Shortly after getting my 3D printer from Amazon, I was printing. I checked out two videos (MixedMuscleArts & Sim Hardware) on YouTube about unboxing and setting up the printer just to see what issues they might have encountered. There were a few, just as with any major electronic thing such as a desktop computer, but nothing too serious. It was pretty amazing how fast the printers were able to be set-up.
I had my printer set-up within roughly an hour. After that, I inserted the included MicroSD card and started printing gcode files. Within maybe an hour, I had my first print. It was funny, I felt accomplished dispite me barely having anything to do with creating the new print.
Soon there after, I was looking up modifications on Thingiverse and more generally on the web for my new Monoprice Maker Select v2.1. Interestingly, I found the Wanhao i3 to be just as good of a search term for modifications to the printer. So, if you get this printer, I highly recommend looking for both.
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.
The work I conducted this summer in collaboration with three interns from Wake Technical Community College was picked up by NC State News. The article can be found here. I would like to extend my thanks to the NC State News team, particularly Tracey Peake for bringing this work to to the larger public and specifically the community here in Raleigh, NC. This work aims to identify the number of unmarked graves within Oberlin Cemetery — a freed African-American Cemetery.