Welcome to the Home 3D Print Guide. I built this as a guide for the basics of 3D printing. To share some of my journey of learning and exploration within the hobby.
I've been 3D printing since I bought my first low-budget printer in 2015. Hard to believe it's been so long! Read on to learn more about my journey, my gear, and my casual approach to 3D printing.
My First Printer
I started my 3D printing journey in the holiday season of 2015 with a Wanhao Duplicator i3 that I purchased during a Black Friday sale. I was very intimidated and had no knowledge of how to 3D print anything, but I did my research and made the decision to take the plunge and am so glad that I did.
At the time, this machine was a lot of bang for the buck! It had a decent build volume, an active community sharing tips, & tricks, and even had a heated bed (a luxury for some at the time!).
I learned a TON with this machine and am very glad I didn't wait to save up for something fancier or more expensive. Because it was inexpensive, I had to deal with a lot of common 3D printer issues, learned to replace parts, and just generally spent a lot of time getting familiar with the machine and how it works.
Over time I added some upgrades and the final version is what you see photographed here. It's also what inspired me to start this blog. If I can do it, anyone can! I worked for about 6 years with this machine before making my big upgrade...
My Current Setup
After about 6 years of faithful service, my Wanhao Duplicator i3 had seen it's last print. Over time parts wore out, and eventually the main circuit board went out. I had already replaced this part before so while I could have probably tracked down a board and replaced, I felt like I wanted to upgrade.
I decided to upgrade to a Prusa MK3S+. In addition to being a mouthful to say, it's just a really solid printer that felt lightyears ahead of my little Wanhao. The best feature upgrade? Automatic bed leveling! Anyone who has ever spent time hand-leveling an older 3D printer will know what a chore that is and how often a not-level bed can mess up an entire print.
It runs super quiet, has all the features I could ever want (including excellent support team but I haven't needed that yet), and is just incredibly reliable. I couldn't recommend it more! Because I had spent so much time working with my old machine, I felt confident in ordering the Prusa kit instead of a pre-built printer. It is a VERY complicated project that took me about a week of off and on work, however it was a ton of fun and saved me about $200 off the price!
I highly recommend this approach; start with an inexpensive but solid printer, then when you have learned all you can and know you're committed to the hobby, upgrade!