Anybody have recommendations on a cheapish 3D printer? I'm not looking for anything fancy, I'm just looking at getting my feet wet I guess. I'm not afraid to put things together, so even a kit would be fine by me. I also think PLA would work for what I want to create, so I don't need something that will print in anything crazy like liquid gold or whatever. The only requirements are a 100mm x 100mm print area (depth isn't super important) and it won't catch my house on fire.
IMO, they all suck.
I wouldn't go much lower than a Printrbot Simple.
I've got one, but tbh 4in^3 is really small. I've probably paid just under $1k after fixing and upgrading my Printrbot simple. I would go no smaller than 6in^3.
Another popular option is Makerfarm's i3v. It's more expensive than the simple, but cheaper than the simple metal. It also has a larger build volume than both.
Mm really you will be cutting corners if you go cheap. There are two reasonably well regarded low end printers and then there is the step up that a lot of people go to when they give up on the cheap printers. Like noob has recomended, The i3 is a decent design and comes in many different sizes. All with small differences. Great starting point.
I started off with a Da Vinci 1.0.A Closed system, decent quality for the price but really since they discontinued the 1.0, Its not worth your time. I have a 1.0 and im looking at moving towards a Delta.
On the other hand if your willing to spend a bit more, The K8400 is a very nice printer. Well regarded and open. Only issue I have herd is there can be some movement in the frame at higher speeds but its a better printer compared to the da vinci and i3.
One you step over the $1,500 barrier, you get some very nice printers like the Delta which can print accurately at a speed 10x what the i3 and Da Vinci can.
Thanks for the info guys. I went through some of the designs I was thinking about and it turns out 4" just a hair too small, so the wooden PrintrBot Simple is out. I did come across the K8200 after looking at the K8400.
So, PrintrBot Simple Metal, i3v, or K8200? The Simple Metal sounds nice because metal and it looks like I can get it from a variety of sources (Adafruit, PrintrBot, Amazon).
The K8200 was not a great printer yet the k8400 is a great printer.
:( I was suspicious of why I couldn't find much about it.
The K8400 looks nice, but that's $300 more than I want to spend.
If you can afford the K8400, Go with the i3. You have to put it together and do a lot of work to get it running for the first month. Or if you want similar price, pre built, the da vinci is good. I just dont know if its possible to get around the locked firmware and install repetier on the 1.0.A though I have heard its possible.
Many i3's dont come with a heated bed which is important if you want to print with ABS but the Da Vinci does. Its a good starting point. I wouldnt expect it to be anything more than a low end printer though. You really want something like the K8400 if you want something that can print parts with very tight tolerances.
For cheapest PLA i would go with the Printrbot. your not going to get any cheaper then that with an FDM without significant cuts to quality of parts, and there is a large comunity behind it with people who can help with any issues, modifications or improvments
However, if you are interested in waiting there is a 100$ resin SLA printer kit thats avalile for preorder now estimated shipping date in july this year.
latest hardware update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2YhHfaf5eo
Even if a SLA printer is cheap, the resin is not and there is no reason for someone starting to dive into SLA
Peachy is still under a lot of R&D.....
Yeah, I'd rather stick to the basics right now. Unfortunately after this morning it looks like I might need to hold on to my liquid assets right now just in case. Thanks for the input though guys, I appreciate it. I'll try to keep an eye out over the next few months to see if any deals or new printers pop up.
I'd also recommend jumping past #reprap IRC channel on freenode, other than that, people have given good advice :)