I'm looking for a good 3D printer

I’m looking for a good 3D printer. My budget is $200-$400, but cheaper is preferable. I know almost nothing about 3D printing, but I want the biggest build size capacity & highest resolution within my budget. I’m not sure if compatibility is an issue, but I’m looking for one that’s compatible with SketchUp and MacOS High Sierra. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips?

At that budget, large build capacity and high resolution will be a tradeoff. You won’t get both. And I’m frankly not familiar enough with current offerings to make any suggestions.

But as to compatibility with SketchUp and MacOS - at almost doesn’t matter! 3D printers work off of .stl files. And even if your version of SketchUp doesn’t offer direct export of .stl files, you can always upload your model to the 3D Warehouse, wait a bit for the Warehouse to create multiple versions, then download the .stl file (one of the variants the 3D Warehouse creates out of uploaded models). So don’t worry about compatibility! If you can create a group or component that SketchUp considers to be a solid, you have a path to create the .stl file.

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I was surfing Amazon and found a couple that sounded good to me, but I really know almost nothing about 3D printers. I’m a total beginner.

But, since posting the above, I did run across a printer that attracts me - and it’s within your budget!

It’s the Anycubic Photon.Currently on sale for $299 (Normally $419). Quite a small build area, but VERY high resolution. This is an SLA printer (liquid resin selectively hardened by UV light), not one that uses spools of plastic and a moving print head with a heated extuder.

Based on only about 7 minutes of quick research, it’s getting very good reviews and, for an SLA printer of ANY size, the price can’t be beat!

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I am using an Ender 3 that costs 199 dollars and it’s a very good printer with good results! Material is dirt cheap too and you can print out of SketchUp no problem.
It has a generous 202030cm printing area too.


Thank you for the suggestion! I’m liking the print volume, the price, and the resolution.

Wow! That sounds amazing.

A couple of programs worth getting are Meshmixer and Cura:


Both are free, and they do a lot of 3D printer related functions that would be a lot harder to do in SketchUp.

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Yes I’m using Cura as the go-between it works really well.

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Here is an example of how easy it is from yesterday/today:

(this is my printer, just a standard Ender3 https://all3dp.com/1/creality-ender-3-3d-printer-review/ for 199USD).

  1. I make my component in SketchUp, it can be many groups just as long as you group them all together before you export. This example is about 18 groups all grouped into one. Ive had a check to see if the object is a solid, I dont usually use solid inspector as my models are simple but if you get stuck it can really help you out. I then export it as .STL but other formats work too.

  2. I open the file in Cura, select my printer (Ender 3) from the list and it gives me my plate size. I place my component on the virtual plate and then choose settings such as the fill technique and support.

  3. I then hit preview and it will show me in real time every movement on each layer that will be made to I can make any adjustements. In this example it’s 711 layers, 101g of material, 33.76 meters of filament and it will take 17 hours 19 mins. I then hit save to file and it exports the data to GCODE (the printer itself does not take an actual .stl file but coordinates instead.

  4. I load the file onto the printer with a SD card and set it running.
    I put this file on yesterday and its almost finished now.

I buy all my filament from a local shop called Claes Olson its very cheap you will have a similar shop wherever you live I am sure. Works out about 20USD per KG.

I’ve used many printers and this is my favorite cheap one for sure.


If you have the option to save up more I would suggest getting the CR-10S

How do you find the CR10S?

There is not really much to complain about. It comes semi-assembled but was easy to put together. For me it produced good prints immediately, rare in the 3D-printing world. In case you run into problems there are very large active and helpful communities on Reddit.

Once it finetuned it will produce stunning prints and if you are into DIY there is possibility for hardware modifications. (Not done this myself)

Its also has one of, if not the biggest build-volume you can get for a resonable price.

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Yes I have the one below and luckily it worked right out of the box too I was very happy with that!

I saw an ad for a 3-in-1 3D printer on sale for $799. In addition to 3D printing, it also does laser engraving and CNC cutting. It sounds so cool, but unfortunately it’s way out of my budget…

@liamk887 : If the additional cost ($100) isn’t an issue, would you recommend the Ender 3 Pro over the std. Ender 3?

Would it reduce the amount of futzing around (calibration etc)?
Would the print quality difference likely be noticeable (due beefier extrusions and more stable base)?

I’m looking at buying a 3D printer for prototyping parts (primarily alu extrusions) so the tighter the tolerance of the print, the better.

Be curious to have your thoughts / recommendation. Thanks.

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I’ve used the Pro and there is not much difference really, if you check my link above it compares them both and there was not enough in the difference to justify the extra.
I didn’t have to do any calibration with my regular Ender 3, you just need to keep the plate clean after each use. I plan to upgrade to a glass plate (that I will cut myself for about $10) but only as a recommendation not really needed, https://all3dp.com/1/creality-ender-3-3d-printer-review/

I use many printers through work ranging in price from $300 to $300,000 and I’ll tell you I’m very happy with the Ender 3 in finish. For less than $200 can’t really go wrong!

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Thanks. Appreciate having the benefit of your experience.

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Well good luck whatever you decide to do, I decided on the Ender 3 on a recommendation from another sci-fi artist who is doing spectacular prints from a stock Ender 3: https://www.instagram.com/p/BscKZETlk40/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

If you have something of reasonable size to print let me know and I’ll give it a go when I have time this week, I’ve loads of material and I’m not printing anything myself at the moment


Wow! Fantastic work.

I took a double take when you first reported the cost of your printer, and then showed what it can do.

Seems crazy cheap for its capabilities, but after reading the review it seems that your (good) experience is the norm for that model. Thanks for making us aware of it.

If I do decide to take advantage of your generous offer to do a test print, I’ll PM you with the model. Cheers.

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Cool, I’m on holiday at home until Friday so perfect timing FYI!

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