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I'm looking to buy my first 3D Printer, on a tight budget of $250. Unfortunately, this printer that I found on Amazon comes with all the bells and whistles, except for a heated bed.

I want to know if this would affect printing severely, as I have read that the plastic/ filament cools down rather quickly, and that it results in Printer "fails".

I'm actually a bit nervous with this buy, as I don't want to spend $250 on a printer that produces 90% print fails.

An example of the printer I'm referring to is the Cube 3 Printer, Grey by 3D Systems.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just a thought - Instead of purchasing a ready built printer on Amazon, have you considered building your own reprap? If you look at a Bill Of Materials (BOM), and then purchase the parts individually from China. Not only will you end up with a good spec printer, but you would also understand the mechanics a lot better. For a little over £200 I have sourced all of the parts separately for a P3Steel v4 printer, w/ kysan steppers, and an aluminium 200 mm x 300 mm heatbed. Note that I knew nothing about 3D printing, 3 months ago, so you do not need to be an expert, just do plenty of research... $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Dec 13 '16 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ It had crossed my mind. But I didnt think I had the Know-how to build one. Building one is starting to look like a very viable option right now. $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Dec 13 '16 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ I would have figured that a pre-built printer would be the better of the two evils $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Dec 13 '16 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ I would stay away from those prebuilt printers. Sometimes they make it difficult to use filament which isn't bought from them and you'll end up spending more in future costs. I recommend (cause I just built one recently and it is running better than my more expensive printer) getting an Anet A8 from GearBest. It's a great learning experience to build one yourself, you'll know the ins and outs about it so repairs will be easy. And for 140$(If you catch it on the sale it commonly receives), it is well under your budget. Plus the printbed is ~8x8 instead of a 6x6 and heated. :) $\endgroup$ – Athanasios Karagiannis Nov 17 '17 at 19:17
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Yes. That said you can view it as an intro into 3d printing. Once you know you are really into it you can buy a higher end machine, or hunt craigslist / ebay / facebook groups for a used one.

What the heated bed will allow you to do is print more than PLA, and certain formulations of no warp ABS. The Makerbot uses no heated bed, instead in addition to being PLA only it does what we call a raft. That said one of my 6 printers is a makerbot and it still gets warping if the print is on the edge of the plate.

You can also add a heated print bed later. If your electronics allow for it.

That said.. Just buy one with a heated bed? I know you can get one close to that price point. Heated beds cost 7 dollar. However as pointed out by Tom, there are other costs such as a more powerful heated bed. Still one should be able to get a printer in that price range or close to it with a heated bed.

To be more clear. You will not have a 90% fail rate if you use PLA. However your prints will often have some heat warping and you will HAVE to use a raft.

from http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Glossary

Raft A technique used to prevent warping. Parts are built on top of a 'raft' of disposable material instead of directly on the build surface. The raft is larger than the part and so has more adhesion. Rarely used with heated build surfaces. For the small area models, it is very useful to prevent warping via adding a raft for the model before slicing it. It can also help with with precision parts by removing the slight first few layer distortion caused by the heated bed.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think I was exaggerating a little on the 90% bit. I have been looking at some other printers with heating beds, but they are way out of my price range. Do you have any suggestions? $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Dec 13 '16 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ The 7 dollar price for a heated bed is misleading. To use a heated bed you also need a power supply capable of providing the large amount of current it needs. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Dec 13 '16 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden That is a very good point. Yes a system that needs no powered bed could use cheaper electronics and power supply. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Dec 13 '16 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ @GypsyD We are quickly falling into forum topics. Stack overflow is for specific question. Not general help me pick a printer. I recommend joining 3d printing or 3d printing hobbyists on facebook. reprap.org has a great forum as well. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Dec 13 '16 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @TomvanderZanden Thanks for the link. Will definetly look into it ASAP. $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Dec 13 '16 at 17:26
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At the risk of an opinionated answer...

I would say that if money is tight, then get the correct printer in the first instance, en lieu of purchasing one that ends up giving you unsatisfactory prints, and that you then have to spend even more money on, in order to get prints of an acceptable quality.

A heatbed, while not essential, is, IMHO, certainly desirable.

Just a thought - Instead of purchasing a ready built printer on Amazon, have you considered building your own RepRap? If you look at a Bill Of Materials (BOM), and then purchase the parts individually from China, then not only will you end up with a good/better spec printer, for the same price, but you would also understand the mechanics a lot better. A good, and thorough, understanding the printer is essential for repairs, when (not if) the printer goes wrong (and believe me, it will). For a little over £200 I have managed to source all of the parts separately for a P3Steel v4 printer, with Kysan stepper motors, and an aluminium 200 mm x 300 mm heatbed.

Note that I knew nothing about 3D printing, three months ago, so you do not need to be an expert, just do plenty of research beforehand.

FWIW, my aluminium MK3 heatbed was £19.99.

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  • $\begingroup$ Technically one can build a printer out of user normal printer parts. With an end cost next to nothing.. But one would have to be adventurous. I always recommend that people build their first. That said I assumed for that price it was a kit. I also recommend they spend 500 min. Because the price is Always more then the BOM. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Dec 13 '16 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ As in parts from a normal paper printer? $\endgroup$ – GipsyD Dec 14 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @GipsyD - you can make one from old floppy disk drives and hard drives for $50, although I would not recommend it. See Make Your Own 3D Printer for Under $60 Using Recycled Electronic Components with Instructables Design $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Dec 14 '16 at 16:37

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