3D Printing is a technology that’s finding more and more uses. It’s being used to print body parts, prosthetics, and houses (not model houses, real houses people can live in!) 3D printing has found applications in fields like forensics and archeology. Makerspaces and Fablabs are popping up in schools and communities. And, prices are reasonable enough that you can 3D print at home.
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Creality Ender 3 Pro – Our Choice
We’re currently using a Creality Ender 3 Pro as our main printer. This machine is a workhorse, and capable of some sizable prints (just don’t expect to be printing yourself a new house.)
There is a great community around this printer, with plenty of resources, tips, and information. There are also plenty of modifications readily available should you want to tweak your printer.
The printer itself needs to be assembled, though don’t let that scare you. It took a little over an hour of assembly time, and there are plenty of helpful guides and videos.
We were going to make an unboxing and assembly video, though we found the ones out there so comprehensive, there wasn’t anything to improve upon.
Ender 3 Branding
When you’re shopping for an Ender 3, you may notice that there are several brands. You’ll see Creality, Comgrow, SainSmart, etc. These are not knock offs or imposters. All Ender 3’s come from the same factory. They can be sold by different manufacturers, much in the same way a Samsung cell phone may be sold by Verizon, AT&T, or other carriers and have the carrier branding.
Ours happens to be from SainSmart.
If you’ve got a printer, you’ll need filament. There are a number of materials to choose from.
We typically use Hatchbox PLA. It’s a great match of quality and price. We’ve tried a few other brands. Some weren’t quite as smooth in print quality, some had issues with “spooling” where the filament snags during a print. Hatchbox has been pretty solid for us.
You can take a chance on some of the cheaper brands, though your mileage may vary. Before ordering the budget filament and perhaps saving a whopping $4 on a spool, ask yourself if it’s worth a print failing 12 hours in because the filament is cheap.