A new printer!

I have been thinking about getting a second 3d printer for some time now. There are a couple of reasons for it:

  1. My current printer reached extreme Frankenstein levels which makes getting information on how to fix issues extremely difficult.
  2. Since it is still based on a lot of parts from the Anet A8, I fully expect it to break at some point and it is great to always have a backup so that you can, if needed, print yourself out of a hole.
  3. The hobbyist 3d printer space has made enormous leaps since the early RepRap days until 2016 when I got the Anet A8, but since 2016, especially the low cost printer market has evolved quite rapidly. The “Aluminium plus roller” linear movement design has taken the world by storm and made it much easier to build a very simple, cheap printer.

I always toyed with the idea of getting a real Prusa3D printer eventually and I still might at some point, but right now I was mostly intrigued by the good reviews the Ender 3 V2 got from so many respected people. Creality has had a rocky past, but I guess the relentless pushing by the community and the extremely effective outreach work (in both directions) by Naomi “Sexy Cyborg” Wu seems to have had a pretty incredible impact on how well these printers are now constructed and how they prevent many of the shortcomings of a lot of cheap printers.

So, I got myself an Ender 3 V2. It was on sale at 3DJake.de which is increasingly becoming my all-3d-printing-needs watering hole. Because I knew I didn't want to manually level the bed on this printer too often, I ordered a BLTouch with it and the needed cables. Yes, this breaks Naomi's 100 hours rule, which I think is super useful, but this seems a very common mod, so I'm probably ok.

2016 me would be super jealous of this printer. Yes, this was almost 100 EUR more expensive than the 139 EUR I paid for the Anet A8, but the experience of assembling the printer in under an hour and having a successful print on first try (in, dare I say, amazing quality) was really surprising to me.

I did add the BLTouch right away (and started to add a filament runout sensor, but that's a bit hard to attach, so it will need some extra work) and since I was lazy, I am using the Smith3D firmware. At some point I will try to use my own Marlin build, but I didn't have the time to do the diffs to figure out what exactly Smith3D was changing. (I feel like this is a problem of the Marlin community right now that it's so hard to keep track of the changes and keep your configurations up to date while keeping track of the Marlin releases.)

I will add a couple of the obvious mods, like some filament guides and at some point I need to rewire the tinned (At least I think they still do that) wires of the power electronics and I've already ordered a RaspberryPi 3B+ (I think a Pi 4 is actually overkill for Octoprint) to be able to run Octoprint and the Spaghetti Detective on it. As soon as that's all done, I think I will more or less leave that printer alone and then my hope is that I can learn from the Ender3 and the settings that make this such a surprisingly reliable printer and start to optimise my little Frankenprinter. On paper, this machine should be quite superior, with the Hemera, but I do have massive issues right now with any form of overhangs and I can't seem to figure out what's going on, so that's something I definitely look forward to.

All in all, I'm quite happy that for a little more than 200 EUR you can now get a printer that is not a fire risk, is easy to assemble and actually produces extremely good results from print one.