Buying a 3D printer

As anyone that is considering buying a 3D printer will tell you, it’s usually not the easiest thing to do. My case was no different and additionally hampered by being a graduate student (i.e., very low income). Prior to purchasing, I looked at the 3D Hubs 2017 printer guide in the budget section. The lowest price printer that they recommend within that section is the Printrbot Simple Metal (affiliate link) coming in at $600 (USD), but, as you can see from the Amazon link, that is without a heated bed. Heated beds are not necessairy, but are a nice feature especially when printing plastics such as ABS. Adding a heated bed would increase the price up to $750 USD. This was still a bit out of what I was wanting to spend. So, I searched Reddit.

Reddit has a nice 3D Printing community called r/3dprinting. As with most Reddit communities, they provide some basic rules for their community as well as some answers to common questions such as general questions regarding 3D printing as well as a chart of “proven 3d printers”. That’s where I found the Wanhao Duplicator i3/Monoprice Maker Select which is a clone of the Prusia i3. I read some reviews, looked around on Facebook for community groups, and found another community on Thingiverse. That sold me on the Monoprice Maker Select v2 (affiliate link). Within moments I placed my order and was bragging to my friends.

Beyond the price point, what also sold me was the ability to set up the printer very quickly and print a range of materials including PLA, ABS, HIPS, nGEN, XT, etc.


Update: So, I probably should have waited till Black Friday here in the U.S. as the price plummeted by nearly $80 which I would have loved to of kept. However, following several conversations with Amazon, I found out I was not going to be getting that money back. This being said, so you can avoid making the same mistake I did, I would recommend checking out CamelCamelCamel which you can configure to email you when the price of a product, such as a 3d printer, drops below a certain threshold.


Author: johnwallx

NC State University PhD Student in Earth Science with a masters in Geographic Information Systems.

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