Adventures in buying a 3d printer

      Adventures in buying a 3d printer

      Well this is a story I just had to share since it has unexpected twists and turns (sort of). I had been mulling over the idea of having a 3d printer for a while, but the last few days of really looking at what I could do with it really sealed the deal. Once I decided I wanted one, then I set about trying to figure out which one I would get. I read reviews and comparisons for days, watched youtube videos and looked at reddit threads. I finally decided on Cr-10S4 with the 400mm^3 print area. I remembered seeing one of the youtubers plugging a Chinese site Gearbest.com and decided to order from them since they had the cheapest advertised price. I placed my order and went to bed last night happy and thinking of all the wonderful things I'd be able to do with my new printer. Fast forward to this morning, I checked my email on my phone and found one from Gearbest, they put my order on hold until I prove who I am. Well, there's no way I'm going to send copies of my ID documents to China for a 3d printer, so I simply explained my situation and asked them to cancel the order. Having a conversation with these guys in China is like trying to have a conversation with someone on Neptune via radio, the replies are coming hours later. So anyway, I figured since I wasn't going to prove my identity, there's no way they would ship me a printer so I set about ordering one from Amazon for slightly more money. I placed my Amazon order with no problems, as usual, and walked away from the situation thinking everything would be fine... printer form Amazon would get here and China would give me a refund... wrong! As I said, China's replies were coming hours later so it was only in the last 2 hours that I received email from them saying that [paraphrasing] despite their policy, they would ship me this printer anyway. [sarcasm] Well great!!! [/sarcasm] So I see this and knowing how long their replies take, I scrambled to cancel my Amazon order... to no avail. Amazon's replies are fast and I quickly learned that it is too late to cancel their order even though it hasn't shipped yet. Just wonderful, now I'm apparently receiving two printers at twice the price. I didn't give up with Amazon though, I connected to their live chat support with a glimmer of hope that maybe they could make a phone call to the facility and get someone to physically find this parcel and put it back on the shelf. The chat was rather short and didn't exactly do what I wanted to but at least I was told that a note would be put on my account to contact the carrier and stop the shipment at some point after it leaves the warehouse (which makes no sense to me but whatever). I ended the chat with Amazon, satisfied with the outcome that since I'm receiving the Chinese printer despite having asked for it to cancel, the Amazon printer would at least get refunded after the carrier cancelled it. So then I checked my email again. While I was on Amazon support chat, the Chinese company issued a refund to my paypal :facepalm: OK, this is getting ridiculous. So I pull Amazon chat up again and got a different support person so I filled them in with the situation and eventually got the note taken off my account to have the carrier contacted to stop this shipment.

      At this point, I think I'm getting a 3d printer but I really can't be sure. Will know Thursday.
      Here's hoping it all goes smoothly. With a build volume that large you're probably going to have to be carefull with keeping the bed level and stopping the print from detaching before it's finished, but it'll make finishing masks so much easier if they don't have to be cut to pieces to print them. Given your experience with CNC machines it seems like the best choice of printer.

      It looks like that model uses the same extruder drive gear as the wanhao duplicator, if that's the case there's an upgraded gear available that might be worth installing if you get a lot of skipping. If it uses a PTFE liner in the hot end, I'd recommend getting a few spare since they wear out after a while.

      Hikari Kintsugi wrote:

      Here's hoping it all goes smoothly. With a build volume that large you're probably going to have to be carefull with keeping the bed level and stopping the print from detaching before it's finished, but it'll make finishing masks so much easier if they don't have to be cut to pieces to print them. Given your experience with CNC machines it seems like the best choice of printer.

      It looks like that model uses the same extruder drive gear as the wanhao duplicator, if that's the case there's an upgraded gear available that might be worth installing if you get a lot of skipping. If it uses a PTFE liner in the hot end, I'd recommend getting a few spare since they wear out after a while.


      You may still want to cut your mask into parts for printing because printing it all at once will use a ridiculous amount of support material (which may cause the surface quality to be worse as well as cost you money). I have the original extruder gear in my printer and while it may wear out over time it works fine with PLA and PETG. If you can't properly extrude regular filaments you probably have a problem somewhere else. I'd consider an all-metal hotend upgrade instead, since you can print hotter materials and you don't have to buy a PTFE tube ever again.
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      @Hikari Kintsugi and @KineticIsEpic, thank you for the advice. I was already planning on splitting the mask into 2 or 3 parts (probably 3) because I have seen the epic amount of support material generated in Cura. Not only that but I prefer to only lose a portion of a print rather than the whole thing if it breaks loose from the bed. I can already tell that the glass it came with is bowed in the middle. I am planning on either purchasing a mirror or the TH3D EZMat Build Surface as soon as possible. If either of you (or anyone else) has any feedback regarding either of those choices, I'd love to hear it.

      I didn't realize that about the extruder gear or the hot end. I will definitely grab a spare gear and find an upgraded hot end (maybe dual?) when I place another order for other things to go with this printer. Any other recommended upgrades?