3D Printer under $200

So we’re looking for a cheap, but good-ish quality 3D printer that we can print off decorations, license plate, etc. Preferrably under $200 ish dollars.

Any suggestions? Or should we just pay more?

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I think the monoprice select mini is big enough to make license plates and it is very beginner friendly

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Ehhhhhh, I buy 3D printer control boards that cost more. I just don’t see how any 3x NEMA 17 steppers, frame, bed, hotend, extruder, power supply and control board could possibly come in that low. I mean those components would have to be the lowest quality binned parts imaginable that factories would pay someone to take to hit that price.

If I were you I’d setup a Craigslist search for “3D printer” and see what the net snags after a month or so of looking. I’ve snagged entire CNCs, multiple Form 1+'s, etc. for sub-$200. Of course I live in Silicon Valley were there are a lot of Stanford ME grads who no longer need their 3DP and want to off it cheap, so idk. If you’re not in a big city, look at the used market at eBay and increase your budget to be closer to $500. Some good stuff shows up around that price point.

Having a less frustration inducing 3DP is worth the dollars.

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I recommend you check out Marco Reps’ videos on various 3D printers. He goes over the build quality (actual build quality, not like the mostly useless “build quality” assessments given by most technology reviewers), usability, and results.

The market for consumer 3D printers definitely has some great offerings under $200. You just need to decide what you value most and what you are willing to compromise (build volume, structural rigidity, etc.).

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I can super get behind this. You can find a 3D printer for under $200, but it will be much more frustrating to use than a more expensive 3D printer. I used the Monoprice Maker Select(same as Wanhao Duplicator i3) for a couple of years and it was nothing but a headache. I dealt with the bed warping, the printer skipping steps, and parts just coming off of a perfectly level bed. I even replaced the default pad thing that came with it with buildtak and it still was an issue. I wasn’t able to get the whole bed level; after leveling the corners and sides I would find that the nozzle crashed into the bed in the middle because it was not flat. There were just so many issues and I really wanted to give up 3D printing.

This all changed when I got a Prusa i3 mk3. That machine is a joy to work with and has none of the aforementioned issues. I have had like 2 parts fail, and all the parts are much higher quality.

Although you can definitely get a printer for under $200, I would definitely suggest a more expensive machine. If you’re looking for something small and more affordable, I can suggest the Prusa mini at $350. Although I have never used a Prusa mini, there are members on my team who have had great experiences with it and I have had a great experience with other Prusa machines. The Creality Ender 3 is also probably better than the MP Maker Select; I have a friend who has one and his experience has not been perfect but defiantly a usable machine.

TL;DR: You get what you pay for in 3D printers.

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Sigh. Still waiting for the day when someone throws one of off a multiple story building to test ‘build quality’.

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I would recommend an original prusa 3d printer. I have personal experience with the Mk3s, however I have seen good reviews on the prusa mini. https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/3d-printers/994-original-prusa-mini.html. For $350, you get a pretty solid feature set. I would always save a bit more than 200. While a $200 machine can work, you get a lot more value and reliability by spending a bit more.

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I think how much you spend should be dependent on your desired magnitude of involvement. An ender 3 is a fantastic printer for its price, with excellent performance running stock out of the box, and it’s also the most easily upgraded, as there is a huge community and tons of resources to help you through the process. If you want to buy your first printer and never want to think about it, I agree that the prusa mini is your best bet. However if you’d like to learn more about 3D printing, the ender 3 is the best platform in your price range.

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I think an ender 3 is probably your best option. With a bit of tuning and adjusting it can print some really high-quality stuff. It’s also a popular printer so there are lots of printable upgrades available. If you do get it I would recommend installing TL smoothers on the x and yaxis as it makes the finish a lot better.

Crealty printers are also easy to work on and upgrade, and their metal frames are a lot better than the acrylic ones used by many printers in that price range.

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Motors dampeners with printed mounts(unless you have a tool to move the pressed pulleys) are gonna make a much bigger difference, especially where noise is concerned. You can also swap the main board and use TMC2209 drivers for an even better effect but that’s not a beginner upgrade per say. I would not recommend spending money on TL smoothers.

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What I got was an Ender 3 from Creality, and I got a capricorn bowden tube, a metal extruder, and a glass build plate. This has worked exceptional for me. Another part of 3d printing is experience with the software, so I watched tons of tutorials on cad design and slicers. Also, hello RoboChickens I hope to see you at the first tournament!

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The stock drivers on ender 3 drivers are just about as bad as they get, as cheap drivers are an easy way to keep the price down for creality. Better drivers will make the printer almost inaudible (besides fan noise, which can be remedied with Noctua fans and buck converters) and have much more precise microstepping.

+1 for the glass bed and metal extruder, ender 3’s are known to have warped beds from the factory and the stock plastic extruder degrades after a month of printing.

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I have mine in our furnace room so I don’t have to worry about noise.

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I would recommend getting a new control board, at least a SKR mini e3 over TL smoothers. The price for both is low, and the new control board will lead to a better surface finish, futureproofing, and silent steppers. With TL Smoothers there is certainly an upgrade over stock, but they lead to a dead end rather than the control board which opens up more upgrade possibilities down the road.

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OK Thanks All for your suggestions.

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IDK if you considered it but resin printers are incredible and can be had for ~$200 You’ll have to sure in the sun (UV) and some clean-up but the quality is great.

@jrobitai Depending on the use, a resin printer could be useful, but in most applications, resin printers are not as effective. They are also much more expensive and while there are cheaper models they usually have small build volumes and not as reliable. SLA printers are also more expensive to run and can waste resin. The curing process also adds time and might require additional equipment. If the printer is only being used for decorations and license plates a resin printer might work, but I think an FDM printer is more versatile and cost-effective then an SLA printer.

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I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Adding on to this, resin printers are very good at prototyping smaller scale pieces as the higher quality ones often have a much higher resolution. Outside of printing really detailed pieces its not worth the hassle (and mess) of getting one.

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