Ryan Bateman logoRyan BatemanFull Stack Web Developer

Early Adventures in 3D Printing

January 20, 2018

I’ve wanted a 3D Printer for a really long time. I’ve had a few friends that have owned them, and I’ve even designed a few plastic printed parts for my own use (namely, a stiffener piece for my bike’s handlebar bag), but having access to a 3D printer isn’t the same as owning one yourself.

Picking a Printer:

About two weeks ago I got a Monoprice Select Mini V2 delivered. I’d gone through a lot of deliberation trying to decide which printer to buy, but the Select Mini stood out for a few reasons:

  • reliability: reviews on reddit, youtube, and other places around the internet were all a testament to the build quality of the machine.
  • premium features at a low price: Monoprice manages to get some higher-end features into a relatively affordable (~$220) printer, including a heated bed, wifi-printing functionality, and an extruder that can print ABS, Nylon, and other non-traditional filaments such as semi-flexibles.
  • big community online: it’s not a matter of if, but when this thing is going to break. I’m happy to know that there’s a huge community of people online (shoutout to /r/MPSelectMiniOwners!) that has dealt with the same issue before.

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That said, there are some major downsides to the printer, namely the small build area (slightly less than 5”³) and slow print speed.

My primary alternative choices were the Monoprice Mini Delta (currently very hard to get, and somewhat unproven considering the difficulties of building a reliable delta-style printer) and the XYZ DaVinci Jr. (bigger build area, enclosed build area, predatory filament pricing with a Keurig-style DRM-lock), both of which had their downsides as well.

All in all I think the Select Mini was a good choice for an entry-level printer. The build area constraints are a little frustrating, but gluing prints together isn’t the most difficult thing to do. Look forward to some 3D printing posts in the near future!

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