What's the most key point when you decide to get a 3d printer

As the title said, what’s the key point when you want to get your first 3d printer? Speed or others?


In my experience or 4 printers, I would say availability of spare parts, cheaply.
My first printer was a FlashForge, which was excellent, until I discovered that simple filament jambs needed half the printer to be pulled apart to clear them, resulting in me having to replace parts, at huge cost.
Cheap ALDI Cocoon printer was OK, but no heated bed and the bed was tiny.
Third was a $500 JG Aurora A5 printer.
Awesome huge print bed, worked out of the box awesomely, for about 6 months, then the heated bed failed and they wouldnt replace it. Cost me $180 to get a new one as the glass bed was bonded to it.
Printer then started to do weird things, so I flashed the firmware and the motherboard died.
Replaced MOBO and then the screen died.
Bought a second one second hand and it has been working like a champ for a couple of years now, but the first one died again because the bowden tube physical connector broke.
I cant buy a new one, they are simply not available.

So my advice, whatever you get, make sure that spare parts are easy to get and there are loads of 3rd party versions of them.


Hi Stephen,

As always, it depends.
Most people should start with a filament printer unless they know they are going to be exclusively printing things that are small and high in detail, tabletop miniatures for example.

The next big question is are you looking to buy a printer to be a tool or a hobby?
For 3D printers to give reliable consistent results they will either require an investment of money in the form of buying a more expensive professional-grade machine; or time that will be spent calibrating and tuning the printer to achieve its full potential.

Personally, I’ve been working on modifying and upgrading a second-hand LulzBot printer that no longer has manufacturer support in Australia, as @AndrewBG pointed out can often be the case. I’ve spent more time printing calibration and test prints than useful functional parts for my robot projects, but since I’ve enjoyed the process that’s part of the fun.

Once you’ve developed some know-how about operating 3D printers, tuning them and setting them up you might be able to make a printer produce a result that is 80% as good as a printer that cost 10x the price.

There is definitely a learning curve, but fortunately, there are tonnes of resources out there for people who have popular machines and are keen to learn from other makers.


Hi Stephen,

Another thing worth mentioning now is that most local makerspaces have a 3D printer available for anyone to print something. I’d see if there are any around and check them out!

I’ve got 2 Ender 3’s and use them almost exclusively to enable other projects, from enclosures to really ad-hoc parts (Bunnings was shut and I needed some washers - just print them!)


If you are a beginner, I think the most important key is ease of use, many products on the market such as ender 3 are difficult to operate. Sometimes you may spend a few nights practicing, which can be frustrating for beginners.
And few machines are beginner friendly.

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Hi Stephen,

I agree with the points in this thread, but have my own to add. Here’s what I would prioritise:

  1. If this is for a business, and you just want a tool, not a project, skip the entry-level machines and go for an Ultimaker or something of similar polish. This is mentioning first as it means you don’t need to worry about any other factors really.
  2. Pick something that many others have used already. This means when the time comes to get help, you’ve got a lot of support material available, and people who have been in your position before. This usually means the Ender series from Creality. They aren’t the latest and greatest, but will teach you the fundamentals. If you find it lacking, you’ll be in a better position to choose your second printer.
  3. Pick up some QOL upgrades if your printer doesn’t already have them. I would suggest a direct-drive toolhead, some kind of auto bed levelling (BLTouch or similar), and a removable spring steel bed (getting stuff off glass sucks). Look into Klipper, Fluidd, and Mainsail.
  4. Speed can be added to most printers, so it means less in your choice. Enders can be made reasonably fast, printing at 100mm/s isn’t too hard to achieve, and Klipper can help you add acceleration without ringing. If you decide you need to go faster, a Delta-style printer or something custom and bleeding-edge like a Voron could be considered once you’ve got some experience under your belt.

It’s likely I’ve missed some things, but these are the things that come to mind from someone who has seen the whole spectrum of printers.


4 printers! That’s a lot! The price is also one thing I will consider.

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Thank you James, I would love to use it in my home but not for business.

Yes, I am a beginner. And I think you are correct, easy to use is very important. How about the printing speed?

Well, you know how it goes, you kind of collect them over time.
The first one I got about 8 years ago, and it kinda just grew from there.

The baby Cocoon one my 17 year old uses.
One JG Aurora is in bits while I try to figure out how to fix it.
One JG Aurora is all working fine.
The FlashForge is mothballed, however I do know how to fix it now, I just dont have the time (or use) at the moment.

Yes and I am going to check the local maketspaces to try print something.