3D printing is a rabbit hole. In one hand, it is an extremely flexible tool. The possibility to quickly go from a drawing, from an idea to a physical object, at an affordable price, is simply amazing. In other hand, depending on the person (if one likes to thinker), it becomes a hobby in itself.
When engaging a new tool, a new hobby I usually start with a cheaper tool, and then decide if I should pursue the hobby further should I outgrow the tool. This is where I am at with my ender 3 V2.
Why get a new 3D Printer in the first place ?
There were a few needs that were not being fulfilled by the ender 3V2 :
- The ability to print other materials, such as ABS
- A bigger build volume
- For bigger parts, it takes too much time to print. It takes 39hours to print , on average, a print with 3 trophies for inercia 2022.
- How far would be needed to modify the ender 3 V2 to get to a satisfactory spec, at an acceptable price ?
Issues with the ender 3V2
- Layer shifts on long prints. It was needed to open the board housing to avoid overheating of the stepper drivers. On long prints, this failure mode leads to a lot of wasted hours. Yes, one can print a bottom plate for it with more ventilation , but still….
- Manual Bed Leveling starts to get annoying in the long term. Yes, automatic Bed leveling can be can be added into the ender 3V2, but still…
Voron is opensource project with the goal of “to create a no-compromise 3D printer that was fun to assemble and a joy to use“. They have several designs, I decided to build a Voron 2.4 with a 300 x 300 x 260 mm build volume, with Core XY Kinematics.
The printers are well documented, (even making the .step file available for study) and there are plenty of build and troubleshooting videos as well on youtube.
The community is quite vibrant (and technical minded ) , including the portuguese one.
There are also several vendors that sell a kit, sets of parts, or parts tailored for Voron printers, such as Hobby-Store.pl , Fermio , Lecktor or lab4450.
Voron 2.4 sounds nice but…..
- Regardless of the sourcing, gets expensive fast. Mine is currently at 1.6K €.
- “You don’t buy a Voron, you build a Voron” : you have to assembly every component yourself. This not a printer for someone who wants to have the “plug and print” experience.
- Long term project. I took 1,5 years from deciding to build the voron, to getting it making the first print.
After assembly , the resulting printer leapfrogs the ender 3V2 performance wise.
Using the default profile in cura for Voron 2.4 and for the Ender 3 V2 using 75mm/s instead of the default 50mm/s , for a .4mm nozzle and a .2mm layer height I’m able to get the print time of 3 Trophies for inercia from approximately 39 hours to 20 hours, without optimizations. This is an almost 50% improvement.
And this without any further tweaking. Taking into account I got a Phaetus Dragon High Flow, I might be able to improve print time further.
What I’ve learned so far
- I was able to save some money but not much by :
- Looking for sales / discounts. I was able to get the Printer frame for 54€ instead of 119€. The profiles were improperly cut, but the store offered replacements for the poorly cut frames, free of charge.
- Instead of buying a 5V PSU for the Raspberry Pi, I got a controller board (Fystec Spyder) that provided the 5V for the Rpi, allowing me to save 12€ and have one less component to wire.
- Buying sub-kits was a nice compromise between fully self source and getting a full kit. Buying the parts little by little allowed me to dilute the total cost of building the printer.
- ABS+ smells. Must get filters installed on the printer ASAP!
- Kipper + Mainsail is really awesome vs. plain marlin from my ender 3 V2.
Next on the List
- Finish the fume extraction and carbon filter. ABS+ printing emits much more odor than I was expecting. And it does not smell healthy at all to breath in.
- Set input shaper and see how far I can push the printer in terms of speed.
- Try printing with different materials (TPU, Nylon, etc)
- Add multi material support on the summer.
What About the ender3 V2 ?
The printer is still usable, and got a new dual gear Bowden extruder on the summer. It will probably get some needed maintenance and some needed modifications:
- Replacement of the wheels
- Replacement of the bottom cover to allow for better cooling
- Put kipper on in.
- Re-print the cable chains in ABS