3D printing parts

It seems that lots of people are using printers to make parts… however, I am old and don’t know much about stuff like 3D printers… so can people here with printers please let us old guys know how they work, how you design files or where to get files… which are the best machines (which machines to avoid) etc…

I have seen cheap machines from Banggood and the like, but, along with the machine, what else is needed to get started? How much is the plastic and where do you buy it?

Please help us geriactrics out and try to speak plain English… not ‘geek speak’… coz remember, we dont know nothing (yet) laughing%20(1)


We’ve always had 3D printers…it’s called play dough :joy::joy::joy:
This is my current setup


Yeah nah yeah, was always plasticene for me …

I always thought play dough was monopoly money? Hmmmm live and learn eh?laughing%20(1)


You can get pretty good results with a decent midrange printer but here is the funny bit.
It’s like blasters and everything else. You buy one, mod it, make it work better and spend the next 2 years trying to get another 2% improvement here and another 3% there.
Heaps of fun but is THAT ANOTHER RABBIT HOLE you want to jump in? Haha.

Major drawback for 3d printed parts is unless you print with nylon or other high temperature materials, they can’t take a lot of heat.
Which is what happens to things in your car in Australia so I’m a bit cautious of 3d printed blaster stuff.

That’s a big part of the reason I decided to get a CNC milling machine…

As for designing stuff - I’d go with Fusion360. Because you can design stuff for 3d printing (where you’re adding material to build something) or cnc machining (where your removing stuff)

I’ll say more when I’m in front of a computer to type better…


Like @Arty_Marty I do most of my design work with Fusion 360. You can see some of my stuff here (including some gel blaster bits). You can get decent result with cheaper printers too—I use a Monoprice Select Mini (MPSM), which is about the cheapest non-kit (i.e. build it yourself), non-proprietary filament (I’m looking at you Da Vinci) 3D printer you can get with a heated bed.

I print exclusively with PETG, which while not quite a strong a ABS or Nylon, is pretty close and doesn’t suffer from the start-drooping-on-a-car-dash issues that PLA has. I’ve printed structural parts (plates to mount LED blinkers on my motorbike) which survived summer heat in central Queensland with no issues.

While you can (very easily) fall down the rabbit whole of printer upgrades (sound familiar?), you can still get good enough results without doing so (unless you buy a kit—they really are a bottomless pit of tweak—with some exceptions… Prusa).

So short(ish) answers to your original questions:

  • Design your own stuff using Autodesk’s Fusion 360 (its free, and pretty easy to use if you have any previous CAD or 3D modeling experience, and well set up to produce files for printing)—there’s other options for more novice users, but I don’t have any experience with them (e.g. TinkerCAD)
  • Get already designed files from Thingiverse—most designers just give you an .stl file (3D model) of the objects—this means you can print them, but its hard to modify them. Others (like me!) also provide the design files (files types differ depending on the design software used—Fusion 360 files are usually .f3d files)
  • To print an object you need to run the .stl file through a “slicer” (I use PrusaSlic3r)—this is software that converts the 3D object into machine code (called g-code) which tell a printer "move here, extrude this much filament, at this temperature etc.). Getting the g-code (which is specifically adapted to the settings needed for your printer, filament type etc.) onto the printer is what allows you to print—usually you put it on an SD card and insert it into the printer (some also support USB connections to computers, network links etc.)
  • As for which are the best machines… how much money do you have (and how tech savvy are you)? I quite like my little MPSM—I think I picked it up on sale with free shipping from Amazon for ~US$150. Some of the ones that Aldi has on special buys are half decent (the ones with heated beds)—I have a heavily modified one of these I picked up second hand for $200 (though, per comments above, I still haven’t used it in the 6 months I’ve had it—needs calibration and setup). It you want something better, a genuine Prusa i3 will set you back ~$800–$1100 (depending if you go kit or pre-assembled)—these are apparently very good for that price point. Anything else that’s better is generally $1500+, though I haven’t really looked for a while.

Hope that helps somewhat!

edited to fix ‘midnight’ grammar and spelling


Resin is the way to go. I got the nova elfin 3d a few weeks back and it works great. No set up required amd with only one moving axis is very reliable. I havent had a failed print in over 50 or so. Cant tell that its 3d printed no vissible layer lines at 0.05mm. I have printed heaps of go pro to picatinny mounts and rail risers.


I am interested in the resin printers but know sfa about them, can they do TPU ?

Nah just the resin u buy, not sure on what its name. Not sure of you can do flexi resins.
Final print comes out ultra hard and tough.


Forgot to mention also a lot quicker when printing multiple parts at once. Say it takes 3 hours to print a part. If you fill the bed up with 15 of those parts it takes the same amount of time, 8 secs a layer.

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I have watched a fair few videos and think I might get either a ender 3 pro or an ender 5… leaning towards the ender 3 pro… mainly it is Cheapass (like me) and it will do for a start I guess…

I only want to have a crack at printing some stuff, blaster related and not… I think if I get a reasonable machine cheap… which I believe the 3 pro seems to be…it wont be a gigantic loss if I am no good at it (aka can’t do it) badluck but it can do some pretty good work if I can learn to drive it…:grin: (aka I am not too :poop: at it)

Any thoughts or advice?pop

The ender 3 pro is currently $319 And the ender 5 is currently $460

Is one better to get the bigger #5 with the bed that only goes up and down in a 4 leg enclosure (stiffer) or is the 3 pro ok too? Would you get a glass bed, or the magnetic one?

I looked at Fusion 360… it is a free trial… not free? It costs $590 a year, plus GST after the free trial? Did you manage to get it for free?pop

Is there any decent Aussie forums on 3D printing?noidea pop

Fusion 360 is free for home hobby use. I have never payed for it. Watch youtube videos on how to get it for free.

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I’ve heard good things about the aldi printer (made by creative I’ve heard??), but its only for sale once a year. I’ve got a Tevo Little Monster Delta printer which I’ve only printed the test file (had it for a year now just don’t have time to use it :frowning:), which came out quite good.

We had an in-service demo the other day at work for one of these bad boys

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It’s often not to hard to pick up the Aldi printers second hand (i.e. Gumtree). I believe most of the Aldi (Cocoon Create) ones are actually various Wanhao models (e.g. Duplicator i3 Plus) (my Monoprice Mini Select is also a re-badged Wanhao i3 Duplicator Mini). The Aldi ones just have the advantage of easy returns if there are any issues.

If you do go the Aldi route, just make sure you get a model with a heated bed (otherwise you can really only print PLA… which I personally think is bit useless).

The Creality stuff has a decent reputation (though I’ve never used them). In particular the full-size CR-10 has been know as one of the best bang-for-buck printers with a print area that big (300mm x 300mm x 300mm I think).

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Yep. Seconded. I seem to recall it was fairly easy to get the licencing set up.

Also check out the range of tronxy printers.
Check out Makers Muse on youtube, pretty much the one guy I listen to for advice on 3d printers.


I can highly recommend an aldi cocoon touch.
There are a few simple mods you can do to it to make it outstanding. It’s also right about this time of year they have them :slight_smile:

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I pulled the trigger on an ender 3 pro:money_mouth_face:

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