3D Printer Advice

So I’ve got a birthday coming up in June and I’m gonna pull the trigger on a 3D printer! I have zero experience with 3D printers, but am familiar with AutoCAD. Looking for recommendations on a setup for less than 1000$. I’m probably not going to be printing stuff that is too large, but will require something that can do some pretty good detail.

Any recommendations or advice?



The first thing you need to decide is what method of 3D printing you want to get into. FDM (filament) or MSLA (resin) printing. FDM is easier to get started with and involves a lot less mess, but the detail and smoothness of resin simply can’t be beat.

If you decide to go with MSLA resin printing, there are a number of good options. I have been using an Elegoo Mars Pro for a year now and have been extremely happy with it. I only use water-washable resin which saves a lot of money on cleaning supplies since I can just use tap water rather than cleaning solutions like Mean Green or IPA (and trust me, you will go through gallons and gallons of it very quickly). If you want something a littler bigger, then the Elegoo Saturn is an awesome upgrade to the Mars.

When it comes to FDM I can’t make any recommendations since I’ve never used an FDM printer. But a quick search on YouTube will surely yield countless videos demonstrating, reviewing, and comparing the many options out there.


I agree with zslane, the method needs to be chosen first. SLA will almost invariable have higher resolution prints than FDM/FFF printers, but if you are willing to do some post processing, FDM can get fairly good surface finishes. The extrusion style generally has cheaper material cost and ease of use. A staple of beginner FDM machines is the Creality Ender 3 Pro. It is a cheap machine that is easy to set up and has a large user base for troubleshooting/upgrades. An additional thing to consider is that the FDM machines are theoretically capable of doing non-planar printing (although this will require lots of work for generating tool paths and setting up software), which is useful for getting better surface finishes on curved features (airfoils for example).

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Thanks @zslane! Didn’t even realize there were two main branches of this. The Mars Pro like nice and at a good price!


How large of an object can you print with the Mars Pro?

How strong/durable are the resin prints? Are there different hardnesses I guess?

Are most of the printed yo-yos we are seeing here filament or resin or both?

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Thanks @MooseCode! Any other advantages/disadvantages you can point out between SLA and FDM such as strength, versatility, and color changes etc.

All of the 3D printed yoyos I’ve seen posted here came from FDM printers. That’s why you can see the layer lines so clearly in them.

The build plate of the Elegoo Mars Pro is about 70mm x 130mm or so, though you don’t usually want to print out to the very edges of it.

Water-washable resin prints are quite sturdy, but you don’t have the same range of types and hardnesses available with resin that you do with filament wire. If you stray away from water-washable you do have a few more options, like rubber resin, which can be mixed with standard resin to make rubber prints of varying degrees of flexibility.

One neat thing about resin is that you can mix resins of different colors, and also mix in resin-compatible dyes, to make resins of just about any color you like. That’s what I do.


Why do you think this is? Strength issues with the resin as it relates to yoyo design?

quick comparison off the top of my head:

-cheaper (in general) materials and machines
-more materials available
-more user friendly
-larger user base
-large variety of mechanical properties available
-more prone to deformation during printing (due to not being printed in as controlled of an environment)
-much looser tolerances
-weak along layer lines
-requires post processing to ensure good surface finish

-older and more well understood (at least professionally)
-amazing print quality
-more color options
-Clear resin is dope (especially if sanded down and dunked in clear coat after curing!)
-resins are frequently harmful if they come into contact with skin before curing (chemical burns/poisonous)
-generally brittle
-more commonly used for artistic or demonstration purposes
-more expensive
-usually requires a post processing step to fully cure the parts
-smaller build volumes

In general, neither method is going to have “good” material properties with the standard materials, but both have materials that can be utilized for higher strength applications. FDM will have better strength at the higher end of materials (pricey) without question. If you are looking for versatility in your printer, FDM is the way to go as it has a larger commercial user base and has more materials available, but if the resolution and aesthetic of the parts is more important, it is SLA all the way. Specifically for yoyos, FDM is much more common, as the resulting yoyo will less frequently shatter or chip on contact with the ground. IMO commercial additive processes are not well suited for yoyos due to the combination of precision and durability required, but if done correctly, can result in alright throws (if somehow you are able to get your hands on/have access to an SLS machine, that might have better results although the powders are quite pricey). It is fun however to print accessories, I have made a few counterweights using TPU (a flexible material for FDM) and stands and other displays using PLA. When it comes to printing something that will undergo any sort of loading, I always go with PETG if I need to rely on it. Unfortunately, I do not personally own a SLA machine, so I can really only give general knowledge about the process.

it depends on the application and the material used :man_shrugging:

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I think it is mostly because FDM is easier and cheaper to use.


I went with a resin printer because my main application for it is small game pieces, and I wanted smooth prints with very clear, fine details. I was willing to put up with the mess and post-processing (cleaning and curing) that comes with resin printing in order to get the finer print quality. But if you only plan to do large-ish objects (like yoyos) with fewer fine details, then FDM is the clear winner far and away.


@Kray latest recommendations on a sub 1000$ printer???

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I would separate it in under 500 and over 500 then.
The main difference is the build quality of the machines itself.

  • motors
  • fans
  • plastic vs Aluminium parts
  • heating

And so on…
It depends on how much you wanna use it. You can achieve the same results with a 300$ or 600$ printer . But 600$ machines have def a longer life. Since they work with high heat and a lot of movement things tend to break after a while of usage.

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What printers have you tried @kray and what is your current favorite?

For sub 500$ I saw this one on Dylan’s channel. Anyone have any experience with it? Looks like it might be a good place to start.

If you want a specific machine name I would go as first printer with an Ender3. Classic starter model very reliable a lot of documentation and users.
I have 4 printers so if you stay with the hobby u will buy another one anyways :wink:


I would not buy this because I think housing parts like I see here are always annoying. I think every part needs to be accessible easily with a screw driver. Working on the printer itself is always part of the hobby.

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Looks like a good place to start. Seems like most are recommending upgrading stuff almost immediately on it though. Any thoughts on a printer that costs a little bit more that I’m not gonna feel the need to upgrade too soon or maybe at all? Maybe I’m just overthinking though???

Edit: It’s probably the design and settings as much as the machine that’ll give the quality of print right?

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Yes the design and settings are key to the quality.
I would say if you want to spend more money „creality“ is a good company imo. The machines are solid.
I would start somewhere since there is a learning curve to it and if you spend money on upgrades you should know why you do it. An Ender will deliver good results out of the box.
If you need details on something I need to understand what u wanna do exactly and what ur expectations are. But for the rest u should be fine without any update for the first 6 month of learning.
3D printing is a nerd hobby like Yo-Yos and there tones of tricks to learning and even more opinions about it so just get started and enjoy the journey :wink:

Edit: I watched the video and 95% of the things he does is fancy but for sure not mandatory. A lot of people love printer moding since they have no other creative goals then the machine itself. One thing I would recommend though (after 3month if you know your machine a bit) is “octoprint” which is a must I would say. It is the Swiss army knife of 3D printing.

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Thanks @Kray!

I will need to be able to print threaded items to a pretty fine detail for some ideas I’ve got about vortexing water and obviously I’ll be printing yo-yos! I do like the idea of printing small instruments like ukulele and mandolin as well, so maybe I need to research size limitations a bit. Other than that nothing real specific yet. I was looking at the Ender 5 Pro VS the Ender 3 Pro and it seemed to have the “needed” upgrades for more longevity, more capacity, and a bit finer detail out of the box. Any thoughts or experience with the Ender 5 model?

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They will both do the job :wink: Just pick what you like better. Every printer has pros and cons. I would start with the cheaper and learn. Then after a year if u enjoy the hobby get what u need. The level of detail you get should not make to much of difference on either or. It will be more about how to model clean, slice correct and get your settings right.


Do you think that the 3D printed yoyos that are posted here also come from FDM because of the hardiness of the material? I was reading that resin pieces that come from MSLA machines are quite fragile.