[Lab] your personal experience with 3d printing

Michael Scott michael.scott at ocsb.ca
Wed Sep 2 13:08:00 EDT 2015

I am on my 6th 3D printer, all of them assembled from kits, (except one
donated). I built them for myself and the school that I teach at. I am a
big fan of the Maker Revolution, the DIY movement and open source. (I don't
like paying big bucks for nothing!)

I started with the original Makerbot Thing-O-matic till it puked and
Makerbot left us all stranded by going commercial. I have then been
building a succession of larger and larger MakerFarm Prusa i3s, which is
open source, well built components, great instructions and resources and
uses standard open source Arduino hardware and free software. MakerFarm,
Utah, http://www.makerfarm.com/index.php/ has 8" kits form $375US to 12"
kits at $650US. (Many more companies offer various versions of the Prusa

I find that building your own is a great educational experience, saves tons
of money, and you have something you can fix, repair or upgrade yourself.
Huge community of help online as well. I will not pay over $1000 for a 3D
printer, and certainly not $2000 or $3000, especially any with proprietary
software. I have found from friend's experience that the commercial ones
don't mean you won't have problems (a fellow teacher went through a year of
issues on his $2500 Makerbot), and all 3D printers are the same basic
electronics and frame anyway.

But...you have to be comfortable with making and wiring things yourself. I
have lots of experience, but am always learning too. I find that it is
pretty easy, but I know others do not. If you got the time...dive in! I am
now building an open source CNC machine and want to build my own CNC plasma
cutter soon.


On Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 12:13 AM, j ross <waterfallclose at gmail.com> wrote:

> I own a Makerbot Replicator 2X and an Ultimaker 2.  There are lots of
> great printers around right now, but after doing my own research I recently
> settled on the Ultimaker 2. Not cheap, but it's open, great quality, has
> all the points that Stephan mentioned (standard filament, heated bed, large
> print area, open, etc.) great community, good software, hackable and very
> reliable (as this gen of printers goes) and takes lots of different
> filaments.  I've done many successful ABS and PLA prints with it - no
> problems so far.  In my opinion, it's a solid, no regrets choice if it's
> within your budget.
> My Makerbot 2X is getting a brain transplant - the main board fried after
> the stepper cable came loose - too many demos.  I've replaced it (almost
> done) with a smoothie board since I (like many others) have become quite
> disenchanted with Makerbot of late.
> Jeff
> On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Tom Burns <tom.i.burns at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I own two 3d printers*
>> * if you consider kickstarter payment to be "ownership".. Neither have
>> shipped yet.  Peachy printer's a year overdue, and the Genesis Duo's now
>> talking about being 4 months or so late.
>> The technology's changing very quickly so I'd suggest you buy the best
>> available printer when you're ready, and not buy into a project that will
>> likely be out of date by the time it's ready.
>> On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 3:23 PM, Stephen Burke <steve at envirolaser.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi Benoit,
>>> My personal experience over the past 6 years has taught me that if you
>>> want to build one, and this is your first 3D printer, make sure it is a
>>> VERY simple kit, otherwise it may become one of those unfinished projects.
>>> It would make sense in high school only if the focus was assembling a
>>> device, not necessarily using it.  You can expect to put 30 to 40 hours
>>> into assembling a 3D printer, and another 10+ making sure it works properly
>>> and consistently.
>>> If the need is to have a working 3D printer for use in class as a tool
>>> to make projects, then buy a printer that allows for generic filament and
>>> uses open source components and software.  Find something that can handle
>>> multiple materials (PLA, Nylon, ABS, Carbon Fibre, etc), has a heated build
>>> plate, and a large print volume (8” x 8” x 6” or larger is nice).  A
>>> machine like this will have very few limitations so it could be used for
>>> multiple projects.
>>> I sell 3D printers from MakerBot, ROBO, 3D Systems, Cubify, Full
>>> Spectrum and, maybe soon, Printrbot.  I also sell a wide variety of
>>> filaments from Taulman 3D, ColorFabb, FlashForge, Proto-pasta and MakerBot.
>>> Chances are, I will have the 3D printer and material that will suit your
>>> needs for your high school.
>>> Stephen Burke
>>> 3D Artist
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Michael A. Scott
Dept Head of Technological Education and Computer Studies
St. Francis Xavier High School
3740 Spratt Road
Gloucester, ON
K1V 2M1
Phone:     613-822-7900
Cell/Text:  613-407-9013
Fax:         613-822-0214
michael.scott at ocsb.ca
photowagon at gmail.com
Facebook: ThePhotowagon
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