So, we purchased a Monoprice Dual Extrusion 3D Printer for game piece prototyping. I got the chance to sit down and really dig in this weekend. Here’s what I can tell you if you’re considering:
- You need to feel technically comfortable messing around with drivers, COM ports, and Services.
- Feel comfortable or willing to learn to design in a 3D modelling software. I have really only used tinkercad.com (free) and I’m quite happy with my results from such a simple web-based application. I started using 123D Design (free) too. Much more sophisticated, but I like the simplicity of tinkercad so far. I’ll keep using it until I can’t make what I need in there.
- I went through literally 4 different slicer apps (3free and ultimately 1 paid) before I was really satisfied with (and in some cases ABLE to print).
- ReplicatorG – Came preloaded was old, obsolete, and useless. It required me to install a Python application/service which never connected to the printer. Not supported anymore either.
- Cura – beautiful program that would have worked for any other 3D printer, I believe. It can’t convert to the right type of GCode for this Monoprice printer, which uses a different language.
- Makerbot Desktop – (I think this replaced ReplicatorG) Much better, but didn’t have much for options, and couldn’t print with a skirt — only a huge raft that I couldn’t disconnect from my prints. I wasn’t happy with the non-raft printing. Bright side, I could print. Start here if you’re looking for free slicer with this Monoprice printer.
- Simplify3D – Wow. What a difference $150 makes. I figured I already have spend more on this printer than I should have, why not just round it out. I didn’t want to spend the money on this. I really didn’t. But it will be worth it in the end. Its interface is intuitive and powerful. I can duplicate a piece I want to make multiples of (handy for game pieces), automatically center and rearrange the pieces, and then print via USB where it shows a live preview of what’s happening on the printer. Really slick. I guess you get what you pay for. Lots of options for support structures, brims, skirts, rafts, and first layer speed. I’m printing my 23rd game piece as I type this and I’m really satisfied with the results so far.
- I’ve heard others say it requires a lot of tinkering and patience to 3D print. So far, I’m extremely happy with this product. I did throw in the towel (temporarily) on dual extrusion. It was a lot more than I was ready for.
I’ll post more as I get more results and learn tricks and tips. Hope this helps someone out there. Can’t beat this printer for the price point.