I’ve been out of the 3D printing game for the last few years – gave it up after I had yet another hot-end meltdown on my Prusa. It’s been bugging me though, and I wanted to get back into it.
Rather than fix up the old printer, I thought I’d buy a new printer and see what sort of improvements the last few years have produced. I spent a bit of time looking around at the cheaper-end printers, particularly the highly-popular Ender 3.
In the end, I selected the Tevo Tarantula Pro. It’s slightly more expensive than the Ender 3, but comes with some features which put it above the Ender:
- Print cooling fans
- Integrated design (all-in one)
- Better electronics, with replaceable stepper motor drivers.
Most of these features are often after-market upgrades people make to their Ender 3. I figured by spending a bit more money up-front, I’d have to spend less down the road.
There’s been quite a bit of improvements in the general designs of 3D-printers in the last few years. Some of the most obvious improvements which seem to be common these days:
- Improved electronics (usually with screens) MKS-Gen-L and the like is a big step up from an Arduino Mega with Ramps.
- The extruded aluminium sections are almost universal these days (though the Prusa’s still use two smooth rods for the x-axis, though they are now aligned vertically, instead of horizontally)
- Bowden extruders (though again, not with the Prusa)
- Cooling fans, both for the extruder and the print. I’d probably have prevented a couple of hot-end meltdowns with an extruder cooling fan.
- GT2 belts and pulleys. My old prusa was using T5, and when I stopped, a few people were moving to GT5 belts and pulleys.
- 1.75mm filament. 3mm was the standard back in 2012.
I ordered the printer from Banggood, and it turned up in less than a couple of weeks. I’ll make a couple more posts about the build, but for now here’s an image of the final product: