Have a new Monoprice Mini Delta 3D printer
chugging away in the corner of the office now. Hackaday gave it an excellent review back during the summer, and Friday it was on sale for cheap enough that I figured it was worth it even just for the learning opportunity and experience. Setup was simple, onboard interface is pleasantly straightforward. Haven't tried the wireless printing yet, but that'll wait until it's done with the provided test print file. Cool to watch, remarkably fine filaments of plastic being laid down so quickly.
In a worst-case scenario (i.e. I decide I hate it even after the return period has passed), I can always sell it used and recoup some of the cost. In a best-case scenario, I can start printing tiny green toys for my kid during the school day and then feigning ignorance as to where they come from.
Let me know what you think. I've been tempted by that one too. My wife does all sorts of crafting with 2d CNC (aka Cricut or Sillhouette) and I have many small ideas for day-to-day stuff that would be cool.
I've used the printer enough to be able to give at least a "first impression" reply. So far, it seems pretty good.
From left to right, the sample print made from the file provided with the printer, as 2x2 Lego brick, and a "Green Lantern" ring for my kid. For scale reference, that cat is 4.73 cm high.
I've printed other stuff as well, some of which has either failed or simply hasn't been quite right. I'm very new at this, so it took me a little while to start to understand the relevance of things like nozzle and bed temperature settings, infill, etc. when I want to get the output to look like it's supposed to. I'm getting better at it, and I haven't wasted much filament.
The on-device interface is good: the menus are basic but clear, the controls are straightforward, and everything works.
The printer has a network interface, hosting a simple webpage where you can monitor/control the temperatures and copy+paste GCode to be printed directly. The temperature control and monitoring works fine, but I have been unable to get anything to print via the web interface - it'll just say that it's loading, the printer screen will show "downloading", but nothing ever happens.
Rather than ferry a microSD card back and forth from a computer to the printer every time I want to print something, I've set up Octoprint on a spare Raspberry Pi, connected it via the supplied USB cable, and that works great. It's what I'll be using going forward, since it seems to handle everything very nicely.
There is ZERO issue getting prints to adhere to the bed - it's actually the opposite, it can be very difficult to get prints off
the bed, especially if they're not very high and I can't get good leverage. I've been using a razor blade to very carefully get between the print and the bed surface and start to lever them apart, and after some careful work with that I can usually get the rest by hand.
Lessons learned so far:
- I like Cura better than Slic3r. Cura is a lot easier for me to understand, as a newcomer.
- A little bit of filing/trimming can be necessary. The ring is an example of that - it's actually three parts, with room inside for an LED and a coin cell. The parts wouldn't fit together right off the printer, and so I took a file to the mating edges for a few seconds apiece to get that taken care of. Not a big issue.
- Very thin surfaces above and parallel to the bed surface don't always print cleanly. There can be some fouling in the running of the filament. So far nothing that has been cause to toss a print into the recycling, but it's something to keep track of.
- PLA Legos are a bad idea. I'm printing in the bright green PLA that you see in the photo above, and it works well. But PLA is harder and more brittle than ABS (which is what Legos are made from), and if you try and snap together a PLA block and a real Lego it visibly scrapes down the surface of the Lego. The printer can handle ABS, so I'll pick up a spool of that at some point, relocate the printer to the garage (it has a very useful carrying handle) so as to avoid the fumes problem, and try the Lego tests again.
Hope this is useful to you, Usacomp2k3. If anyone has a question or wants me to try printing something, please let me know.