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Is it Worth it?


Well-Known Member
Hi all (or both of you?),

I've been curious about this subject ever since first seeing a 3D Printer in action at a trade fair some years back. I thought at the time 'Is it worth it?', so now it seems to have turned into a hobby all of its own. A friend of mine made me a swash leveling tool for my Velos Rotors project (elsewhere in the Forum) and I attached a couple of photos for interest.

I could find leveling tools in the internet for around $15 but paid my friend a little over twice this for a custom-built one for the 880. I think it was well worth the price although others may disagree. My friend heavily suggested that I 'invest' in a 3D software to create the designs that he could print for me as this is the major involvement for him. Of course, the next part is the printing that took seven hours but I suppose the printer is left overnight to perform its magic.

I have done some surfing around for a printer of my own but unless it's treated as an extension of my hobby activities I can't see it makes any sense financially. I'm interested to hear any feedback on the subject.


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New Member
Own 3D printer is very cool. It all depends on the scale. You can turn to a friend again. On the other hand, you may like it so much that it will become your new profession. Now even rocket engines are printed on 3D printers. What if you do something very cool too? If you do not want to spend a lot, you can try to find a good seller on Aliexpress. I want to try getting a small lathe. This saves a lot of money.


Well-Known Member
Hi Tomajo,

If I bought one myself it would be new or at the very least someone I know locally. Paying for it is not an issue but as I'm retired, I didn't think of it becoming a new career but who knows? Let you all know how I get on with this issue.


Well-Known Member
If it was local, easy to come buy and did the job, write the additional $15 off to convenience and move on.


Well-Known Member
Hi Keith,

Sounds like you aren't a fan of 3D printing. Why's that?
It's not that I don't like 3D printing, I can't justify it for myself, I have very few uses for one, so if I bought one after the initial surge of enthusiasm it would sit around taking up space and not being used. It is much cheaper & easier to pay my sons friend if I want something printed.


Well-Known Member
Ah Ha! Understandable as the cost of the printer will never be recovered unless there is a sound business reason for one. I'm more likely to get the design software to relieve my friend of the time involved in that stage of the process. I'm also conscious of the space it would take up.


Well-Known Member
I'd like to say that as far as software goes for 3D printing, I use Fusion 360 and CURA. Fusion is free for personal use and CURA is always free. If you want to get a printer then you can get a used one for cheap, around $100 on ebay. Tony uses an Ender 3 Pro and I have the Ender 5. Both printers are almost equal except for the height. Ender 5 can print 50mm more in height. Ender 3 - 220*220*250 Ender 5 - 220*220*300. I didn't buy one for the longest time due to the price. But after seeing what could be done (thanks Tony ) I had to have one. There are many places you can get help on using whatever modelling software you choose. There is a free online tool available but it is limited in features (tinkercad). As far as filament goes, you will get the best results with PLA. It works great and if you get a good brand you will always have great prints. I use Overture from Amazon. I had very good results with their PLA but wanted a more durable filament so I switched to PETG. It is not as easy to use but will be ok in an Ender printer. As far as space is concerned, expect to give up a generous 2 square feet of desk space, a bit more with Ender 5 as the filament spool is mounted to the side, roughly 8 more inches.


Well-Known Member
Hi Jared, great feedback, thanks. I've got issues with my laptop right now pushing me to go for a complete software reload so new software will have to wait a bit.

I'd be interested to hear your feedback on such things as what goes on behind the scenes, such as:

Preparation to print, costs of materials, time to spend from concept to completion. I've picked up some idea on these but there's nothing like first hand experience from someone who isn't trying to sell you the machine/device etc.


I am El Taco!
I have a clone printer. I bought it off Ebay for ~$150 a couple of years ago. I don't use it often, but when I need it, there's no doing without. I use SolidWorks to design (I get a military discount ... only costs me $20 annually) and CURA. When I got the printer I told myself, I will only make something if it makes sense. I've seen a lot of makers who get their printer and just make upgrades for it ... that seems stupid to me. If an upgrade of some sort makes sense, then go for it. I've done a couple of small things for mine, but for the most part, it is as it came. It prints really well, I just have to ensure the bed is levelled before each use, which is not a big deal. I use painter's tape on the bed to ensure adhesion. I've not used any of the harsher filaments like Glow-in-the-dark, but I've printed with PLA and PETG without issue. Really easy to operate and works really well.


Well-Known Member
Hi Paul, thanks for your take on this. Maybe a secondhand option could be a solution to test my interest and the 'need'. I've made the first step of getting more space and we're about to expand our hobby-room from 23m2 to 33m2. The contract should be due to start July 1st. I'll look into a software as the first step, too.


Well-Known Member
Hi all, it's looking like I'll go for a combination option, that is the Snapmaker 2.0 Model A350 together with its enclosure. The thing attracting me to it is the multi-functionality. In a package that is around a quarter of the maximum price I've seen for single function items.

I've been planning the floor layout in our new hobby room and came across this cabinet for mounting the machine/enclosure Roll Around Cart for Snapmaker 2.0 A350

The enclosure is actually quite big at 62.5 x 82.0 x 60.2 cm. In addition, is the extra allowance for the ducting extending the 82.0 by about 15.0 cm as this is located in the right-hand side as shown in the picture of the finished cabinet. I think that I'll make the overall size a bit bigger still as there is plenty of space available in the floorplan.


Staff member
I would like to add my $0.02 on this one...

When I purchased my Ender 3 Pro, I had some things in mind that I wanted to play with. Making things for the hobby wasn't really a reason I wanted one though. I needing things around the house that, once printed and used, would pay for the printer over time.

Things like a 10 cell 18650 holder... I quit smoking, and having these batteries available in an easy to dispense holder is very convenient.

I also made rings that I can make my own filter socks for my aquarium.

I made quite a few test prints for an antenna holder for Jared, which forced him to get one lol.

Outflow Random Flow Generators for my aquarium

Various mounts for different items

quad holders...

The list goes on and on. But, just what I have saved in buying on amazon, the time waiting for the items and the fun I have had while making them was worth it for me.

Don't think of it as "I need to purchase this item to make "this" item", think of it more as "I would like to purchase a 3D printer because it can get me involved in designing 3D objects that can be useful to myself, family and friends and if I need something in a pinch, it's just a file away.

That "in a pinch" item did happen to me. We had a watering tub for our chickens where the little nipple that the chickens use to drink out of broke and I needed to somehow plug it. I was able to make a taper fitting that went inside the valve where the metal piece went that the chicken pecked at to dispense water. From the time my wife told me she needed something, to design to final print that is still in the bucket today (this was a couple years ago) it was about 4 hours.

So it's not just an investment to make what you can think of now, it's an investment in learning something new and having fun while fulfilling a request to obtain an item you are needing.

And lets face it, it's fun! lol.


Well-Known Member
Right on Tony, this is how my thinking has expanded since seriously considering the purchase. I also joined the Snapmaker forum, which has given me more ideas.

I don't keep fish anymore or chickens (ever) but I'm sure there's all sorts of cool things that will make it worthwhile. We take over our new hobby room 01.06.21 so the order will take place soon afterwards.

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