Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
2/7/22 9:17 a.m.

After years of dreaming of our own machined parts, we jumped down the rabbit hole. We’re not claiming to be actual machinists, but we are learning how to machine parts at home. 

In the first installment of this series, we learned about design, technical drawings and CAD models. Part 1 concluded with some aluminum parts made to our drawings by …

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hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/7/22 10:14 a.m.

Just finished a print last night - about 29 hours long. A flower pot for my fiance (she's teaching a class at a comm. college on house plants and one of the nights will be about creative potters or why not print a few things out and she'll have this other world of ideas to show)

I like having this toy, but it doesnt get used a ton, honestly. I go through spurts of using it, then long times NOT using it. 

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/7/22 10:23 a.m.

I love not having one but having access to industrial ones. 

m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/28/22 3:39 p.m.

I bought my kid a 3d printer years ago, but it was terrible and the heated bed wasn't flat.

I drug it out to play with it a couple of weeks ago and got frustrated.

I bought an Anycubic Vyper - the auto bed leveling did it for me.  It prints great out the box.

Looking forward to more articles in this series.

DrBoost MegaDork
2/28/22 3:46 p.m.

I've been printing for 7 years now. If anyone is looking to get into printing, skip the cheap chinese junk (Creality) and get a Prusa. The Creality machines can print, but not terribly well, and not consistently. I can't tell you how many people I've heard say then went out and picked up a cheap printer only to hang it up after a few months. 
It's an amazing tech and tool, but at the lower prices, it's a hobby that needs constant tinkering. 

EDT (Forum Supporter)
EDT (Forum Supporter) Reader
2/28/22 4:20 p.m.

In reply to DrBoost :

For the average person I 100% agree if they know they're going to be serious about it, but for nearly anyone on this forum I imagine a Creality-level machine would be just fine. I jumped into an Ender 3 back when they first came out and yes, it had a little bit of a learning curve, but after a couple printed upgrades and some learning it's now 99% hit print and forget for less than 1/5 of what a Prusa runs. No, it doesn't turn out anything production ready and isn't the fastest or biggest, but it has absolutely opened a world of possibilities. A Prusa-priced machine just was/is not possible for a college kid like me nor is it very palatable to test the waters with. 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/28/22 4:30 p.m.

I'm at a bit of an impasse with 3D printing. My Ender 3 is an endless source of frustration. It doesn't stay level, the prints don't stick to the bed, it clogs, there are feed issues. I've done a bunch of upgrades, some stuff I printed to better guide the filament and some I purchased, like better springs for the bed. But it still requires constant fiddling and adjusting.

But, like someone said above, I don't use it all that often. I'll go through a period where I make 3 or 4 things, then it will sit for months. Based on that, it's hard for me to justify spending the money on something better, so I guess I'll keep fighting this thing.

trigun7469 UltraDork
2/28/22 4:36 p.m.

In reply to m4ff3w :

I had the same problem with leveling and sold mine, good to hear that the auto bed leveling changed the game for you, I might consider buying one now.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/28/22 4:47 p.m.

I have access to a good industrial printer, but I find myself using my Ender 3 quite a bit for useful stuff because it's just quick and easy. In the past few days, I've printed off some custom bushings for my Vanagon's transmission cables, a couple of sets custom-sized standoff and some cable brackets. Further back, I've used it to develop parts for a big brake kit including printing a complete model of a $2000 caliper that helped me decide not to go ahead and buy the actual caliper. I also use the Ender to confirm my models before booking space/time on the Makeforged. At the price I paid, I don't need to have it running constantly for it to pay for itself, it's more like owning a welder or a drill press. The thing that separates me from printing enthusiasts is that I never print stuff for the sake of printing stuff, for me it's a tool and most of my prints are my own designs.

The Ender worked pretty darn well out of the box and most of the modifications I've done have been for convenience, like the Octoprint controller. Tightening up some mounting screws under the bed made all the difference for keeping it level. I use the Creality glass bed almost exclusively with some hairspray for both ABS and PLA.

triumph7 HalfDork
2/28/22 7:57 p.m.

I bought an Ender 3 V2 about a month ago and have already printed some coolant line adapters for the Fmod.  And a birdhouse for the wife.  Out of the box, no problems.


Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/28/22 8:49 p.m.

Huh. Makes me wonder if all my fiddling and modding has made mine worse.

triumph7 HalfDork
2/28/22 9:03 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

Huh. Makes me wonder if all my fiddling and modding has made mine worse.

I've kinda put that together from the V2 Facebook page, all these guys mod these things and change firmware and so on... then they complain how everything they print is a mess.  The above was my first shot with FreeCad and the printer, they will be reprinted in TPU when I'm ready.

DrBoost MegaDork
2/28/22 10:41 p.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

Huh. Makes me wonder if all my fiddling and modding has made mine worse.

I doubt you've made it worse. It's an introductory level printer that puts out passable prints out of the box (for a while). 
My daughter has an Ender 3. I moved on to IDEX and even considered an Ender as my starting point but I figured why start with a light-duty design for heavy lifting?  
but that's beside the point. There are mods I recommend to creality users right off the bat, like a flat bed, dual geared extruder, Capricorn tubing, a UL listed power supply (don't think they come with them yet), and an all-metal hot end. At that point ($), there are other printers that are better, like the Anycubic Vyper. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/28/22 11:21 p.m.

I paid $175 shipped for my Ender 3, and spent $20 on a glass bed. I'm not sure what part of the hot end isn't metal, but at less than half the price of this Viper I'm pretty happy with it. I've never seen any reason to change the extruder, it works. I will admit that I changed to Capricorn tubing because I was told I should, but that was $13. Had I been looking at a $400+ bill  from the start, I probably still wouldn't have a printer. Mine's been quite solid and a good reliable tool for the past year.

It's like telling someone they shouldn't get a Miata because it's not as good as an S2000. There are still a lot of happy Miata drivers.

hybridmomentspass HalfDork
3/1/22 5:47 a.m.

What I seem to notice, and maybe I said it upstream, the more I use it the better it runs.

After sitting a while the first try or two sucks. But then it works.

Only upgrade Ive done is fix the plastic spring-loaded trigger thing to insert filament into the feeder. Mine broke, that's why I replaced it.


DrBoost MegaDork
3/1/22 7:01 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I didn't mean to come off like I'm ripping on Creality, or it's happy users. Some are happy with them after only a few mods. 
Unbeknownst to me as a newbie, my first printer was made from very high end components. What a workhorse that was. I kept hearing about this new company, Creality, and the new CR-10 printer. JUST AMAZING!!  So I sold my MakerFarm IV3 and picked up a CR-10. I was disappointed right away. 
Non UL listed power supply, safety features that Creality decided to turn off in the code (why?  Do they WANT my house to burn down???), cheap components. It wasn't consistent and I'd say 30% of the prints approached the level of the Maker Farm I sold to buy the CR-10. 
Then I picked up an Ender 3 V1. No better than the CR-10, maybe worse. Won't hold bed level from one print to the next, same unsafe power supply, same inexact limit switches, and on and on. 
my daughter has an Ender. Same story. 
to use your miata / S2000 analogy; if you've only ever owned a miata, you have no idea how good an S2000 can be. But if your content with the Miata, just keep having a blast!!
all that said, I'm just happy to see people getting into 3D printing because that keeps the industry marching forward. Love it!  And I think the Ender is worth the price. They must be $35 by now LOL. That was not a dig, I just can't believe how the prices keep coming down. Seriously, they are crazy inexpensive, they get people in the door. That's also the issue. They're crazy cheap and inexpensive. But if it works for your needs and you're enjoying it, keep on extruding!  

DrBoost MegaDork
3/1/22 7:11 a.m.

I didn't intend to derail the thread. This post is why I think 3D printing is a game changer. I've said it here before, but I'll say it again. 3D printing is changing our world. For less than $200 you can be printing prototype parts in your home that would cost THOUSANDS through the conventional methods. 

For anyone, but especially those who are struggling, I highly recommend going to youtube and searching for the Teachingtech channel. 
Michael is a great teacher and has more 3D printing content than you can throw a benchy at. He also has a web site that has many different calibration tools, even generates the gcode for you. Spend a few hours on his website and your printer will be printing better and more consistently. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/1/22 10:28 a.m.

For all those complaining about the bed not staying level on the ender, get rid of the slack on the carriage underneath :) It's not in the instruction manual but if you just waggle the bed back and forth while looking underneath you'll see what you have to do. You can do it without taking anything apart, and the bed will stay nice and consistent when you're done.

m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/1/22 5:51 p.m.

The issue on the cheap one we had, wasn't that the bed wouldn't stay level, it was that it warped or came warped.  But it was a $150-ish dollar printer from the time before the Ender 3 came out.

The Vyper was ~330 - but for me, the auto bed leveling was the reason I wanted it - and it has a bunch of the stuff people with the Ender 3 often end up going to anyways.  

I was able to print-in-place parts with a .15mm tolerance that actually move, out of the box.   

The only thing I see changing anytime soon is using an old phone for Octoprint (Octo4a) and a hardened nozzle so I can print some of the abrasive filaments. 

alfabeach New Reader
3/28/22 2:54 p.m.

I have an Ender3v2 which I have printed unobtainium parts for my Alfa Spider in PETG and TPU. Also, parts for friends for other projects. I have made some simple mods to increase reliability. You have to have patience using it, it is more art than science. The good thing about the ender there is large community of users and lots of YouTube videos to help you. If you can not get an Ender 3 to work, you better give it to a 11 year old kid or buy on line from a service. We buy on line at work to see prototypes, which has saved us from buying the wrong hard tooling.

j_tso HalfDork
4/3/22 12:35 p.m.

So, PLA barely works in the engine bay. I printed this throttle cable grommet with the work printer, an ancient Makerbot Replicator Z18. I figured it would last a while since it's small with thick walls and the exhaust is on the other side. It's been through 2 Texas summers, but I'll replace it before the 3rd since I don't want to experience sudden diminished throttle opening.

I'm replacing it with mineral filled Nylon 6 from Shapeways. Probably overkill but I want to see how it's finished because I have a bigger project in mind for that.

Turbo_Rev Reader
6/11/22 3:18 p.m.

In reply to j_tso :

I'm amazed that thing lasted 30 seconds. PLA is THE premier material for making things that don't stay together above 140 F. 


I have an Ender 3 V2 Pro. I upgraded the springs and shimmed the z-axis motor. I've have virtually no problems with glue stick on bare glass. I level maybe once every week of continuous printing. 

I also found that getting the leveling close enough then adjusting the z-axis height during the first layer is the easiest way to tune leveling. Finding that setting was a revelation. 

marknoakes New Reader
9/3/23 9:31 a.m.

I run a Prusa and am very happy with it. Just now finishing up a project to generate unobtanium flexible rubber alignment bumpers for the clamshell tailgate on my mid-50s Chevy Suburban.

gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/3/23 12:06 p.m.

Got the ender 3 for $100 at microcenter, had some issues with the limit sensors but I was able to handle them. Then again messing about with robot's and sensors it's my day job so I'm not sure if it would have been as quick to resolve for other people

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/6/23 3:12 p.m.

Somewhat related: I came across a super-useful file the other day if you get hungry in between prints:

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