I am wanting to buy a 3D printer to add to my shop.

I am an engineer and enjoy making/building things so the kit idea sounds fun and economical.

I see Tronxy has two different styles for their larger printers:

  • P802 (reprap frame) style
  • X3 (metal frame) style.

As far as I can see, both printers have the same basic resolution, accuracy, and material specs.

  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages/differences between the P802 and X3?
  2. How important is auto-leveling?
  • $\begingroup$ I see somebody voted to close as "opinion-based". I'm not entirely sure I agree, because the question has an extremely limited scope (a direct comparison between two specific printers) which could be objectively answered by listing the advantages/disadvantages of each printer. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ That said, it might be better to state this question in a more generic way like "How does a metal frame printer compare to an acrylic frame one?". That way it doesn't depend on a particular model or make of printer. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Though I would accept subjective options, I would prefer that the advantages/disadvantages/differences be objective. Certainly there are some differences that are clearly objective (ex: Metal Frame vs Plastic frame) and I also believe they use different extruders. What difference that makes might be subjective. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ I agree the question about auto-leveling may be "opinion-based". I could remove that; but, that is the only answer I have received so far. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ You should also stick to one question per question. I.e. if you want to know about the difference between extruders, that's a question. Difference between auto leveling and not, another question, etc... $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 22:23

Auto-leveling is a great effort saver and a best thing in 3D printing in the last 10 years. While you can go without it, and many people do, it reduces the number of failed prints you will have at the beginning.
Properly leveled bed allows you to print without using any adhesive in it, improves you performance with ABS and other stubborn things. Don't skip on auto-level, especially if you are a beginner.

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    $\begingroup$ I was about to say that the best thing in the past 10 years was the FDM patents expiring and cheap, open-source printers becoming available but that is already more than 10 years ago! Still, I'd say auto leveling is not as good as you make it out to be. It can be quite fiddly to get working correctly, leveling a printer manually is not that hard and saves your Z-axis rods from wear. Of course, if your printer is built very sloppily and falls out of calibration as soon as you look at it, auto-leveling will be much more useful, but with a solidly built printer you level once and forget about it. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '17 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information. As pointed out, this was really a side question and not an answer to the primary question. $\endgroup$ Mar 17 '17 at 5:19

I ended up buying a TronXY X3 and have had it several months.

I have seen several videos on the P802 and the X3 so I believe I can answer this question fairly.

Here is what the two printers look like

P802 P802

X3 X3

Here is a comparison of the features enter image description here

Here are my overall impressions:

  • Both printers are kits and have their assembly challenges
  • The X3 is often a little bit (10-20%) more expensive
  • The X3 frame is very rigid. I have heard the the P802 is also rigid.
  • Acrylic is not as durable long-term (it cracks). There are Acrylic parts on both printers; but, the Acrylic frame on the P802 would concern me more.
  • The bed on the X3 can wobble and the P802 doesn't look like it would. (Note there are several available modifications to fix the X3 wobble)
  • The Boden extruder on the X3 makes the filament pull consistent; but, it can make the filament more difficult to feed.
  • The External Controller box on the X3 can make the printer more difficult to move and it can take up more desk space.

    The biggest negative (and likely a show stopper) on the P802 is the unprotected Melzi, Exposed AC connections, and no power switch.


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