The actual goal of 3D printing is to make your 3D printer unrecognizable from its stock form is less than one week.
Seriously, who hasn’t owned a 3D printer and “upgraded” it instantly?
It’s not like a Prusa Mini+ or i3 Mk3S+ isn’t good enough right out of the box.
I’ve had my Mini a week now and I have built the perfect beast. Nothing I have done has actually made the printer print better though. At least I realize that, huh?
First of all I love me some Wyze Cameras and smart outlets. I can VPN into my network and watch my cameras. In the event something horrible went wrong with a print I can go into my Home Automation and just chop power to the outlet. Not real elegant but better than letting a print run for 12 hours with nothing actually stuck to the bed. And, yeah, I know about Octoprint. Again, not elegant but it gets the job done.
Prusa Mini+ Kit
First of all I have to say I have been 3D printing since 2015 and bought my first Prusa in maybe 2016 or 2017. So I’ve been around the block a time or two. No, I’m not a super expert like some folks but I do have some experience that lends me to share a thought or two.
My Prusa experience kind of shakes out like this:
- Bought i3 Mk2
- Upgraded i3 Mk2 to Mk2S
- Bought i3 Mk3S+
- Upgraded i3 Mk2S to i3 Mk2.5S
- Bought and built Mini + kit.
Okay, I have no huge print farm, just three printers and 5 builds and upgrades. But let me tell you this……..The Prusa Mini + is IMPRESSIVE.
You expect a lot from an $800 3D printer like the i3 Mk3S+……. that’s a no-brainer………but you don’t expect as much from a $349 3D printer.
But there’s the rub…….The Prusa Mini+ is a CRAZY GOOD 3D PRINTER. I can’t believe it. Not a lot impresses me but this printer is incredible.
Okay, what are the downsides? Number 1 it isn’t called a “Mini” without a reason. The build plate is much smaller than the other offerings. That being said there have been very few times I have stretched the limit of the size of my 3D printer bed. Most of the things I print will fit on the Mini build plate.
I’ve done my share of 3D printing with various printers. I have hand built a Rep-Rap kit, and owned an M3D cube printer.
But nothing compares to the Prusa EXPERIENCE.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I built that Rep-Rap kit which was just an awful experience. After I got it built it was probably a week before I actually extruded any material with it. My heart leapt with joy when I saw some plastic ooze out of the nozzle. Then it took another day or two of tweaking to make a print that wasn’t horrific. The EXPERIENCE I gained was invaluable but the EXPERIENCE itself was horrific.
Once I got the Rep-Rap going I began upgrading everything on it. Also gained tons of EXPERIENCE but again the EXPERIENCE itself was fraught with frustration and trial and error.
Modified Rep-Rap 3D Printer
I have been 3D Printing for maybe 5 years now. I’m not a drop dead, full on expert, but I have learned a few things. I honestly believe the best way to break into 3D printing is to buy and build a cheap Rep-Rap machine and upgrade. Go through all the trials and tribulations and then get into the higher end machines.
One thing is for certain. Your printer will break, or clog or something…….and then you’ll have no earthly idea what to do when that happens.
That is how I got my start. I found a place called RepRapGuru (which I think is out of business now) and bought a $200 printer. After I built it and got it printing which was no easy feat, I did a boatload of research and found out that upgrading certain components would increase my quality considerably. So I did just that. Instead of threaded rod for the Z axis to go up and down on, I got proper lead screws. Instead of the cheap Chinese hotend I put an E3D-V6 hotend on it. Then I changed the extruder to a compact Bowden, then I reprinted most of the parts, and on and on it went. All of these changes made me go inside the firmware and change THINGS…..an invaluable skill……..I still have this printer and believe me, it works GREAT.
But it was a toy that I made into “Not A Toy”. It was time to move on. Research on 3D printing more or less revealed that the best company out there was Prusa Research by Josef Prusa. Just like Bill Gates is the Huckleberry of Windows and Linus Torvalds is the Huckleberry of Linux…….Josef Prusa is the Huckleberry of 3D printing. As a consumer, maybe even a long time consumer and user of Prusa printers I have to state that the company has really evolved into something special in a way that most companies will never do.
Back Load Horn 3D Printed Speakers
I have a 3D printer. Well, actually 3, but who is counting? The other night I saw a new project upload on Thingiverse for a Back Load Horn Speaker. It was so cool and I knew I had to try it. And besides, I had an actual need as I had just purchased a Uniden SDS200 Police Scanner and it had a little internal speaker that was mounted on the bottom of the case. It screamed for a powered, external speaker. Win, win.
The first thing I’d like to say about the project is I didn’t quite need all the bells and whistles the designer did. He set his up as bluetooth speakers and that is darn cool, no doubt. I just didn’t need to do that. I just needed a powered external speaker.
The back panel is designed for a stereo amp board which the developer lists a source in China that costs a few bucks. The exact same board can be had on Amazon for about $14. Getting 2 day delivery is worth it to me. The parts from China probably wouldn’t show for weeks.
Anyway before you build and wire these you kind of need to know how you are going to deploy them. Let me elaborate.