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Printer recommendations

Printer recommendations

Printer recommendations

I use a Makerbot Replicator 2 for making prototype parts for consumer products and I would like to upgrade.

Could anyone recommend printers in plastic that would be better in finish , speed and reliabilaty than Replicator 2. I am sure there have been many enhancements this type of machine over the past year. I probably wouldnt be interested in machine over $5000.

Other features I would like are higher strength parts, higher functional temperature.

Many thanks

RE: Printer recommendations

Take a look at the Markforged Mk2 Printer.
Carbon Fiber printer makes REALLY strong parts.
does not print faster but makes crazy strong parts.
and it starts at around $5500

RE: Printer recommendations

Maybe this should be a new tangential thread, but I don't understand the carbon fiber FFF printers. The ones I've read of, including the Markforged Mk2, still use standard thermoplastic but then lay a fiber layer periodically, during printing. Nothing bonds these layers together any more than standard FFF printing. Delamination will stay the same. Fibers can only be laid in the XY plane. Fan blades, for example, would see no improvement from this, as their cross section varies in orientation. Horizontal holes cannot be reinforced, only holes with a Z-axis centerline, because of this. Do I understand this right, because it seems a bit gimmicky, and not terribly effective, if so.

RE: Printer recommendations

You are correct, ALL FDM printers have the benefit of being cheap, but the flaw of having terrible strength in the third axis (Z) And really, the Mk2 printer is a Nylon printer with the ability to lay down embedded Carbon Fiber, Kevlar or Fiberglass. the benefit of the Mk2 is that it is a single strand filament, instead of chopped fiber like all of the other printers that use carbon (which are few). I have been using Various levels of 3D printers for 17 years now. form FDM, Multi-jet SLS and SLA. I currently own 8 printers (mostly 3DSystems Multi-Jets, Which I LOVE) and I do a variety of things with each of them. And this little Mark2 Printer is strong, and makes better and stronger parts than my Dimension Elite printer. I have build parts that I have tested with thousands of pounds of stress and the parts hold up. Do I still need to be concerned about the 3rd axis? Yes. of course, but so far, I have been incredibly impressed with what it can do. I just wish that the printer had a larger build volume and looked as cool as come of the other printers our there, like the Raise3D printer.

RE: Printer recommendations

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the experienced information. I like the product I've been able to create and find the design and printing setup challenges interesting for ... I guess DFx / Design for 3Dprinting :) and I think in one year or up to two years from now, depending no how things go, I'd like to get my next printer. Needs will be more defined over the next year, so I'm trying to stay current on the advances across the board in sub $5k machines in SLS/SLA/FDM.

RE: Printer recommendations

Thanks for the information.

The Markforged machine looks interesting but I think it may be dedicated to high strength and functional parts for tooling and engineering parts. I would really like to have one though.

My immediate needs are for better finished parts. Really I am looking for SLA for the price and speed of FDM.

I have looked at a few machines like Makerbot, Ultimaker and Cube. It doesn't look like much improvement in part finish with new machines.

Formlabs have a nice new affordable SLA but I am concerned with speed and one vendor told me the old machines only had a 20% successful build performance.

Multijet looks good but over 30K is out of my budget.

RE: Printer recommendations

I understand the desire to have SLA over FDM. At current I own 7 printers. 5 MJP printers (Wax and Plastic), 1 FDM (Mk2) and 1 SLA (A ProJet 7000)
The 7k is Amazing but it was expensive to buy. But after spending 16 years in the printing industry, my most valuable asset is time, and the 7K makes fast, beautiful parts.
And you are right, the Mk2 is GREAT for strong, industrial parts, but is not the right choice if you are looking for smooth parts or fine feature detail. Still each printer has its use, and I simply do not believe that there is a printer that can do everything. Cheap, fast, quality. Pick two.
Cheap and Fast = terrible quality
Fast and Quality = expensive
Cheap and Quality does not exist.
The new ProJet 2500 is pretty amazing, but still runs $38,000, which seems to be over your budget.
but it is fast and has descent build quality over a large platform. Probably the closest thing to fast and quality that I have seen.
I have done the whole Form Labs printer, and I will NEVER do that again. They are unreliable and produce parts that have no dimensional accuracy.
I Still have my old Dimension Elite printer, but I turned it off once I got my Mk2 and have not turned it back on.

I think you may consider purchasing an old 3DS Viper system used, you may be able to get into one for under 15-20k, and they are solid workhorses. That would actually get you a REAL SLA not the hybrid DLP/SL that FormLabs sells. just be prepared to need some service and support on the older systems.
Hope that this helps

RE: Printer recommendations

In the plastic filament type printers makergear M2 and ultemaker 2+ are a level above makerbot but the differences are not huge. For the money if the parts are machinable a CNC mill would give much better strength, speed and accuraccurace. There is the xfab for around 5k http://www.dwslab.com/ for SLA but I have no experience there.

RE: Printer recommendations

I saw some prints from Carbon3D last week. Quite incredible quality in functional elastomeric materials. At $40,000 p.a. its not cheap. Above my pay grade.

For cheap desk-top I like the Ultimaker. Not much difference in them for around $2k . But I think Ultimaker is top of the heap for material choice and consistent printing.

RE: Printer recommendations

Look at XYZPrinting.

RE: Printer recommendations


I've got a DaVinci 2.0A, and I don't recommend it. ABS is okay, but you have no control over curl because you can't control temperatures. You also have to buy their filament which is almost 2x the cost of other quality brands. Don't get a DaVinci if you want to do PLA.

The Ultimaker is nice because it is cheap, you can run it with different software packages (cura, repetier are two I know), and you have full control. I hear upgrading to a E3D hot end makes it the best printer in the budget category.

I'm personally interested in a dlp/sla printer. Not in the budget just yet. Also hear they aren't good for printing occasional, as you have to deal with the resin.

RE: Printer recommendations

One of the machines I've messed with is a DaVinco Jr which only does PLA and I find it's the most satisfying FDM machine I've ever played with. It's easy. The slightly higher cost of filament is largely overshadowed by the simplicity of just knowing their product always 'just works'. With some blue painters tape on the glass table, I have had no issues with prints pulling when they cool, and with very little maintenance the machine really has become nearly an 'easy button'. That is, "push button, receive print". But obviously you are constrained to PLA, and something like 6" cube work area, iirc.

I just want a moderately priced SLS printer for some of those tough nylon materials! I'm not as interested in the DLP/SLA but I do admire the product.

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