First off, here's all the details on the printer. (NOT SPONSORED)
(the section where you've only got time to read on your toilet)
Superb user experience with easy use and maintenance.
BUILD IT! Saves you about 200$ CAD!
Small and High Quality prints will take time to finesse.
The User Experience (UX)
From loading the filament to removing the prints, the user experience is quick and easy. Why? The user interface (UI) is intuitive and there is a lot of customizability to perfect your prints. The printer also comes with a User Manual that has genuinely good instructions which will explain step-by-step how to do maintenance on your printer. On top of that, the online community is wide and diverse that will most likely have answers for any questions.
My two suggestions for beginners:
Buy a 3D print removal tool. They are quite cheap, and it'll prevent damage to the build plate and remove your prints smoothly. I got this one (also not sponsored). https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B075SLTY8B/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The only annoying thing about their UX is that uploading files to the printer requires a SD card. So, if you don't have a computer with a SD slot, good luck!
SAVE MONEY. BUILD IT!
If you have some spare time, please SAVE YOUR MONEY! Not only do you save money, you also learn exactly how the printer works! So, if you want to do some upgrades or proper maintenance, you will know exactly how to do it and why certain parts are adjusted.
In my two weeks of break, I took about 2 days (~ 14 hours) to build the printer. The instruction manual explained every step clearly which made the entire process very rewarding. I don't think other brands give you this option, so please consider this as an opportunity. Personally, I also want to add a multi-color filament attachment in the future which will be super easy to install since I know how the printer works inside out.
The Crux of Filament Printers
Compared to SLA printers (the UV-resin printers), the quality is subpar, especially with small prints. However, if you finesse the settings of the printer and do your own little experimental testing, you can get print qualities that can beat the SLA printers. From my 1 year of experience with a SLA printer, the biggest advantage for filament printers is the reliability and strength of the prints. You also get a wide range of materials to choose from. At my lab, people are thinking of building lab bench equipment, and with filament printers, you can choose chemically stable plastics which is extremely hard to access for SLA printers.
For starters, use the PRUSA slicer or the CURA slicer. I've found that both offer slightly different functionalities. The PRUSA slicer has an abundance of settings which offers you a full range of options to perfect the print. Personally, I think the PRUSA slicer is very good at larger prints and the supports are easier to remove. However, the CURA slicer is better at small prints because there are great community add-ons. The add-on I've found most useful is the Custom Supports which allow me to add supports in precise locations. Learning how supports will directly affect the prints is important to perfect your prints.
A good starting point for high quality print settings using the CURA slicer can be found here:
Download the: Siepie CR10/Ender 3 - Small Minis PLA Base 1.0 profile.
It's worked very well for my smaller prints and after some extra tweaking, I sell 3D prints on Etsy that I can be proud of.
For the PRUSA slicer, this video gives superb settings for fast high quality prints:
Thanks for reading! I hope you'll buy a 3D printer as well! There's so much you can do with it now that we're stuck at home. Let me know if you got one!