Discussion Regarding Search For Best Multi-Application 3D Printer Answered
I should wish to have the input of the community regarding the best multi-application 3D printer.
Some of the qualities that I'm looking for include the capacity to handle a variety of filaments (notably the Poro-Lay porous foam filament and a variety of carbon fiber reinforced filaments, in addition to the standard ABS and PLA filaments), an extremely high detail resolution capacity, and consistent, high-quality prints. I've seen a number of 3D printed items have sections "unwind" after printing, which is not something that I want to have happen. I'm also hoping to have something with a fine enough output that the printed item doesn't look horribly striped.
Naturally, I'm looking for a machine that's good quality and easy to maintain (relatively speaking), meaning that parts that wear out quickly, such as the filament feed head, should be replaceable by someone that's not been trained as an authorized service technician. While I am not overtly concerned with price, keep in mind that this is for medium-scale personal use (read that as NOT industrial use).
I've done a bit of researching, and have found that the MakerBot systems are generally lauded in some circles, but when I've went to look at the reviews posted to a variety of retail sites that carry the item, I've found that they've gotten generally negative reviews. Granted, I'm not entirely sure how much of this negativity is the result of user error / ignorance, vs how much of it is legitimate. Similarly, the printers that have great reviews on the retail sites have very little mention elsewhere, such as in the number of 3D printing communities that I've been reading through.
That all having been said, I have been quite impressed by the work I've seen coming out of the 3D printing section of Instructables, and figured that this would likely be a good place to begin a discussion on this matter.