3d printer recommendations

Yo, been thinking about getting into 3d printing for a while. If I need to make anything on the cars, it’s generally out of mild steel and welding, but some bits are just too fiddly to make without a mill or other machinery.

I’m looking for something that would produce max the size of a rubiks cube, be able to use consumables that have a decent melting point as some bits I would want to be in the engine bay and be around the £500 mark. The complexity of software is not an issue and neither is buying a printer that needs DIY assembly.

Any of you amazing humans got any hints, tips or recommendations?


@vredesbyrd get thine booty up here! Your knowledge is needed!

I completely forgot to respond to this sorry guys.

First up - £500 is the budget end of the 3D printer spectrum. Most mid-range models start past £1000, usually around £1500. You will probably have to settle for no thrills.

The most ideal situation would be to get yourself to a couple of 3D printing hubs close to you and get a few things printed off on the brands and models of printer they have. This will give you the best idea of the quirks each brand/model have and you can see what you’re comfortable using - really, if the hub is a well maintained one you could just use it for all of your needs. Worth thinking about.

There are so many brands and models available now and the technology is still so unpredictable even on the best machines that there is no sure fire advice any one can really give - YMMV is very much in play with 3D printers at this stage. The Ultimaker 2+ we have at work is touted as a brilliant, reliable printer but I’ve had a lot of problems with the thing and have had to dismantle it a bunch of times because of misfeeds, jams, warped build plate, etc - it is currently sat unused until Ultimaker get back to us because it has developed a fault in the nozel and now spits material out at an angle despite repeated cleaning and recalibrating.

Some quick notes that will be helpful and by way of some actual advice:

  • Avoid self-assembly printers - Horror stories aside, they need more maintenance and to be calibrated much more often and are more prone to faults and errant behaviour. They’re also a nightmare to find replacement parts for confusingly.
  • If you want to print parts with heat resistance avoid PLA since it is soft and has a low melting point. ABS would be a good starting point (glass transition temperature of 105°C as apposed to 60°C with PLA) since almost every printer I’ve seen lists ABS as a compatible material - you will have to make sure there is good ventilation though since it does release some fumes which might cause a problem in confined spaces. There are other materials that are more heat resistant, some of which required more specialised printers but that is a big rabbit hole so you’d have to know the sort of temperatures you’re dealing with and the applicaiton of the parts before choosing a material and then the printer to go with it.
  • Speaking of material - I have used various types but the best I’ve come across is Innofil. This experience is entirely with PLA, but they get equally high praise for their other materials including ABS. Not cheap but you get a lot for a roll. what ever you end up choosing just get the one roll to start out with and make sure you keep it sealed in a resealable bag, at room temperature and out of directly sun light - many materials absorb moisture like a champ and can end up setting in sunlight or really bright direct light.
  • You’ll need two lots of software - The finishing software recommended by which ever brand you choose (Ultimaker uses Cura for example) and a 3D modelling program of your choice like 3D Max, Maya, Blender, etc. I actually get away with using the free online one from Autodesk ‘TinkerCad’ which is ultra basic but good enough.

Aside from this (which I hope is at least a little bit useful - it doesn’t really feel like it is, sorry), all I can really recommend is to search through a load of ‘top 10 under £500’ lists and look out for common brands popping up. When you’ve done that have a dig in to open review sites for these brands/models and look for user reviews stating long term experience looking for common failures and narrow down from there.

I’m happy to give any you might have found/might find a look over if you want.


Thanks Vred.

I have noticed a lot written about PLA+, Pro and Carbon PLA that have much better heat resistance. TBH, ABS fumes aren’t that much of an issue for me as it’ll be in the workshop, so I can just leave it to it and go in the garage next door.

I have been checking out the “best for under £500” googlefoo and most of the lists seem to differ. I think I might stretch to around the £700 mark, although currently, my list contains:

Flashforge 2017 Creator Pro

Creality CR-10S

JGAurora A3

Original Prusa i3 MK3

Wanhao i3 Plus V2

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Get a Carbon3D M2 printer! I’m sure they only cost about 50K or something insane like that…


This looks like the best of the ones you’ve listed. There is an A5 version on Amazon that ranges from £390 to £430 but I can’t really tell why the price differs so much between those two listings.

From the reviews there are some quirks with the bed levelling and the filament feed sensor doesn’t always seem to trip either when it has jammed or is empty, it wasn’t clear which, but either way most printers have these issues, at least from the four brands I’ve had experience with.

This guy has a lot of positive things to say about the A5, especially about its versatility for printing different material types from ABS to Flexible (which is a bitch to print with) to the point where I’m wondering if I could justify buying one…

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Check put this review and also his link for purchasing from GearBest. £227 for the US plugged one. 40 day delivery though. Choosing EU plug and different warehouse options changes the cost.

I’ve only gone and fricking bought it.

£237 for the A5. US Plug version. Delivery 35-45 days. Extra £6 for delivery insurance and tracking. £4 off for using Paypal. Used Paypal credit so got 4 months 0%.

Let’s see if the fucker turns up and if it’s any good :slight_smile:


Jesus! Is it built to order?!

Definitely let us know how you get on, I’d love to get a personal one for home.

In the mean time, have a look at ThingiVerse - all free to download, some of the models that are uploaded are not appropriate for print but you can usually tell from the comments and/or the ‘made’ images underneath. I have hundreds of prints favourited on there from one-off single prints up to multi-part assmebly-required kits like the laser pistol or laser rifle from Fallout 3 or the Portal gun or a life sized face hugger !

Something to have a read up on would be build plate adhesion for the A5 - check what is recommended because it might be that you need to buy some pritt sticks as it recommended by a lot of 3D printer manufacturers. The best ones I’ve used are the Staples own-brand ones, it sounds silly but whatever formula they use works a lot better than other brands.

I’m getting excited FOR you here!!!

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It’s because it’s rail delivery apparently. I don’t need it yet, so £6 charge instead of £42 seemed a good deal.

I’ll check out ThingiVerse.

The build plate is Black Diamond bed. The guy in your review vid seemed to find it very good.

To be honest, with all of this, I am expected mucho modding. I can make plastic mods for it with the A5 itself and any metal bits I should be able to make up with my welder and lathe.



Well this is typical. That first A5 review has changed. Seems the A5 is very hit or miss. The guy posted this in the comments 2 days ago:

Hey everyone! Since my review one of my two A5s has suffered from a failed stepped driver… I think. That’s somewhat common but this printer is really annoying to take apart because of how solidly it’s built. Also, based on many people’s experiences it seems this printer is very hit or miss. While the printer worked amazingly for me, that doesn’t always seem to be the case, so I won’t be endorsing the A5 so heavily anymore. It can still be fantastic, but the CR-10 or i3 Mega seem like more reliable choices.

I’m going to think positive and believe mine will be a hit. If it isn’t I will fucking make it so. :star_struck:

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Like I said earlier in the thread, the £2000 one we have is meant to be the shit but I’ve had to fuck about with it so much and learn a load of its quirks so I can work with it properly and then it went and shat its self by developing a nozzel fault.

I’ve had a poke around about the A5 and I’ve not really seen very much in terms of negatives that aren’t already common issues with most or all 3D printers.

Yeah, I think it was just him dialling down the enthusiasm. We shall see.


Having some issues with the print bed and jobs not sticking, but I am sure I’ll get around that. Currently leaving it overnight to print a better cooling duct for the nozzle. Upped the bed temp to 60, see if that helps. I’ll check some A5 forums to see what other peeps to to help adhesion. So far, well impressed.


Staples own brand pritstick.

Edit: Jelly as foooooooook

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Yeah, have read about pritstick. Going to nick some from work tomorrow.

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Looks impressive.

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More updates.

Solved bed adhesion. Keep it super clean stupid.

Bought Simplyfy3D : https://www.simplify3d.com/
Very nice. Wants to be for that pounds quid. Noticed the increase in quality right away.

Calibrated my stepper drivers:

Made a better fan duct. (Original on left):

Found BlocksCad : https://www.blockscad3d.com/ which uses a Google based Blocky library that a couple of my developers have been using at work for wealth management import file type schema building. This lead me on to OpenSCAD which is sooo up my street: http://www.openscad.org/

I am fucking loving all of this.


Keeping it clean will get harder and harder, espcially if you end with nicks or scratches in the plate. Would be worth seeing how much spare plates are and picking up a few, especially if you’re going to be hitting it hard and are going to risk warping it from it.

I’ve seen some of the programs like openscad used by people who build/printer super pricise prints but I’ve not tried one myself - how intuitive are they? I’ve always imagined it would take a decent bit of math knowledge and higher than entry level coding expeirence?

You got a link to where you bought this from?

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Very true. This place is excellent for resources: https://jgaurorawiki.com/a5

I bought mine from gearbest, it’s even cheaper now! : https://jgaurorawiki.com/a5/buy

OpenSCAD is not very intuitive at all, the BlocksCad version works on a GUI type interface in front of the code so is easier.