks much for the link, and anticipate future inquisitions of a non-Spanish sort. :blobpats:

@djsundog that's great! :-) I'll be really happy to answer any questions and fix any issues that may arise.

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