• Jon

What 3D Printer Should I Buy?

I get many messages asking me which 3D printer to buy so I thought I would write a blog post with my view. I have been 3D printing for a while now so feel I can tell you what I think is important, and perhaps what isn't important.


Before you start your 3D printing journey, the first thing to think about is, what do you want to print? Given that you are reading this on my blog its probably RC planes.


What you want to print informs the your choice. Build volume. The build volume is the size of the print area available and usually measured by the size of the cube you can print. For instance my Ender 5 is 220mm, 220mm, 300mm, the last measurement being the z axis, that is how tall you parts can be. I say usually measured by the size of the cube as delta printers may have a cylindrical print volume.


The granddaddy of 3D printers is still the Prusa i3 MK3s. For me the main problem is the build volume is small (and the price to high) and this is why it is not listed on my site. I have sliced many of my models to fit the Prusa sized print bed, more slices means more glue and more joints. I think if you are using your 3D printer for exceptionally detailed models you may see a benefit to a machine like a Prusa. For RC planes though, not so much.


The printers I have listed are affordable and have large print volumes, with z at least 250mm. The Creality Ender 5 Pro and slightly more affordable Ender 3 Pro, do have a well know issue, the print beds are not perfectly flat! This is easily solved buy placing a flat edge diagonally along the bed then placing a post-it note or two under any low spots. Since doing this I have never had any problems. I would recommend getting the Creality PEI base, it holds on to the prints spectacularly well when the bed is heated, then easily lets go when cool with no need for scraping, spray or any other pre or post print shenanigans.


The FLSUN QQ-S is a delta type printer. One main advantage is that the print bed doesn't move, which means after you have levelled it once you shouldn't need to fiddle with it. (In all honesty I rarely have to adjust the Ender 5's moving bed except after changing a nozzle.... but anyway). The delta printers are also very quiet and generally take up less table space. One downside you may find with delta's is the print volume is a cylinder, instead of a square. You may find you have trouble with some large or long parts, like wings, as a 220mm radius bed is not the same (diagonally) as a 220mm square bed. I have chosen the FLSUN QQ-S as its radius is a massive 260mm.


3D printer technology is moving along at a rapid pace. its important to remember that though 3D printing has been around for a while, this is a new field for consumers. I liken it to desktop (2D) printing in the early 90's, it wasn't always reliable and could be very frustrating. Once you get your print settings dialled in though, it's awesome. So take the plunge and join the 3D printing revolution! Take a look at our FAQ page for printer and RC kit recommendations.







 
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