For some time now I wanted a 3D printer to create replacement parts and handy other things for making audio speakers. After some research the time had come to order a 3D printer. Because I’m a beginner at 3D printing I was not willing to buy a 3D printer that was costing more than €300,–.But I found out that prices are getting better in this market.
Creality Ender 3
So I orderd a Creality Ender 3 for €179,50 at 123-3d.nl. Unfortunaly the printer was out of stock and I had to wait for a week. But why did I choose this 3D printer. for the most part because of the price. But also for the good reviews on the internet. It is one of the only printers under €200,– with a print area of 220x220mm and anmax print height of 250mm. So it is possible to create bigger prints.
- Fully aluminium frame
- No 3d printer parts (for the factory)
- Large print area (220x220x250mm)
- OpenSource firmware (Marlin)
- 60mm per second print speed
- Hihjly customizable and upgradeble
In order to print a part you need to create it first in CAD software (or you can download them from thingiverse). There are lots of tool to create these files, The moste are paid options but there are some good alternatives.
- Thikercad Very basic and free online cad tool
- Onshape Free cad tool with lots of options (free but needs registration)
- Fusion 360 offline cad spfware from autodesk (Free for pesonal use only)
For the most part I’m using Onshape and for realy easy and fast projects i use Tinkercas. Onshape has more options to create more complex designs, but is also some what more complex itself. For both of the too;s are plenty of YouTube tutorials so there is no reason to not use them.
From CAD to printer
After finishing you design in the CAD software you need to export the file to .stl file. Your printer does not understand .stl file these need to be converted with slicer softwar. The slicer will slice your part in layers that the printer can print. The most used slicers can be found here
After you sliced your project you need to place the .gcode files on a micro-sd card and place this in your printer. With the help of the lcd screen and navigation knob on your printer you can start your print. But I don not whant to use my laptop to create and slice the project and running around the house to 3D printer with a micro-sd card.
Raspberry Pi 3B+
Ihad a spare raspberry oi model 3B+ gathering dust so I’ve installed Octcopi on Raspberry amd connected it via USB to the printer. Octopi runs Octoprint this is a webUI for you printer and you cabn upload you .gcode file directly to octoprimnt and octoprint will send the files over USB to you printer. No need to run around the house anymore.
Octoprint has many function for example, if you connect a webcam to you raspberry pi you can create timelaps of your 3D prints. I will create a blog later with all functionality of octoprint.