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3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?  

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ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

Hello,

 

I never had a 3D printer before

( still waiting, almost 3 years on my Kodama Obsidian, pfffff. Thanks for nothing Kickstarter !!  )

 

So I'm thinking of buying my very first "real" 3D printer.

I want to ask the 3D wizards in here,

if I either :

- buy the Mk3S kit

or

- buy the pre-assembled version 

 

Is it possible to assemble the kit, for someone who has little technical background ?

I mean I don't want to be stuck with a non-functional 3D printer,

if I encounter problems when assembling, after paying almost 800 Euro's.

 

Are there any other 3D newbies in here, who had little to no technical background and have assembled it without major problems ?

 

Thanks very much in advance for any help.

 

Greetings,

ilja

This topic was modified 2 years ago 2 times by ilja
Posted : 03/05/2020 1:27 pm
Laurent's Lab
(@laurents-lab)
Eminent Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

I can only recommend that you buy the kit.

These things work really well, but they need some amount of fiddling and servicing on occasion, so if you do use the printer a reasonable amount, you'll necessarily end up needing to become very familiar with every part of it.

IMHO, it's better to start early to understand how the printer is built and even struggle a bit with the build. It'll become very useful later.

The MK3 (non-S) was my first 3D printer and I got some of the first batch, which had decent teething issues. I struggled quite a bit to get it up and running, but it was very useful. The forums and Prusa's own tech support were very useful and they shipped me replacement parts as needed.

So I suggest you get the kit, and do the build very slowly, reading all the comments at every step. There is a huge amount of crowdsourced knowledge there and by now, every potential build issue has been bumped into by someone, so you don't have to worry about being the first.

Good luck. it's totally worth it.

Posted : 04/05/2020 6:03 am
John
 John
(@john-6)
Reputable Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

Unfortunately I can only recommend the pre built. As a new user you don’t want the variables of the build confusing print trouble shooting.  That said once you get the live z set the default settings work well. 
PRUSA give good support to a prebuilt and filaments and other purchases are discounted if you buy a prebuilt. 
I will say that fixing stuck filaments and other trouble shooting is probably mote daunting having not built it. 

i3 Mk3 [aug 2018]...
Posted : 04/05/2020 10:20 am
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @laurent-m4

I can only recommend that you buy the kit.

These things work really well, but they need some amount of fiddling and servicing on occasion, so if you do use the printer a reasonable amount, you'll necessarily end up needing to become very familiar with every part of it.

IMHO, it's better to start early to understand how the printer is built and even struggle a bit with the build. It'll become very useful later.

The MK3 (non-S) was my first 3D printer and I got some of the first batch, which had decent teething issues. I struggled quite a bit to get it up and running, but it was very useful. The forums and Prusa's own tech support were very useful and they shipped me replacement parts as needed.

So I suggest you get the kit, and do the build very slowly, reading all the comments at every step. There is a huge amount of crowdsourced knowledge there and by now, every potential build issue has been bumped into by someone, so you don't have to worry about being the first.

Good luck. it's totally worth it.

Thanks for the reply.

I was thinking the same, that you would understand the printer better if you put it together yourself.

Posted : 04/05/2020 4:50 pm
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @john-h68

Unfortunately I can only recommend the pre built. As a new user you don’t want the variables of the build confusing print trouble shooting.  That said once you get the live z set the default settings work well. 
PRUSA give good support to a prebuilt and filaments and other purchases are discounted if you buy a prebuilt. 
I will say that fixing stuck filaments and other trouble shooting is probably mote daunting having not built it. 

That crossed my mind also, how can a newbie know what's wrong with the hardware when something prints wrong or something else that's happening.

That being said, when you make a kit, sure you would know the printer better, but a newbie would still be in the dark when things go wrong, not ?

Posted : 04/05/2020 4:54 pm
With_Maltodextrin
(@with_maltodextrin)
Trusted Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

The instructions are excellent and Prusa support is phenomenal. Plenty of relatively non-technical folks have succeeded assembling theirs, you should get the kit, save some money, and you'll learn the names of the printer's parts as a bonus.

Posted : 04/05/2020 7:27 pm
JoanTabb
(@joantabb)
Moderator
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

@ilja-coveliers

Hi Ilja, 
as far as I am aware, Prusa support offer online help 24/7 excluding Christmas and Newyears... 

and they have an extensive knowledge base! 
https://help.prusa3d.com/en/

in addition to this peer to peer forum!

lots of us took a gamble to buy the Kit, and Survived...   😀

I believe building the kit gave me an insight into how printers work, that has been invaluable!

regards Joan

I try to make safe suggestions,You should understand the context and ensure you are happy that they are safe before attempting to apply my suggestions, what you do, is YOUR responsibility. Location Halifax UK...
Posted : 04/05/2020 8:27 pm
K7ZPJ
(@k7zpj)
Estimable Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

@ilja-coveliers

Check the prusaprinters world map to see if there is someone in your local area that would be willing to help you in case you have trouble with assembling the kit.   It will allow you to get to know people in the 3d printing community and it is nice to have someone local in case you have trouble.   

Posted : 04/05/2020 8:40 pm
Area51
(@area51)
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

@ilja-coveliers

If you have the time and want to learn how the printer works, I would definitely recommend buying a kit. There is so much to learn when assembling the kit and the instructions is great - take your time and make it a part of the experience.

Prusa Support and the forum will help you through the build and it is so much easier to troubleshoot problems, when you know your printer.

I bought my Mini as an assembled printer (only option) and still miss the knowledge I could have gained doing the an assembly. Troubleshooting is harder on this printer as I do not know the inner workings...

Have a look at my designs on Thingiverse or on PrusaPrinters ;)...
Posted : 04/05/2020 10:10 pm
rmm200
(@rmm200)
Noble Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

There are people who should buy the kit - and those that should buy the prebuilt.

If you are the type that skims instructions, then races to finish, give us all a break and buy prebuilt. Otherwise you will have no end of hard to diagnose problems and blame Prusa.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to take your time and follow instructions closely, the kit is a very rewarding experience. You will wind up with a reliable machine that you understand and can maintain.

The kit requires no technical expertise, and the manual is full of pictures and very detailed. Before you choose, read the online manual and see if it is your cup of tea. Make sure you read the user comments on each page.

Posted : 04/05/2020 10:16 pm
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @bruce-p4

@ilja-coveliers

Check the prusaprinters world map to see if there is someone in your local area that would be willing to help you in case you have trouble with assembling the kit.   It will allow you to get to know people in the 3d printing community and it is nice to have someone local in case you have trouble.   

Thanks for the link.
There are 2 in my city with a Prusa 3D printer I see.

Posted : 05/05/2020 5:04 pm
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @area51

@ilja-coveliers

If you have the time and want to learn how the printer works, I would definitely recommend buying a kit. There is so much to learn when assembling the kit and the instructions is great - take your time and make it a part of the experience.

Prusa Support and the forum will help you through the build and it is so much easier to troubleshoot problems, when you know your printer.

I bought my Mini as an assembled printer (only option) and still miss the knowledge I could have gained doing the an assembly. Troubleshooting is harder on this printer as I do not know the inner workings...

I think I will enjoy learning the parts of the printer when putting it together.

But after that I'm clueless, LOL

Posted : 05/05/2020 5:06 pm
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @robert-rmm200

There are people who should buy the kit - and those that should buy the prebuilt.

If you are the type that skims instructions, then races to finish, give us all a break and buy prebuilt. Otherwise you will have no end of hard to diagnose problems and blame Prusa.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to take your time and follow instructions closely, the kit is a very rewarding experience. You will wind up with a reliable machine that you understand and can maintain.

The kit requires no technical expertise, and the manual is full of pictures and very detailed. Before you choose, read the online manual and see if it is your cup of tea. Make sure you read the user comments on each page.

Thanks for the reply.

You are absolutely right.

 

Posted : 05/05/2020 5:09 pm
ilja
 ilja
(@ilja)
Trusted Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

After reading all these replies I think I will take a leap and go for the kit version.

I will go for the i3 MK3S then.

Best to go for the biggest printer, not ?

Or is there something special to consider in your expert opinions for choosing a first printer ?

Also what else besides fillament do I need to order in the shop ?

For example, I would think some special tools for cleaning the nozzle and such.

But I didn't find that in the shop.

Is that something which is included with the printer perhaps ?

 

Thanks for all the help so far.

 

Greetings,

ilja

Posted : 05/05/2020 5:39 pm
rmm200
(@rmm200)
Noble Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

You can get a different brand for about half the price of the Prusa, but you lose out on performance and reliability.

And you lose a very supportive community that can help you through rough patches.

All that was important enough for me to get the MK3S kit - and it was the right choice for me.

My kit came with everything I needed to get started. Take your time on ordering additional supplies.

I do recommend getting the smooth PEI sheet for a beginner, with the textured sheet a good add-on. Don't start with textured.

Posted : 05/05/2020 7:19 pm
Mike Daneman
(@mike-daneman)
Estimable Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

@ilja-coveliers

Very Important!  When you build your kit make sure to LOAD YOUR BeARINGS WITH GReASe before sliding them onto the rods.  This is not mentioned in the assembly instructions and, in fact, Prusa claims you don't need to do it.  BUT YOU DO.  I didn't load mine and got grooves worn into my X-axis rod and then had to remove and grease-load all my bearings and replace some of them, as well as the worn rod.

Posted : 07/05/2020 3:56 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

A little late to the party, but I'm going to chime in with a somewhat contrarian position...

The decision between kit or pre-built should come down to time. Specifically, how much a day or so of your time is worth to you. If you have time and will enjoy building your kit, definitely go that route. If your time is limited or you just want to get printing and don't view a 3D printer as a hobby unto itself, consider a pre-built. In my case, I had very limited time at home and it was worth spending $250 to have a working unit as my first printer that I knew should function properly and that I could get support for if something was amiss. Now 2 1/2 years later, I have no regrets.

While it's true that you can learn a lot about your printer by building it, that is by no means the only way to learn. I've learned over the months as I've encountered issues and have had no problem understanding the mechanics of the printer. I swap nozzles and filaments daily and have no qualms about opening the lid and doing hotend repairs. If I need to replace the rods someday, I can read the manual and learn all about it then. I have encountered people who have built a kit and are yet hesitant to swap nozzles for fear of breaking something. There is no need to build the kit as a prerequisite to fully understanding the printer. It's a testament to Prusa that these folks have smooth running printers.

Based on what I've learned from my pre-built Prusa, I'm might consider a kit for a future printer. When the COVID disaster unfolded, I wanted a 2nd printer to increase capacity to print PPE. I purchased a low-cost 2nd printer (Artillery Sidewinder) and my experience with my pre-built Prusa was invaluable for getting it running smoothly and dealing with failures (bed thermistor) whilst waiting 3 days for email support responses.

Knowledge is knowledge, no matter how acquired. Things you learn reading online or watching YouTube videos are just as relevant as those you learn fumbling around with a kit. If a kit is fun for you, definitely go for one. On the other hand, if you don't particularly enjoy kits (I'm sick of them after 30 years of building PCs) or time is scarce for you, consider a pre-built.

Whatever you do, I strongly recommend you go with a Prusa. Having a 2nd printer to compare, I can say a lot of the things that were raised as "major problems" on the Prusa are nonsense. The user experience on the Prusa is far smoother. Things that I take for granted on the Mk3 are an adventure on the Sidewinder. You can get cheaper and larger printers for less money, but they are generally not as reliable (bed failure after 15 days) and convenient (have to wait for that big glass bed to fully cool) as a Prusa. It's a fine printer -- I quite like it -- but I'm glad my Prusa kept running during the push as I ordered replacement parts and waited for email support to respond.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 07/05/2020 4:12 pm
Laurent's Lab
(@laurents-lab)
Eminent Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?
Posted by: @mdaneman

@ilja-coveliers

Very Important!  When you build your kit make sure to LOAD YOUR BeARINGS WITH GReASe before sliding them onto the rods.  This is not mentioned in the assembly instructions and, in fact, Prusa claims you don't need to do it.  BUT YOU DO.  I didn't load mine and got grooves worn into my X-axis rod and then had to remove and grease-load all my bearings and replace some of them, as well as the worn rod.

This. I have always oiled my rods with a light oil as Prusa was recommending a while ago, but, at least for me, that wasn't sufficient. With all the 24/7 abuse of PPE printing recently, I got deep grooves in the X and Y axis rods (Z-axis rods are not really load bearing, so they don't need nearly as much attention). I have since rotated the rods 😀 (new ones on order) and repacked the bearings with PTFE grease. Seems good for now.

Things you will need:

  • IPA (alcohol) to clean the spring steel sheets. Ideally grab 99.9% pure for electronics need (hard to get right now, but the electronic-type is less in demand).
  • Windex or local equivalent (Ammonia-based window cleaner) if you want to print PETG on the smooth sheets (probably not the first thing you should try to do).
  • Brass brushes to clean the nozzle and heater block occasionally or when an "accident" happens and you have a blob of melted plastic on the heater block. Some people like to put a sock on the heater block, which is useful if you have chronic issues with this, but you have time to figure out if you need one. You do need brass brushes though. Buy a pack of cheap plastic ones if you can.

 

Posted : 07/05/2020 4:15 pm
bobstro liked
rmm200
(@rmm200)
Noble Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

Brass brushes... Some are good, some are bad. You want a fairly stiff brush that PLA does not grab onto.

If your brush winds up a melted blob of PLA - try a different brand. The Amazon reviews are quite useful.

Seems quite a few 3D printer folks shop there for the same supplies.

Posted : 07/05/2020 4:26 pm
MartyS
(@martys)
Trusted Member
RE: 3D newbie - Kit or Pre-assembled printer ?

For brass brushes I use the cheap ones with wooden handles that you can find in the welding section of most home improvement stores.  Starting out with PLA you won't need it right away, but if you go to materials that print at higher temps you will need to clean the sides of the nozzle and the heat block (when they are hot) eventually. 

Wash the smooth PEI bed with soap and water, rinse with water, and dry quickly with a clean towel.  All my previous experience with various bed types including PEI I've always gotten by with just IPA with an occasional rub with acetone to renew, but the ones from Prusa seem to need more washing with water.

You may want to pick up an extra steel bed, but for just starting out that's probably overkill, just use one side of the included sheet for PLA and the other side for other types.  I picked up a 3rd party blank sheet and put PEI on one side and painters tape on the other side for printing flexible filament that likes to bond way too well to PEI.  I will probably get a 3rd sheet for textured PEI at some point.

 

Posted : 07/05/2020 4:47 pm
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