3D printer advice

My 11-year-old grandson wants a 3-D printer for his birthday. He just wants to do simple things. Mostly he wants to create items for marble runs. Any suggestions for a good entry-level printer that he can use now and still make use of in the future.

amazon had a black friday sale for this one for $158

https://www.amazon.com/BIQU-B1-Motherboard-Removable-9-25X9-25X10-63in/dp/B0C7BJLGQN/?th=1

Lots of folks buy the creality ender base model as a starter model and then upgrade it. Biqu makes many of the upgrade parts for the ender and this printer has most of those incorporated already, so for the entry level pricing with the update that it is, it is a decent deal at this price. I just spent about $140 to upgrade my son’s Ender (he is a college student) and this is the whole printer along with as good as or better parts than just the upgrade I bought. I would have just bought this one for him had I seen it a month ago.

Get some filament and then go to teachingtech.com and learn to tune it to get your slicer set up right. Good luck!!

take a look at this youtube channel, and their website, She does a good job of
reviewing printers and has a website showing all the different ones she’s
reviewed and has a handful that she recommends.

https://auroratechchannel.com/#section2

David Lang

These are a bit expensive but I’ve had a Prusa MK3 for years and it’s a workhorse. @RomanG has a Bambu Labs P1P and its super cool and crazy fast, but the prints don’t seem to be as good as the Prusa for structural things

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So far the posts are mostly about FDM printers – which is fine for quite a few to nearly most things (like marble runs).

However, if they become interested in more refined models & prints, they’ll likely need a mSLA printer and all its resin fluid mess. They do produce much smoother prints. And using the resin, you can “paint on” more resin by hand as a 2nd coat to cure an even smoother finish. mSLA printers have have better translucency than FDM printers.

Both entry level FDM & mSLA printers will run about $150 - $200 US. FDMs will have more print volume at that price point. There’s other pro v cons of consumable (filament, resin, wearable parts), complexity of machinery, all printers must be tuned, fumes (and resin can cause chem burns if mishandled).

You’ll want to check out these YouTubers’ video back catalog to evaluate your kid’s use-case. Go to their channels and search for reviews. As some have fewer resin video comparisons, you’ll find those if you search with “msla” or “sla”.
@TeachingTech
@MakersMuse
@CNCKitchen
@MadeWithLayers (Thomas Sanladerer)
@UncleJessy (he focuses more on mSLA printers)

Good luck. Cheers.

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remember, this was a ‘getting started’ printer for an 11 year old…

David Lang

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So true. Everyone’s use-case is different.

It might be better to see if there’s a maker space, community college, library, etc. that has printers available for use. This avoids much of the maintenance hassle. And after a couple of months the child will know what works for them. There’s also on-hands community & assistance in those spaces.

My co-worker’s 10yo son decided FDMs weren’t his use-case and went with mSLA Resin printing immediately so he could make his (smooth) roleplaying action figures which he then paints.

There are some “beginner” FDMs that print at most a 4-5" cubic volume. However, they are walled gardens, minimal room for your designs to print, difficult to perform maintenance, next to zero community support, and zero room for modification as your printer skills grow. They will also cost more than an intro FDM or mSLA printer. And you won’t get the hands on experience needed to intimately know the printer for its general maintenance or troubleshooting.

No matter what path or solution they start with, the experience is priceless and personally satisfying.

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Thank you everyone. I went OROB’s suggestion.

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Let us know how it works out. I found that prusa slicer is a bit easier to get going with slicing and gcode generation. Probably simplest to sd card transfer the gcode files to start with.

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There’s a newer slicer out, OrcaSlicer. It’s a derivative of PrusaSlicer and Bambu Slicer.

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And I understand PrusaSlicer is a derivitive of Sli3r
The nice thing is that this family is all opensource, so what one develops (that
works) the others can copy.

David Lang

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Of all the printers I’ve owned/own, the one I’d recommend for entry level would be the Prusa Mini. It does everything its big brother does and some things better. It’s not as big but likely an 11-year old can live within the smaller build volume. Best of all it has a wonderful worldwide supportive community and it’s a great platform to learn on.

https://www.prusa3d.com/product/original-prusa-mini-semi-assembled-3d-printer-4/

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Dont get him a Resin printer, thats for an older age. even I dont like working with the stuff, it can burn you, smells horrible, needs a dedicated space. If I was getting one today, id probably go with the creality k1 or k1 max, not the cheapest. but most reviews are good. :slight_smile:

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