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My 3D Printer.

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

My first 3D printer is the Prusa Mini and I purchased this in June 2020. It took 3 months to arrive due to very high demand, I was fully aware of the backlog when I ordered so no issues there.

Prior to this printer the only interaction I have had with 3D printing was with the 3D printing pens (specifically the 3Doodler Create+). They are a great introduction to printing with filament but lack the control and detail that a 3D printer can deliver. They are easy to get started, easy to fix if problems/blockages and a great cheap way to get started, but I quickly wanted to move on and ordered my printer.

I spent a good few weeks looking at many different options for printers, looking at reviews and watching many videos. If you speak to people familiar with 3D printers they will probably say their brand is the best, have recommendations and suggest a certain printer to get started with. I was brand new to this all, I know there are a lot of cheaper printers than what I purchased (Creality line for example) but I wanted one that works out of the box really well and would not require upgrading components down the line constantly. To that end I picked the Prusa Mini (Now the Mini+ with a better probe) as it takes around an hour out of the box to put together and get printing. It also comes with very good motors, nozzle, heatbed, good sized colour screen and a great build plate. It can only take 1 filament at a time like the vast majority of printers out there and defaults to using 1.75mm filament thickness which is probably the most common available right now. It supports printing PLA (Which I use all the time), PETG, ASA, ABS and Flex (Which I want to try some time). The printer is relatively quiet (I can leave it printing overnight downstairs and not be distracting when going to bed), and I have purchased an enclosure for it (future post) which helps noise further and reduces the slight odour that printing produces.

The main negative of this printer is its build volume which is 18cm x 18cm x 18cm which is only a negative if you want to print larger pieces in one go (e.g. a full size helmet which I am currently working on). This means that I have had to split any objects into smaller pieces (if they haven't already from their page you may have downloaded any assets from) and then glue them together plus any additional post processing to fill in any gaps (Which I will cover in a future post). So this is something to consider when buying, otherwise the Prusa I3 MK3S+ could be the preferred option as that can go up to 25cm x 21cm x 20cm but doesn't come with the colour screen, just a monochromatic LCD.

Below are some of the prints I have done over the first few months. The printer included a USB stick with a range of prints including the boat shown below (more commonly known as Benchy) as it tests numerous printing techniques such as overhangs, bridging and small details which give a good indicator to how much your printer can handle.

The other images are a series of low poly Pokemon, Star Lords helmet from Guardians of the Galaxy, Tesla's Cybertruck which was printed in multiple parts and glued together rather than painting, and finally a series of badges from the Pokemon Go game which I have painted the top layer with acrylic paint.

Finally Prusa uses their own PrusaSlicer software which takes your source files (3MF, STL, OBJ and AMF) and you "slice" them so that the printer understands how to print your object. I plan to cover this in more details in a future post.

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